How long to rototill

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GrayM, May 4, 2011.

  1. GrayM

    GrayM LawnSite Member
    Messages: 84

    I have someone who wants me to rototill, and seed their backyard which is 16K square feet. Are there any rules of thumb about how long it should take? Obviously it will depend on the size of the tiller and type of soil, but any rough guesses would be much appreciated. I've never tilled before, so I have no idea.
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Too Long... If you try to do a good job...

    You're talking days, not hours... How many passes will it take?
  3. Imow4u2

    Imow4u2 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 377

    Five foot tiller or six ft. harley rake, I can have that seeded and mulched (straw) in less than 3 hrs. W one man.. Closer to two hrs. W two men..
    Assuming A clear 16K sq. Obstacles and other BS start adding time for turning etc.
  4. Reliable 1

    Reliable 1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 188

    Just speaking from MY experience in doing this.....

    If he just wants it rototilled and seeded, it can be done with the right equipment in a few hours. The right equipment is either a 35-40 HP tractor with a tiller, Dingo type mini-steer, or a skid steer. Broadcast the seed in advance, and till it into the soil and you don't have to screw around with straw and the other crap. Using this technique, I've had 100% success every time.

    But, if you want it done right, it's going to take longer as you will need to grade it or rake with a landscaping rake and then roll it. Keep in mind if the soil is tilled, it introduces air into it and when it rains, it will be very loose...until the soil eventually settles. For the record, I typically steer away from doing tilling this late though.
  5. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,545

    It is to late for good germination in your area. You will get much better results if you do this at the first of September. Grass that is planted in the spring usually doesn't make it through the summer unless there is irrigation. Wait until fall. You will be glad you did.
  6. freddyc

    freddyc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 578

    this is interesting.... how can you till in the seed so deep and have good results? Eve if you till it in 2-3" how do you get grass to come up? I usually till 4-6" then spread the seed on top, lightly rake in, and water like crazy. I get decent results in the fall....not so great in Spring.
  7. Reliable 1

    Reliable 1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 188

    It's not like when you till it, everything goes to the's MIXED with the soil....try it this fall in a test plot...I GUARANTEE you that you will get solid coverage. Learned this working around the agriculture industry growing up
  8. Imow4u2

    Imow4u2 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 377

    Harley rake is my first choice for seeding, no need to till 4-6" it's not a garden.. Yeah you can seed in the spring thats were the straw is beneficial, it holds the moisture.. I'd rather seed in the fall but this ? was asked in the spring, so that's my suggestion..
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Yes but when folks start talking about rototilling and seeding at the wrong time of the year that
    tells me the results will be below average and I'd be surprised if they don't tear up some
    utility line(s) in the process.

    I wouldn't waste my time, unless you really need the work and you already own a BIG rear-tine tiller,
    even then it probably won't give your company the word of mouth you might want but at the same
    rate it's better than nothing and worth the experience.
    Last edited: May 4, 2011

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