In the past, the only way you could till a land to prepare it for planting was through manual labor. The process involved extensive labor, and it wasn’t good for the soil. Uneven texturing and soil compacting were some of the major issues that happened while hand tilling.
Luckily, we’ve got tiller machines now, and they can do the job much easier and only within a fraction of the time. But these machines work so fast that if you don’t know how to use a tiller to level a yard, you are likely to make some serious mistakes in the yard soil.
In this guide, we’ll talk about how to level any land in the best possible way. We’ll discuss how to keep both the rototiller as well as the soil safe from damages. We’re going to see the common mistakes people make and talk about how to prevent them too. For sure, you’ll be less confused afterward!
Table of Contents
How to Use a Tiller to Level a Yard
Using a tiller is simple, so is making a mistake while tilling. Let’s talk about how you can easily use a tiller machine in your yard without making the common mistakes;
Safety First – Wearing Protective Gear
The blades of a rototiller are sharp. If they can penetrate and breakthrough stone-hard soil, then they can cut your feet too. Wear hand gloves, garden working boots, and protective eyewear to protect your eyes from dirt and stones coming out of the machine.
Large stones or solid objects can damage the tiller blade if they somehow get in contact with each other. That’s why you should clear up the area you’re about to start working on. Remove any large objects: stones or chunks of thick bush, etc.
Also, check for weed growth in the soil. Thick levels of weed can block the tiller blade. A slight bush won’t be an issue but if they are thick, clean them up before working with the tiller.
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Starting the Tiller
Once the area is cleared, you’re ready to start working with the tiller afterward. But before turning the machine up, read the instruction manual to know about the controls and so on. Each tiller has different setting adjustments, so you should read the manufacturer’s manual beforehand.
Check the soil first by hand. Does it feel soft and squishy, or it feels like a solid chunk of soil?
If the soil is squishy, then you can set the level of the tiller blade in the deep setting. But if the soil seems otherwise, you should start with a shallow level blade and progress slowly as the soil gets softer and softer.
Now that you’ve checked the soil composition, start the tiller with the lowest blade depth. Start from a corner and go straight. You want to be slow initially, otherwise soil clods won’t break down properly. Go through a straight line forward and come in the same line backward. Repeat the step a few times until the soil seems soft.
Repeat the same process to cover the whole yard ground.
Don’t adjust the height levels right now. Complete tilling the whole yard at a shallow level a few times. It’s necessary that you overlap the tilling ground to make sure there’s a proper soil mixture in the yard.
Once you’re done tilling in the shallow levels and the top portion of the soil level feels soft, increase the depth of the tiller blade. Slowly till the soil in the same process, you did for the shallow tilling. Deep tilling will take more time since soil clods under 4/5 inches are thicker, which will take some time to be crushed.
Completing the Task
It’s easy to overwork the tilling because tiller machines can work so fast that it seems fun to repeat the tilling again and again. But you should stop once you notice the soil up to your required depth is tilled well. Because over tilling might harden the soil in the deeper layers, which can be an issue for plant root growth.
Which Is the Best Time to Till Soil?
There are two factors two keep in mind before tilling soil –the first one; the soil should be in perfect composition. Not too hard or too watery. That’s why it’s not a bad idea to till soil in the middle of the winter or during the rainy season.
In the water, the soil gets hard because of the extreme temperature differences between the surface and the depth of the soil. The difference in temperature makes soil hard in some places and squishy in the depth. In a case like this, tilling doesn’t feel good, to be honest.
And then you know what happens in the monsoon. You can’t practically till clay or dirt soil, right? That’s why everyone tills their yard before the wet season starts.
The second deciding factor is plantation time. When do you want to plant in the yard? In the winter or the spring?
If the answer is any of these two then you should preferably till in the spring. Why? Because the soil composition is best in that season. It is soft but not watery and ready to make it a ground for anything.
You can check this easily by getting some soil in your hands and try breaking it apart. If the soil breaks easily and turns into a powder, it should be good to go.
When you till the land for the first time, you shouldn’t immediately start planting. Rather, water the land and let the soil sit through a day, soaking the water slowly.
Then repeat the tilling the next day.
This is the best procedure because a new land might have a different soil composition inside. Letting it soak in water for a day helps in the proper breakdown of the nutrient and mineral composition.
A tiller can make the hard task of soil tilling enjoyable without breaking a sweat(not literally, though). You now know the basic ideas of how to use a tiller to level a yard and the common mistakes. So, be confident while using a rototiller machine from now on.