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Lawn Hand Rollers - love or hate them

Lawn Hand Roller We are often asked about rolling your lawn 'to make the surface even'. It would be very easy to compile a blog entry on rolling your lawn and the use of rollers on a lawn - simply don't. That would make the technical lawn advice post a little too easy and you know that I never get away that easy so here is some justification of my ‘don't bother’ comment.

If you are a professional turf manager responsible for creating sports pitches and natural turf playing surfaces, rolling the turf after the winter frosts is important. A hockey pitch may be rolled to improve the speed of the ball over the surface and the same applies to other fine turf areas such as golf and bowls greens and croquet lawns. Any rolling operations that these areas receive are done to carefully consolidate the surface but not to the detrimental effect of air and water percolation and drainage and definitely not to over compact the soil beneath the grass.

In the case of cricket wickets, the Turf Manager and their team will start rolling a test wicket months in advance of a test series so that the cricket ball will 'pitch' in the right place to suit or challenge the skills of the bowlers and batsmen. In tennis, the same applies but rolling tennis courts is not as intensive as on the heaver clay soil structure of a cricket wicket.

Farmers will roll their grassland in the spring, to flatten down the lift of the turf from the frosts and to put a few nice stripes in the fields to lift their appearance. They might use a light un ballasted (with sand or water) roller or a carefully ballasted roller to suit the conditions, after all, it does not want to sink into the field and still has to be pulled by the tractor!

So where does this leave your lawn and your rusting lawn roller? The majority of lawn mowers have heavy rollers on the rear and wooden rollers or wheels on the front. Over the course of a growing season, the action of mowing a lawn will consolidate and compact a lawns surface sufficiently enough to demand some form of aeration to alleviate the compaction and to allow air and water percolation. If you are using a cylinder mower on a really nice lawn that is level and flat, then you may use your roller a little in the spring and monthly during the summer months as its use will assist the cylinder mowers movement across the lawns surface.

If you are using your roller simply to beat the lawn into submission and try and flatten humps that cannot be flattened by the actions of a roller, then do not bother and restore it to a nice shiny green colour and keep it as a garden ornament or sell it on EBay.

Other related subjects are:

Top Dressing
Aeration
Scarification


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