After realizing that dense thatch was likely the cause of my stunted grass'' health, I decided to buy this machine. I leave the clippings on my grass, which likely caused TOO MUCH thatch. At first you''ll think that $150 is too much money to spend, but if you are spending...
After realizing that dense thatch was likely the cause of my stunted grass'' health, I decided to buy this machine. I leave the clippings on my grass, which likely caused TOO MUCH thatch. At first you''ll think that $150 is too much money to spend, but if you are spending $400 a year on TruGreen or even $200 on DIY fertilizers, and you aren''t dealing with the thatch, eventually your grass'' health will plateau.
If you have ever tried to rake out the thatch with a metal rake, you know that it is a back-breaking affair (if you are doing it right). Heck, you''d have to pay a college kid for 10+ hours to de-thatch the yard area that I just cleared in well under an hour. Multiply this cost times the # of uses you''ll get out of it over the years (including friends/family yards if you''re a nice guy), and it''s a no-brainer. It really does a fine job of removing the thatch, and not tearing up your existing grass either (it does pull up "some" but not enough to worry about). It feels like you are "vacuuming" your yard, that''s how easy it is to use this thing (it''s self-propelling, just don''t stop or dig in anywhere too deep).
Also, I was going to overseed this spring, and if you watch how much you are pressing down into the grass, you can just scratch the top layer of dirt (especially in bare areas), so after you rake up the thatch, apply some fertilizer (with no weed killer obviously) then just spread the grass seed & water!! This will very lightly graze the surface (more so if you press down & dig in, ie on bare areas etc). No need to spend hours raking the topsoil...I mean, you could spend hours raking the top soil, and it would probably do a slightly better job, but do you really have hours to spend raking top soil? I just ran this machine, raked up the loose thatch, & threw down the seed in a few hours...if I had waited for when I had time to do a full weekend of raking, I would have missed the spring rains that are about to hit (to help the seeds). Throwing a big bag of grass seed down after using this to clear the thatch just makes sense depending on the condition of your yard. I''ll try to post a photo in a month or two to see how much this helped.
I uploaded a before/after pic, & here are some (hopefully helpful) tips:
1. You MUST use a proper extension cord plugged into an adequate outlet. All the complaints on here about "over-heating" are from people that didn''t follow the SPECIFIC instructions about cord gauge (or using an outdated outlet on an old garage etc). The instructions say that the machine WILL overheat if you aren''t supplying the proper electricity.
2. The instructions say that you aren''t supposed to use this on hills over 15 degrees. I was able to use it on a steeper hill just fine (the machine basically propels itself up the hill). This is a tool and just like any other tool, you can use as needed once you understand how it works. Just going "up & down" the hill (not sideways) worked for me. Basically, don''t dig in too long or deep at any time, just pay a bit more attention while on a hill is all.
3. The little "kick plate" on the backside of the machine kept getting forced off the holding screws by a mass of thatch. So, I just left it off, works fine (better actually). Sure, if you run over some rocks they might get spit backwards at your feet, but hopefully you aren''t wearing flip flops:)
4. The machine will effectively "mow" your grass at the height of the spinning tines. If you are over-seeding, you are supposed to mow the grass as short as possible anyways, so that you don''t have to mow for as long as possible to let the new grass grow in. This is perfect for that...the grass is basically cut short and the top layer of soil is very lightly agitated, which, saves you another hour or three from having to manually rake to loosen the soil. At least that''s how it worked for my beat up yard, if you have picture perfect dense grass, you may not get this benefit, not sure...is the dirt "perfectly" loosened up by the machine? Probably not, but it''s definitely better than the time I had available (none) to do it perfectly by rake (while at the same time, addressing the main thatch problem...a big bag of grass seed isn''t that expensive, just throw it on when done with some fertilizer)
5. The instructions say to start off with the height of the tines at the highest level, and then as they wear down, lower them (which makes sense). Also, the machine ships with an entire bag of replacement tines, which is really a nice touch. Another reviewer said to use the "high" level on the hills, and the "low" setting on flat ground to dig in more, your call...
6. Instructions say not to have kids or dogs within 50? Man, the silly things companies have to say these days to protect themselves from lawsuits. My dog would be upset if I left him inside for a day of yard work...