The Q&A Archives: Tilling a lawn

Question: I just remove 9 shrubs from my front lawn which left me with tons of roots, some are very thick. I want to till and treat the soil, sod half of the lawn and then place some plants on the other half. Should I remove the old grass (which is 80% weeds) using a shovel because the roots may damage a tiller or sod cutter? The front lawn is not big, 19' X 12' and 19' by 21' split by a walkway.

Answer: A gas engine rototiller should be able to work its way through the mass of roots. You'll just have to take it slow and easy, stoping to untangle as necessary. It would be much easier than hand digging with a shovel. I don't think a sod cutter will do a very good job so stick with the tiller and start on one edge of the bed and slowly work your way down the bed. Once you get the roots out (and the weedy old grass), rake the area well to remove the debris and then plant or lay your sod. Best wishes with your new garden.

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