What is a tiller?

A garden tiller churns up compacted dirt turning it into soil which is suitable for planting seeds and bulbs, perfect for creating new garden beds.

What is a tiller?

A garden tiller is a gardening tool used to improve the quality of soil and prepare ground for planting by breaking down compact soil down into smaller chunks.

What are tillers used for?

A tiller is used to dig, loosen, and break up hard ground into smaller pieces to create a new garden bed suitable for planting by exposing fresh soil to the surface. A tiller can be used for removing weeds, blending manure and lime to enrich the soil health, when used with optional attachments it can drill, plough and grub.

Why do I need a garden tiller?

Hard, compact, rocky soil containing weeds is not suitable for planting vegetables, flowers, seeds or fruits, a tiller makes light work of quickly and thoroughly preparing the ground ready to grow by turning the soil with the ability to mix compost, fertiliser, and manure.

What are the different types of tillers?

There are two different types of tiller which are based on the location of the tines:

Front tine tillers are smaller, more manoeuvrable and affordable.
Rear tine tillers are more powerful heavy-duty workhorses aimed at larger areas.

Tiller engines are categorised by the type of power that they use:

Electric powered tillers which can be plugged into a domestic power outlet.
Gas powered tillers which require petroleum and offer the greatest amount of power.
Rechargeable battery powered tillers which are less powerful but more convenient in small areas.
Hand powered tillers which rely on the effort of the operator to push them.

Tiller uses

What do I use a tiller for?

Tillers can be used for several different tasks in the garden:

Creating new garden beds for flowers, vegetables, and fruit.

Turning over an area of lawn to spread new grass seed.

Removing weeds from an existing garden bed.

Improving drainage.

Turning earth to bring fresh soil to the surface.

Increase the amount of moisture for plants.

Crumbling the soil so that plant roots can reach deeper into the ground.

Turning hard soil has become too labour intensive to dig manually.

Mixing fertiliser, manure, and compost into the soil.

Ideal for large areas which might take too long to manually dig.

When should a tiller be used?

If you want to prepare soil for creating a garden bed or lawn, then a tiller should be used. Tillers are perfect for working through the time-consuming and labour-intensive job of turning over earth ready for planting as well as making it easy to remove weeds.

Why do gardeners use tillers?

Gardeners use tillers because takes away the time consuming, strenuous, and laborious task of turning soil, destroying weeds, and mixing compost to create a highly nutritious aerated bed with improved drainage ready for vegetables and plants.

Is a tiller suitable for a community garden?

A tiller represents superb value for community gardeners needing to share the cost of a high-quality tiller between members. Every new plot of land will require the soil turning for a new member as well as regular maintenance, therefore a tiller quickly becomes a useful and valuable time-saving tool for all members of the community.

When not to use a tiller

Avoid using a tiller in areas where you could accidently remove critical roots of neighbouring plants, therefore adjust the tiller blade depth to a shallow setting to avoid tearing through roots but still turn enough soil to remove smaller weeds and mix compost, manure and fertiliser.

A tiller is a great labour-saving tool for saving time and effort, however might not be necessary for very small gardens where hand tools are a cost effective alternative.

What is a tine on a tiller?

A tine is another name for a blade found on a tiller, typically there are 4 spinning tines arranged evenly like spokes connected to an axle in the middle. There will be either 2 or 4 of these spaced across the axle, their purpose is to churn up the ground when the tines are rotated by the engine.

Weed tillers

What is a weed tiller?

A weed tiller, or front tine tiller, has the tines on the front of the unit and is much narrower making it more suitable for weeding between rows of plants and vegetables.

How effective is a weed tiller?

Using a tiller for removing weeds will save time and effort compared to other tools, because a weed tiller can thoroughly cover a wide area automatically it is a highly effective tool for gardeners.

Can any tiller be used to remove weeds?

Front tine tillers are suitable for tilling weeds on established beds due to their size and manoeuvrability, rear tine tillers are recommended for creating new beds in areas of thick weeds and tall grass.

How do I plant a garden without a tiller?

A garden spade, shovel, pitchfork, rake, garden claw, multi-prong hand tiller, hoe or push pull hoe can make a more affordable solution to loosening up soil, whilst a pick or affordable handheld mini-tiller is suited for tougher thicker soil. These alternatives to tillers are typically cheaper, smaller and do not require power, however, will take a lot longer to use to use manually, therefore unsuitable for larger areas. Large fresh beds may take a long period to time to dig manually with weeds potentially starting to regrow before the area is complete.

A wheel hoe, push plough, or manual garden cultivator is similar to a tiller but they rely on the user manually pushing the unit to furrow and loosen soil. A tiller is a motorised alternative to these manual solutions which can save a great deal of time and effort.

Lawn tillers

What is a lawn tiller?

A lawn tiller, also known as a grass tiller is a gardening tool designed for the purpose of preparing an area of soil or grass to be seeded.

Can a tiller remove grass?

A garden tiller is the most efficient and chemical-free way for removing grass, use a rear tine model is the most effective tiller for the job.

How do lawn tillers work?

When a lawn tiller is pushed over an area of soil or lawn the rotating blades break through the grass to loosen the soil ready for grass seed. If the tilling depth is shallow enough the grass roots in the upturned soil can still grow back.

What is a rotary tiller?

Tillers are often referred to as rotary tillers, with ‘tractor-led rotary tillers’ being a type of engineless tiller that is towed behind a tractor that is more suited for heavy duty agricultural work in fields.

What are barley tillers?

Although the name suggests that a barley tiller could be a tiller used specifically for seeding barley it refers to the ear-bearing tillers which grow on a barley plant.


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