A power rake is not likely needed to dethatch a small lawn.

Pros & Cons of a Power Lawn Rake

by Renee Miller

A power lawn rake won't help you deal with the piles of fall leaves, but it can help you remove thatch layers from the lawn, improving its health and appearance. A manual rake can also remove thatch, it rips the thatch layer, while a power rakes cuts into it. The power lawn rake has its pros and cons. Even though the power rake is a useful tool for homeowners that want to maintain a healthy lawn, it does have its drawbacks.

1. Makes Dethatching a Breeze

Thatch is a layer of dead and living shoots, stems and roots that forms between the soil surface and your grass. Thatch develops when grass produces organic debris faster than it can decompose them. The areas of a lawn that are most resistant to decay build up into a layer that resists mowing and prevents nutrients, sunlight and water from reaching the soil. The main benefit of a power rake is that it makes dethatching easier in comparison to doing the same job with a standard rake. Thatch layers are often dense and removing them with a manual rake requires repeated raking over the area, which can take a long time and a lot of effort. Spinning knives on power lawn rakes cut the upper layer of thatch in seconds.

2. More Power with Minimal Damage

Power rakes are often used in the spring to remove winter debris before the lawn starts to grow. Because the blades cut cleanly into the thatch layer instead of ripping, a power rake doesn’t cause significant damage to the grass, which allows it to recover from the dethatching process quickly. In areas where grass is damaged due to a thick layer of thatch, power raking can be combined with over-seeding. However, this should be done in early spring so the seeds have enough time to establish before the summer months bring hot or dry weather.

3. Makes a Dent in Your Wallet

A major drawback with power rakes is that they are not always affordable. Manual rakes are inexpensive and can be used for many tasks, from raking up the fall leaves to dethatching. However, power rakes and other power dethatching tools can be rented for a fraction of the cost of purchasing. Equipment rental stores, as well as some nurseries and home and garden stores rent power lawn rakes.

4. Regular Maintenance Required

Compared to manual rakes, power rakes a high-maintenance. A manual rake may rust and wear out if not cleaned and stored in a dry place, but a power rake requires much more attention. Debris left in the housing must be removed. Before using, you need to ensure nothing is wrapped around the cutting blades or the blade shaft. Wing knobs and carriage bolts in the rake housing should be tightened periodically. Now and then a power rake may have mechanical problems. For example, if the belt is damaged or begins to slip, the rake may not function properly. The tines can become worn as well, and must be replaced. When weighing the pros and cons of a power rake, also consider the size of your lawn and the time it takes you to manually dethatch.

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