Dethatching in the Northern part of the United States is generally done in late Summer to early Fall. However dethatching is hard on the lawn and should NOT be done during drought conditions. Ideally dethatching should be done while there is still enough growing season to allow the lawn to recover.
If you routinely have your grass clippings bagged and hauled away you probably won't need to dethatch the lawn very often. If thatch does build up to a depth of more than 1/2" then removing the thatch will allow water and oxygen to better reach the soil where your grass needs it. Allowing thatch to build up more than about 1/2" can lead to poor grass growth.
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