How To Use a Tiller To Remove Weeds


There are many different techniques for weed removal, although not all are effective. Tilling is a cost-effective, easy, and fast method to control weeds. Using tillers saves you a substantial amount of time and labor. Tillers are designed to break up the soil and turn it over to get rid of weeds and prepare the land for planting season. Tilling is an effective technique for killing weeds if it is done correctly at the right time. 

Wondering what tiller to use? I curated a list of the best tillers for all your needs.

Tilling process for weed management

You should only use a tiller if the garden is covered with many weeds. It can be detrimental to till your land if you use the tiller recklessly. Follow these steps when using a tiller:

Clean the target area

green spring meadow

Ensure that the area you intend to clear is clean. Get rid of stones and other debris that might damage your tiller’s blades. Most standard tillers are not designed to cut through hard elements. Therefore, remove any obstacles that might hamper the tilling process. 

Check the weather and condition of the land

Use a tiller when the weather and soil conditions are appropriate. It can be difficult to till the land during the rainy season or in a drought. The soil should be ideally moist. Tilling on wet soil might damage the soil structure.

If your land is dry, water the soil around it. The tiller’s blades will need help to roll well on dry ground. The goal is to soften the soil enough so the tiller can work effectively. 

Wear safety equipment

Put on safety gear when tilling your garden. The rotating blades are dangerous, and you should always protect yourself. Wear gloves, overalls, face masks, and protective footwear to avoid inhaling crop dust and other debris.

untied leather boots on the ground
Photo by Teresa Rautio on

Tilling can be hazardous to your skin and body, so it is important to follow hygiene rules to keep yourself safe. 

Cut off longer weeds

You can make tilling easier by trimming tall weeds. Once you start tilling, you will want the process to be fast and devoid of any obstacles.

Most trimmers will eliminate small and medium-sized weeds perfectly. Use a mower to trim the larger weeds before you begin tilling. This will prevent the weeds from clogging the blades when tilling the soil. 

Position the tiller appropriately

Place the tiller on top of the area you want to eliminate weeds. Depending on the types of weeds in your garden, adjust the depth settings on the tiller. Set a bigger depth if the weeds have deep roots, and use the low setting if you have less significant weeds.

Position the tiller well, and press the clutch lever to allow the blades to dig into the soil. Keep a firm grip on the handles because the blades might slightly jump off the ground when digging. 

Work through the garden in straight rows, moving from one end to the other. Stick to a particular order to ensure you get all weeds. Remove the blades from the ground by pushing down on the handle when you finish weeding a specific section. When beginning a new row, turn the tiller around, set the blades to the surface, and repeat the process. 

Rake excessive vegetation

Remove any cuttings that may prevent your new plants from developing their root systems. You can use a rake or manually pick up the cuttings to clear your soil. Add the excess vegetation to your compost mix to enrich the soil later. 

Types of tillers

The best tool for the job depends on the depth and type of soil, moisture content, the type and age of weeds, and the slope of your garden. 

Front tine tiller

The front-tine tiller has its blades at the front and is effective for removing weeds from between rows of plants. They are good for medium size plots where you have a definitive area you need to clear. They are light, easy to move, inexpensive, and require less storage space. 

Rear tine tiller 

The blades of the rear tine tiller are situated at the back, and the engine is at the front. It is larger, more powerful, and bulkier than a front-line tiller. The blades are designed to break up hard ground. It can be used in large open areas and fields. 


A cultivator is good for breaking soil and eliminating grasses and broadleaf weeds. It gives you more control over the depth and position of the tiller, so you can avoid damaging the roots of your plants.

It runs on battery, petroleum, or electric power. The cultivator works well between rows of plants in raised beds in a small garden. It is lightweight and easy to handle. 

Here’s a list I compiled of the best tillers you can buy.

When to use a tiller to remove weeds

It is best to use a tiller when the land has been unattended for a long period and has been completely covered by weeds. At this stage, it isn’t easy to deal with them manually. The key is to remove weeds and their roots entirely from the ground. 

If you have installed underground irrigation systems, do not use a tiller in your garden. The blades may damage your pipes, which will cost a lot of money to repair. Moreover, it would help if you did not use a tiller to control rhizomatous weeds.

Tilling cuts the roots into smaller pieces and spreads them throughout the field. Further, tillage can be ineffective against perennial weeds if the entire plant is not uprooted. 

Will weeds come back after tilling?

Using a tiller for weed removal will destroy the plants but scatter the garden’s seeds and root cuttings. The tiller moves the soil around and mixes the weed seeds with the soil. Therefore, you will eliminate weeds for a short while, but they will reestablish quickly.

You might have to till the land repeatedly to eliminate weeds, especially when dealing with perennials. Some weed varieties will grow in larger numbers after tilling, especially those that propagate from root cuttings. 

Should I wet the ground before using a tiller?

Yes, you should moisten the ground if your soil is dry. The tiller’s blades should be able to cut into the ground easily. In arid areas, the ground is hard, and the tillers will struggle to break through the surface. However, it would be best to care when watering the ground because muddy ground is not ideal for tilling. 

Are you getting paid to remove weeds? Here’s how much to charge.


Tillers are effective against most weeds growing in your garden. If you have a significant plot of land to cultivate, tilers will save you time and labor. When used properly, tillers are efficient and quicker than manual tilling. Weed tillers are worth considering when preparing your land for the planting season. Choose the best tiller depending on the soil, garden layout, and type of weeds on the land.