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So, what is a lawn roller used for?
We all want the best for our lawns and can give anything to have a yard that will make neighbors turn green with envy.
We don’t even mind taking a loan to pay for the latest lawn care tool if that is what it takes.
Question: what is a lawn roller used for and is it really necessary?
Now, if you’ve ever been curious about what a lawn roller actually does, this post has got you covered.
What is a lawn roller?
Lawn rollers (also known as sod rollers or yard rollers) pretty much look like a compact steamroller only that there’s no steam engine here.
Instead, you push or tow it across surfaces needing flattening with the added weight doing a wonderful smoothening job – it has a drum (acting as an axle) where you fill sand or water to make it heavier.
The construction is, on the whole durable, with steel and sturdy poly being the most prominent frame materials.
You have choices and you can buy/hire a larger size (weighing several hundred lbs. when filled) or opt for a lighter model depending on your physical strength and yard maintenance needs.
What is a lawn roller used for?
Here is a rundown of the various lawn roller applications and the most prominent lawn rolling benefits:
- Flatten uneven spots– erase the damage left behind by rampaging moles, insects, and frost with a heavy lawn roller.
Benefit: the lawn becomes one hell of a beauty.
- After seeding – pass the roller on the yard to help the seeds make solid contact with the soil.
Benefit: it significantly speeds up germination
- When sodding – drive a lawn roller over the new sod to get rid of air pockets.
Benefit: you hasten the establishment of new sod as the roots will have excellent contact with the soil.
Types of lawn rollers
You have three major options when it comes to lawn rollers:
- Push lawn rollers- you manually push this when rolling the yard (they’re made a bit lighter). Some are gas-powered hence less labor-intensive.
- Towable lawn roller- this is simply a lawn roller attachment that attaches to the back of tractors and is pulled behind as you drive. You certainly pay more for these but they’re undoubtedly more convenient to use than push type rollers.
- Combination push / tow rollers– These are hybrids and combine both push and tow-behind designs to give you the versatility and convenience you require to roll both tight spots and open spaces.
How does a lawn roller work?
A lawn roller operation principle is quite simple: the heavy cylinder squashes down the ground beneath it as it passes.
For the most part, there’s an opening through which you add water/sand to give it more weight and make it more effective on the job.
How heavy should a lawn roller be?
Well, it depends on the job at hand.
That said, a light roller (models weighing as little as 40 pounds exist) can be adequate if you’re just firming the top dressing and rolling after spreading seeds.
Logically, you’d be unable to push/pull a hand model if it’s too heavy and that is another thing you want to have in mind when selecting.
You have more freedom if you own a tractor and you can go for an excessively heavy unit (the maximum capacity I have seen is 550 pounds) if you’re planning to take up commercial jobs (think of golf clubs).
Countless consumer-grade medium weight models are available too (towable and manual versions) if you’re worried that a heavy roller will not serve right (they tend to worsen soil compaction).
To buy or rent a lawn roller?
Like other pieces of equipment we use less often (hedge trimmers, snow blowers, etc.), consider renting a lawn roller if you’re not going to be needing it frequently.
In the long term, you may want to buy and save the rental fee (this makes sense only if there’s increased usage).
Leading lawn roller brands
If you want to invest in one, you should look at any of the trusted names out there.
- Brinly- push/tow rollers.
- Agri Fab – towable lawn rollers.
- Precision products.
What else should I know?
While it’s, altogether, a handy device, you should be moderate in your use of a lawn roller.
That’s because it can strain the grass causing it to die in some spots especially in the hot summer months when the ground is drier.
On the other hand, you may cause the soil to become heavily compacted (leading to poor aeration and subsequently risking poor grass growth) if you roll the lawn when the soil is extremely wet.
Something else: lawn rollers may not be the ultimate antidote to bumpy lawns.
Sure, they will level small bumps or lumps here and there but you often find that adding or removing soil brings a far better result.
What is a lawn roller used for? Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Should I roll my lawn after seeding?
As noted earlier, rolling the yard after spreading seed helps push the grass seeds deeper into the soil.
Subsequently, your seeds won’t be blown off or feasted on by birds.
Plus, the seeds sprout much faster.
Do I need to roll my new lawn?
The obvious instances when it is practical to roll new turf is after seeding or after sodding (you by now know this, don’t you?).
Other than that, you may need to roll your new lawn if there are unsightly tunnels and warrens or frost heaves all over the place.
Should you roll your lawn before aerating?
Rolling and aerating lawn s go hand in hand but in most cases, heavy core aeration cancels the need for rolling because it brings nice-looking soil cores to the lawn surface (it’s almost like topdressing).
But if you must do them both, most landscaping professionals recommend that you first aerate then seed, and finish with rolling.
Wrapping it up
Again, what is a lawn roller used for?
Quick answer: Use a lawn roller after seeding/sodding the lawn and to eliminate damages caused by frost (after a turbulent cold season) or moles infestation.
Word of caution: to reduce the risk of soil compaction, never roll yearly. In fact, you should only roll the lawn when it is absolutely vital.