Lawn Roller Tips and Advice
How to Flatten a Lumpy Lawn
We've all experienced a lumpy lawn. Walking across one feels like walking on rocks and stepping in potholes.
Seasonal temperature changes and dogs digging holes are major culprits. Whatever the cause, it's not fun to roll your ankle. So how do you get your yard nice and smooth?
Instead of digging out lumps and filling in holes, there's a much easier way to smooth out the bumps on your yard.
Lawn rollers are heavy cylinders that are attached to an axle and either towed behind a garden tractor or pulled by hand to smooth topsoil and flatten out bumpy or irregular yards.
They're often used when seeding a new lawn as a way to press the seeds into the topsoil and improve the germination process. They're also commonly used to press freshly laid sod into contact with the soil beneath it.
Choosing a Lawn Roller
Lawn rollers come in two different styles: steel and polyurethane.
Both styles are hollow, so they can be filled with sand or water for weight. Both also can be found in either tow-behind or hand-pulled models. Beyond that, each comes with certain advantages that might make one style better for you than the other.
Steel Lawn Rollers
Ranging from 24" to 60" in width, steel rollers are typically heavier and more durable. They're more stable on hillsides and will not puncture easily.
They are, however, heavier to move and set up. Because of their heavy metal construction, they pose more of a challenge when making sharp turns.
Additionally, they can be filled only with water, whereas poly models can be filled with water or sand.
Despite their weight and the need to use them with water, steel lawn rollers are a strong choice for the most difficult uneven lawns.
Polyurethane Lawn Rollers
Ranging from 24" to 48" in width, poly rollers are lighter weight when empty, which makes for easier storage. They won't rust, they're better for sharp turns, and they cost less than steel rollers. Plus, polyurethane models can be filled with either water or sand.
The downside with the polyurethane models is that they aren't as heavy and durable as steel, meaning they have a higher likelihood of being punctured or cracked on sharp rocks or other abrasive debris.
However, if your biggest concern is ease of use, then a polyurethane roller might be right for you.
Lawn Roller Advice
As helpful as a yard roller can be, using it incorrectly can do damage to your lawn as well as to your equipment.
While you're getting ready to roll, be sure to keep the following two tips in mind:
1. Check Your Roller's Weight
You want to be sure you don't select a tow-behind grass roller that's too heavy for your mower.
If you own a powerful garden tractor or a commercial-grade zero turn mower, you might be fine using larger yard rollers.
If, however, you're going to be using a lawn tractor or a consumer-grade zero turn mower, your roller should not weigh more than 300 pounds.
Also, it's recommended that you avoid using tow-behind lawn rollers on hills with steep inclines greater than 10 degrees. Always be sure to tow your rollers across hills and not up and down them. The added weight of a lawn roller can make rolling on inclines challenging and possibly dangerous.
2. Use Your Roller in Moderation
When using a yard roller on a lawn that's already been established, take great care not to overdo it.
Too many uses can compact your topsoil, making it difficult for your grass's roots to absorb the right amount of water and nutrients.
If your soil does become compacted, however, you might be able to get it healthy and loose again by aerating it.
By using a lawn roller safely and sparingly, you can flatten your yard and make it easy to walk across. You might find potholes on the roads you travel, but with a grass roller, you won't have to worry about finding them on your lawn.