How To Rototill A Lawn

If you are either installing or planning to make your old lawn look more lively and refreshing, a rototiller is the one that can assist you in leveling the ground as it turns over the soil for it is an effective tool to prepare your yard if you plan on planting seeds. Tilling means preparing and cultivating for crops which makes it a nice practice if you plan to start with bare soil or if you are going to remove old grass and replace them with new ones. Using this method enables you to work fertilizers that help you create a luxuriant lawn. If you do not have a garden tiller, you can rent one of these at a rental agency or a garden center. Rototillers with tines behind the wheels make it much easier to operate so we suggest it. Here are 8 steps, how to use best large rototill on your lawn and get the best results.

Step 1: Gathering tools and removing debris

First thing you have to do is to gather the tools needed to perform this task. Make sure you have your rototiller, sod cutter, fertilizer, garden rake, water and most importantly, soil.

Step 2: Removing debris and old sod

Then pick unnecessary things like sticks and rocks from the lawn since rototillers can’t cut rocks and pebbles no matter how heavy duty they are. Once you’re done with removing the debris, you will have to remove old sod. You can use a sod cutter or rent one if you do not have a sod cutter. You may also till the existing grass into the soil directly, but this method may not remove some of the roots of persistent weeds and might not give you the best results.

Step 3: Watering the Soil

Watering the soil is necessary to refrain from having dry hard ground. Add just the right amount of water to soak into the soil and it should at least 2 inches deep. You wouldn’t want to till in mud. If the soil is muddy then it means you added too much water. You will have less of a burden if the soil isn’t clumping together because of how dry it is. Letting the soil dry a little after watering it is important before proceeding to the next step. If the moist soil no longer holds together in a clump or sticks together and it breaks up easily, then you are ready to till.

Step 4: Adjust Rototiller

It is highly recommended to set the depth bar of your rototiller to 4 to 6 inches deep. Put the cover down of you tiller if it has a guard over the tines. This will intercept rocks and roots to be pulled from deep in the soil and to prevent accidents or injuries from happening.

Step 5: Fertilizer or composted mulch

Get a fertilizer or a composted mulch of your choice and spread it all over your lawn covering 2 inches. You may also take a soil test to find the right fertilizer needed for your soil to grow healthy grass or plants. To adjust and spread the fertilizer equally, use a garden rake and level it evenly.

Step 6: Tilling the lawn

Do not till very close to large trees since there is a chance that you may damage the roots. You have to be aware of the trees and where they are to avoid going near the roots of the trees. Instead, go all over the entire lawn, as if you are mowing the lawn. Till bare grounds or existing grass and do not leave any gaps in between. Till using the same pattern as how you mow your lawn. It is not recommendable to just go all over the place without a pattern because there will be a high possibility that you would miss some spots.

Till the soil again but this time, from another or opposite direction. To illustrate it, if you tilled in a horizontal manner, then you should till in a vertical pattern next to make sure that it is properly tilled. It is supposed to have a perpendicular pattern. Make sure to not miss a single spot because leaving some areas that aren’t tilled could lead to planting and growth issues in the long run.

Step 7: Till again after a week and inspect for debris

Once you have tilled your lawn twice, use a garden rake to make the ground or soil smooth. Your lawn should be free from debris by now. Let your lawn rest for at least a week to see and inspect if there are any sprouts or green fuzz popping out of your soil. Re-till your lawn again one last time just to make sure your lawn is debris free and remove sprouts that have come out of your soil.

Step 8: Install grass or plant seeds

Inspect your lawn to check if your tilling was a success. Your soil should be very smooth the second time you tilled it and there should be absolutely no leftover debris left in your lawn. Now you are ready to plant new seeds or grass. It is highly recommended to install an irrigation system if you are planning to lay sod. Small or large garden, a rototiller will do the job

Things required

  • Rototiller
  • Sod cutter
  • Fertilizer or composted mulch
  • Garden rake
  • Soil
  • Water


If you plan on replanting grass, you’ll have to wait for about a week because there is a chance that the remaining weeds in the lawn will bud and shootout sprouts on top of the soil. To remove unnecessary sprouts or green fuzz, till the soil again to eliminate them for good. Now your lawn is ready to have an irrigation system installed.

Soil tests are very useful since they can help you choose the right fertilizers needed for your lawn to produce healthy grass. It is very helpful if someone can help you out carrying tillers since it is very heavy.

Read our articles on When To Rototill Your Garden.

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