Posts Tagged With: fall yard maintenance

Part 2. Essential Fall Tools for Your Lawn & Garden

In continuing our discussion of essential tools for the month of October – those pieces of yard equipment that help accomplish everything on your outdoor to-do list – we’re introducing five more. Whereas the previous five revolved around trees and their maintenance, the following five items have to do with your lawn and garden specifically. Continue reading for the second set of essential yard tools and why they’re important for your fall maintenance schedule.

5 Essential Tools for Your Lawn & Garden

1. Aerator

Aerating removes a patch of grass and soil from the lawn, called a plug. This method can achieve fantastic results with regard to soil compaction. In addition, aerating has several major benefits:

  • Aerating perforates the soil with small holes, helping to alleviate soil compaction
  • Aerating helps air and water to penetrate lawn thatch or built-up organic debris so it doesn’t starve the roots
  • Aerating breaks up soil layering, allowing water to reach the roots
  • Aerating allows vital nutrients to reach the soil beneath the grass
  • Aerating helps the roots grow deeply, producing a stronger, more vigorous lawn

2. Lawn Vac

This gas-powered device is used to help clean up leaves, as a practical alternative to painstakingly raking your leaves. Thus, it’s a huge time saver. Lawn vacuuming also helps with lawn maintenance. A high capacity leaf vacuum can do almost all the work in one pass, with additional benefits including:

  1. Ease of use: the tough, manual yard work is a lot easier on the body.
  2. Removes leaves from corners and tight spaces: eliminating the inconvenience of manually raking, gathering more leaves in less time.
  3. Creates ready-to-use mulch: leaf vacuums also have the ability to shred and bag fallen leaves, ultimately saving money.
  4. Gathers other debris in addition to leaves: rid your yard of litter, too.
  5. Relatively quiet: the noise won’t wake the neighbors.

3. Tiller

High performance tillers are perfect for breaking new ground and cultivating soft soil.  That said, tillers are particularly ideal for raising garden beds, tilling in tight spaces, tilling close to existing plants, not to mention they’re easily transported and stored. However, keep in mind that your tiller will perform best if you adjust it to match the soil conditions. To optimize your tilling, we recommend following Honda Power Equipment’s acronym ESTER:

  • Evaluate your soil conditions.  Is the ground hard, or are you working in loose soil?
  • Set the tiller according to the conditions.  Depending on your model of tiller, you can adjust the depth bar, the tine configuration, throttle, or gear selection.
  • Till the area briefly.
  • Evaluate the tiller’s performance.
  • Reset the depth bar or other controls as necessary, and continue tilling.

4. Slice Seeder

Slice seeders cut vertically through existing grass and thatch, into the soil, dropping seed in the rows cut behind. Slice seeding makes direct contact with the soil for the seed to germinate quickly. The technique literally slices into the soil, creating rows for the seed to fall into, all in one motion.

Especially if your lawn turf was planted years ago, re-planting with today’s improved grass varieties can help your mature lawn resist disease and insect damage, making it stronger and more adaptable to the changing conditions of your yard due to landscaping, sun and shade.

One of the best ways to make dramatic improvements to your lawn in short order is by slice or slit seeding. Conventional and over-seeding are great for helping to thicken an existing lawn. Use slice seeding to make direct contact with the soil for the seed to germinate quickly. The technique literally slices into the soil, creating rows for the seed to fall into, all in one motion.

5. Over-Seeder

An over-seeder’s design allows seed to be delivered directly to its curved-shaped discs. This helps place the seed directly into soil slits, allowing ultimate seed to soil contact and consequently, better germination. You can seed at a variety of rates for different grass varieties and applications. You control the seed flow rate right from the operator’s station. The flow stops automatically when you raise the reel, allowing for maximum control and precise operation.

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Categories: Choosing Equipment, Featured Products, Gardening and Lawn Care | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Part 1. Essential Yard Tools for Your Fall Maintenance Checklist

Fall is not surprisingly one of the biggest times of year to clean up your yard, which includes maintenance of trees and branches. With winter just around the corner, for those lucky enough to have a wood-burning fireplace, that means dead limbs make the perfect source of fuel, not to mention being ideal for fall mulching. That said, it seems to us that five fall maintenance tools tend to be most popular, and thus incredibly helpful. Read on to find out which and why.

5 Essential Fall Tools

1. Wood Chipper: Besides making mulch, wood chips can be used for several other purposes. A brilliant use of wood chips would be as fuel. It is a good source of biomass fuel, making it environment friendly, as well as energy efficient. If you are using it in your homes, you could use the chips in place of firewood. They can be lit up in much the same way and you can add bigger quantities of the chips to ensure your fire burns for a longer time.

Another interesting use of wood chips is for decoration. A large number of interior designers are now incorporating them into their designs to create wood chip paintings, murals and even furniture, which can be done by mixing other organic substances with it.

2. Stump Cutter: Now is also an ideal time to consider which rotten old trees to cut down, and with that, any old stumps from trees you’ve already cut. Stump cutters provide an easy and efficient method for shaving down old tree stumps – essentially grinding them down to dust. Getting rid of old tree stumps makes a huge difference on your lawn’s appearance and the overall health.

3. Log Splitter: Speaking of chopping down old, rotting, unwanted trees, once you yell timber, you’re left with some large tree trunks to clean up. And what better way of eliminating that mess, but to split them into firewood? Then you can start your winter stockpile. Log splitters may seem fairly hefty, but they are strong and reliable, so if you rented one you could finish all your log splitting in a day.

4. Post Hole Digger: In addition to chopping down trees, fall is also the perfect time to consider planting new trees, such as oaks and evergreens. However, you’ll want to get started on this sooner rather than later, meaning you’ll need a post hole digger to make room for your tree’s roots to grow down deep. Read this post to learn how to plant new trees.

A post hole digger is also the ideal tool for replacing old, rotten fence posts or deck/porch posts that need reinforced. You can rent a heavy-duty auger for either of these tasks, a post hole digger that attaches to a dingo or a simple handheld post hole digger.

5. Tree Pruner: Lastly, tree pruning is a popular to-do for this time of year. With all this arbor talk, it goes without saying that trees still alive and kicking probably need a good trim to prepare their healthy branches for the harsh winter weather fast approaching. For a few pruning tips, check out this post: How to Hedge and Trim Your Garden Greens.

Categories: Featured Products, Gardening and Lawn Care, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

2 Fall Lawn Maintenance Tasks: Aerating/Plugging and Slice Seeding

Aerate & Slice Seed Your LawnYou have a beautiful, healthy lawn and you work hard to keep it that way — mowing, watering and fertilizing as part of a regular maintenance schedule. But lately, you notice that your lawn looks a little lack-luster. It was established back when your home was new, and it’s been a good number of years since then. Perhaps the homebuilder used sod, and now the soil is layered, which disrupts natural water drainage and leads to poor root development. Plus, your kids and pets are running around on it all the time, compacting the soil underneath the grass roots, and now it dries out quickly or feels sort of spongy. This indicates your lawn may have too much thatch that’s inhibiting the proper health of your beautiful lawn.

For all these reasons, aerating your lawn can help keep it beautiful. The best time for aeration is during the growing season in early fall, so grass can heal or fill in any open areas before it goes dormant in winter.

Aeration Accomplishes Several Important Things

  • Aerating perforates the soil with small holes, helping to alleviate soil compaction
  • Aerating helps air and water to penetrate lawn thatch or built-up organic debris so it doesn’t starve the roots
  • Aerating breaks up soil layering, allowing water to reach the roots
  • Aerating allows vital nutrients to reach the soil beneath the grass
  • Aerating helps the roots grow deeply, producing a stronger, more vigorous lawn

If you aerate your lawn and fertilize it at the same time, it can help the lawn breathe more easily. To learn more about this combination, read our blog post, Mark an Item Off Your Fall Checklist – Aerating and Fertilizing.

Types of Aerating Tools

Spike Aerator: pokes holes through the grass, thatch and roots and into the ground with a solid tine, or fork. This method is the least effective for soil compaction.

Aerator/Plugger: removes a patch of grass and soil from the lawn, called a plug. This method can achieve fantastic results with regard to soil compaction.

Slice Seeder: cuts vertically through existing grass and thatch, into the soil, dropping seed in the rows cut behind. Slice seeding makes direct contact with the soil for the seed to germinate quickly. The technique literally slices into the soil, creating rows for the seed to fall into, all in one motion. To learn more, read our blog post, Improve Your Existing Turf with Slice Seeding.

Tips for Aerating Your Yard

  • Aerate when the soil is moist, such as after a rain shower or a deep watering of the lawn
  • Run the aerator over the most compacted areas of your lawn several times, to make sure the compacted soil is completely treated
  • Dry excavated soil plugs and break them up, giving your lawn a uniform appearance
  • Research shows that aeration will not affect crabgrass control or weed prevention measures
  • After aerating, make sure to continue basic lawn care practices such as mowing, watering and proper fertilizing

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you make aeration part of your yearly lawn care regime. From aerator/pluggers to slice seeders to fertilizer, 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. Plus, your beautiful lawn will thank you for helping it breathe again!

Categories: Featured Products, Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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