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If thatch is less than 1/2 " thick, then it is not necessary to dethatch your yard. At this point aerating is a good idea.
Best to cut a small section of you lawn and top soil to see how much thatch you have. I actually do this by pounding a 1-1/4" pipe in the ground. I normally go 3"-4" deep because I'm also taking a soil sample, 1" would probably be deep enough to hold together depending on moisture content. Remember you will need a pusher that fits inside the pipe to push out the plug. The plug will show you a nice cross section of the thatch and can be easily measured.
If determined that you have 1/2" (or more) thatch then it's time to take care of the thatch before it degrades your lawn's health and or you start having spots where the grass is dying out.
On smaller lawns you may want to rent or hire someone with a power rake.
For larger lawns I use a front 58" mounted dethatcher set to the correct height so the spring teeth are drug backwards but set light enough so at the end of the stroke the energy in the spring tooth will spring forward kicking the thatch upward to land on top of the grass. As the tractor pushes the dethatcher across the lawn, the 60"!deck PTO is engaged using blades that have extra teeth to chop it fine at which point the fine chopped up thatch that is sucked up by an engine driven blower that discharges into a large capacity hopper.
This is a big time saver going over a lawn dethatching, mowing and vacuum (for thatch removal) all in one pass instead of two or three passes.
At this point it might also be a good time to aerate. And I highly recommend cutting no more than 1" of your grass at a time so you'll never have to dethatch again. This means if it gets away from you then you will need to double cut your grass first at a higher setting then lower back down to your regular cutting height. By doing this the grass clipping will decay much faster eliminating the need for thatch removal and reducing lawn health issues associated with excessive thatch. This will also give your lawn added benefits getting more out of your fertilizer.
The best time to dethatch is right now. Dethatching can be a little hard on the turf and this time of year is good allowing the grass to recover while it is cooler and better chances of moisture from Mother Nature.
Recently done a large lagoon area that had heavy thatch. It's looking real good now!