What is a Rear Tine Garden Tiller?

Mary Lougee
Mary Lougee
Rear tine garden tillers feature cutting tines at the back of the unit.
Rear tine garden tillers feature cutting tines at the back of the unit.

Garden tillers generally are motor-driven machines that use metal arms, or tines, set at an angle to dig into soil. A rear tine garden tiller has its tines in the back of the tiller, while its wheels usually are in the front. The wheels typically pull this type of garden tiller forward to break up soil in preparation for planting.

A rear tine garden tiller generally works on the same principles as a riding lawnmower. It may use gas or diesel for the fuel source and a spark plug for the combustion. There usually is a height adjustment in the back to choose how deep the tines will dig. The transmission may be belt-driven or chain driven, and it usually turns the wheels when activated by depressing the handles much like a self-propelled lawnmower; releasing the handle disengages the clutch, causing it to stop. Some rear tine tillers in the larger models also have a reverse gear.

Tilling the garden usually saves many hours of backbreaking work that otherwise would be done with hand tools like shovels and hoes. When breaking ground for a new garden, a rear tine garden tiller will pull the grass up by the roots and dispose of it behind the path it is traveling. Removing the grass and weeds usually is effortless at this point. A rake or hoe might be all a gardener needs in order to dispose of the waste after the ground is tilled.

Garden tillers come in a variety of sizes, from the compact 8-inch (about 20.3 cm) wide model to larger models that reach up to 24-inches (about 61 cm) wide. When using a rear tine garden tiller, it can be important to plan the width of the rows accordingly. If enough room is left between the rows, it allows for the use of a tiller to control weeds as needed.

Mantis tillers usually are available in 8-inch (about 20.3 cm) widths and weigh only 20 pounds (about 9.1 kg). This rear tine garden tiller typically has an engine that generates about one horsepower. They usually are credited with being easy to use, are effective, and are lightweight enough to make the tiller easy to handle. The size of these tillers typically will enable a full range of motion in tight areas and the utmost in maneuverability, even in a small garden.

A BCS rear tine garden tiller is available in 9-inch (about 22.9 cm) widths with eight horsepower. The largest model BCS offers is the 34-inch (about 86.4 cm) model with 14 horsepower. This line of tillers includes models for the weekend gardener or garden tillers for the commercial gardener.

Rear tine garden tillers have many more benefits that just their time-saving features. When cultivating soil, it also turns air into the soil which plants require for adequate growth. The tiny air pockets also allow water to better penetrate the soil and promote improved drainage.

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    • Rear tine garden tillers feature cutting tines at the back of the unit.
      Rear tine garden tillers feature cutting tines at the back of the unit.