Lawn dethatching cost

Apr 2, 2021 8:59 PM ET

Dethatching your lawn is crucial to improving its health and overall lifespan. The process ensures that your lawn receives enough water, sunlight, and fertilizer to remain green and lush.

The cost of dethatching your lawn varies greatly depending on the amount of labor involved in the process. You can expect to pay between $100 – $700 on average for the job around the country.


Cost of Professional dethatching of lawn

Most professional companies charge around $170 – $180 per hour to complete the job. They mostly use three men for the task, making it faster to complete efficiently.

The job takes around 1 – 2 hours for small lawns and up to 4 hours for more extensive lawns.

Since it’s a labor-intensive task, you can expect to pay anywhere from $350 – $700 in detaching labor costs.

However, if you combine lawn dethatching with other services such as lawn aeration, some professionals will give you a discount on the total costs.

High Lawn Dethatching cost
Square feet
$0.40 Lawn Dethatching labor cost
Per Hour (3-man crew)
$180 Dethatching per avg 10,000 sq. ft.
10,000 sq. ft.

Avg. Pro Dethatching Estimate: $650 (1,000 sq. ft)

Lawn dethatch cost per sq. ft

Per square foot, most professionals charge you between $0.20 and $0.40. These prices are quite high because lawn dethatching can be quite messy. It’s also not the most gentle of tasks for your back.

Cost per 10,000 sq. ft

For a 10,000 sq. ft lawn, it will cost you an average of $3,000, with the actual price range from $2,000 to $3,000.

Professional vs. DIY cost

When looking to cut down the costs of lawn dethatching, most homeowners are usually tempted to do the process themselves instead of assigning it to professionals.

Cost of DIY

DIY dethatching is much cheaper than hiring professionals since you won’t have to deal with labor costs. However, most people don’t look at other factors that affect how much you’ll spend.

Some of the costs you’ll incur in a DIY dethatching include the cost of purchasing (around $1,500) or renting equipment ($150 deposit + $80 daily), maintenance, and repair (around $170).

You’ll also spend a lot of time to complete the dethatching process. Most homeowners take between 1 – 3 days to complete dethatching their lawn. This is a lot of valuable time you could spend on other tasks.

Cost of Professionals

Even though hiring professionals for dethatching might be more expensive, in most cases, it’s the best decision for homeowners.

Depending on your lawn size and thickness of the grass, you can spend anywhere from $500 – $2,000 on the dethatching, but you’re assured of quality work. Pros have the right equipment and work in teams to complete the service quickly.

Most professionals take between 2-4 hours to complete the dethatching process. However, for big lawns, they may take up to a day.

What should you do?

Go for professionals. Unless you’ve had extensive experience in lawn care, and you have the time, dethatching the lawn as a DIY may result in more losses than gains in the long-run.

Pros guarantee you high-quality work and a stunning lawn at the end of the day. They also understand the different lawn types and, therefore, can manage each lawn project with precisely what it needs.

Nevertheless, you have to ensure that the professionals you choose know what they’re doing. Hiring the wrong companies will only mess up your lawn structure.

So, ensure that the company is licensed and has worked on several similar projects before.

High Lawn Dethatching cost
Square feet
$0.40 Lawn Dethatching labor cost
Per Hour
$180 Dethatching per avg 10,000 sq. ft.
10,000 sq. ft.
$4,000 Dethatching machine hire cost.
Per day
$100 Power rake hire cost
Per day
$60 DIY dethatching cost per sq ft
Sq. ft
$0.25 DIY dethatching cost 10,000 sq ft
10,000 sq ft

Cost factors to consider

When determining the overall cost of dethatching for your lawn, there are several factors you should consider. This includes:

Size of lawn

The bigger your lawn is, the more labor is required to dethatch it. This converts to more hours spent, and hence, the costs for the project are higher – even if you’re doing it as a DIY.

For instance, dethatching a 1,000 sq ft lawn may cost you around $300, while a 10,000 sq ft lawn will cost you approximately $3,000. Dethatching smaller lawns may cost you as low as $100.

With DIY, a 1,000 sq. ft lawn will cost you between $100 and $250. This is much cheaper than the $1,000 – $2,500 you’d spend on a 10,000 sq ft lawn.

Amount of thatch

The amount of thatch in your lawn also affects the amount of labor required to complete the job. The thicker the thatch is, the harder the job becomes. Professional companies will charge higher depending on the thatch thickness.

You, therefore, shouldn’t be surprised if the quotes you receive are much higher on the same lawn you dethatched a few years back.

For DIY, thicker thatch will force you to rent equipment for several days, which will increase your overall expenses.

Extra Lawn services

Most homeowners prefer to dethatch their lawn just before they aerate their lawns. This means that your lawn care professional will have to complete other services, such as fertilizing and lawn aerating.

For such a package, most professionals will offer a discount for their services. This is because most of the activities involved in dethatching won’t have to be repeated in aeration.

When is the best time to dethatch your lawn?

Even though dethatching is good for your lawn, the timing when it’s done is crucial. The best time to dethatch your lawn is when the lawn has enough time to recover from its seasonal injuries.

This time will be different depending on the type of grass on your lawn and your location. For warm-season lawns, this is usually late spring and early summer.

For cool-season lawns, the best time is usually early October or late August.

Power raking cost

If your thatch grows thicker than ½ an inch, power raking is the way to go.

On average, power raking your lawn will cost you between $0.01 – $0.02 per square foot. For 1,000 square feet, the cost is around $10 to $20.

Power rake vs. thatching machine hire cost

While a power rake is quite similar to the thatching machine, the two machines are different. The power rake is a more aggressive machine designed for lawns with massive thatch problems. Homeowners use it where the thatching machine fails.

However, hiring a thatching machine is usually more expensive than hiring a power rake.

Most equipment rental centers charge you around $70 per day for the power rake and about $80 for the thatching machine. For both machines, you’ll also have to pay $150 in deposit.


Which one do you need?

Knowing the difference between the power rake and thatching machine can save you a couple of hundred dollars when dethatching.

If your lawn’s thatch is relatively thin (less than half an inch) and in small amounts, a dethatching machine is the best for the job. It works quickly and doesn’t affect the healthy grass.

If the thatch on your lawn is already too thick, you’ll need the aggressive power rake. It’s great for cutting clumps of grass thicker than half an inch.

Dethatching costs with other services

In case you need other services such as lawn aeration, reseeding, overseeding, and fertilizing to get your lawn back to its lost condition, adding it up to your dethatching plans might save you money.

Here’s a breakdown of the total costs you may incur alongside dethatching:

Lawn aeration – $100 – $200
Lawn fertilizing – $200 – $300
Lawn reseeding – $3 per sq ft

These prices will vary depending on the lawn care service company you choose. Be sure to ask for discounted prices if you’re combining any of these services with dethatching.


How does a thatching machine work?

A dethatching machine, also called the vertical cutter, is used to cut through the lawn’s turf eliminating the thatch layers. It consists of several adjustable vertical-oriented blades that penetrate through different depths of the soil surface to get rid of the required thatch size.

By adjusting the blades’ distance between each other or their height, the machine can complete several activities at once. It can bunch the thatch, remove debris and even rake up the lawn.

You can rent the machines from a home improvement store or an equipment rental center near you.

Does Dethatching hurt your lawn?

No, but it can. Dethatching your lawn regularly ensures that the lawn soil has a proper air circulation, which is vital for root growth. Dethatching also helps suppress the growth of weeds and ensures the soil has adequate nutrients.

It only becomes a problem if it’s done during spring. This is because dethatching during this time of the year destroys the lawn turf giving it no time to repair from the winter injuries.

Should I dethatch every year?

Not necessarily. Thatch on your lawn takes time to accumulate and build up. On average, you should dethatch your lawn every 5 years. However, you have to keep inspecting your lawn every year to monitor the thatch build-up.

If the lawn grass attains a ½ inch thickness before the fifth year, then prepare for dethatching. You can always measure the thatch level by running your fingers through the grass and measuring the thatch layer’s depth.

A good time to schedule for the job would be during early spring and early autumn for cool-season grasses. For warm-season grasses, early summer and late spring work best.

Should I aerate and dethatch?

Normally, you should, but it’s not compulsory. Aerating your lawn should be done at least once per year, but dethatching can wait for several more years. As a rule, only choose to dethatch your lawn if the thatch layer grows past the ½-inch mark.

When you choose to aerate and dethatch your lawn, most professionals recommend starting with the dethatching first. This makes aeration much easier and improves the root growth development for your lawn.

Is it good to power rake your lawn?

Only when necessary. While a power rake excels at controlling excess thatch, it leaves a significant impact on your lawn’s turf. If not carefully done, power raking loosens the topsoil and damages the healthy grass.

If you have to power rake, do it in early summer or late spring (for warm-season grasses).

Should I fertilize after dethatching?

Yes! After dethatching your lawn, the next step should be aerating, then reseeding and fertilizing it. You can choose to fertilize your lawn immediately after dethatching or wait for 3 – 4 weeks. However, never fertilize your lawn before dethatching the lawn first.

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