Lawn Roller – What, When, How


There are several uses for lawn rollers. Knowing how and where to purchase or rent them is also essential when it comes time to use one. There are different types and uses for lawn rollers so we’ll look at a couple here.

So why exactly would you use a lawn roller?

There are several main, or popular, reasons for using lawn rollers. One is if you’re getting ready to seed or overseed your lawn and the other is if you’re laying sod. Another purpose, which really goes along with what we’ve suggested in all our lawn sweeper articles, is for smoothing out a lawn and making it more level for easier and more precise mowing. As we’ve stated many times before, lawn sweepers work the best on ground or yards that are level and void of any big mounds, bumps, roots, or ruts. So utilizing a lawn roller is a good way of improving the efficiency of your lawn sweepers. If you have a big mound in your yard, you can remove dirt from around the edges of the mound and then roll it with the lawn roller. Think of it sort of as a huge divot left by a golf ball and the process that goes into refilling your divot. And if you golf anything like I do, you have a lot of them!

Rolling For Seeding
Before overseeding you can roll the lawn several times to pad down the grass, and then rake away all the dead grass and seed. However, if you’re seeding for the first time, there’s a lot more steps to take before you use your roller. First is testing the Ph level of your soil which should be around 6. To 7.5. Next you’ll want to make sure you get all large rocks, sticks, and any other debris clear so it’s nice and clean. If you have big dirt clogs or mounds of soil that is compacted, us a tiller or hand tiller to break them up into more “dirt” than clump. While tilling is the best time to spread out any starter fertilizer or soil additives you plan on using. Next I like to use a regular garden rake or light screen to level the soil as much as possible before using the lawn roller. Now it’s time to use your lawn roller. Roll as many times as necessary to get the most even ground which helps with proper water drainage.

Lawn Roller and Laying Sod

The laying and planting of sod is when you most often see and use a roller or sometimes called a garden lawn roller. Most rollers use water as their main source of weight since they can be stored relatively light compared to their operating weight. Unless you’re installing a lot of sod and may even do some each year, there’s no need to really purchase a lawn roller. However, if you live on a farm or have a lot of land and do a lot of work, you may benefit from purchasing one; although they can be quite expensive. In most cases, renting one from your local lawn and garden store is probably your best bet.

Once your sod is rolled out, making sure your edges are all tightly together and staggered, (this article is about lawn rollers not laying sod) you’re ready to roll your new sod! Simply speaking, the lawn roller’s purpose is to remove any large air pockets and make sure the sod is firm contact with the soil beneath it giving the roots of the sod a good chance for healthy growth. If you don’t roll, you may end up with some roots not touching the soil underneath and dead spots in your lawn.

Types of Lawn Rollers - Water Filled Lawn Roller - Steel Lawn Roller - Push Lawn Roller - Poly Lawn Roller

Like most garden equipment, rollers come in many different shapes and sizes. The most common are the rollers that are filled with water for weight. This makes them easier to transport when not in use. There are rollers that are filled with sand or concrete, but those are best used for sod farms or places where they won’t need to be transported far or often. You'll typically find the steel lawn roller in these types of uses as well; obviously they tend to be quite heavy so are used specifically where they won't require being moved much. Basically there are two ways of pushing or pulling the roller; by hand or by tractor. The push lawn roller is used for smaller jobs and moved around by pushing by hand. These are mostly water filled or sand filled types. When looking for rollers you'll see the term "poly lawn roller" used a lot. That basically means the way its made and most all lawn rollers are made of polymer.   Regardless if you're looking for push or pull types, both work well and it obviously depends on your need or equipment. Most can be rented for anywhere from $13 to $30 depending on the type.

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