Electric Lawn Rake: What It Does and How to Use It
Though not as common as gas-powered rakes, an electric lawn rakes can also be used to dethatch a lawn. There are many benefits in using one to remove unwanted thatch and encourage healthier and thicker grass growth.
Why Use a Lawn Rake?
A lawn rake is used to pull out some of the thatch before it gets too deep. Thatch is the matted moss, leaves, grass and other debris that accumulates on the surface of the soil. A little bit is good for a long, but when it gets too deep (1/2-1 inch) it can begin to adversely affect the health of the lawn, blocking the flow of nutrients, water and air from the surface to the roots. The lawn may look a bit sparse right after power raking, but soon the grass will be thicker, greener and healthier than before. To maintain lush grass, a lawn should be dethatched every one to three years depending on how quickly thatch accumulates in it.
Advantages of an Electric Lawn Rake
An electric lawn rake has some significant benefits over its gas-powered counterparts. They typically are smaller, easier to maneuver and weigh less, only around 15-30 lbs for an electric rake as opposed to 100 lbs or more for a gas-powered dethatcher or power rake. They cost must less, only $150-$200, than gas-powered machines that sell for closer to $1000 or more. Most also have foldaway handles, which make them much easier to store.
The electric rake will need to be plugged into a power source and the cords are typically about 40 feet long. Narrower than gas-powered rakes (only about a foot of raking width), they will take a bit longer to do the same area. However, they are easier to roll over the ground, turn, and maneuver around obstacles, so that helps make up for dethatching less grass at a time.
Electric rakes typically have a collection bag or box. While it will need to be emptied out as you power rake, it is faster and easier than having to rake up all the thatch and moss that is pulled out with a leaf rake afterwards. Some even have a compacting box that squishes the material tightly together to get more in there so you don’t have to empty it as often.
Mow the grass short, about half its normal height, before dethatching. Adjust the height of the vertical rake tines based on the type of grass (lower for warm-season and higher for the delicate, cool-season varieties) and the amount of thatch (lower for deep thatch). These will slice into and pull up the thatch. Plug in the rake and begin to dethatch using lawn rows. Always be aware and careful of where the cord is. Periodically check that the blade height is correct and the machine is working properly, making adjustments if necessary. Empty out the collection bag as needed. Be sure to use crossing rows for the best coverage and to get up the most thatch. After dethatching, the grass will benefit from fertilizing, over-seeding and extra watering for about a month, until it has filled in the sparse areas again.