SAVE $5 OFF YOUR FIRST LAWN CARE SERVICE!
Use the "Request a Quote" Contact Form and we will give you a $5 discount off your first Lawn Care service bill!
“BUT THE COMPANY THAT FERTILIZED MY LAWN SAID POWER RAKING WASN'T NECESSARY!”
I have heard this more times than I can count. I don’t blame the homeowner, they just want a nice lawn and trust the industry professionals. I will offer my take on this situation and preface this by mentioning that we at FT Property Services also fertilize lawns. Fertilizing your lawn is essential if you want a beautiful, lush lawn. That being said, if your lawn has a thick layer of thatch it will require a LOT more fertilizer.
Companies that specialize in fertilizer and weed control often do not offer services like Power Raking or Aeration. From a business operational standpoint, these services are dangerous, time consuming, require skilled machine operators with expensive, specialized machines.
Fertilizer application by contrast is safe, quick and almost anyone with a fertilizer spreader can get the job done with minimal training. Also, the more fertilizer you buy, the cheaper it is. It only makes sense for these companies to perpetuate the idea that power raking (and aeration) are unnecessary and all you need is frequent fertilizer (and herbicide) applications.
These practices lead to a dependency on regular fertilizer applications. As you dump more and more fertilizer on your lawn, the thicker the thatch layer will become. The thicker the thatch layer becomes, the more fertilizer you need. The more fertilizer you need, the more weeds get fertilized. The more weeds you have, the more herbicide applications you need. Its a vicious, toxic cycle! That isn’t even to mention the damage excessive fertilizer and herbicide runoff does to our environment!
In closing, power raking is a valuable service for your lawn. It can make the difference between having an OK lawn and a nice lawn or a nice lawn and a great lawn. To power rake your lawn you need a special machine. While this machine is safe to operate with the proper training, it is extremely dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing. A power rake can cause serious injury as well as serious damage to your lawn if not used properly. Do not waste your time and money with a power rake attachment for a lawn mower or a power rake lawn mower blade.
There is only a small window of time to power rake your lawn in Calgary. If you have a truck and if you can find a power rake available to rent during the busy season you can do it yourself. Just be aware that power raking your lawn yourself is dangerous and can actually do more damage than good if not done properly.
When you hire a power raking service it is important to make sure they are insured. In addition to injury, damaging your lawn and destroying sprinkler heads, a power rake will shoot rocks with a lot of force. If the operator isn’t careful and runs the machine over small rocks it can easily break windows, punch holes in vinyl siding and dent cars.
If you’d like to save yourself the headache of power raking your lawn yourself, or if you are not confident in your abilities to do it safely yourself, it is a good idea to hire a professional power raking service. At FT Property Services we are well trained, experienced, insured and will get the job done right! If you’d like to find out why our clients love our power raking service so much, contact us today!
WHAT IS POWER RAKING YOUR LAWN?
If you live in Calgary and have ever wondered “Should I power rake my lawn”? this blog is for you. I will discuss the benefits of power raking specific to Calgary as well as set the record straight about some common misconceptions.
BENEFITS OF POWER RAKING YOUR LAWN
Simply put, the main benefit your lawn receives from power raking is more room to breathe, eat and grow. This is accomplished by removing thatch that is choking out your lawn’s root system and allowing water, nutrients, air and sunlight to better get to where they need to go. It also frees up room in you lawn’s matted root system for new roots to grow. If you have your lawn power raked you’ll enjoy greener, fuller grass that needs less water and fertilizer to thrive.
POWER RAKING VS DETHATCHING
Power Raking is a term that gets thrown around a lot and there is a lot of confusion around what it actually is. A Power Rake is a machine with one purpose - to remove thatch from your lawn. It does this with multiple rows of blades that spin perpendicular to your lawn. When the machine is running, these rows of blades cut into the thatch layer of your lawn and make it easy to rake up.
Dethatching is a far less aggressive operation accomplished with a dethatching rake or special attachments and blades for lawn mowers. While these methods do work to varying degrees, none of them remove as much thatch as a power rake. To add more to the confusion, some manufacturers of these lawn mower attachments market them as “power raking” blades or attachments.
If you hire a company to power rake your lawn and they show up with a lawn mower - beware. At best, they themselves are confused. At worst they are scamming and trying to make a quick buck.
WHAT DOES POWER RAKING INCLUDE?
Professional power raking service is done in three steps:
1) Power raking - This is where the magic happens. Your lawn will be gone over with a Power Rake and you’ll notice large amounts of hay like material all over your lawn. This is the thatch.
2) Collection of thatch - This can be done in a couple of ways. At FT Property Services, we typically hand rake up thatch. A mower with a bag on it can also be used to collect thatch, depending on the amount of thatch created by the power rake.
3) Disposal of thatch - A professional power raking service will dispose of the thatch created by the power rake. At FT Property Services we remove all the thatch we create by power raking from your property and compost it off site.
A professional power raking service will also flag and avoid your sprinkler heads. This is very important as a power rake can easily destroy a sprinkler head.
HOW OFTERN SHOULD YOU POWER RAKE YOUR LAWN?
One of the most common power raking questions I get is “How often should I power rake my lawn”? That depends. Some companies will tell you once a year. Other companies will tell you every 2 to 3 years. Some companies will even tell you not to power rake your lawn (more on that later).
I like to take it on a case by case basis. If you live in an older part of town and have a mature lawn, you might want to power rake it every year. Especially if it has been neglected in the past and has a thick and lumpy layer of thatch. A lawn like this with a well developed root system won’t be damaged by power raking.
On the other hand, if you have a new, healthy lawn, I would say every other year is fine for preventative maintenance. If you over power rake a lawn with a new root system you can do more harm than good. If you just planted your lawn from seeds last year it shouldn’t be power raked. First of all, the lawn wouldn’t have had a chance to develop a layer of thatch and it would just be a waste of money. Secondly, it will just end up tearing out the healthy grass plants leaving you with bare spots and a muddy mess.
WHEN SHOULD YOU POWER RAKE YOUR LAWN?
Another common question I receive about power raking is “When Should I Power Rake my Lawn”? If you have a look around online you’ll see that the best time to power rake your lawn is spring or fall. The problem with this information is that it is from the United States and they have a significantly different climate than us here in Calgary.
The best time to power rake your lawn in Calgary is early spring. This is mainly because power raking your lawn is very hard on it and it needs the spring growing season to recuperate. If you wait until fall your grass will go into dormancy before it has a chance to recover. You should aim to go into winter with a strong lawn, not a beat up one. Winter is hard on your lawn as it is!
SHOULD YOU MOW BEFORE POWER RAKING?
At FT Property Services we recommend your lawn be 2.5 inches or less prior to power raking. Typically people will have their lawn cut short going into the winter so it is not usually an issue. If for some reason your lawn is over 2.5 inches we do recommend you cut it prior to power raking. We can do this for you on request.
WHAT IS THATCH ANYWAY?
Thatch is another area of confusion and misinformation. Thatch is the layer of organic material around the base of the grass plants. It is made up of the grass plant and it’s roots, both dead and alive. As the grass plant grows, the thatch layer becomes more and more of a matted and tangled mess. Over time this becomes a problem as it makes it hard for new roots to grow and for water, air, light and fertilizer to reach the plants roots. The result of this is a sickly, lumpy lawn that requires a lot of fertilizer and water to green up.
Contrary to popular belief, thatch is not created by leaving grass clippings on the lawn after mowing. Grass clippings are easily broken down by micro organisms in the soil. It is actually beneficial to your lawn to leave the clippings on your lawn after mowing as it allows the nutrients to be reabsorbed. This practice is also know as “grasscycling” and can significantly reduce your fertilizer requirements.
The 2 main causes of thatch are:
1) Natural growth of the grass plant. Depending on the type of grass you have, your lawn will be more or less prone to thatch creation. The types of grass popular in Calgary are often prone to thatch creation. The robust root systems of these types of grass plants is what makes them durable enough to withstand our brutal Calgarian winters and short growing season.
2) Overuse of nitrogen fertilizers. This is due to the excessive growth fertilizers cause as well as the increase they cause to your soil’s acidity. An increase in acidity in your soil will kill off many of the micro organisms that would normally break down thatch. As the grass plant grows at an accelerated pace and the micro organisms are depleted, you have a perfect storm for thatch creation.
REQUEST A QUOTE
WHAT IS POWER RAKING YOUR LAWN?
Written By Steve Hyde | Updated December 7, 2020 | Calgary, Alberta
HELPING CALGARY'S PROPERTIES REACH THEIR POTENTIAL