Can You Use a Tiller to Remove Weeds?

Everyone hates trying to remove weeds from gardens and they often seem to grow quicker than the plants. Using a tiller to remove weeds may seem to be an easy solution but is it really a good idea? It certainly makes the task much faster and can save you time and energy. Here is some information that can help you to decide whether using a tiller to remove weeds is a good idea. 

What is a tiller?

A tiller has tines or blades usually made from durable, heavy-duty steel. The blades break up hard, compact soil and turn it over so it’s ready for planting. Breaking the soil into smaller pieces helps to improve soil aeration and loosening the ground also helps the roots of plants to develop quickly and reach farther into the soil.

Front-tine tillers are suitable for small to medium-sized gardens where the ground is firm but not completely solid. They are small in size and easy to maneuver in compact areas. Rear-tine tillers are more powerful and work in areas with densely packed soil. 

When should you use a tiller?

If the land has not been tended to for a long time and is completely overrun by weeds, it could take far too long to deal with them manually. You can quickly get rid of all the weeds with the tiller and then pull out the new weeds that pop up by hand. 

An important key is to remove the weeds and their roots from the soil and not just leave them lying there. After tilling, you can use a rake to break the soil down into smaller chunks which makes the weeds more visible and easier to remove. If you leave them there with the roots intact, they could just grow again. 

Using a tiller to remove weeds

If you want to use a tiller to remove weeds, the first step is to prepare the area for tilling. If the weeds are very long, it helps to use a mower to cut the grass and weeds first. This will prevent weeds from clogging the tines while tilling. You will need to remove any rocks or stones that could impede progress. 

Position the tiller correctly, hold on to the handles with both hands and keep a firm grip. Engage the clutch lever so the tines dig into the soil. Slowly and steadily push the tiller forward. Once you have completed a row, push down on the lever to raise the blades out of the ground. Turn the tiller around, set the blades back on the ground and press the clutch lever again to start the blade motion. Repeat the process until the whole area is tilled. 

Disadvantages of using a tiller to remove weeds

If you do not have a lot of weeds to deal with, using a tiller may not be the best idea. Here are some reasons why it may be better to pull them out manually. 

1. Weeds end up spreading their seeds

Using a tiller to get rid of weeds destroys the weeds but it scatters the seeds all over. As the tiller moves along, it mixes the seeds in with the soil. You may get a temporary victory over your weeds but they are likely to grow back in greater numbers than ever before. 

2. Weeds are extremely resilient and hard to kill

Weeds can easily grow again from the roots. A tiller chops the weeds out of the ground but may leave the roots behind. The more you chop up some varieties of weeds, the more they grow back in quantity. 

3. Tilling can compromise the soil structure

Tilling the ground all the time just to remove weeds can compromise the soil structure. The soil is full of microorganisms, worms, and other little creatures. Tilling not only disturbs natural oxygen channels created by worms but can also loosen the soil too much, which means it can compress too easily, which is not good for plants. 

Pulling weeds out by hand

Unless you have a great many weeds in your garden, you should try to pull them out manually. Just make sure you wear protective gloves as many weeds have small thorns and you will need to get a good grip on the weeds to make sure you pull them out by the roots. 


Using a tiller to get rid of weeds has pros and cons. If you don’t have too many weeds, using a tiller could do more harm than good. In cases where you’re dealing with a great quantity of weeds, using a tiller could help to save time and energy. Just make sure you remove the weeds and roots from the soil after using the tiller. 

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