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sulston
04-10-2007, 12:59 PM
I originally posted this in the maintenance forum but since I am relatively new to the lawn biz and specifically to this area of lawn care I thought I'd try here too, hope thats OK. I need some advice. I have a customer who wants their lawn rolled for the fact that it is rather bumpy, which in fact it is. Now I know that a lot of you guys are against lawn rolling because of the compaction thing which I completely understand but I'm looking for some advice on what to tell this customer. I know that the lawn did not get aerated for the last 2 years so should I agree to roll it but recommend an aeration with it? Or should I just tell him it's really not a good idea, but then what do I do about the bumpiness? Is there a better way to fix that problem? Any advice is greatly appreciated, I'm just not sure how to go about this. If I'm going to tell him it shouldn't be rolled I'm going to need a good explanation as to why, more than just it compacts the soil. Thanks a lot.

weeble67
04-10-2007, 01:18 PM
Personally I would explain to him that rolling it will help eliminate some of the bumps. Then follow up with explaining the benefits of aerating a lawn. Then tell him you'll make him a package deal to do both of the services. Just explain that the aerating will not bring the bumps back.

bigmudder77
04-10-2007, 05:08 PM
i like rollling yards i think its good for them. i would roll it when the ground is damp so it will smooth out better and also try to get a aerating in there too you should make good money if you know what your doing

Grassmechanic
04-11-2007, 10:25 AM
i like rollling yards i think its good for them. i would roll it when the ground is damp so it will smooth out better and also try to get a aerating in there too you should make good money if you know what your doing

You're in dire need of a university class on soils. Rolling damp soil is possibly the WORST thing a person could do the the soil.:nono:

the ace
04-11-2007, 10:32 AM
A proper lawn maintenance schedule should include rolling as well as aerating. Anyone who thinks rolling a lawn is a bad idea should tell your local golf course to "stop rolling the fairways because it's bad for them" and see what they say!

Grassmechanic
04-11-2007, 11:04 AM
Well let's see Ace, since I've run a GC for over 8 years, I can tell you that rolling was NEVER a part of my regime. Just because you see someone else do it, does not make it right. I know a few supers who have no clue as to what they're doing. You need to sign up with Bigmudder for basic soils class if you believe there is a benefit to rolling.

the ace
04-11-2007, 11:10 AM
Well let's see Ace, since I've run a GC for over 8 years, I can tell you that rolling was NEVER a part of my regime. Just because you see someone else do it, does not make it right. I know a few supers who have no clue as to what they're doing. You need to sign up with Bigmudder for basic soils class if you believe there is a benefit to rolling.

Wow, I didn't know that the ground didn't freeze and thaw in s.e. michigan!

Grassmechanic
04-11-2007, 11:21 AM
It does. And your point is???

the ace
04-11-2007, 11:45 AM
It does. And your point is???

As the freezing and thawing process is occurring the ground becomes uneven and lumpy, not exactly ideal GC conditions. While rolling doesn't make your grass any greener it does provide a more level cut and smoother playing surface. (and my game can use all the help it can get)

Turfco Tim
04-11-2007, 12:21 PM
Golf courses replaced rolling with top dressing many years ago. The only part of a golf course that currently gets rolled are sand based greens. Greens can handle it because they are aerated multiple times per year.

Runner
04-11-2007, 01:33 PM
We've done it for for years and years, and I am sure will continue to. It DOES contribute to soil compaction, but will not kill a lawn. As a matter of fact, for the lawns we roll, the benefits of the smoothing by far outweighs the cons of the compaction; not for the turf, but for the operator(s) maintaining it. Of course, there ARE certain cases now and again when the lawn has been ravaged with moles. This of course is usually important that wide area rolling is performed, as well. With a 30" roller, the turf get no more compaction than someone walking on it - once. With golf greens, they have 400 to 500 people walking on them everyday...that is everyday. We will continue to roll, continue to aerate occasionally, and I'm sure the soils and turfs will do just fine. I WOULD like to add though,..the vast majority of our area is sandy soils.

bigmudder77
04-11-2007, 02:23 PM
why is rolling when the ground is damp bad i seen so many big lawn care places doing it during the rain

daveintoledo
04-11-2007, 02:28 PM
We've done it for for years and years, and I am sure will continue to. It DOES contribute to soil compaction, but will not kill a lawn. As a matter of fact, for the lawns we roll, the benefits of the smoothing by far outweighs the cons of the compaction; not for the turf, but for the operator(s) maintaining it. Of course, there ARE certain cases now and again when the lawn has been ravaged with moles. This of course is usually important that wide area rolling is performed, as well. With a 30" roller, the turf get no more compaction than someone walking on it - once. With golf greens, they have 400 to 500 people walking on them everyday...that is everyday. We will continue to roll, continue to aerate occasionally, and I'm sure the soils and turfs will do just fine. I WOULD like to add though,..the vast majority of our area is sandy soils.

wish we had a bit of sand...... it really compacts it here bad.... but i havent seen a house along our river yet that doesnt have moles.... 12 ot of 12 on my route have moles.....

if you can sell the areation once in a while it works out nice.... its a really hard sell around here.....

mverick
04-11-2007, 03:33 PM
wish we had a bit of sand...... it really compacts it here bad.... but i havent seen a house along our river yet that doesnt have moles.... 12 ot of 12 on my route have moles.....

if you can sell the areation once in a while it works out nice.... its a really hard sell around here.....

Aeration on a yard helps to kill moles if ya get lucky...
:)

workinallthetime
04-11-2007, 11:41 PM
quick someone design and build a tool that rolls and airates at the same time.
cha ching

Runner
04-11-2007, 11:49 PM
Already done. I wish I could find some pics of Stones roller. he had one that did this. I'm pretty sure it was a core type, too.

Grassmechanic
04-12-2007, 11:18 AM
why is rolling when the ground is damp bad i seen so many big lawn care places doing it during the rain

Old habits are hard to break. I can always tell if an LCO has never been to a soils class when I see them rolling a yard. Rolling was once considered a standard operating proceedure. When the negative effects were later discovered, the thinking has changed, as Turfco Tim has pointed out. The main problem with a continuous rolling regime is that it squeezes the air out and destroys the soil structure. Aeration can restore some of the "pore space" necessary for getting oxygen to the roots, but it does not address restoring structure. Structure is necessary for soil microbe activity and to aid in nutrient retention. Additionally, the development of a condition known as a "hard pan" is a result of rolling. Hard pans develop any where from 12 - 18" below the surface, far out of reach of aerators. Solid tine shatter-core aerators were invented to break into the hard pan, but they caused almost as many problems as they solved (especially on a golf course), with severe surface disruption, glazing, and yes, compaction in the bottom of the hole.

Grassmechanic
04-12-2007, 11:21 AM
As the freezing and thawing process is occurring the ground becomes uneven and lumpy, not exactly ideal GC conditions. While rolling doesn't make your grass any greener it does provide a more level cut and smoother playing surface. (and my game can use all the help it can get)

Proper aeration and topdressing will address any problems with unevenness.

mverick
04-12-2007, 02:45 PM
Old habits are hard to break. I can always tell if an LCO has never been to a soils class when I see them rolling a yard. Rolling was once considered a standard operating proceedure. When the negative effects were later discovered, the thinking has changed, as Turfco Tim has pointed out. The main problem with a continuous rolling regime is that it squeezes the air out and destroys the soil structure. Aeration can restore some of the "pore space" necessary for getting oxygen to the roots, but it does not address restoring structure. Structure is necessary for soil microbe activity and to aid in nutrient retention. Additionally, the development of a condition known as a "hard pan" is a result of rolling. Hard pans develop any where from 12 - 18" below the surface, far out of reach of aerators. Solid tine shatter-core aerators were invented to break into the hard pan, but they caused almost as many problems as they solved (especially on a golf course), with severe surface disruption, glazing, and yes, compaction in the bottom of the hole.

We have an area called Buffalo Park in Illinois near St. Louis. It is where a large herd of buffalo used to roam on the open praire. One of there main places to hang out. All those hoofs over all those years compacted the soil to almost concrete. It was tilled into farm land but it was rough.

Soil in my area is also almost all clay. So, top 2 in of topsoil. Under that clay. I believe in the compaction thing but with a roller spread over a large area I don't know how much of doing it once a year to once every two years it hurts. It's also a good thing that aeration should be done around 6 times a year. Golf courses don't do it because they have people playing. Glazing of holes on a spear type. Yes but that's easily defeated in the first watering. Core type aerating still compacts at the bottom of the hole. So spear or core it's still getting O2 into the soil which is what is neaded.

Our bigger problem is moles. LOL.. And they seem to aerate the heck out of our lawns without compaction.

Roll it, then aerate it, overseed and fert. Water the heck out of it. With lots of sun it will look pretty.

Is topdressing better? Yes and no, you're bringing in a very rich soil mixture. But, the grass also has to grow through that which is stress full on it. Fert is actually better. Nutrient uptake of a good fert is almost instant. Nothing to break down or expend energy to grow through. Solid or wet fert. Well, wet fert goes right to work. Where solid fert can leach into the soil over time. So, a little of both is better. Or, just solid fert and a good watering program.

Oh, have you seen the COST of a top dresser? WOW. And a top dresser doesn't help someone with a mole problem either. Roll it to smash the tunnels down.


I don't see people who grow sod doing aeration and there sod looks pretty.

Funny thing about the old habits are hard to break. They used those habits because they worked for them.

Theory works well until reality sets in.

sulston
04-12-2007, 09:31 PM
Wow! I love this site, so helpful for someone like myself relatively new to the business and trying to learn as much as I can. Thank you all for sharing your opinions, advice, and knowledge. In no way do I plan on making rolling lawns a regular practice of my business because not only do I agree with those who are educated in soil structure but I have taken a class or two on soil and soil structure myself so I know of the detriment of compaction. However I have a question for you guys, I planned on aerating/topdressing/overseeding this customers lawn in the fall already and have discussed this with him. I don't want to do it in the spring because I have others also lined up for the fall and on top of that I just don't have the time right now. So what if to keep him happy I agreed to roll it this spring, then went ahead with the aerating/td/os in the fall as planned. Would this really be that bad for the lawn, keeping in mind I know he hasn't had it rolled in 5 years I've been with him and I will tell him it isn't a regular thing we want to do. Would I really see that much of a negative impact on the lawn this summer or any long term effect just from doing it this once? Thanks again.