If weeds or mosses have got the upper hand on the lawn, the lawn often needs to be renewed. A lawn tiller is a convenient solution for the time-consuming and labor-intensive digging of the ground.

milling the lawn

To put it simply, when milling, the entire lawn including the soil is plowed up. The difference to other tillage equipment is that a lawn tiller, depending on the model, shifts the soil to a depth of 30 to 40 centimetres. Therefore, the use of the heavy device is only suitable if you want to create a new lawn. This is usually the case

  • if the existing area is strewn with moss, weeds, etc., or
  • if a lawn is to be laid out in a new building.

The use of a lawn tiller is not ideal for repairing small patches of lawn, as the soil is dug up too deeply. In this case, it is advisable to remove the corresponding areas. Whether or not tilling is good for straightening “hilly” lawns is debatable if that’s the only problem with the lawn. In other words, if you have to renew the lawn anyway, you can level it with the tiller.

Milling the lawn to prepare the soil

What happens when the lawn tiller is used? In this plowing, all plants growing on the ground are chopped up by their roots, including:

  • flower
  • weeds
  • lawn plants
  • Moose

In addition, digging loosens the soil. The manual alternative is to work the soil with a rake.

protective clothing

Although lawn tillers are easy to use, you should wear protective clothing when working with the equipment. This includes:

  • long pants and sleeves
  • safety shoes
  • gloves
  • Safety goggles (protects against thrown stones)

Milling the lawn: 3 steps

In order to mill the lawn, no special instructions are required, as the main work is done by the garden tiller. The following guide consists of three steps:


  • Mill the entire surface evenly (including uneven areas)
  • Handling of the lawn tiller similar to a lawn mower
  • Devices for the private garden usually only have one gear
  • Professional devices with forward and reverse gears
  • Push the lawn tiller slowly and evenly in front of you
  • draw parallel tracks from the edge
Note: In the case of non-wheel drive lawn heifers, the traction develops as the chopping shaft rotates.

Remove remaining plant debris and level the soil

  • Check the area for plant debris
  • If necessary, remove roots and plant remains with the garden rake
  • Level the lawn with a rake
Tip: Since dried moss or grass is easier to remove than wet ones, you should wait half a day before using a normal garden rake.

let the ground settle

  • Let the soil settle after plowing and smoothing
  • plan about three weeks
  • then prepare the soil for reseeding


The advantages of milling can be summarized as follows:

  • Saving of time and energy
  • Extracting all plants from the soil
  • loosening of the soil


The disadvantages of milling can be summarized in two points:

  • deep intervention in soil health
  • weed problem
  • deep intervention in soil health

Since the lawn tiller tills the soil comparatively deeply, microorganisms that live in deeper layers of the soil are transported to the surface of the earth. Their living conditions are thus disturbed. In order for the tiny helpers to resume their work, the soil needs a certain amount of time to regenerate.

weed problem

Weeds have the property that they are extremely resilient. If the weeds on the lawn are so-called rhizome-forming plants, such as goutweed or couch grass, there is a risk that the tiller will not cover all parts of the extensive root system. In addition, small root parts are sufficient for new shoots in these plants. In order to get these weeds under control, the use of weed killers after milling is recommended in many places, which, however, have an (additional) negative effect on soil health.

Buy or rent a lawn mower

You can get lawn tillers from specialist retailers and hardware stores. Since you probably won’t be renewing your lawn every year, consider renting a tiller.

frequently asked Questions

Similar to lawn mowers, lawn tillers are divided into petrol, cordless and electric tillers.

Basically, the powerful lawn tillers create all soils, even hard, loamy soils. Only sandy soils should be treated with care so that the thin layer of humus is not completely destroyed.

To ensure that the new lawn grows well, the best time to use the tiller is between March and April. In any case, there should be about three weeks between plowing and re-sowing. In addition, the ground must not be frozen.

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