Don't Roll Your Lawn

Every spring there is a mania that hits suburban lawn owners. The lawn rollers come out to squash each and every lawn into uniform billiard table smoothness. Rollers are rented by the hundreds every spring. To save money while searching for the perfect lawn, groups of neighbors get together to rent a lawn roller. I've even seen industrial pavement rollers used to roll the lawns to a fine smooth surface. And each gardener thinks it is helping the lawn.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Dragging several hundred pounds of lawn roller around the turf only does one thing and it does it well: It compacts the soil. By now, you already know that soil compaction is bad for the lawn. It wrecks drainage, lowers soil oxygen levels, increases thatch, and prevents good root growth. Soil compaction is one of the worst things you can do to your lawn and it is the only thing a lawn roller does really well. The earlier in the spring you roll your lawn (the wetter the soil), the worse the damage.

The only place a light lawn roller has is with seedling and sod establishment. Other than that, keep it off your lawn.

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