Lawncare tips – Should you ever roll your lawn?
Rolling your lawn – We often see groundsmen and greenkeepers rolling green velvet cricket pitches, tennis courts and sports fields. But should it be something we do at home?
…… does rolling do more harm than good?
Lawncare tips – rolling your lawn – what does lawn rolling do?
Aerating our lawns, worm casts and frosts will create an irregular lawn. Rolling is one way to correct it.
But before you begin hauling a roller around your garden, you should take note of a few things. Firstly, rolling can only ever correct an irregular lawn. Secondly, a medium weight roller will only compress the top few centimetres of the soil. So if there are even moderate differences in the level of the lawn, don’t expect to fix them in this way. Top dressing (for small low areas) or completely renewing the lawn (for anything more severe) would both be much better ideas.
Third consideration is the soil type. Free draining sandy soils will withstand rolling time and again. Their structure makes compaction less of a problem, but rolling clay soil even once (particularly if wet) could cause the soil to compact. This will prevent the grass from growing well, inhibiting drainage and require a lot of time and effort to put right. This could be a problem on any soil type if the roller used is too heavy or the soil too damp at the time of rolling.
Lawncare tips – rolling your lawn – when do you roll your lawn?
If, after these considerations, you think your lawn could withstand it without becoming compacted, it’s more than likely rolling is still unnecessary.
A healthy lawn’s root system is sufficient to prevent frost from heaving the soil too much. Any small irregularities are likely to be put right with the first use and mow after Spring. For clay soils, this freezing and thawing process will loosen the soil structure and rolling will only undo this.
Sports pitches and greens are rolled as they need to be very firm for play. They need a lot of maintenance – partly as a result of rolling – surely something most of us want to avoid at home.
The image of a roller on the front lawn of a grand house comes from another time. Before the grown-from-seed turf industry was established in the UK. The lack of specially grown turf varieties and greater tolerance to being rolled meant more ornamental lawns could be promoted.
So rather than going out and buying a roller, be thankful you have one thing less to do.