On average, homeowners can expect to pay $190 hourly or between 15 and 35 cents per square foot for lawn dethatching.
Thatch refers to a layer of thickly woven organic matter, including dead grass, that accumulates between grass blades and the soil’s surface. While a little bit of thatch can benefit your lawn, too much stops the soil from getting the air, water, and nutrients it needs. This can result in a lawn that looks less green and lush.
Dethatching removes this layer of debris by slicing through the excess thatch and intensively raking your lawn until the soil’s surface is clear. This restores your lawn’s access to sunlight and ensures it stays beautiful all year.
In this article:
- Average costs
- Cost estimator by size
- Other factors that affect cost
- Related services
- DIY cost
- Cost by location
Average lawn dethatching costs in 2023
|National Average Cost||$190|
|Typical Price Range||$160 – $225|
|Extreme Low End Cost||$105|
|Extreme High End Cost||$1,570|
The typical price range for labor for lawn dethatching is between $160 and $225. Homeowners will spend $190 per hour on average for lawn dethatching.
Factors that can impact the price of your dethatching service are lawn size, location, amount of thatch, weather, and lawn topography.
Dethatching cost estimator by lawn size
While lawn care companies often charge an hourly rate for dethatching, the size of your lawn can impact the price of your service. Companies usually charge between 15 and 35 cents per square foot for lawn dethatching.
To calculate the costs of dethatching by lawn size, we used the following examples of small, medium, and large lawns. We multiplied them by an average cost of 25 cents per square foot.
|Project Size||Average overall cost|
|1,000 square feet||$250|
|10,000 square feet||$2,500|
|1 acre (43,560 square feet)||$10,890|
Other factors that affect cost
Other traits of your lawn – not just its size – can affect the cost of dethatching. Each property is unique presents its own set of challenges related to the following factors.
Topography can impact the cost of dethatching your lawn. Lawns that are uneven, steep, or have a lot of obstacles (such as trees, walkways, or landscaping) may take longer and be more challenging to dethatch. Lawns that are flatter, in better condition, and with fewer obstacles will take less time to dethatch, meaning labor will cost less.
Amount of thatch
The thickness of your lawn’s thatch layer will affect how long it takes to dethatch your lawn. While some thatch is good for a healthy lawn, it’s wise not to let it build up too much between services to keep costs low. If your lawn produces a lot of thatch, you may need to dethatch annually.
Weather conditions can affect not just the price of your service but the quality. It’s generally not recommended to dethatch your lawn during rainy seasons. Dethatching your lawn after a rainstorm will complicate the process and increase prices. Likewise, dethatching during winter or on the hottest summer day can make it harder for your lawn to bounce back.
What’s the best time to dethatch your lawn? During its peak growing season while the soil is moist. The best time of year to dethatch for cool-season grasses is late summer to early fall. For areas with warm-season grasses, late spring to early summer is best.
Dethatching is serious surgery for your lawn, and getting it done during these seasons ensures a healthy recovery.
If you already have a lawn care crew coming to your house to dethatch, it might be worth it to tack on a few extra lawn care services to your bill. These are some of the services you might want (or need) to order along with dethatching.
Lawn aeration cost
The best time to aerate your lawn is right after dethatching. Removing the thatch layer first gives the aeration tool better access to the soil underneath. Lawn aeration typically costs between $75 and $225.
Many homeowners don’t know the difference between dethatching and aeration. Both services rejuvenate lawns by giving them better access to the nutrients they need, but they’re not the same thing. Core aeration does this by perforating compacted soil, allowing it to loosen, and giving grass roots better access to sun, air, nutrients, and water.
Lawn mowing cost
You can mow your own lawn or get a professional to do it for you for around $50 to $190. Mowing your lawn is an essential step in preparing your lawn for dethatching. Cutting the grass slightly shorter than usual makes dethatching more effective. A regular mowing service can also help your lawn go longer without needing to be dethatched.
Overseeding services typically cost homeowners between $680 and $1,815. After dethatching is the perfect time to overseed your lawn. With the dense layer of thatch removed and the soil exposed, the seeds make it into the ground more quickly. For lawns made brown and patchy by too much thatch, overseeding helps them bounce back better than ever.
Cost of Dethatching DIY
Dethatching your lawn yourself is doable. Still, the price can vary significantly depending on the equipment you use. When choosing dethatching equipment, there are a few options:
- Thatch rakes are rakes with steel tines that slash through the thatch, pull it up, and cultivate the soil. This option requires the most elbow grease on your part but is also the most cost-effective.
- Dethatching machines look similar to lawn mowers but have rotating tines that easily cut through layers of thick thatch.
- Dethatching tow behinds attach to riding lawn mowers so you can dethatch your lawn as you mow. This method makes dethatching a breeze for larger lawns or lawns with bumpy terrain.
DIY cost breakdown
The total cost of dethatching your lawn yourself will depend on which way you choose. You’ll need a standard lawn mower if you’re not using a tow behind. You’ll also need a leaf rake to quickly collect the thatch once it’s pulled up, a wheelbarrow, and lawn waste bags to dispose of the debris.
|Dethatching Tow Behinds||$155|
|Riding Lawn Mower||$4,000|
|Standard Lawn Mower||$190|
|Lawn Waste Bags||$5|
|Total:||$345 – $4,265|
How to Dethatch Your Lawn DIY in 5 steps
Step one: Once you’ve purchased or rented all the materials you need to dethatch your lawn, it’s time to start. First, mow your lawn to about half its average height.
- If you’re using a thatch rake, simply dig the tines into the thatch and pull upwards to loosen it from the soil.
- If you’re using a dethatching machine, run the machine across your lawn two or three times, alternating directions.
- If you’re using a tow behind dethatcher, attach it to the back of your riding lawn mower and start your mower, pulling the dethatcher behind it slowly. Run the dethatcher across your lawn two or three times, and alternate directions.
Step three: Once the thatch is loosened from your lawn, use a leaf rake and wheelbarrow to collect it.
Step four: Clean up by bagging the thatch in lawn waste bags so it can be disposed of or composted.
Step five: Water your lawn after the thatch has been completely removed. This is a great time to apply fertilizer or consider seeding your lawn to fill any bare spots.
DIY cost vs. professional cost
When considering if you should dethatch your lawn yourself, it’s best to take a peek inside your garage and see what equipment you already have. Since dethatching DIY can cost up to $4,265 (if you purchase a riding mower) and be labor intensive, it may be wise to consider hiring a pro that can do it for less.
Since the typical price for professional lawn dethatching is between $160 and $225, calling a pro may be more cost-effective if you don’t already own some of the necessary equipment. However, it’s essential to consider factors such as lawn size that may affect the cost of a professional service.
Cost of dethatching by location
Because average lawn size varies significantly by state, the cost to dethatch your lawn may differ depending on where you live. Homeowners in Montana have lawns that average over 70,000 square feet, so dethatching services take longer and are more expensive. However, Nevada residents might pay less since their lawns average around 6,000 square feet.
As a general rule of thumb, you want to dethatch your lawn when the thatch layer gets thicker than ¾ inch.
Depending on your grass, you probably don’t need to dethatch every year. Thatch builds up over time, so it’s not a chore that needs to be done frequently – only about once every two or three years. However, annual service may be required for lawns prone to producing a lot of thatch.
Both dethatching and aerating your lawn improve root access to nutrients, water, and air. While dethatching removes the layer of debris from the top of the soil, aeration removes plugs of soil to loosen the soil itself. You can do both if your lawn requires significant rejuvenation, but it’s best to dethatch it first.
Dethatching is tough on your lawn. That’s why it’s best to dethatch during your lawn’s peak season while it is actively growing to ensure a quick recovery and long-lasting results. Since a little bit of thatch is good for your lawn, it’s also best not to dethatch too frequently.
If your lawn is developing dry spots, thinning, and looking less green, it may be time to dethatch your lawn. Dethatching allows your lawn to get the nutrients it needs and return to its most lush self.
You can buy a thatch rake, dethatching machine, or tow behind dethatcher from your local home improvement store and have your lawn looking fresh with just a little bit of sweat on your part.
If you’d rather leave the slicing and dicing to the experts, call a local lawn care pro and ask about their dethatching services. You can sit back and relax while your lawn is revitalized.
Note: Lawn Love may get a referral fee for matching you with contractors in your area.