Your Guide on Whether to Buy a Tiller or a Rotovator

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Your Guide on Whether to Buy a Tiller or a Rotovator

Tillers and rotovators mechanically perform tasks to break up turf or planting ground to improve the properties of the soil. Impacted earth, root bound by weeds, or dense, heavy clay all present problems to any potential planting. Part of the preparation for landscape gardeners, DIY-ers and agricultural farm workers is to get the land into the best condition possible to accept crops and ornamental plants. Turing over the soil to create new beds is back-breaking work, especially if the ground has never been dug over before. Rocks and stones make a pick shudder and are hard work to remove manually. Construction workers, too, are often required to rehabilitate any site routes affecting landscape to improve the aesthetic appearance of new build areas or banksides of new roads. Allotments need attention to prepare the ground, and as they usually accommodate a considerable space, tilling and rotovating the soil are essential before planting.

What Does a Rotovator Do?

Primitive ploughing, with farmers pulling the ploughshare behind them, predated using harnessed animals for the task. Ploughing is a large-scale version of rotovating creating rows or hills with deep furrows either side. Such large areas seldom receive daily or weekly weeding and by turning over the sods, weeds can be eliminated. They are lifted out by their roots and in the turned over soil are left without sunlight and much of the weed mass dies off naturally. Some weeds, of course, are exceptionally robust and will reappear but not so many that would detriment crop development. Harrowing usually follows ploughing to collect the debris.

Turning Sods of Turf

On ley ground, or turning pasture into tillage crops, grass presents many problems and the furrow-sliced ground should be rolled or hard pressed afterwards. Good consolidation helps restrict the pest movement associated with ley, for example slugs or leatherjackets. Pasture or silage crops will have left potash deposits that affect the soil’s pH balance. Lime levels and soil fertility will determine the suitability of the ground for specific crops. Turned sods will continue to grow for a period and make the nutrient release to subsequently planted seeds problematic. Chemical burning with glyphosphate a month ahead of ploughing will help alleviate this potential problem. Academic papers on agronomy and agricultural practice offer the best advice for large-scale farming considerations.

Clearing Roots and Weeds

For smaller areas than fields, the work of a tractor, plough and harrow is easily done by a rotovator. Perhaps an extension has been created or a patio which has affected the lawn of a house. In order to encourage healthy grass regrowth or to establish new flower beds, the area will require rotovation to remove underlying rocks or rubble and provide a good base for topsoil and manure or other fertiliser to encourage new plants. As a rotovator’s tines dig deeper, they will unearth all manner of undesirable things for an intended planting area. In areas with heavy clay, a rotovator is an essential tool for serious gardeners. Its action will decompact and loosen the sticky earth and allow soil quality enhancing additions such as sand, and compost or manure to contribute to the organic matter which helps to give a better consistency to the clay.

Back and Forth

On ‘virgin’ or waste ground hoping to undergo a transformation, a rotovator is the most effective tool to catch deeper roots from plants like brambles or couch grass. Working on such a project without chemicals will take time, but each new effort will bring improvement to the plot so that its maintenance becomes easy. First, cross the ground horizontally, then vertically to really loosen the earth and get rid of any rocks or stones that will affect root depth and development. This is especially important for plants like vegetables which develop underground, such as potatoes or carrots. Let the furrows dry out and repeat the procedure until satisfied that the lower levels of the ground are clear. Razing the weed and root mass that appears after rotovation will ensure their elimination; otherwise they will continue to be a bane to your garden for years after. Cardboard or black plastic sheeting laid on top of the turned over area will help speed up the weed elimination if burning is an unacceptable option.

What Does a Tiller Do?

A tiller, for agricultural/gardening purposes, is a soil or earth breaking implement. It is not the rudder steering guide bar on a boat. Rather than the work which a plough or a rotovator might do, a tiller addresses the surface of the earth. It turns over the topsoil, breaking it up so that it is friable and crumbles readily so it might receive seeds. A seedbed needs good consolidation as plant roots must bind closely to best extract the essential nutrients required for healthy, vigorous growth. Tilling the soil will refresh and aerate it, creating a fine tilth and have the soil prepared for sowing. A slow, steady motion is best for developing good loamy soil. It is used on already loosened or uncovered dirt and tilling usually takes place in spring when planting is intended. A hoe, a fork, and a rake could do the job in a small area of a flowerbed, but a mechanical tiller will take the backache out of preparing larger areas requiring treatment. Tilling should be done when the soil is moist, but not wet. Use the tiller to mix in soil enhancers once the ground has been prepared. Popular Brand Models of Tillers and Rotovators for Comparison

Manufacturer

Power in hp * = tiller # = rotavator

Size in cm [working width]

0 - 1

  1. 1 - 2
  1. 1 - 3
  1. 1- 4
  1. 1 - 5

> 5

1-29

30- 39

40-49

50 -59

59-60

60- 69

> 70

AL-KO

     

*

*

* Combi B&S XM 55

  1. 5hp
 

/

 

/

     

Ardisam

         

* CRT 196cc CRT B&S 800 series engine 206cc

/

/

 

/

     

Bertolini

         

* CRT Honda engine 160cc

         

/

 

Brill

Electric 350W

           

/

Centurion

       

*

       

/

     

Dori

   

#

   

*

         

/

 

Grillo [domestic] [professional]

         

# # * CRT Honda engine

  1. 5hp
     

/

     

Honda

*

*

*

 

*

* CRT 163cc

/

/

/

/

 

/

 

Husquvarna

   

*

           

/

     

Jonsered

         

* CRT 206cc

         

/

 

Lawnflite

       

* CRT 208cc

* CRT 205cc [4kw rating]

   

/

   

/

 

Lazer

     

*

*

*

     

/

 

/

 

Mantis

Electric 240V

/

           

Merry Tiller

     

*

 

*

   

/

   

/

 

Mitox

     

*

       

/

       

Rally

       

#

           

/

 

Ryobi

Electric 1050W

/

           

WOLF -Garten

 

*

 

**

     

/

/

   

/

 

Electric 1400W

 

/

         

Cultivators – The Same but Different

Many people believe rotovators and tillers to be the same machine. They are both types of cultivator. In modern machines, there is little difference between them except the action of the tines. Most tillers are smaller machines which have a forward action and are suitable for lighter groundwork where the soil has already been loosened 10-12 inches by ploughing or rotovating. They do not cut through turf. Some are surprisingly lightweight and ideal for areas where space is limited. Rotovators have tines that perform a reverse action as well, are heavier and more hard-working than tillers, making them suitable for bigger projects where they also have greater turning space.

How to Find Tillers and Rotovators on eBay

Once the Categories arrow on the eBay home page is clicked, all categories are revealed. To find tillers and rotovators choose Garden & Patio and expand the list by clicking on ‘choose more’. Look for and click on Power Tools & Equipment to open a new page. From the available categories on the left, select Rotovators/Aerators where Brands, Power Sources and Condition are optional, check boxes to fit the desired search. If already on eBay, make use of the search and go box, located at the top of any open page, and type into it a word or phrase for the site to match to currently available items. For example: type ‘petrol rotovator’ and choices will appear as well as suggestions for related searches to assist finding the correct item. Make further searches by clicking the check boxes for preferred brand, engine size and/or condition.

Conclusion

Many households and market gardens and landscaping companies prefer to conduct their business and grow plants without the use of chemicals. Rotovators and tillers will help with weed elimination in an organic manner as well as preparing the ground for sowing so that crops and flowers will thrive and produce abundant, healthy specimens. Gardening and agricultural advice is available online and machine manufacturer’s specifications are also available for comparison, review and recommendations to help find the best suited model for the intended task.

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