Pros: Easy Assembly, Use While Bagging, Pitch Adjustment Bolts, Dethatches Well, AYP Universal Fit, Affordable
Cons: Not For Small Yards
DETHATCHING: Once every 3 years you are going to want to dethatch your lawn, this is because you get thatch buildup over the years from mulching and fertilizing. Thatch is made up of dead grass that grows thick in your lawn. This thatch prevents proper nutrients from entering the lawn and will cause bare spots to be seen. Dethatching can be done using a dethatching rake or a power dethatcher and should be done in the spring or fall once every 3 years.
After dethatching, it is a good idea to fertilize and water everyday so that your lawn can come back. Dethatching results take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months. For small yards, you would not need something like this, you could use a dethatching rake or walk behind power dethatcher. But for larger yards this 40" dethatcher works really well.
ASSEMBLY: Assembly was really not that difficult. Yes there are a lot of bolts, washers, and nuts. It will take an hour of your time but as long as you follow the manual you will not have any problems. Some people are worried that this might not fit your tractor because AYP makes two different frame designs. Rest assured they include a adaptor frame mounting plate incase you have the other kind. I had to use that plate cause I had the other kind, no worries, it will fit just fine.
MOUNT POSITION: I like the fact that its in the front, this means the pushing force, forces it down to the ground so that it does not bop up and down like a mini tiller. Unlike a rear dethatcher where you would need cinder blocks as weight to keep it down. And the unit can easily be operated from the seat, no need to get up.
TIME SAVING BENEFITS: Another benefit for having the dethatcher in the front is if you had a bagger setup, you could simply engage your blades and suck up the dead thatch as you go. Trust me, if you ever raked a yard before, you would appreciate that feature! Also, if you had a rear hitch mount aerator, you could dethatch, vacuum up, and aerate all at the same time! Thats what I call a time saver!
TINE ADJUSTMENT: This unit has adjustment bolts to adjust the pitch angle of the tines, this allows the unit to dethatch level so that all parts of the yard gets dethatched properly. The front wheel height can also be adjusted, which gives you a broader adjustment of the tines.
OPERATING: To make sure that I was dethatching at a proper speed, I like to move no faster then 3MPH. I find that this is a good speed, as it allows the tines to fully dig into the ground to remove the dead thatch. Though, I do find, that the "Mantis tiller dethatcher attachment" did a better job, because its motorised. This unit doesn't do such a bad job either.
RESULTS: The dethatching tines have springs onboard which allow the tines to spring back and fourth, giving them flexibility so that they can get the job done without breaking easily. Under normal wear and tear, I find they hold up just fine, however not good enough, for commercial use. I find that this unit does remove the dead thatch pretty well, but you may have to pass over twice in real problem areas.
CONCLUSION: I really think that this dethatcher does an excellent job of dethatching lawns. Some have reviewed this unit at Sears as not being very durable and the front axle breaking off. I have to tell you when I handled every part in assembly, they were made strong, and the front axle is strong as well, I can't see how that could break unless you on purpose shoved it into a hole foot deep, but even then probably would not break but just bend a little.
Date Purchased: 03/08/08 Price Paid: 139.99
Its been nearly two years since I purchased my dethatcher, my thoughts...
I find that my dethatcher is still in good condition but I feel that it would never take the abuse of a professional landscaper, or estate owner. Though it does hold up well in the sence that it has not fallen apart, there is noticable wear on the dethatching tines.
Its really not a big deal for me, because the dethatcher still works just perfectly fine. I just would recommend that any owner of this dethatcher NOT make any turns while the unit is on the ground. Raise the attachment up first, then turn around.
I would give it a 3 out of 5 for durability, 5 out of 5 for ease of use, and a 4 out of 5 for performance on the job. All in all, I still love my dethatcher, still thinks it does a good job, and would recommend it to all home owners.
One of the things I didn't talk about in my review, was the dethatchers ability to remove moss. This is because I had not tested this yet, so I had no experience in that regard. Now that I have the experience, I can then update you guys accordingly.
There were a couple of people who had lawns that were 90% moss. Keep in mind however, if your lawn is 90% moss, don't expect the dethatcher to get every last bit of it out for the first time. You will want to lay down a moss killer, and or "Weed & Feed," and then dethatch again in the fall.
MOSS: Moss can form in your lawn when the conditions are right. Such as, a lot of moisture, but not enough sun light. If you live in environments which have a lot of clay soil, you probably have moss. To keep moss from forming in your lawn, you should use, "Weed & Feed" as it contains agents which tackle moss growth, and keeps it from forming.
ENGINE SPEED: To give my tractor the needed power to use this attachment, all I need to give it is, 1/4 throttle. Lower throttle levels are better, because you will save on gas, a big plus these days of high gas prices!
OPERATION: Using the control bar, I let the dethatcher down to the ground. To make sure I get as much thatch or moss out as I can, I like to make two passes per swath. You will notice after making a pass that you can't lift the attachment up, this is because the dethatching tines are still in the ground. Reverse your tractor and inch or two, and then you can lift it up.
Its not good to drag the tines against concrete! I complete one whole pass, lift the attachment up, turn around, set it back down again, and complete the pass one more time. I do this for each swath row.
MOSS REMOVAL: Keep in mind, these people's lawns were very thick in moss growth, hence it was pretty bad. I was pleasently surprised at how well the dethatcher thinned out their yards. A lot of thatch came up, plus 50% of the moss. I then used the bagger system on my tractor, to suck up the loose clippings.
To get all of the moss gone out of your yard, I would highly recommend dethatching in the spring and fall of the same year. I also would recommend using a moss killing agent to aid the moss removal. However, if your lawn is 100% moss, the only fix for that, is to remove the lawn and re-plant it.
TIPS: If you are dethatching an area of lawn which is not very wide, and can't turn around. To do each pass twice, just back up, and go over it again. Do not make turns while the attachment is on the ground, maintain straight movement. To prevent rust from forming, spray the dethatching tines with WD-40, before you put it into storage.
DURABILITY: So far the materials that make up the dethatcher attachment, are still in the same condition as before. So far its holding up quite well, better then I ever expected. However, just like I said before, I don't think it could take the abuse of a professional landscaper though. I use it as it was intended and I don't abuse it, so thats probably why its lasting so long.
All in all, this is a good dethatcher, and I still recommend it!