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A rake (Old English raca, cognate with Dutch raak, German Rechen, from the root meaning "to scrape together," "heap up") is a broom for outside use; a horticultural implement consisting of a toothed bar fixed transversely to a handle, and used to collect leaves, hay, grass, etc., and, in gardening, for loosening the soil, light weeding and levelling, removing dead grass from lawns, and generally for purposes performed in agriculture by the harrow.
Large "mechanized" versions of rakes are used in farming, called hay rakes, are built in many different forms (e.g. star-wheel rakes, rotary rakes etc.). Non-mechanized farming may be done with various forms of a hand rake.
Types of rakes
Modern hand-rakes usually have steel, plastic, or bamboo teeth or tines, though historically they have been made with wood or iron. The handle is often made of wood or metal. Some rakes are two-sided and made with dull blades in the shapes of slight crescents, used for removing dead grass (thatch) from lawns. When rakes have longer teeth, they may be arranged in the shape of an old-style folding fan.
If the rake lies in the ground teeth up, as shown on the top picture, and someone accidentally steps on the teeth, the rake's handle can swing rapidly upwards, colliding with the victim's face. This is often seen in slapstick comedy and cartoons, such as Tom and Jerry and The Simpsons episode "Cape Feare", wherein a series of rakes become what Sideshow Bob describes as his "arch-nemesis". There is a Russian saying "to trip twice on the same rake" (наступить дважды на одни и те же грабли), which means "to repeat the same silly mistake".
For conditioning and de-thatching soil as well as moving larger pieces of debris. Most weeds have weaker and shallower roots than grass and thus de-thatching along with (afterward) necessary sunlight, fertilizer and seed, and if later necessary any remedial chemicals, makes for a good crop of grass. Larger tools (or lawnmower attachments) are more often used for large areas of de-thatching or soil preparation. However the action of making the soil bare and exposed to sun is not good and worms do not like it. It should be protected with straw afterward. Soil aeration tools do not remove weed but prepare soil without exposure.
Heavy rake technique
Technique in use of farming tools should be considered. Movement as a leaf rake (at a low angle) works for larger weaker leafier weeds. But for more tenacious weeds (i.e., crab grass), the newer rakes (metal, shown above) are spaced in such a way that swiping at a high angle combs the grass (does not pull grass out) while pulling out the weeds. The design is not obvious, there are no instructions, but works well.
Plastic or metal
Plastic rakes are famous for requiring far more effort, breaking, and in general are poor at moving larger leaf piles.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
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