First off, you’re probably wondering what “Thatch” is and why you would need to “Dethatch” your lawn.
Anyway, back to the thatch. You can remove thatch two ways:
1. Manually with a rake (the heavy-duty kind, not a leaf rake)
Cost: Free when you borrow your neighbor’s rake
2. Rent a “power rake“, which is like mowing the lawn with a supercharged rake
Cost: $35 for 4 hours, $50 for all day
I decided to try the manual route first
I borrowed Nick’s rake and started pulling up thatch from our front lawn. We have about 5000-6000 sq. ft. of open lawn and I finished about 200 sq. ft. in an hour. I pulled up a full paper lawn bag worth of thatch, which was quite impressive, but my abs and lower back were pretty sore the next day.
My bright idea for a workout
Since I didn’t have time to rent the power rake until later in the week, I figured I would try to do as much manual dethatching as possible the next day. I was really motivated in the the great ab workout I would get (I hate situps), and testing myself to see how much I could accomplish before the daylight ran out.
In 3 hours, I finished about 1500 sq. ft (about 3/4 of our front lawn). I only got 1 blister and definitely felt sore yesterday. However, as soon as I got into work this morning, I called to reserve a power rake for Friday morning. There’s no way I’m doing another 3000-4000 sq. ft. of open lawn with a stinkin’ rake!
Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Workout
So I calculated (in my head with poor math) that it will take me 2 years to dethatch the lawn manually with a rake. However, I can rent the power rake, split the cost with the neighbor, and pay just $25 for an all-day rental (even less with more neighbors pitching in). A number of people have claimed dethatching with a power rake is comparable to mowing your lawn. So, that means it should take me 1-2 hours to dethatch my entire lawn with the power rake.
Which one would you choose? I’m opting for the power rake. I think I make a little more than $25 for 2 years of work.
Incidentally, if you’re looking to buy a power rake, the one to get is the Sun Joe Lawn Dethatcher. Its electric, but the reviews are good. It retails for something like $123 on Amazon. Here is a picture of that bad boy:
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Photo credit: Faythe
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