How to Rototill a Lawn

How to Rototill a Lawn
Rototilling a lawn ensures an ideal soil base for laying down grass or other plants

A rototiller is an effective tool for refreshing a lawn or preparing a yard for seed or sod. To get the best results, however, you need to know how to prime the yard and use the equipment properly. Follow these eight steps to rototill a lawn and give a yard new life.

Gather Materials

Before you start the job, make sure you have what you need to rototill the lawn. First, rent a rototiller with the right specifications. Check the tine diameter and the tilling width and depth to make sure the machine can do the job at hand. For some job sites, you might need a tiller with extra features. Look for a tiller with forward rotation, tine shields, or attachments when necessary.

Next, rent or source a sod cutter that can remove any existing grass. Make sure you have a garden rake or tiller attachment, too. You’ll also need enough mulch or fertilizer to cover the ground evenly. If you plan to install sod after tilling, have that ready as well.

Prepare the Ground

After confirming that you have all the equipment and materials you need, start preparing the ground. Remember that rototillers may be powerful. However, no matter how heavy-duty they are, they can’t cut through rocks and large debris. Before you begin tilling, get the area ready by removing any rocks, stones, sticks, and other debris. Make yourself aware of large tree roots, so you can avoid them while tilling.

Remove the Sod

Next, assess whether you need to remove any existing grass. You can skip this step if you’re in a hurry, but failing to remove the sod may not give you the best results. If you’re dealing with a weed problem or another major issue, tiling right into the existing sod won’t solve it. If you do need to remove the existing grass, use a sod cutter to do the job right.

Check Ground Moisture

To get the best results from a rototiller, the ground should have a moderate amount of moisture. If the soil clumps together, it’s too dry. Water the area and allow the moisture to soak into the ground. If the ground is muddy, it’s too wet. Allow the ground to dry until the soil breaks up easily.

Spread Mulch and Fertilizer

Right before you till the ground, use a rake to cover the surface with composted mulch or fertilizer. In most cases, you’ll want to add 2 inches of coverage. As you till, the machine will work the material into the ground. There, the compost or fertilizer will enhance the health of the soil and help address any preexisting damage to the area. Spreading compost or fertilizer will also help the sod or other new growth thrive.

Adjust the Rototiller

Before putting the rototiller to work, check the settings and adjust as necessary. For most sites, you’ll want to set the tiller depth between 4 and 6 inches. If you set it to a shallower depth, you may not till the ground effectively. If you set it to a greater depth, you could encounter tree roots or rocks. Both types of material can damage the rototiller and slow down your progress, so you’ll want to avoid them.

Till the Lawn

After preparing the ground and adjusting the rototiller, you’re ready to till the lawn. Use the rototiller to go over the surface of the lawn evenly. For best results, tackle the ground in rows, similar to the pattern you’d create from mowing a lawn.

Don’t stop after covering the ground once. Go over the surface with a perpendicular pattern. Take care not to miss even a single inch. Tilling some areas and leaving others untilled can lead to planting and growth issues down the road.

Seed the Lawn or Install Sod

After rototilling the lawn, take a few minutes to go over the surface with a rake. Make sure you haven’t missed anything and that the surface is smooth and free of debris.

Allow the worksite to rest for a week or more. Once this span of time has passed, check the ground to confirm that no additional growth has appeared. If weeds have grown, re-till the area.

After confirming that your tilling efforts were successful, you can complete the final step. Install fresh sod or seed the lawn to give new life to the ground.

Whether you need to re-sod a large lawn or re-seed a small garden, a rototiller can tackle the task. Contact Big Rentz at (888) 325-5172 to rent a rototiller and get the job done today.


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