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How to use a Garden Tiller

How to use a garden tiller featured image.

The garden tiller can be a very useful tool. Having one makes it much easier to break up compact soil so that the plants or grass can have nice, aerated soil. If you have a small area you need to work on, a cultivator may get the job done. Anyone with a medium to large sized yard is going to want to use a tiller. You may also see tillers referred to as rototillers.

On a tiller, machine-powered blades can quickly break up dirt clods. Tillers almost always have gasoline powered engines. Due to their large size and power, it is important to take certain precautions when using one.

How to use a Garden Tiller in 6 Steps:

how to use a garden tiller tips


Step One: Prepare the Area

You are more than likely tilling your lawn or garden to plant new sod or plants. In order to effectively get to the soil, it is important to first remove any existing grass or plants in the area. Living plants will need to be dug out by the roots. If the plants or grass are dead, they can be left. The tiller will mulch the material, leaving you with a nice organic matter to help your lawn.

At the same time, keep your eyes peeled for any obstructions that could prove dangerous when using the tiller. Large rocks, tree roots, and anything else that isn’t soil can be a problem when you start tilling. It is handy if you have a wheelbarrow to take with you as you walk your yard so you can remove it all at once.

Step Two: Prepare Yourself

No matter how closely you inspected the area, things could still get caught by the tiller and come flying back at you. As a result, it is important to wear personal safety gear when using one. Safety glasses are especially important. Wear long pants, a shirt with long sleeves, and sturdy shoes. It is not wise to wear sandals when using a tiller or any other piece of motorized lawn equipment.

Step Three: Set Your Depth

Almost every motorized tiller has an adjustable depth feature. There is usually a metal slider on the tiller somewhere for tweaking how deep you want to go. Be sure to read your tiller’s user manual so you fully understand the mechanics of it.

Do not go too deep on your first pass with the tiller. Start out at the top setting, so the first time over the soil will be nice and shallow. For every pass going forward, you can adjust your depth done an inch or two at a time.

Step Four: Start Up the Tiller

You will need to find the on/off switch on your tiller. Once one, you can open the throttle to allow fuel to get into the engine. Next, you will need to adjust the choke, which is what allows the engine to get air. Engage the choke while closing the valve. It is important to find a good balance here. You want the engine to have a rich fuel supply so it will start, but too much air means not enough fuel.

Now it is time to pull the cord and actually start the engine. If it does not start the first time, let the cord back in a controlled fashion and then try again. Once the engine is successfully running, you can disengage the choke.

Step Five: Till Your Prepared Soil

The tines on your tiller do not start moving until you engage the lever that controls them. If you have a tiller with tines in the front, which most ones made for home use are, you will need to tip it forward. As you push down on your machine, it will begin to break up the soil. You will want to keep the pressure you are putting on the tiller consistent while walking at a normal speed through your lawn or garden.

Tillers are often difficult to turn. As a result, it may be easiest to till your lawn in alternating rows.

Do not try to till the soil directly next to what you just did, but instead go to where you tiller will turn to easily. After you have tilled the entire area, you will want to hit it all again going in the opposite direction. If you went horizontally through your lawn the first time, go vertically the next time, and vice versa. This helps to ensure that your soil is nice and broken up and aerated.

Step Six: Turn Off the Machine

Turning off your tiller is simple. All you have to do is switch is release the lever that was controlling the tines. Then, switch it off. You should have a nicely tilled yard or garden that is ready for whatever you have planned next for it!

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