Rotavators are an easy way to remove weeds and loosen soil while preparing the bed for planting. They’re used in agriculture, landscaping, gardening, and lawn care. A rotavator is a tractor attachment that has many rotating blades on its underside.
The machine can be powered by diesel or gasoline engines or electric motors. Most models have two sets of blades with one set on each side of the tractor’s front axle so they don’t get in each other’s way when turning corners.
There are three basic types: pull type where you attach it to your truck; push-type where you push it behind your irrigating equipment; trailer-pulled which is pulled by a vehicle like a garden cart or ATV. Rotavators come
What Does A Rotavstor Do
A Rotavator is a piece of equipment used to churn and aerate the soil prior to the area being seeded or having turf laid. This is an essential step to prepare the land. The Rotavator used a series of blades to twist apart and break up the soil. These can be rather powerful pieces of equipment and special care must be taken to avoid harm.
Choose The Right Rotavator
It is important to select the correct size rotavator for your field or garden. There is little point arranged a large rotavator for a small garden. Also, consider if you will have sufficient space to access the area. if necessary consult with an expert to ensure you choose the correct rotavator for your needs.
When To Rotavate
It is generally advised to rotavate in spring or autumn. These seasons offer softer soil and will result in more aeration than in the summer months.
Check Soil Moisture
Your soil moisture can play a large part in how successful your rotavating is. Sandy soil will rotavate in a very similar way whether dry or wet and so the moisture level is not as important.
In comparison, clay soil must be done when the moisture is favourable. if the soil is too dry it will be very hard and difficult to break apart. In contrast, when the soil is too moist the clay can stick to your rotavator cause unnecessary mess and potential damage to your requirement.
Weed removal is very important when rotavating. If left you will find the weed will quickly grow out of control and the seeds have been mixed throughout the soil of your entire field or garden.
Control The Rotavator Properly
When you are using your rotavator you must ensure you maintain full control of the equipment. A rotavator is a powerful piece of equipment and it can easily course damage or harm if not used properly.
Rotavate The Land In Strips
When Rotavating your land plan head, it is advised to rotavate in strips to ensure the best result. Make a few passes over each strip, and repeat the process at right angles to the original rotavated strips. Don’t dig much deeper than two or three inches deep on the first pass. You can then set the rotavator to dig deeper on each pass after that. You should rotavate offer the course of several hours.
Traditional gardeners were very keen on digging over the ground with a spade and this method can still be useful for small areas or where the extra depth of cultivation is needed.
Modern rotavators though are much quicker and at Jackson & Gocher we hire 3 sizes of machines. The C8 is a good general-purpose rotavator, the C10, which is slightly larger and also has a harrow attachment (for getting a fine tilth) and is good for preparing ground ready for turfing or seeding, and the hydraulic rotavator which is good for heavier clay bound soils.
How to rotavate for the best results:
- This is ideally done in spring or autumn when the ground is softer
- Depending on the final use of the area it is best to kill all weeds with a proprietary weedkiller first as they have a habit of re-appearing !!
- If you will be growing fruit or vegetables these should not be planted for a few weeks after weed killing – see manufacturers instructions
- For the best results it is better to clear the ground of grass using a turf cutter (also available for hire from Jackson & Gocher) otherwise the ground will be lumpy and difficult to rake and the lumps of grass often take root again
- Ensuring the ground is soft enough for the tines to dig in, rotavate the area planned (this may need to be done 2 or 3 times in different directions to break the soil up ready for planting). Be careful close to trees as the machine can kick if it hits a large root I know from experience!
- If you a creating a vegetable or flower bed now is a good time to add some compost or manure and use the rotavator to mix it in with the soil
- If you a going to seed or turf the area very fine soil will be needed and the C10 rotavator with a harrow attachment is good for this. Small areas can be levelled with a landscaping rake. For a really flat lawn, it is best to leave the area to weather for a week or two before seeding or turfing as it is surprising how many humps and hollows appear!
Contact Jackson & Gocher
Jackson & Gocher also hire cultivators but these are really only suitable for going over existing flower beds or vegetable patches where the soil is very loose and soft. Because they rely on the rotating cutters to move the machine through the ground they are much harder work than a rotavator with a powered drive. The use of weedkillers or fertilisers is not our area of expertise and information on these is best obtained from a horticulturalist at your local garden centre. See our full ranger of gardening equipment here.
If you’re looking for a rotavator, don’t worry. We’ve got the lowdown on what they are and how to use them. To get started, these machines have an engine that turns the tines in order to dig up dirt or sand from your garden bed so it can be used as composting material later.
The machine is typically found with four-wheel attachments with handlebars so you can steer it around easily without having to push it yourself too much. When using one of these tools, always remember not to go over any paved surfaces like walkways or driveways because this could damage them permanently. We are proud to offer tool hire to Cranleigh, Milford and Dorking.