Dont Roll that Lawn

Every spring some mysterious hormone hits the male of the species and the urge to "do lawn work" strikes.

One rite of spring is act of rolling the lawn. I've never been able to figure out why someone would roll a lawn; in my household, a lawn is for rolling on, not for being rolled. Many local homeowners, no doubt hormonally unbalanced by the passing of winter, like to go out and drag a heavy weight around the lawn. I recently read one newsletter that said the reason for rolling was to make sure the grass roots were in contact with the soil. Right, and I've got a bridge I can sell you. Grass roots, if properly grown, are quite deep and no amount of frost is going to throw them out of contact with the soil. The only thing rolling a lawn accomplishes is to compact the soil.

Rolling the lawn compacts the soil squashing all the soil particles together. This means that air spaces necessary for good root growth are eliminated. It also means that water can't penetrate the soil because there are no holes for it to move into. The bulk of the water runs off the lawn and never penetrates deep into the soil to the root zone level. This run off water takes the dissolving plant food with it so the spring feeding is washed down the sewer. In one fell swoop, rolling a lawn eliminates the necessary aeration, prevents water from entering and assists in the removal of spring applied fertilizer. I can't think of an faster way to help put stress on a lawn than to roll the lawn first thing in the spring.

The professionals at the Turfgrass Institute agree, rolling your lawn is poor start to spring. And you can get even more lawn information at

Copyright 2005 Douglas Green.

Doug Green is an award winning garden author who has published 7 gardening books and has been in the nursery industry for what seems like forever.

home | site map
© 2005