Taking care of a healthy lawn is a full-time job, and the greenest lawns in summer usually received the most attention in early spring. Leveling a bumpy lawn breaking up compacted soil, and promoting healthy grass roots can all be done as soon as the snow is gone and the temperatures are rising.
I do not always roll my lawn, but I have seen yards that would benefit from leveling. Air pockets under the soil and extra water can be pushed out, making the lawn flat. This is extremely helpful if you have a smaller lawn that you push mow. Along with rolling, aerating can also improve a bumpy lawn’s health by releasing water and breaking up heavy soil.
But which is first, rolling or aerating, let’s find out!
In This Article
Should I Aerate and Roll a Lawn?
If you want a flat lawn that has healthy plant roots and absorbs water efficiently, you may need to roll and aerate your lawn. A large lawn that is on a landscape that includes hills and landscape features does not usually need to be rolled. Yards that are clipped with a walk-behind mower and need to be flat can benefit from occasional rolling.
All lawns should be aerated no matter what type of soil, lawn size, or tree roots can benefit from core aeration and the nutrient-dense plugs of soil that result.
Why Aerate a Lawn
Unless you have super sandy soil, you will need to aerate your lawn at least once a year to improve airflow and drainage. Aeration helps roots develop deep growth but aerating after laying grass seeds can be a bad idea. Lawn aeration allows fertilizer to go deep into the soil directly to your grass’s roots for a beautiful lawn. Core aeration should be done in the spring and fall when natural rainfall is ample, and turf has time to fill in any bare spots before dormancy.
Why Roll a Lawn
After landscaping, there can be loose sod or turf that needs to be compacted to provide good root holds. Rolling for this will only be needed once or after larger landscaping projects. Laying down a thin layer of compost can be beneficially rolled into the soil to add nutrients and protect it from compaction. Rolling a lawn also presses new seeds into the soil where birds, rodents, and insects can’t steal them.
Benefits of Aerating and Rolling
Both aerating and rolling have advantages but doing them together is the best lawn care method. Even if you are not a fan of lawn rolling, you can still benefit greatly from aerating for a great-looking, healthy lawn. One thing that isn’t advisable is using a lawn roller on heavy soils without using a combo spike aerator afterward. Aerating and rolling your property at least once a year can give you these amazing benefits:
|Easier to Mow||X|
|Removes Moisture Buildup||X|
|Provides Oxygen to Soil||X|
Rolling and Aerating Which Task First?
Understanding the idea behind lawn rolling will make the order of the lawn care program easier to arrange. In the early spring, roll the turf to push out moisture that makes a lawn bumpy. When the soil is dry rolling causes compaction and shouldn’t be attempted.
After rolling, you should aerate 2 to 3 times to make sure compaction has been reduced; this is even more important with clay soil than it is with sandy soil. The complete lawn care practice given to me by a lawn care expert is below.
As soon as the soil is warming up, sow seeds wherever winter damage or excessive weeding took place. Tossing seeds now gives your lawn a chance to get ahead of early-season weeds and can fill in dead spots early. Even if some seeds don’t germinate, some will which can protect your lawn from bare earth issues or weed and pest infestations.
Laying a thin layer of compost can help buffer the compaction caused by the roll, add nutrients deep into the soil that will be released slowly when needed the most, and absorb most of the water that gets pushed out by the roller. This compost layer can reduce the damage done by rolling even on clay soil.
Walk along your lawn with a roller to compact the soil and push out water mounds. Make sure to only roll over spots once and not over the compact. Unless your soil is all sand, this will not need to be repeated often, but on the years they are not needed, just skip this step and follow the rest of the program.
Using a core aerator to break up soil after smoothing out a lumpy lawn. The aerators pull out plugs of soil and drop them on top, creating pores that help your lawn stay green, absorb the fertilizer, and hold water. This can be done 2 or 3 times after rolling to make sure there is no lasting compaction. Core aerating is crucial for a green lush lawn.
Weed and Feed
Dropping a weed and feeding after aerating can get herbicide and plant nutrients where they are needed. Your turf will grow while weeds weaken or are unable to germinate, letting you fill in bare spots fast. Make sure to use the correct amount of fertilizer and apply enough water to get your lawn growing fast and not accidentally stunting turf growth.
Lawn seeding again after all the work can target any remaining bare spots. Once these spots are filled in, maintain your normal summer and fall routine to keep your grass growing and green as long as possible into the year. After a few successful seasons, it will require less and less work to aerate your lawn after rolling and other lawn maintenance services.