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Old 10-16-2009, 07:20 PM   #1
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Why can't I find a good thatch rake or pine needle rake?


I'm getting really frustrated at the fact that I can't find an adequate rake anywhere, even online.

I recently bought a home with 3 pine trees this january, and they all just dumped all their needles on the lawn, and I've been faced with the challenge of raking them up, since the lawnmower doesn't pick them all up. Doesn't sound that hard, but I've wasted at least 10 hours driving to every hardware store around, and 10 more hours searching online, only to find disappointment that I simply cannot find an adequate rake. They are all too small

Why oh why is it so hard to find an adequately sized rake?

First I had bought the biggest normal lawn rake I could find, a 30" plastic one. Works good as a normal rake, not too good on pine needles though, doesn't get the buried ones, just the ones on top and even those take many passes.

But still, i've looked everywhere for a bigger rake and simply cannot find one bigger than 30"? Why? Why can't I find a 60" rake? Sure it would be big. Too big for an old lady, but I'm sure there are many strong men out there along with myself that would much prefer a 60" rake to blast through a job twice as fast.

Moving on, the plastic rake wasn't cutting it, so I bought a $130 craftsman push lawn sweeper. Ridiculously overpriced for its build quality, but being I went to 6 hardware stores, and none sold anything like it, and sears was the only place to get one, I just had to buy it. And it did work decent. It would take pass after pass after pass, but would be picking things up, but not the deeper down ones.

So then I decided to try a thatch rake, got a used one thats 14", and that rake works by far the best, doesn't get all, but gets enough, probably 95% of the needles with just a pass or two. And also my lawn needs to be thatched anyways, so I'm using it in places that don't have needles, just to thatch. But the problem is, at only 14" it just takes way too long to cover ground. I've looked at every hardware store and everwhere online but the biggest thatching rake I ever see is about 15". Why oh why don't they make a 30" or even a 45"? Yes, I know it might be too much for an old lady, but aren't there enough men such as myself that would gladly use one? The 14" is not a challenge at all for me, I'm sure I could use one twice or 3 times as big. Why don't they make them?

So I've already dropped more than enough dough on these rakes and sweeper, but now stumble upon what seems like the best thatching rake I've ever seen. Its not as big as I like, only 24", and it only seems to be available in one place called lee valley in canada, and would cost $60 after shipping to get it here. You can check it out here.
http://www.leevalley.com/garden/page...t=2,2160,40698
and a better picture here
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/phot...084973,00.html

And it makes me wonder, why is such a good looking thatching rake only available at one single retailer, not even in the us, but in canada? I wish that rake was 3 or 4 feet instead of 2 feet, but I'm thinking about buying it just because its the biggest I can find so far.

I have seen a couple of 4' landscaping rakes designed for gravel, but I have my doubts they would work on pine needles?


So right now I still have lots of pine needles to clean up and I'm extremely frustrated that all the rakes out there are too tiny. I can't be the only person who wants a bigger rake can I? As well as a bigger thatching rake?

And does anyone have any suggestions as to how to quickly pick up all these pine needles? I know they have tractors and attachments, but my lawn is only about 1/8 acre, and I don't have the budget or space for a tractor, it would be a waste. I know they rent expensive thatchers, but I don't like renting. I want something I can own and use when I please. I'd be willing to spend up to $200 for a machine that will do the job right. Some sort of push along thatcher, vac mulcher, or something like that. I just haven't found any sort of machine like that.

As well as does anyone have any suggestions for a good rake that I might not know about for the pine needles? One that is big enough to actually get the job done in an afternoon?

Thanks.

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Old 10-18-2009, 09:58 AM   #2
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Why can't I find a good thatch rake or pine needle rake?


Welcome to the world of pine straw. Wait until you try sweeping it off the sidewalk .

Actually, I would try using a blower to push most of them into a general pile and then raking the deeper ones out. Or, hire it out once or twice a year.

Unless you have centipede or bermuda, maybe try letting the grass grow a little higher this time of year. A. It will help with preventing weed seed germination. B. The straw will sit a little higher and be a little easier to get under when you rake.

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Old 10-18-2009, 12:23 PM   #3
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Why can't I find a good thatch rake or pine needle rake?


Well actually the sidewalk is simple, just a simple rake, the sweeper, blower, or broom. Just about any tool sweeps it right off. The problem is with the lawn that is sticks down in the grass. I've tried a very strong 265 mph blower, and it does almost nothing, the needles just settle down inside there and do not want to budge at all.

The thatch rake works best so far, but its just so small, with all the thatch rakes out there, I don't understand why they dont make them bigger than 15". Doesn't make sense to me. I'd much rather use a 45", but they don't exist. Either that or some special rake designed for pine needles. Why don't those exist?
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Old 10-18-2009, 01:58 PM   #4
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Why can't I find a good thatch rake or pine needle rake?


Maybe you could design one, and make a fortune. Thatching with a 15 or 16 inch rake is bad enough. I couldn't imagine using something 3-4 feet wide.

And for regular leaf rakes, you go that wide and they'll be mostly inneffective at the outer reaches of the rake for anyhting other than leaves.

Like it or not, the best tool for the job is going to be that 16 inch wide, metal tined, springy leaf rake.
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Old 10-19-2009, 05:56 PM   #5
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Why can't I find a good thatch rake or pine needle rake?


Quote:
Just about any tool sweeps it right off.
Not in my experience but I can't say how other sidewalks are made. All of them I have worked around are broomed on top for walking traction and that process holds pine needles like a thousand little hooks. Blowing is the only way other than picking them up by hand- one by one. I maintain a number of flower beds that are next to sidewalks and parking lots and I keep a small handheld blower in my toolbox just for that reason. Can't see raking on pavement, but to each his own. Anyway, OP didn't say he had a sidewalk, I was just throwing that experience in.

Maybe it's just me but I don't have that much problem raking straw. Might miss a few here and there. I guess it depends on how perfect you want it to be.

BTW- I work for a public parks department. We rake straw that falls on the grass and re-use it in the ornamental beds. And buy about 1500 bales or more each year. Three trees? How about maybe three hundred!
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Old 06-05-2011, 01:01 PM   #6
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Why can't I find a good thatch rake or pine needle rake?


Have you found a good pine needle and thatching rake yet? I found your post when I was looking for a pine needle rake. I found the perfect rake for raking pine needles recently. You can use it for a thatching rake also.

Check it out at www.rpmhandrake.com

For the price and lifetime guarantee, it beats all other rakes on the market and most of all, it does the job very quickly and it's easy on my back.

The guy that invented it is really great to work with. After searching for several months on the internet, I found this rake practically in my own backyard here in Northern California. I'm no longer frustrated with having to do the miserable task of raking pine needles with this RPM rake.

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