Rototillers are popular garden tools that help in breaking up soil and for tilling it. They are also used to help prepare a lawn before planting grass or seeding. However, is it really worth rototilling your lawn, or does it do more harm than good?
For those who are wondering, ‘should I rototill my lawn before seeding?’, read on for the official answer to help you properly prepare your lawn for healthy grass growth.
Should I Rototill My Lawn Before Seeding?
The short answer is: NO. Do NOT rototill your lawn before seeding or planting grass, especially when using a handheld rototiller.
This is because the tines of a tiller would dig in the soft spots while bucking up out of the ground after hitting a dry or hard spot, as well as a piece of debris like rock and wood. After that, you’ll be left with an underground profile that’s up and down across your yard. Once you’re done rototilling, you will level off the surface, which results in a varying distance from the surface to the soil underneath.
When the soil, coming at different depths now, settles, it will start following the profile of the underground soil. This ends up with the top becoming bumpy, becoming bumpier over the next 3 years while the soil is settling.
This is why it’s better to start with the soil and surface profile your yard has, focusing on leveling the surface instead. You can do this by scraping off any hills and filling holes using the material after scraping the hills.
Don’t you need to till in organic materials, though?
No, you don’t. The crucial organic materials in lawn soil are the natural soil microbes and the roots. When you dig in compost or leaves, it would defeat the purpose, with additives going down the surface where soil microbes are doing the job they’ve been performing even before rototilling was created.
If you want to improve your lawn for seeding, then feed it with organic fertilizer instead of rototilling. Smooth the soil using a rake and spread seed, covering it with compost and roll it using a water-filled roller to keep it moist until the seeds have germinated. This is a better choice and has you avoid doing a ton of work.
Wrapping It Up
While tilling the lawn levels out uneven soil, this isn’t necessary to keep your lawn healthy. It would just end up creating fluffy piles on the tilled areas, making it more difficult to mow. Plus, it would bring buried weed seeds to the surface while covering up topsoil, which is where the natural microbes are. If you want to get rid of weed you can use a fast-working weed killer to keep your lawn beautiful.
Now that you know not to rototill your lawn before seeding, start preparing your lawn the right way. You can topdress your lawn with compost or topsoil instead for better quality soil and an evenly-leveled ground!