What to look for in a tiller?

weenerdogg(Zone 7b)March 23, 2013

I moved in with my dad last year and much to my dismay his beautiful St. Augustine lawn had been overrun by weeds. Henbit, dandelions, thistle (badly), you name it. So I am wanting to make it nice again. I would like to amend it before replanting. Here is the problem. We have black clay soil. My understanding is that I would need to till in compost. Here is my issue. I spoke to my dad about renting vs. buying a tiller and he seemed to feel like I wouldn't be able to operate one. We really don't have the funds to pay someone to do it so what are my options. Is there one that is easier to control? I need it to break through bermuda rhizomes and runners and break up black clay? I am a 13-something lb woman of the female persuasion, should I even consider doing this myself? Thanks for any help you can provide.

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Investigate renting a tiller, rear tine preferable and see how much it would cost. While talking to the rental folks, tell them what you want to do with it and see what they say. If the cost is "doable" all tillers I've seen have a depth adjustment (stake) which you would then use at shallow and then increasing depths. You will have to do a lot of raking and picking up of roots, etc.

Also, a key intput in this equation is how big is the lawn? A small city lot, or acres? Obvioiusly that would be a key factor in the cost.

At the risk of being shot, have you considered using a chemical like "weed and feed" fertilize? Follow the instructions and that will get rid of a lot of the broad leaf varieties. You might have to rent a spreader. Once the weeds are under control, the fertilize portion will stimulate the remaining grass to assert itself. Assuming that you have some remaining grass.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 12:09PM
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Tilling your lawn might not be necessary. Ev's suggestion of a "weed and feed" might be all you need. You might want to buy a spreader so you could make repeated applications yourself. The size of your lawn could determine your best course of action. And whether it is flat or sloped or rolling.

Or you might want to make inquiries with a local lawn service. Many of them will take over the maintenance of your lawn for a fee. Make sure they have a good rating with the Better Business Bureau.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 10:17PM
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