Lawn Rolling

Getting Even

Lawn rolling fits into a spring lawn maintenance schedule when trying to remove minor bumps or frost heaves in your lawn.  Having an even surface is nicer to walk on and ensures a safer and easier mowing job.

Having said that, be very careful not to confuse rolling the grass with a needed lawn repair. 

You'll need to add soil to any hollows and level it off, or dig and level any of the bigger bumps in the lawn.

When Should You Roll Your Lawn?

  • early spring just when the frost is coming out of the ground
  • when sodding a lawn
  • when seeding or reseeding a lawn
  • when repairing a lawn

Early Spring Lawn Maintenance

Spring is the better time to do a rolling application because the turf usually has more moisture from the frost coming out of the ground and from the spring rains.

The trick is to work on ground with just the right amount of moisture. If the ground is too wet, you'll likely have a soil compaction problem from this application.

On the other hand, working on a lawn that's too dry will almost always be a waste of time with the lawn roller, as the ground will not be flattened or repositioned as needed. It will simply become more firm.  That's not what you need to grow healthy turf grass.

Rolling on a newly seeded lawn will deprive the seeds and seedlings from much needed water and oxygen to grow properly.

When Lawn Sodding

It should also be part of your preparation before laying new sod. It allows for a nice even starting surface, just like the seeding preparation, which prevents dips in the lawn later on.

Rolling the newly laid sod will ensure that it's made a good contact between the soil and the new turf, which is key for new root development.

Lawn roller ready for spring lawn application.

When Lawn Seeding

It should be part of your preparation work before seeding a new lawn, as it gives you the opportunity to start on a nice level surface before the seed goes down.

Jim always rolls over the grass seed once it's been put down, which helps settle the seed and place it in the soil without burying it too deep.

When Doing Lawn Repair

Animals will often tunnel or dig up a lawn when searching for pests, like white grubs, as a food source. They can make an awful mess of a perfectly good lawn in no time, leaving you with a lawn repair job to get things back in order.

The damage will need to be repaired by placing the rolled back turf into place, or by top dressing and reseeding, and finally, in both cases, gone over with the lawn roller.

What You'll Need To Roll Your Lawn

  •  48 inch metal or strong poly grade plastic roller
  • push type or hitch up to your riding lawn tractor or four wheeler
  • water supply
  • water hose
  • safety work boots
  • work gloves

How To Roll Your Lawn

Start with the right roller. Commercial rollers are made for paving or crushing aggregates or for cricket fields.  You can image what kind of damage they could do to your residential lawn.  Don't use them on your home lawn.

Residential properties really only require a lightweight model. One that fills with 250 to 500 pounds of water is fine. Never opt for a heavy commercial roller. They're simply not necessary.

  • Hook up your lawn hose to your water supply, if it's not already set up.
  • Remove the plug from the roller
  • Put the hose end into the roller hole
  • Turn on the water supply
  • Fill about half way with water
  • Firmly secure the plug back onto the roller

If you've opted for the hitch-up roller, hitch it securely to your riding mower or four wheeler.

If you have the walk behind model, once you've gloved-up, you're ready to go.

If the lawn rolling is part of reseeding the lawn or a lawn repair, proceed after the seed bed has been prepared and the grass seed has been properly spread.  Similarly, if you are sodding the lawn, roll the ground first in preparation for the sod rolls and again after to encourage root to soil contact.

At an even, slow pace, simply push or pull the roller over the lawn surface. 

Tips For A Successful Lawn Rolling Application

Follow a rolling on an established lawn with a lawn aeration after wards. This will allow much needed water and air to penetrate the surface to the roots.

If you have clay soil, avoid lawn rolling altogether. You want to avoid issues with soil compaction that would be difficult to correct.

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