How to Dethatch Your Lawn in Fall

House with fence and lawn

dethatching lawnThe smell of fall is in the air and that means that fall yard work is just around the corner. The fall is the best time to work on your lawn and prep it for having a nice looking lawn next year. For many years, my neighbors and I went in together on renting either a dethatcher or aerator. We'd have four or five of us renting a dethatcher which cost us only about $10 each. We could rent the machine for $40-$50 for four hours and can easily get our yards done in that time frame.

Dethatching removes any old grass or leaves that is buried beneath the surface of your grass. This thatch prevents your grass from properly breathing and allowing overseeding to germinate below the surface. Here is an excellent video I found on what is dethatching and how to do it.

In addition, here are a few of our thrifty tips for fall lawn maintenance that can help your lawn look nice next summer.

Mow lawn

Typically before you start dethatching or aerating you should mow your lawn to about 1 1/2 or 2 inches.


Aerate removes plugs of soil from your lawn and does three things. It helps it develop its root system by creating spacing in your lawn, helps alleviate compactions, and provides pockets for the overseed to nestle into and germinate


Removes old grass, leaves, and other debris to help your grass grow better


By overseeding in the fall you help your lawn look fuller come next summer. In addition, the thick grass helps squelch out weeds since the grass is so lush and thick

Extra watering after overseeding

Help the seed germinate by watering two or three times a day. The amount of time water on each phase is less than normal, but enough to keep the grass moist throughout the day and help your seed grow.

Starter fertilizer

4 weeks after you overseed is a great time to apply a starter fertilizer to help the overseed grow and get a good start before the fall frost hits.


After your last mowing of the year (more than 6 weeks after overseeding) apply a good winterizer with crabgrass preventer. This will help your lawn come back lush and keep weeds from infesting your yard.


I hope these tips will help you save a few dollars on your lawn and have a nice looking lawn next summer. Do you dethatch your lawn and what is the process you employ?

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