Guide to Lawn Rollers

There are different schools of thought on using lawn rollers for anything other than laying new turf or seeding a new lawn. Depending on who you talk to, youíll get a different answer every time about whether you should or shouldnít use lawn rollers on an existing lawn.

Even those who say itís a good idea have wide-ranging opinions on what size or weight of roller you should use. Rollers come in every size from 18Ē wide to over four feet, in models that you can push, attach to your mower, or tow behind a tractor. Weight is varied by filling the roller with water or sand.

Letís look at roller use on new lawns.

Rolling When Laying turf

When creating a new lawn from turf, rolling is often done in the preparatory stage, before the turf actually arrives at your home. Youíll use a heavy roller to create a level base and to prevent dips in the lawn later on. Itís also a good idea to use a roller once the turf is down, to ensure good contact between the turf and the ground.

Rolling When Seeding a New Lawn

When youíre creating a lawn from scratch, itís a good idea to roll your yard to make it level before you seed. Itís an excellent idea to rolling again with an empty, light roller, after you spread the grass seed, to help make sure the seed is settled and secure without being buried too deep in the soil.

Rolling an Established Lawn

There are a couple of reasons you might want to use a roller on an established lawn.

  • To level a lawn. Many people swear by rolling an existing lawn to correct frost heave or damage from pests. The idea is to create a level lawn that drains evenly and doesnít allow water to accumulate in a few spots. What this may also do is compact the grass and the dirt under it so much that water cannot penetrate at all, killing your lawn. So, if you roll your lawn for evenness, take the extra step of aerating it afterwards.
  • To create stripes like the big leagues do. Have you ever admired the outfield for your favorite baseball team? Do they have alternating stripes of light and dark green that just make you drool? They may be using a lightweight roller to achieve that effect. Most of these rollers will not have any added weight (sand or water) and will attach right behind the mower, so you get a two-for-one deal. Light reflects differently off the grass when itís bent in opposite directions. So, if the grass is rolled east for one row and west for the other, then you end up with bands of color.

You may want to ask a local landscape professional if rolling is right for your yard, but be prepared to get a lot of different opinions on the subject.

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