Posts Tagged With: fall lawn maintenance

Groundcovers – Make Sweet Spots in Your Yard

GroundcoverDo you have an area in your yard where grass will not grow? Or a slope that seems to be eroding with every rainfall? If so, then a groundcover may be the solution. These low-lying plants can grow where grass and other more delicate plants cannot.

Low Growing, Spreads Easy

The definition of a groundcover is a low growing plant (less than 24 inches) that spreads easily by producing rhizomes or stolons. These plants form dense vegetation, which chokes out weeds and makes them virtually maintenance free.

Why are groundcovers so useful in your yard?

  • They help prevent soil erosion. Root systems mat together and hold soil in place.
  • They help prevent weeds. Their matted roots and dense growth patterns keep weeds from taking hold.
  • They define a space. They also provide a transition between lawn and flower beds.
  • They soften hardscapes. Walkways, steps and driveways look less severe.
  • They fill awkward spaces. They are great to place between pavers or rocks.
  • They grow where grass will not. Many groundcover plants can survive in poor soil conditions and shady areas.
  • They are drought tolerant. They need less water than traditional grasses.
  • They mostly withstand foot traffic. Groundcovers such as moss, thyme and turfgrass don’t mind a little walking.

5 Types of Commonly Used Groundcover Plants

  • Vines – woody plants with slender spreading stems
  • Herbaceous – non-woody plants
  • Shrubs – low-growing varieties
  • Moss – the larger, coarser types
  • Ornamental Grasses

Pick Your Spot – Make Your Selection

Determine the area you want to plant groundcover. Is it shady or in full sun? Does the ground drain well or stay moist? This will help you decide what types of plants to select. Herbaceous plants will lose their leaves in the winter so if you are trying to cover a bare area then go with evergreen plants.

Creeper, Carpeter or Clumper

Ground covering plants can be creepers (vines and fast spreading plants), carpeters (like moss or turfgrass) or clumpers like Hostas. If you are trying to fill in a large area quickly, then maybe a creeper type is what you need. For variety, try mixing together all three types. Just determine each plant’s maximum growth range and space them out accordingly.

Stagger Your Plants

As with all plantings, starting with good healthy soil is important. Prepare the bed by adding compost or organic material. Arrange the plants you’ve selected in a staggered or diamond pattern to allow them to fill in faster. Space out your plants. Give creepers more room to spread out than the clumping types. Remember that a fast spreading creeper may become invasive if not kept in check. Just keep an eye on them.

Mulch for Protection

After planting be sure to cover with a thick layer of mulch to keep the weeds under control until the groundcover can fill in. The mulch will also provide protection during the winter months. Groundcover plants will take a couple of growing seasons to establish and completely fill in the area.

Most Popular Groundcovers

  • Ajuga
  • Bishop’s Weed (good for slopes)
  • Brass Buttons (evergreen)
  • Creeping Speedwell
  • Dead Nettle
  • Hakone Grass
  • Hen & Chicks
  • Irish Moss
  • Juniper
  • Lamb’s Ear (evergreen)
  • Lamium
  • Lily-of-the-Valley
  • Mondo Grass (evergreen)
  • Periwinkle
  • Scotch Moss
  • Sedum
  • Spurge
  • Sweet Woodruff (loves shade)
  • Thyme

Let Your Imagination Run Wild

Groundcovers are an easy solution to most landscape challenges. They can also be used to create some very interesting focal points in your yard. Mother Nature has provided you with every texture and color you can think up for your garden palette. Let your imagination run wild.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your yard and garden projects. From tillers and shovels to wheel barrows and mulch, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How & When to Properly Use a Lawn Vacuum

How-To Use A Lawn VacuumSavvy do-it-yourselfers are quickly catching on to the power of lawn vacuums for yard cleanup. Readily rentable and easy-to-use, lawn vacs are similar to vacuums for indoor use. They feature larger collection bags and more rugged construction that can handle mounds of leaves and sometimes even small yard debris. Typically they are designed to run quieter than leaf blowers, too.

How a Lawn Vacuum Works

Constructed like indoor vacuums, lawn vacs use high speed fans to create suction when air rushes up into an intake hose, taking leaves with it, depositing them in a waste compartment or collection bag designed to handle a large volume of waste that detaches for disposal.

How to Use a Lawn Vacuum

Common types of lawn vacs include push-mower varieties, handheld versions, backpacks, large riders, trailer attachments and small tractors. Decide what type of lawn vac you need based on the type of job:

  • Cleaning leaves between flower beds or hard-to-reach areas requires the flexibility of a backpack or handheld model – or first use a leaf blower to move debris out into an open area
  • Cleaning leaves from an entire open backyard requires something with wheels

Just like an indoor vacuum, all you need to do is push or ride it around the yard just like you would do when vacuuming a carpet. The suction does most of the work, until it’s time to empty the collection bag.

  • Wear appropriate industrial ear plugs to protect against any noise pollution
  • Make sure the vacuum path is clear of big debris, such as branches and rocks
  • Position the intake hose as close to the ground as possible for the greatest suction
  • Maneuver the machine around the yard slowly with straight or circular passes
  • Raise the intake hose when moving over bumpy terrain so it doesn’t bump against the ground
  • Emptying most collection bags is a two-person job, because they are likely too heavy for one person to lift and dump out; bags come with a door to scoop out debris manually
  • Avoid using a lawn vac in the rain or to pick up soaked leaves, which is more difficult
  • Use the appropriate nozzle or attachment, which are usually included with the machine to help to move into any tight spaces

Keep a Rake Handy

Even though lawn vacs make quick work of collecting and disposing of leaves, they do not help with lawn aeration. This is one of the reasons why you should keep a rake close-by. A rake can break up lawn thatch, which builds up and makes it difficult for your lawn to breathe and stay healthy. Rakes can also help remove leaves and debris from tight places, moving into open areas and ready for the lawn vac to suck up!

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your lawn and garden projects. We offer a variety of lawn vacs made by Billy Goat, such as the new MV650H 27″ Lawn Vacuum, which is designed for a thorough clean-up; the Self-Propelled Vacuum, powered by a 6.5-HP Honda engine with a three-speed transmission; and a Leaf Vacuum Trailer, which moves more debris than most other truck loaders. From wheelbarrows to rakes and everything in-between, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

*photos courtesy of Billy Goat Industries, Inc.

Categories: Fall Checklist, Featured Products, Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

10 Must-Have Fall Lawn & Garden Tools

Fall is the perfect time to catch up on all your lawn maintenance to-dos, especially due to the cooler temps. Whatever that may entail, below are 10 lawn tools that encompass a wide range of outdoor tasks. We carry all 10 items in stock for rent and some for purchase as well, so please check out our online store for more details or stop in today! Happy lawn maintenance and gardening!

10 Must Have Lawn Tools

Categories: Fall Checklist, Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's, Infographics | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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