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Does anyone roll lawns. Every spring I get calls from people wanting to roll there yards. By back 40 is rougher than a cob and I concidered getting one for that. I understand the implications of compaction (please no lectures) I would recomend Aeration along with rolling. Just think this may open new fert/aerate customers. I know the golf courses do it so it can't mean instant death.

Mark
 

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A water filled roller will help minimally on an established turf. To have any kind of success, the ground should almost be "pumping", but not enough to where your feet leave imprints in the soil. Remember to pull this sucker behind you as it is very heavy.
Personally, we only use ours when installing sod. I would definately advise you to roll the lawn bi-directionally also.

Bob
 

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We have roll'ed a few in south Fla. Major differance. We used the smallest kind you can ride on.(rented it). Like Bob said above, the amount of water you use is important. Be sure to use flags or something to mark your sprinklers so you don't mess'em up.
 

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The only time I use a roller is when installing a new lawn. I will roll over everything to assure good seed to soil contact. On established lawns.... I dont know.. What is the point? Maybe to level out bumps in the lawn? I know a major Con is soil
compaction !!!
 

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we dont roll lawns. dont own a roller, and they cost too much to rent for a one time use.

every year, i get the same customer asking me to roll her lawn because the backyard is swampy, and the mowers make tire marks in the lawn.
Every year, i tell her the same thing. your lawn doesnt need rolled, it needs some drainage installed. but no, she says that is too expensive.

I then tell her that it would cost 200 dollars to roll the lawn, and explain that if we rolled the lawn for six straight years, that would be 1200 dollars. if she had us install the drainage, the price would be about the same, and there would be no worries about ever rolling the lawn again.

Yet, she still does nothing, and I hear it every year, for the past 6 years.
 

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in a few months this customer is having me aerate and put seed down with no soil or straw (i know timing and method is bad but thats what she wants), would rolling the lawn be a good idea also?
 

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Quote: . I know the golf courses do it so it can't mean instant death

A golf course green usually sits on special sand chosen for its ability to not compact. Putting greens are intensely managed. (water, fed, and treated for disease) So they have a better opportunity to withstand the compaction of lawn rolling.
It's important to understand that golf course greens and regular lawns can not be compared so the maintenance practices will differ.

What I have read, I give a "thumbs down" to lawn rolling.

But I know what you mean. We get asked about lawn rolling too. We always just say no and explain the downfalls of rolling.
 

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Of course, the first thought to anyone, wanting to remove unevenness, or bumps, in a lawn, is to smooth it out by rolling. But earth is not that fluid, and you could run a street paving roller over a bumpy lawn, and you would still have almost all the bumps.

Only time a roller will make any difference on uneven dirt, is when the dirt has been tilled, and then wet almost to a mush. Only then is the soil fluid enough to be squashed flat by rolling. But then, if you're gonna till it anyhow, why not just level it properly and forget the compaction of rolling.

Some people like to roll after seeding to enhance seed/soil contact; in some areas of the country, this may be helpful. But in most soils this is unnecessary if seedbed is properly prepared. Rolling a newly sodded lawn or sod repair can be useful to make sure sod is seated flush to soil, after the job is done; only use roller 1/3 full of water in this case, if area has been properly prepared.
 

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Rolling is not a cure all, but where I come from, the use of top soil in new comunities is almost nonexistant. The land is de-mucked down to coral rock. There is a layer of rock in most of south Florida. Then they will dig lakes for fill. Crushed rock and a little bit of sand is our (top dressing.) St Agustine sod is placed on top of that for a lawn. You get from one to two inches of muck in a piece of sod. I've cut lawns for years that stayed bumpy. Quality work with the large landscaping outfits just don't happen much.(I'm refering to the cutting and laying of sod) Adding top soil to the lawn often creates a new problem as water dont drain through coral rock to well. So in some cases, rolling is the best option.
 

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Proper preparation of a seedbed negates the need to roll. But sometimes time constraints and weather do not allow a proper preparation. Maybe in this case, a rolling would be beneficial? Depends on the situation.

For a new lawn, tilling and leveling is a given. This working of the soil should be done when the soil moisture content is proper. Proper = soil will crumble into roughly pea sized pieces; crumbling to a powder = soil is too dry. Then when the soil is leveled, and seed applied, the seeds fall between and among the soil pieces. Then irrigation dissolves the soil crumbs around the seeds, for ideal seed/soil contact. Ideally, most grass seeds should be planted 1/32" to 1/16" deep. That is hard to accomplish, but can easily be done with properly set slit seeders, or by raking (with a metal leaf rake turned upside down, no downward pressure on rake). Rolling will not be a great benefit if prep and seed appl was done properly.

For overseeding in an established lawn, again seed/soil contact is the most important factor. Therefore you core aerate to bring soil plugs up above soil surface (or aeravate, like Kirby, if you do it a lot). Then after seed is applied, and irrigation is supplied, these plugs will dissolve down around seeds to provide best germination environment. Your degree of success is just set by the amount of soil you have pulled up with aeration; I will make at least 2, usually 4 passes with aerator when overseeding. Also in overseeding, slit seeding will greatly improve germ rate, compared to broudcasting seed. Now, rolling may crush the aeration plugs a little. But does rolling help to enhance seed/soil contact in this perspective? Sorry, not in my book. But there are other books. LOL.

And considering rolling and compaction, anyone who really wants to know can do this exercise. Weigh your roller, with water in it or however you are going to use it; then measure the area of contact the roller makes on the ground (width of roller times 3?, 4? inches). Divide weight by area, giving you psi (pounds per square inch); this is the effective pressure of your roller. Now weigh yourself, and the area of the soles of your shoes, and divide the same way. You'll usually find that you are a much better compactor than the roller. :D Now you see why compaction is a problem on a golf course?
 

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with this lawn they dont want the proper preparations done, of course tilling and soil work then seed and role and straw is the best, this is a lawn that they want aerated then seeded and thats it, i was thinking of offering rolling to them if it will help, also easy work and can charge for it and make more money. whats ur thoughts?
 

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1grnlawn- it must be a niche for Illinois people because I also have several customers each year that wants lawn rolling done in northern Illininois. I had so many requests for it, I had a friend that works at FFC Co.(makers of skid steer attachments in Lee, Il) custom make me a roller that is 3ft. dia. by 4 ft wide that I pull with a jd 345. It weighs approx 1400#. I know what compaction does to the soil but many people request this service after the spring thaw-ground heaving. Since so many people wanted to give me money to do this service, I began to offer it. I usually get them done for the year before the grass cutting season begins (late March into early April). In fact, when I attended the Outdoor Power Expo last year, I had several other people ask me what lawn rolling was after seeing it on my t-shirt. After I explained it to them, we both laughed about how people will pay for this service, no matter how much you advise against it. Besides that, by June or July the ground is hard again anyway.
 

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And if someone has a stomach ache, and think it's because of their appendix, they should expect the doctor to remove their appendix on their own beliefs?


EDIT: afterthought

But then most doctors are professionals. And lawn guys fuss because they are not considered professional.
 
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