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Difference Between Power Raking and Aerating

What is Power Raking?

What exactly is Power Raking? The term is used loosely to describe methods of ‘dethatching’. Another common term used to describe dethatching is ‘aerating’. The purpose behind power raking and aerating is to remove some of the thatch layer (this is where the term ‘dethatching’ comes from). The thatch layer is the layer of decomposed, organic material that lies between the top of the soil and the bottom of the grass blade. It is ok for your lawn to have about ½” of thatch, but if it has more, then it’s good idea to start aerating. There is a difference between power raking and aerating, though. We have them described below:

Power Raking

A small tractor, lawn mower or similar machine will rotate large, powerful metal tines through the ground a few inches deep. This is a very invasive process and can damage the lawn because it’s ripping through the grass at powerful speeds. We do not recommend power raking unless there is a 2” or greater layer of thatch in the lawn or your lawn has been established for many years.

Aerial view of a worker aerating a lawn.


By removing soil cores, aeration allows your lawn to breathe and provides a channel for moisture and vital nutrients to get down to the roots of your lawn. It also decreases water runoff. It reduces thatch build up and allows fertilizer, water and air direct access to the root system to encourage deeper root growth. The plugs then decompose naturally in a couple of weeks, also adding nutrients to the soil. Your lawn will be stimulated to grow new, more vigorous root systems, which will help prepare it for the inevitable stresses that come with our South Dakota climate. Aerations are performed during the early spring and fall when the temperatures are cool or begin to moderate. Soil must be moist to do the aeration. Sprinkler heads and sprinkler boxes need to be marked prior to the service. Aerations are not recommended for new sod or newly seeded lawns less than 2 years old.

Other Terms Used to Describe Dethatching and Spring Clean-Up

  • Power Broom: A power broom is electronically powered and is used to sweep up debris from the lawn. You may have seen larger versions of power brooms at businesses that use them to sweep their parking lots. This is a good tool to use if you have left over leaves & twigs from the winter, but it doesn’t penetrate the soil or really get down in and amongst the grass blades like a standard garden rake would.
  • Garden Rake: It’s an excellent idea to take a normal garden rake & rake the lawn in the early spring. This ‘wakes’ the grass up while it removes quite a bit of the dead grass from winter. If the dead grass isn’t raked up, it will stay in the lawn for the season. The lawn may look unsightly because as the new grass is trying to green up, the dead grass is getting in it’s way causing the lawn to look thinner and browner than anticipated.
Please do not hesitate to call us at the Green4Ever office, 605-334-7399, we will be happy to answer any questions or take your order for our Lawn Aeration service.

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