How to use a rotovator and why do I need one?

Rotovator Hire near me


Rotovators are strong, robust machines which use a set of blades which spin and break up soil in preparation for planting.  They are designed to be used in gardens and allotments.

Where you have hard and compacted soil a rotovator will assist you to break up, turn and cultivate the ground for laying new turf, planting vegetables and plants.

The first benefit to hiring a rotovator is that you’ll get a much finer soil than what you would achieve using handheld tools and the second is you will get the job done much quicker, and your back is going to give you a big thank you too!

The rotovator has tough blades underneath that rotate and churn over the soil, thus aerating the earth making it suitable for replanting. A rotovator can be used for churning soil on previously uncultivated earth and are best used in dry conditions.

Rotovator hire near me
hiring a rotavator

What do I need to consider before starting?

Before you decide to use a rotovator, you will need to take the moisture in the soil into consideration, particularly if the soil is compacted, or if it has never been churned before. Even though a rotovator can be used on sandy soil at any time, soil high in clay acts differently when it is wet. When clay soil is dry it gets hard, so if the clay soil in your allotment or garden is too hard, using a rotovator to churn over the land can be very tough and the rotovator may not be able to do more than scrape away the first few inches of soil.  If the soil is too wet, it can form lumps when tilled. These lumps can become like rocks when dried out, and this can ruin the soil until the Winter weather softens them again.

If your soil has never been cultivated before, or it is very compacted, it is advisable to water it for several hours, 3-4 days before using the rotovator.

Remember to check to see whether the soil has drained sufficiently before cultivating.

Top Tip:  a quick and simple way to do check is to dig a 6-inch-deep hole and pick up a handful of soil from the bottom and squeeze it into a ball, the ball should easily break with one finger, if it dimples instead of breaking, the soil is still too moist to rotovate.

Should I remove weeds before rotovating?

Before rotovating ground, it is important to remove any weeds a couple of a days in advance. If you rotovate through weeds you run the risk of spreading them throughout your soil and creating even more work – you don’t want to go from one dandelion to hundreds!

Will the rotovator cut through roots?

It really boils down to the size of the roots. If they are sapling’s roots, a rotovator will go through them easily. However if there are bigger deeper roots you may need to hire a stump grinder from us before rotovating.

How to use a soil cultivator

Can I use a rotovator on grass?

Yes, you can, but the results will be worse than what you would have got if you removed it first. The rotovator might have a hard time going through the tough grass and if we are talking about a lawn then you will need to remove the turf first – hire a turf cutter to assist you to do this!

How do I use the rotovator?

It is best to rotovate your land in strips, slightly overlapping each with the previous strip as you move on to the next strip. After a few passes, start working in the cross direction. Try not to dig much deeper than 2 or 3 inches on the first pass, this will allow you to set the rotovator to dig deeper on each extra pass. Do multiple passes until you reach the desired quality in the soil.

Safety tips

  • Check the soil before rotovating and remove any big rocks and other possible obstacles
  • Wear safety gear when rotovating, like gloves, protective glasses, earplugs and most importantly a heavy pair of boots (preferably steel-toe capped).
  • Remember to not leave the machine running unattended.
  • Remember to hold onto the machine tightly when using it. Avoid pressing down too much, but allow the rotovator to bounce, as this is safer for you and will prevent blade damage. It will also be less tiring for you!

Remember we will deliver all types of machinery or tools across Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire.