Should you Roll your Lawn? | Tomlinson Bomberger

Should you Roll your Lawn?

Category: Lawn Care

steam-roller“Does your company offer a service to roll my lawn?”

Ask us that question and you may not like what you’ll hear. The answer is a resounding “NO”, and there is a very good reason for it. Rolling lawns is still unfortunately a lawn care practice that many homeowners use to try to level out bumpy areas on their property. It seems like as long as companies can sell these gadgets for home use, people will still unknowingly cause stress to their lawns by rolling.

“Why won’t you roll my lawn?”

The reason rolling a lawn is a bad idea is because it compacts the soil. Soil is made up of tiny particles. In between these particles, there are spaces or “pores”. These voids are essential for a number of things. Pores will help the soil maintain the right amounts of water and oxygen, which are crucial for growing a beautiful lawn. If the soil is too compacted, roots can decompose as they become waterlogged when the soil won’t drain. You want moist soil, but it has to drain as well. Compacted soil will also not allow for oxygen exchange, causing root systems to decompose and turf to die.

soil in handAre the alternatives? Do I have to roll my lawn to make it even?

We understand that the main reason people roll a lawn in the first place is to correct a grading issue. It’s not fun to ride your mower across the lawn and bump about, nor is it a good idea to brave a twisted ankle obstacle course. There are other ways to address this problem without damaging your lawn by rolling it.

Mow at the proper height

The shorter your grass is, the more you are going to feel these grade variations when you walk across it. Mowing your lawn at 3″-3.5″ isn’t only good for the health of the lawn, but it can help give some cushion underneath. Imagine stepping on a welcome mat with a marble underneath it, and then stepping on a couch cushion with a marble underneath it. You’ll feel it less if the grass is taller.

Grow a thick lawn

Whether you have to fertilize your lawn with a lawn care program or perform a lawn seeding, a thick lawn will also give more cushion than a thin one.

core aeratorCore Aerate & Topdress your lawn

Core aeration will help to relieve compaction which is fantastic for grass health. Plus, allowing areas to have those cores pulled out can help to sift down others that may be slightly bumpy. Topdressing your lawn along with aeration could help with minor bumpy grade problems as well.

Renovate & re-grade your lawn

This is the last resort but will definitely work. If you have a very bumpy lawn, it can be fixed by killing off the existing turf, adding good topsoil, and having small excavating equipment rake and correct the grade. It may take up to a year to get your newly-seeded lawn back to full maturity, but this solution will fix the bumps in your lawn. Please note that if tree roots are causing your lawn to be bumpy, covering them with soil can be detrimental to tree health. Consider other ways to deal with tree roots in your lawn.


If you are frustrated with your bumpy lawn and need a positive alternative to rolling lawns, please don’t hesitate to contact us for help with any of these solutions.