What is a Lawn Tiller?

Mary Elizabeth

People who are interested in the care of their own property often get involved in the maintenance and tending of their lawn and flower gardens, as well as any vegetable gardens they may have. On a single property, there may not be a need for vehicles such as riding mowers, and while much of this work can be done with hand tools, gardeners may be looking for something a little more advanced. A lawn tiller β€” also known as a cultivator, a garden tiller, or simply a tiller β€” is one tool that may be worth the investment.

Lawn tillers can be attached to riding lawn mowers.
Lawn tillers can be attached to riding lawn mowers.

To till means β€œto prepare land for growing something.” Preparation may be done by plowing, which breaks up the soil, harrowing, which breaks up chunks left by the plow if they are too large and also chops up weeds, and furrowing, which creates channels in which to lay seeds. Tilling also helps aerate the soil and contributes to good water flow. Part of what tilling will mean in a particular case will depend on whether one is preparing land that has been gardened previously on the one hand or whether one is transforming land, say, from a lawn to a garden, on the other hand, which may be a more involved task.

Many models of lawn tillers use gas-powered engines to turn the rotary blades.
Many models of lawn tillers use gas-powered engines to turn the rotary blades.

A lawn tiller may be gas powered, cordless electric, or corded electric. Hand-powered lawn tillers are also available, and often chosen because they are ecologically sound, less expensive, or easier to store. The size should be chosen to match the size of the area in which it will be used. A bigger lawn tiller has a larger turning radius, is heavier, takes more room to store and more power to run, but may be the best choice for cultivating a large area on a yearly basis.

One way to categorize lawn tillers is based on how the person using the tiller interacts with it. In some cases, the lawn tiller ends in blades with no other support, so the user must support the lawn tiller while using it, as well as move it forward. Other lawn tillers are balanced on a set of wheels, so the user pushes it along without having to support it. A tiller can also be an attachment, mounted to a riding mower.

Lawn tillers can come is small sizes for home use.
Lawn tillers can come is small sizes for home use.

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