How Much Does Lawn Dethatching Cost in 2024?

Homeowners can expect to pay around $175 per hour or between $0.04 and $0.06 per square foot for lawn dethatching.

Thatch is a layer of organic material between the grass and the soil’s surface, including dead grass. While some thatch can be beneficial, too much stops the soil from getting the nutrients it needs. This can eventually kill your grass. Excessive thatch on your lawn can make your healthy grass more vulnerable to damage from droughts, insects, and lawn diseases.

Dethatching slices through excess thatch until the soil’s surface is clear, allowing your lawn to breathe, regain access to sunlight, and remain healthy and green. Lawn dethatching costs between $0.04 and $0.06 per square foot or around $175 per hour.

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Average Lawn Dethatching Costs in 2024

National Average Cost$195
Typical Price Range$146 – $246
Extreme Low-End Cost$98
Extreme High-End Cost$1,135

The typical price range for lawn dethatching is between $146 and $246. On average, homeowners will spend $175 per hour for lawn dethatching.

Some factors that can affect the price of a dethatching service include lawn size, location, amount of thatch, weather, and lawn topography. Larger and more complex lawn dethatching projects may cost as much as $1,135, while homeowners with smaller lawns will pay closer to the extreme low-end cost of $98 (since dethatching can take less than an hour).

Lawn Dethatching Cost Estimator by Lawn Size

Usually, lawn care companies charge an hourly rate for dethatching. However, the size of your lawn can impact the price of this lawn care service. Companies typically charge between $0.04 and $0.06 per square foot for lawn dethatching.

Lawn SizeAverage Overall Cost
⅛ acre (5,445 square feet)272
¼ acre (10,890 square feet)544
½ acre (21,780 square feet)871
1 acre (43,560 square feet)1742

Other Factors That Affect Cost

Other aspects of your lawn can impact the cost of a dethatching service. Each project will have unique challenges related to the topography, amount of thatch, and weather conditions at the time of service.

Thatch Thickness

How thick your lawn’s thatch layer is will affect how long it takes to dethatch your lawn. While a little bit of thatch is suitable for a healthy lawn, it’s best not to let it build up too much between services.

Usually, you don’t want more than ¾ inch of thatch in the grass. This ensures your dethatching service cost stays low and your lawn stays healthy. If your lawn produces a lot of thatch, dethatching annually may be best.

Weather and Season

Weather conditions affect both the price and quality of your service. While it’s wise to dethatch your lawn while the soil is moist, it’s generally not recommended to dethatch during rainy seasons. Dethatching your property after a rainstorm, during winter, or on the hottest summer day can complicate the process, increase costs, and make it harder for your lawn to recover.

So when is the best time to dethatch your lawn? The best time to dethatch depends on where you live and the type of grass you have, but it is generally during your lawn’s peak growing season:

  • 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 done during the right season for your grass type and in good weather ensures a healthy recovery.

Topography of the Property

The topography of your lawn can affect the cost of dethatching. Uneven or steep lawns may take longer and be more challenging to dethatch. Obstacles such as trees, walkways, or landscaping can be difficult to work around, meaning labor costs will be higher. Flat, healthy lawns with fewer obstacles will take less time to dethatch, meaning labor will cost less.

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Already have a lawn care crew coming to your house to dethatch? Or are you looking for more ways to get your lawn ready for the coming year? Here are some services you might want (or need) to order, along with dethatching.

Lawn Aeration

Lawn dethatching and aeration work together. While dethatching removes the dense layer of thatch from your lawn, core aeration addresses soil compaction. Together, these services are like a spa day for your lawn, rejuvenating it by ensuring it has the nutrients it needs.

Typically, the best time to aerate your lawn is right after dethatching. With the thatch layer removed from your lawn, the aeration tool has better access to the soil underneath. Typically, lawn aeration costs between $78 and $238, depending on factors like yard slope and aeration type.

Lawn Mowing

Mowing your lawn is an important step in preparing your lawn for dethatching. You can do it yourself or have a lawn care company take care of it. Professional lawn mowing usually costs around $36 to $105 per service.

To ensure that dethatching is effective, you should cut the grass slightly shorter than usual. Your lawn can go longer without needing to be dethatched with the help of a regular mowing service.

Overseeding

Overseeding helps brown, patchy lawns damaged by excessive thatch become green and lush again. Overseeding after your dethatching service means no thatch barrier between the seeds and the soil. This allows the seeds to reach the ground more quickly and encourages grass growth.

Check our detailed pricing guide on the cost of overseeding to learn more about the cost factors involved.

Yard Cleanup

Conducting yard cleanup before dethatching ensures a clean slate for the process, removing debris and allowing the dethatching equipment to operate more efficiently.

It’s also crucial to do yard cleanup after you dethatch a lawn, as it eliminates the loosened thatch and ensures a clear path for essential nutrients to reach the soil and grassroots.

Pro Cost vs. DIY Cost

The price of dethatching DIY can vary significantly depending on the equipment you use. When choosing dethatching equipment, there are a few options:

  • Thatch rakes are similar to standard lawn rakes. Thatch rakes have steel tines that cut through the thatch, pull it up, and cultivate the soil. This option is the most cost-effective but is more time-consuming.
  • Dethatching machines look similar to lawnmowers but have rotating tines that quickly slash through thick layers of thatch.
  • Dethatching tow-behinds attach to riding lawn mowers so you can dethatch your lawn as you mow. This method is ideal for large lawns or lawns with bumpy terrain.

Check out LawnStarter’s top picks for the best dethatching tools on the market to help you decide what to buy.

The cost of dethatching your lawn will depend on which method you choose. You’ll need a standard mower if you’re not using a tow behind. You’ll also need a leaf rake, a wheelbarrow, and lawn waste bags to collect and clean up the debris.

DIY EquipmentAverage Cost
Thatch rake$44
Dethatching machine$140
Dethatching tow behind$160
Riding (zero-turn) lawn mower$4,058
Standard (reel) lawn mower$129
Leaf rake$32
Wheelbarrow$67
Lawn waste bags$6
Total using thatch rake$278
Total using dethatching machine$374
Total using tow-behind and riding mower$4,323

If you don’t already own the necessary equipment, DIY dethatching can cost anywhere from $278 to $4,323 and be labor intensive.

Professional lawn dethatching costs between $146 and $246, so hiring a pro may be more cost-effective in some cases. However, it’s essential to consider that buying equipment is a one-time cost, while you would have to pay a professional for their services every year.

Cost of Lawn Dethatching by Location

Average lawn size varies significantly by state, so the cost to dethatch your lawn may depend greatly on where you live. Homeowners in Montana might pay more because they have properties that average a whopping 70,000 square feet. However, Nevada locals will likely pay less for handling their thatch problem since their yards only average around 6,000 square feet.

FAQ

How Often Should I Dethatch My Lawn?

When the thatch layer gets thicker than ¾ inch, it’s time to dethatch your lawn. Thatch builds up slowly over time, so it’s not a service that needs to be done frequently – only about once every two or three years. However, lawns prone to producing a lot of thatch may require annual services.

Is it Better to Dethatch or Aerate?

Both are important, and they aren’t interchangeable. While dethatching removes the thick layer of thatch from the top of the soil, aeration punctures the soil. These services can be done independently or together if your lawn requires significant rejuvenation. Still, if you’re going to aerate, you should dethatch first.

Can Dethatching Be Harmful to My Lawn?

Your lawn will need time to recover. That’s why it’s best to dethatch only during your lawn’s peak season while it’s actively growing and can recover quickly.

Final Thoughts

If your lawn looks dry, thin, and brown, or you can see excessive thatch buildup, it may be time to dethatch your lawn. Dethatching allows your lawn to get the nutrients it needs and return to its best.

You can purchase a thatch rake, dethatching machine, or tow-behind dethatcher from your local home improvement store and refresh your lawn with just a little bit of elbow grease. But if you’d prefer to relax and leave the lawn care to the experts, get a quote from a lawn dethatching service near you today.

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Main Photo by: Agri-Fab, Inc. / Wikimedia Commons / CC0

Beck Carter

Beck Carter

Beck is a creative writer from Central Texas. She graduated with an MFA in poetry from Texas State University. Beck enjoys martial arts, kayaking, and walking her wiener dog, Cookie.