Often customers who want to remove bumps or ups and downs in their yards ask me about rolling their lawn. The assumption is that rolling lawns will achieve a more even and level yard space. However, this is not true. In reality, rolling your lawn will cause more issues than it will solve.
Rather than flattening out your yard, all rolling does is compact the top level of soil creating much harder layers of soil for grass to grow. Soil has a structure comprised of small particles with pockets of air space in between. If you roll your lawn, you are essentially removing the air space and pushing the particles tightly together. Those pockets of space are necessary if you want to maintain a healthy lawn. Without air space, water will not infiltrate the soil properly causing lawns to brown out to dormancy quicker during periods of drought. Additionally, if your lawn doesn’t have enough air space to allow proper circulation during wet periods, it can lead to waterlogged roots that will eventually decompose. The most obvious necessity for empty space in your soil is that you need enough space for new roots to grow.
Furthermore, your soil needs enough space to allow oxygen to pass through. I often get asked questions about tree roots coming to the surface in lawn areas. Sometimes this is the nature of the tree; like with honeylocust. However, trees that do not typically grow this way will send roots to the surface if they cannot exchange enough oxygen in the soil.
What are alternatives to lawn rolling? The easiest way is adding soil to the low areas or shaving down high spots. You must be careful not to disrupt the drainage pattern of your yard.
If you are interested in discussing this further please feel free to contact me.