A rotavator is a tool that you will use to turn over the soil in your garden, vegetable
patch or allotment. Usually the rotovator is a machine that you will walk behind
following the set path you direct it in. You turn over and break up the soil with
this machine to prepare the land for planting, laying turf, seeding and leveling.
As with the majority of garden power tools and machinery, these comes in a variety
of shapes and sizes with a differing degree of capabilities. There are 3 types of
rotovator which are the frontline, the rear line and the mini. Front line versions
are medium range machines which have their metal churning blades mounted in front
of the wheels. The rear line version is a much bigger self driven version with the
digging equipment usually mounted behind the wheels. And finally the mini rotavator
often has no wheels at all and is powered by you to work just smaller areas such
as flower borders and small vegetable beds.
As well as the small hand held rotavator there are also electric and petrol versions
out there in the market for you to consider. The electric rotavator is obviously
powered by mains electric and they are quite small designed for light use in and
around flower beds and such. Though they are useful for turning over a reasonable
amount of soil and removing unwanted small weeds they are not really capable of
deep digging or breaking up any turf. They are however very sufficient at aerating
your soil, weeding and mixing in any compost or fertilizer.
On the other hand the petrol rotavator version of this machine is a step up in power
and capability. These are middle of the road machines and are used predominantly
by people with small to medium sized plots of land which need regular cultivation
to maintain and get the best from them. These medium rotavators have enough power
to be able to work at depths of around 6 to 10 inches.
For larger plots of land or heavy soil and tough turf then a large rotary hoe is
required. They come with an engine size of at least 4.5 Hp and a working width of
500 mm or more. They make large jobs so much easier especially as they are fitted
with a reverse gear which makes controlling them that so much easier.
Using a rotavator
The rotavator is a classic example of technology put to good use as a labour saving
device. Once you have used one and begun to understand it you will realise why it
has such a lasting appeal. They are very easy to operate and let you turn over your
soil, removing any unwanted weeds, and prepping the land ready for healthy cultivation
or such jobs as laying a new lawn. Soil needs to be turned over regularly to give
it new life and put new nutrients into it. You can do this manually, but it will
take a lot of time and hard physical work. By going mechanical you will simplify
everything for yourself.
Preparation is an all important factor before using machinery. Make sure that the
machine that you have is a suitable one for the size of plot you are going to be
working on. Check the type of earth that you will be turning over as well. Make sure
that your rotavator is fully fuelled and especially keep an eye on the weather. You
don’t want to be working in the rain as heavy rain will make your gardening job virtually
It’s true that the machine will be doing all the hard work for you but be under no
false illusions. Yes, this machine is easy to use but you also need to be strong
enough to guide and keep it on it’s course. You will have to steer it through turns
at the end of each pass as well as possibly having to negotiate rocky or inclined
ground. Handling a rotary hoe takes a little time to get used to so your day is not
totally work free.
It depends upon the hardness of the soil and it’s consistency but always be prepared
to make several passes in order to rotovate the soil thoroughly and to a good depth.
The type of depth that you should be ideally looking for is around 10 cm. With 10
cm’s of depth you are sure of removing all surface weeds and if it’s a new lawn that
you are going to be laying, it will be ensured to start life with a clean bill of
Because the rotary tiller is a machine that is powerful there is always a slight
risk of injury.
Which Rotavator Do You Need For The Job ? It is either in the early Spring or late
winter that gardener’s will begin to think about what to use to prepare their garden’s
for the following months. Without proper planning and not choosing the right tools
or machinery, a fortune can be spent and wasted. Below we will try to help with this
issue and give you a couple of pointers that you should adhere to.
On This Site
Reasons For Having A Rotavator
Laying Grass Turf
To lay lawn sod is a relatively quick and easy method of creating yourself an instant
lawn. The actual laying of the sod itself is so simple to do, yet in order to get
the best results you do need to prepare the soil properly and this is where the use
of a rotavator comes in. The ideal time to lay turf is in Spring because the soil
has begun to warm up and grass thrives in sunny conditions. The perfect scenario
for new turf is in a spot where it will have at least 5 hours of sunshine a day and
the spot is well drained. It is not advisable to lay turf in an area where there
is standing water.
To lay turf first remove any weeds from the area. You can do this by hand, with weed
killer or in extreme situations run over the area with your rotavator. Once all weeds
have been removed till the soil to a depth of about 10 inches with your rotovator.
If the soil is extremely compact you can amend with a couple of inches of rotted
compost. Once turned over, rake the soil and take away any stones that have been
worked up to the surface and then level the soil. You may need a light roller to
do this properly.
The soil is now properly prepared and you just lay the turf in rows by unrolling
it. Ensure that the edges are snug and not overlapping. As soon as you have finished
laying the turf water it with about an inch of water.
Preparing Soil For Planting
The key to any success with gardening is having carefully prepared soil. Using a
rotavator to turn over the soil and amending the soil to the correct PH levels and
nutrient levels will result in healthy flowers, plants and trees. Nourishing your
soil as well will optimize it and create a soil structure that will allow any root
to flourish in it. Work hard and prepare your soil and it will repay you 10 fold.
To properly prepare soil remove any debris, stones and weeds from it. You can do
this with a spade but ensure that you properly dig out the root systems of nettles
and dandelions as these are perennials and will grow back the following year.
Test your soil to find out it’s PH level with a test kit you can buy from any decent
gardening store. Most plants thrive in slightly acidic soil and PH level 7 is something
you need to be aiming for. Turn your soil over with the rotovator to a depth of about
12 inches and add a layer of compost or manure to the top of the soil. Work the compost
or manure in to the soil with a fork and mix it thoroughly. Allow to settle and then
your soil is ready and fully prepared for new planting.
Clearing Overgrown Weeds
Any piece of land that is overgrown with weeds is an eyesore and a wasted opportunity
in our opinion. Weed overrun ground can also devalue your property. With just a little
work and the correct machinery this land can be turned in to an oasis of thriving
plants, insect life and even wildlife. If you love the taste of fresh vegetables
you can even turn this land in to an excellent and bountiful vegetable patch. To
get rid of the overgrown weeds will be hard work but the procedures are simple enough.
Before beginning with weeding, go through the land to check that the weeds are not
hiding any plants that you wish to keep. At the same time check for objects that
can cause damage to your rotovator. Whilst checking for all these always remove any
seed pods or weed heads as you go along. You don’t want these to drop to the ground
as you are working because they can germinate and you will have a similar problem
in the future. The next step is to cut down as many weeds as possible with a strimmer,
pruning shears or a machete. Rake these up and you should be down to soil level now
so that you can work on the root systems. You can do this manually by digging up
the roots or use a rotavator to go over the whole area. The rotavator option is quicker
and easier though and will leave your area fully turned over and ready for compost.
If any weeds remain you can use a weed killer on these which will take about 2 weeks.
If using weed killer is not your thing then you can opt for an organic method of
smothering the remaining weeds. This entails preventing light and water getting to
the weeds by covering them with a rug or black plastic. This could take as long as
a year to work, but it will.
The first and main consideration for you before investing in a tiller is to actually
ascertain how much land you are working with. The reason for this is because there
are a vast range of rotavators out there all designed and manufactured for different
specific jobs. The range starts out with very small versions that can be attached
to a trimmer or brush cutter. These versions work very slowly and hence are only
suitable for small sections of land that requires cultivating.
A step up from the small attachment is the garden rotovator that is not self propelled.
People with small allotments tend to favour these for small to medium sized areas.
However if you will be pulling and pushing the machine a lot then it is better to
get one with an engine. The motorized version will travel better over uneven ground
and not be as physically demanding on your body.
When you have ascertained the size of plot you intend to cultivate then you need
to check the actual ground you will be rotavating. When the ground is very dry then
it will be extremely difficult to break it up. The job will take a long time. And
if the ground is waterlogged, you again will face a tough job. With too much water
you will find yourself sinking in the ground and the rotovator getting stuck. To
work perfectly what you require is a an in between level of these two.
When using the rotavator safety is imperative... Read More
Investing in your own garden rotavator is by no means a cheap thing to do. So once
you have made the commitment you need to protect your investment and take very good
care of it..Read More
If you are an existing gardener or a newbie who has read up on growing your vegetables
then you will know that to keep growing great tasting vegetables your soil needs
to be rich in nutrients....Read More
The Garden Rotavator
By far the most popular type of rotavator is the garden rotavator..Read More
Learn how to start your own vegetable patch. Read More
So be prepared properly and follow all safety procedures properly to avert any risk
of injury. When in use keep an eye open for small kids or pets running around. You
do not want them to be running and falling in front of the rotovator as you are using
it. For your own safety it’s wise to wear a pair of eye defenders as there will be
flying debris kicked up by the machine. Noise too is a problem that can be taken
care of with the wearing of some ear defenders. And as usual when one is gardening
it’s good to wear protective boots, a good pair of gardening gloves and strong sturdy
gardening trousers. Never start the engine indoors and if you are a smoker make sure
you do not have a cigarette on the go when you are refueling. And finally remember
that it is the machine that is the work horse and not you. So protect your back and
just let the machine do all the work.