How to Use a Harley Rake

A Harley rake is a handy tool that helps cultivate and soften the dirt so that you can plant new flowers, shrubs, trees or grass. The Harley rake brings existing grass to the top of the dirt by detaching it from its roots. Most Harley rakes attach to tractors, though landscapers use standalone, walk-behind units that look similar to lawnmowers. Either way, Harley rakes reduce the amount of labor needed to cultivate a new garden patch---you won't have to break your back using shovels, metal rakes and hoes. This article assumes you're using the lawnmower style of Harley rake.

Harley rakes can help clear the way for flowerbeds.
  1. Position the Harley rake in front of the area you wish to plow. Remove any rocks from the area before plowing. In addition, make sure the ground is dry, because your Harley rake will get stuck if the dirt is too muddy.

  2. Choose a setting that correlates to the type of ground you're cultivating. Adjust the Harley rake by removing the safety rod on the side of the machine and raising or lowering the ware plate, which is located above the rake's blade. Set the plate lower than the baseline setting to cultivate finer dirt, or higher to cultivate rough dirt.

  3. Start the engine by pulling the attached string, the same way you would start a lawnmower. Slowly push the Harley rake in a straight line over the area. Once you have reached the end of the patch, lightly pull the Harley rake back to the beginning of the cultivated area. You don't need to adjust the rake's setting to do so---you should be able to pull it back through the cultivated area with ease.

  4. Go over the same area three times. The grass will detach from the ground and the dirt will begin to loosen after the first try. Turn off the Harley rake in between passes and use a steel rake to collect and throw away the grass ripped up by the machine.

  5. Position the Harley rake on a new patch of land. Run the machine through the cultivated area until the dirt is to your specifications.