Lawn Maintenance: Should I Roll My Lawn?

Should I roll my lawn header

Rolling the lawn is one of the more common lawn care tips. But is it necessary? That’s what we’re here to find out. If you’re asking: Should I roll my lawn? Then this is the article for you.

Should I Roll My Lawn?

You should roll your lawn after seeding it or before and after sodding a lawn. You should also roll your lawn if it experiences frost heaving during the winter. Rolling your lawn when it isn’t necessary can compact the soil and have a negative effect, making it hard for air, water and nutrients to penetrate the roots.

What to Know About Rolling the Lawn

There are basically two schools of thought here. On one hand, people think it’s necessary to roll the lawn every spring. Some even think it should be done whenever the lawn becomes uneven. 

On the other hand, there are those who don’t believe it’s absolutely necessary. 

What is lawn rolling?

It’s basically the process of moving a lawn roller all over the area. You’ve probably seen this process done on tennis lawns or golf courses and other sports fields. 

The goal is to make uneven lawns become even. 


While rolling could reduce lawn irregularities, other issues might come up.

For example, rolling the lawn may make the soil more compact. That is going to be bad for your plants. 

Let’s start

When soil is too compact, the grassroots would have a hard time growing. They are limited by the soil that has become too tight.

This would also make it difficult for air and nutrients to penetrate the grassroots. 


Water will not penetrate the soil, too. For one, the roots will not be enriched with the water. As a result, water may become stagnant on the ground. 

In a way, there are advantages and disadvantages to rolling the lawn. 

Person holding roller on law

Should I Roll My Lawn?

Now, on to the important question: Should you roll your lawn?

The answer is not a simple yes or no. The answer should be conditional. 

In other words:

Roll your lawn when necessary. But you can’t do it every year. 

Yes, you should roll your lawn but not every spring. 

So, when should you roll your lawn? Here are the situations when it’s good to do it:

After seeding

This is why people think it’s necessary to roll the lawn every spring. It’s actually advisable to roll the lawn after seeding. 

It just so happens that seeding is usually done during spring. 

And also

Spring is really a good time for rolling because the grass is just coming out of dormancy. This means that the roots are actively growing. 

But then again, you shouldn’t be doing it every spring. 


About the seeding, don’t roll the lawn before you sow seeds. Germination is better when the seeds are on uneven ground rather than really flat. 

That’s because the seeds are very light. 

Once you’re done seeding

Then you can push your lawn roller. This will ensure that the seeds will indeed be in the soil. 

Rolling the soil would mean that you are pressing the seeds onto the ground so they will not fly away with the wind. 

Before and after sodding

When you want a lawn, you can either grow them with seeds or you can buy sod so that you don’t have to care for it from scratch. 

Sod is basically a rolled grass held together by its roots and a thin layer of soil. It is also referred to as turf. 

You know

It’s quite challenging to grow a lawn from seeds. The sod is a practical idea. 

If you just have a clean piece of land where you want to place your sod, then you can roll it in preparation for your sod. 

This is important

You need to flatten the ground so that your sod would fit in nicely and it would be flat. It will then grow evenly. 

Once you’ve laid down the sod, you can run the roller again to ensure that it would be pressed to the soil. 

If not

You might have some patches of sod dying on you because they were not properly attached to the solid earth. 

House with neat lawn in front

When there is soil heaving

During winter, there is a tendency that the lawn will experience frost heaving. This is the upward movement of the soil because of freezing conditions.

This obviously needs to be flattened. 

Sports fields (as needed)

Sports fields experience a lot of foot traffic. They also need to be level when there is a game.

Sports fields have an excuse to roll the lawn whenever they need to. However, to ensure that the lawn won’t be damaged by too much rolling, the proper ways to do it should be adhered to. 

How to Properly Roll the Lawn

We’ve mentioned that it’s important to know how to roll properly so that the lawn in sports centers wouldn’t be damaged. 

That actually goes for all lawns. So, check out these tips on how to properly roll the lawn:

1. The ground should be damp

You have to know the difference between damp and soaked because it is necessary when trying to roll the lawn. 

The ground should be damp because rolling on dry land will not effectively press the lawn. For example, if you are rolling after sodding, the sod will not be properly pushed to the soil. 

On the other hand

The ground cannot be soaked. Remember when we mentioned that the soil will become compact?

Soil compaction has a terrible effect on the lawn. Rolling on the soaked lawn will result in soil compaction, so avoid at all costs.


2. Do it during spring, but not every spring

As mentioned, this is the perfect time to roll the lawn because the grass is just coming off dormancy. The roots are active.  

Also, don’t roll the lawn every spring. Remember, you want to avoid soil compaction.

3. Don’t roll clay soil

Clay-heavy soil is already compact enough. Rolling it will just damage the lawn.  

About the Lawn Roller

This is the tool that you need to roll the lawn. It’s usually large and heavy. It’s basically like a lawn mower in the sense that it has a handle and the bottom part does the work. 

The bottom part is cylindrical. 

It’s quite simple

You just walk in your garden while pushing the lawn roller and you are already rolling the lawn. 

Since it’s quite heavy and it takes up space, you don’t need to buy one if you don’t have a shed or if it’s not big enough to store a number of garden tools. 


Most garden or hardware stores have them for rent. That would be a practical option since you don’t really need to use it that often. 

There are two major types of lawn rollers:

  • Push lawn roller
  • Towable lawn roller
Roller on lawn


The push lawn roller is great for home lawns. The towable is one that you attach to a lawn tractor for ease of use. 

The latter is also preferable for large lawns like those used for sports. 

There are various sizes

Ask the expert for advice on the appropriate size of roller for your needs. A light one may not be able to press properly, while a heavy could result in soil compaction while also damaging the lawn. 


Should I roll my lawn? This is a pretty common question considering how we see sports fields being rolled every now and then. The correct answer is it depends on the situation. 

Rolling the lawn when it’s not necessary will just result in soil compaction. We don’t want that because it would mean that air, water, and nutrients will have a hard time penetrating the roots. The grassroots, too, would have a hard time growing because of the tightness of the soil. 

There are also proper ways to roll the lawn. You have to abide by those ways in order to make sure that the lawn will be healthy and will not be damaged.

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