The tines are extremely strong, and the frame is extremely sturdy, so they extract thatch quickly and effectively, regardless of how dense the underlayer is.
Most are very user-friendly, but understanding how to operate your tow behind dethatcher is critical if you want to get the most out of it.
So, here’s how to use a pull behind dethatcher to rid your lawn of heavy thatch for thicker, healthier turf.
How to use a pull behind dethatcher
Before you even consider how to dethatch with your particular model of pull behind lawn dethatcher, you must first ensure that the hook-up is correct.
Some come with a universal hitch pin, which allows it to connect to a wide range of tractors, utility vehicles, and other vehicles.
However, you may have a unit that requires some modifications in order to fit your riding mower or other towing equipment.
Fortunately, even for those who require modifications, the work is usually minimal.
To get you started, here are some general setup guidelines.
How to put together a dethatcher
Your tow vehicle should be parked on a suitable smooth flat surface, such as a driveway, garage floor, or sidewalk.
Use the appropriate attachment accessories to attach the pull behind Dethatcher to your towing vehicle (refer to your owner’s manual for specifics on your model).
As needed, adjust the height and level.
After that, you’re ready to tackle the important task of dethatching your lawn.
To stimulate healthier root growth, follow the steps below to lift thatch and deposit it on the lawn’s surface, where it can be mowed or mulched.
How to dethatch like a pro with a pull behind dethatcher
It’s worth mentioning how the dethatcher works in practice:
When the Dethatcher is dragged forward, the tines engage the thatch and then deflect to the rear. The trapped thatch’s resistance will be overcome by the spring, which will pull it upward.
Now—and this is critical—if your tines are set too low, the tine will not “flip” forward properly, causing issues.
As a result, make sure the optimal tine height is set before proceeding.
Simply run the dethatcher over your lawn three times in a row, each time dethatching in a different direction.
That’s because dethatching isn’t something you can do in a single pass; in fact, you’ll probably need more than three passes to get good results.
Remember to rotate the dethatching direction by 90 degrees – this improves the dethatching effect dramatically!
Remember that each pass will bring up approximately the same amount of dead grass, moss, roots, and other accumulated organic material.
Making adjustments, up or down, as needed, is another helpful trick for achieving the desired result.
You should also stick to the recommended operating speed – I’ve seen some manufacturers insist on towing at 3mph (or less).
Continue in this manner until the entire yard has been thoroughly dethatched.
The final step is to collect and remove all of the thatch from the yard.
Safety Tips for Using a Pull Behind Dethatcher
When towing and using your tow behind dethatcher, as with any other attachment, exercise caution.
If an accident occurs, failure to exercise caution could result in serious injury or even death.
You should be especially cautious about:
The weight distribution in relation to the maximum weight your towing vehicle can pull- the total towed weight of the attachment (weight of empty attachment + weight of load) should always be greater than the combined weight (of your towing vehicle = weight of tow vehicle + operator weight).
When turning, the turning radius should be kept in mind: slow down before turning and never turn sharply.
Towing speed must be kept low enough to maintain control. When navigating rough terrain, be cautious and take it slowly. Finally, keep an eye out for rocks, holes, and roots.
Keep in mind that if the attachment or towing vehicle is operated without following the safety precautions, the attachment or towing vehicle may be damaged.
Follow all safety precautions listed in your towing vehicle’s owner’s manual and the dethatcher’s owner’s manual for added peace of mind.
Tips for de-thatching
It’s important to keep your grass at a certain height– Grass that is less than three inches tall produces the best results. However, I should point out that, for the most part, shorter grass improves tine action.
Dethatch when the conditions are right– You should only dethatch your yard when the conditions are right for it to recover quickly. The general rule is that the operation should be scheduled to coincide with three to four weeks of ideal growing weather (after dethatching).
Soil should be moist- For a simple dethatching process, the soil should be moist (though not wet). After that, water the grass thoroughly about two days before your scheduled dethatching day.
Cleaning up after dethatching
If you abandon your lawn without performing necessary post-dethatching operations, it may take time for it to heal and resume deep growth.
Overseeding the lawn and topdressing are the most important. Topdressing helps prevent thatch from returning and is recommended every time you dethatch.
Before topdressing, apply your favorite slow-release fertilizer; the slow-release formula promotes a richer, greener lawn, and, perhaps more importantly, you won’t have to fertilize as frequently.
Excessive thatch causes issues such as limiting root growth and promoting disease by retaining humidity for longer than necessary.
However, with a pull behind dethatcher, assistance is on the way, especially if you’re looking after a large property.
To get rid of thatch and help your turf flourish again, follow the tips and procedures outlined in this guide.