Q: Are chemical dethatchers a scam? I am a microbiologist, and it does make sense that there are microbes you could put on the lawn that would help convert grass clippings into dirt.
A: As a microbiologist you also know that there are billions of microbes in your own soil looking for something organic to eat. To that end, aerating thoroughly after the grass is at least 90% green will bring lots of soil plugs to the lawn surface. Allow a couple of days for drying, then drag a piece of carpet or chain link fence over the lawn to distribute the soil into the thatch. Fertilize with any lawn fertilizer product and let your naturally occurring microbes do the business of reducing thatch.