best way to till a yard with rocks etc?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by patent10021, Nov 8, 2016.

  1. patent10021 macrumors 68030


    Apr 23, 2004
    The ground in my yard is too old/hard to shovel by hand. So I was thinking if getting a tiller to do it all for me. But then I was thinking a tiller wouldn't be able to handle all the rocks etc. The earth has all sorts of stuff in it. This is all garbage dirt. We're clearing it all out down to the concrete.

    Is a tiller in fact the way to go? Are there different tillers for different jobs?
  2. chown33, Nov 9, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2016

    chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    How big are the biggest rocks?

    I've run rototillers in rocky soil before, where no rock was bigger than about baseball size. It worked fine. It was bumpy as hell, and there was lots of stop-and-go driving to pick up the big rocks in order to move forward, but the tiller didn't stall or explode or anything. Get a tiller with big spacing between the blades. It's the spacing that will determine how well it can work over or through rocks.

    Before tilling, I also went over the ground first and used a garden fork to dig up the bigger rocks that had any exposed surface. I used a shovel, too, but the fork is better for breaking up the surrounding soil before shoveling.

    The things I'd be most leary about rototilling are cable, wire, rope, and stuff like that. It'll get wound around the axle pretty quickly, and the tiller blades have enough leverage to make it a real bear to get off manually. A pair of diagonal wire-cutters is better than scissors for cleaning up mistakes.

    And make sure you have several spare shear pins on hand before you start. You'll almost certainly break a few, and they're better to have and not need, than need and not have.
  3. JamesMike macrumors 603


    Nov 3, 2014
  4. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    You'll want a powerful tiller for a job like that. I can tell you something like the Troy-Bilt Horse would be up to the task. My parents have an 8 HP one from the 70's and it's a BEAST, it'll till through hard soil like it's butter. I imagine you'll be renting a tiller for this?

    I've considered offering to my parents that we do a similar job on their yard, there are some places that are rough.

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