Regularly using a dethatching rake to remove excessive thatch build-up will keep your lawn green and healthy.
Thatch is a collection of lawn debris, like fallen leaves, moss and grass clippings, that collect together as they decompose in the grass. Some thatch is good for the lawn, but too much creates a barrier that can become virtually impenetrable for the nutrients, water and air that should flow down to the grass roots. Dethatching removes the extra thatch so the grass can thrive.
Manual Dethatching Rakes:
Manual dethatching rakes are used liked most other types of rakes. You simply place the tines of the dethatching rake on the surface of the ground and pull back to move the rake across the surface of the lawn. Use several small strokes in multiple directions to pull up the thatch over an area and then move onto the next. The sharp, two-bladed tines cut through and remove the thatch, which you then collect and remove. Unless the thatch layer is very thick, manual raking is fine, though doing a large area of grass this way will take time. Even if you plan to dethatch with another method, a manual dethatching rake is still useful for touch-ups or in-between dethatchings, and, at around $30 for a well-made rake that will last you a decade or so, it is well worth the price.
Tow-behind dethatchers are attached to trailers or riding lawn mowers and are then pulled around the lawn. There are also special attachments for some lawn mowers that you can purchase to turn them into a dethatcher.
Power Dethatching Rakes:
Power dethatching rakes are gas or electric-powered machines that are run over the ground to remove the thatch with bladed reels or spring tines (the latter designed for delicate grasses and a gentler removal). These lawn dethatching rakes have various settings and adjustments that allow for versatility in how much thatch is pulled up and the amount of grass that comes with it.
With all of these types, it is best to go over the grass twice in opposing directions to better remove the thatch in your lawn. No matter which rake you buy, however, taking the time to routinely dethatch your lawn will go a long way towards keeping it healthy and strong.