Posts Tagged With: Garden

We’ve Got the 4-1-1 on the War Against Weeds

dandelionsStop Weeds Before They Start

It’s springtime and those pesky weeds have been lying dormant all winter just waiting to burst forth. Never fear, we have the 4-1-1 on how to cut them off at the start; saving you time and money. Effective weed control is easier than you think.

Weed Worries Got You Down?

Weeds are sneaky little buggers. They sleep all winter long and pop their heads above ground at the first sign of warm weather. Weed seeds are in virtually everything from potting soil to grass seed. In fact, the more you disturb the soil the more seeds you are exposing to moisture and sunlight needed for germination. So what are you to do?

Efficiently controlling weed growth is possible when you follow these 8 simple rules:

  • Minimize disturbing the soil – When maintaining your garden avoid digging or hoeing below the top 1-2 inches of dirt to limit the amount of seeds exposed. When planting be sure to cover the freshly turned soil with thick layer of mulch.
  • Mulch – Keep the seeds in the dark! Cover areas around plants with at least 2 inches of mulch. Organic mulches contain weed eating crickets and beetles that devour seeds.
  • Make weeding easy – The old saying “pull when wet, hoe when dry” still applies. Pulling weeds in the early morning when the ground is damp will make the job go faster.
  • Deadhead – This practice isn’t just for flowering plants. By pulling the tops off weeds you are eliminating the seed pods that could drop and germinate.
  • Limit gaps between plantings – Too much space encourages weeds to grow. Consider mass plantings or tightly spaced beds to leave no room for weeds to appear.
  • Keep your tools sharp – Dull hoes can spread weed seeds instead of eliminating them. You want to slice through the weed’s root to kill it.
  • Water plants, not weeds – Burying your soaker hose beneath mulch can reduce seed germination by 50 -70 percent because your plant is building strong roots and crowding out the weeds.
  • Maintain a healthy soil – Fresh infusions of organic matter or compost into the soil will help keep it healthy and keep seeds from sprouting.

Weeds are Everywhere!

Isn’t it amazing just how invasive weeds can be? These annoying sprouts are everywhere. They even find their way up through the cracks in driveways, walks and patios. Yes, you can walk around repeatedly spraying them with a toxic weed killer or try one of these simple methods:

  • Self-leveling sealant – Fill cracks in concrete with this expanding filler to block weeds. Sealing cracks will extend the life of your surface.weeds.jpg
  • White vinegar, salt and dish soap – Combine these with water and spray it on weeds shooting up through cracks. It will cause them to wilt.
  • Salt – Spread left-over rock salt on weeds and watch them dry up. Avoid runoff into your grass and garden because salt will totally kill vegetation.
  • Polymeric sand – Used to fill between bricks and pavers, you can also use this to fill concrete cracks. It has a cement-like quality once wet so work it into the cracks and sweep excess away.
  • Burn weeds away – Use a propane powered weed scorcher or handheld blow torch to run the flame over the weeds to shrivel them up. You are not setting them on fire but depriving them of moisture. Be careful in drought stricken areas.

Stop and Smell the Roses for a Change

Weeds are a fact of life but they don’t have to ruin your gardening experience. By taking these simple steps you will cut your weeding workload down to a manageable level and finally have more time to actually stop and smell the roses. pinkroses.jpg

Expert Advice

From wheelbarrows and shovels to weed eaters and bark blowers, our expert staff is always on hand to help you find the right equipment for your next DIY landscape project. Learn how to improve your garden and flowers with organic compost in our previous blog “10 Good Sense Tips for Building a Compost Bin”. As always, 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.

 

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Categories: Gardening and Lawn Care, Restore and Renovate, spring checklist | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Easy Ideas to Use Stepping Stones in the Garden

Amazing-garden-designAre you excited about Spring? We sure are! Like you, we can’t wait to start working on our gardens. Time to get a game plan together and decide which DIY project to start on first.

Why not create a captivating garden path using stepping stones? Simply trail them throughout your landscape and lead visitors on a magical tour.

Secret Gardens, Hidden Treasures

Garden paths are used to draw interest to out-of-the-way sections of a landscape or to highlight features like ponds, trellises, or gazebos. The style of your home and grounds should dictate the location type of path to create – formal or informal.

Keep a few things in mind when installing a new path:

  • Use – Heavy foot traffic will need sturdy materials like stone that won’t break easily.
  • Cost – Come up with a budget and then shop for materials. A lengthy path will require a lot of materials.
  • Shape – Consider curving paths as well as straight-lined walkways, which can reveal your garden as you walk.
  • Mix it up – Combine materials (pavers/concrete or stones/mulch) to add interest. Create contrasting borders or patterns.
  • Sun or Shade – Dark stones absorb heat, which could make them too hot for bare feet. Smooth stones often remain slippery if in damp areas. Lighter colors and textures are neutral and may be your best option.
  • Hard work – Moving pavers, gravel, or stones around is exhausting so recruit volunteers to help or spread the job out of time.

Choosing Materials

Once you’ve decided where you want your path, pick your materials. For formal paths, many choose brick pavers or flagstone. Informal trails will give you more options, from gravel and stepping stones to turf, decomposed granite, or mulch. With budget in mind, make your selection and set your creativity free.

Peaceful Retreat for Guests

Give visitors a secluded niche along your path where they can relax and unwind. Install a decorative garden fence, gazebo, or bench, creating a peaceful retreat. Fragrant flowers planted along the path will add to their enjoyment. Don’t forget to hang some twinkling lights for those moonlit strolls.

Stepping Stones in the Garden

A great way to create a meandering trail through your flower beds is with stepping stones. An informal design works with a wide variety of materials. No matter what type of stones you choose or filler you opt for, the process is generally the same:

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  • Boundaries – Determine the width and length of your path and mark it off.
  • Clear– Remove all grass and debris. Put down landscape material.
  • Level – Put down a layer of sand and level it out.
  • Position – Decide if you want the stones in a random placement or a checkerboard pattern.
  • Press – Stones should be pushed into the sand and leveled.
  • Fill – Add gravel, mulch, or planting soil to grow ground covers like Scotch moss.

Discover the Wonders of Nature

Your wonderful landscape reflects all your hard work and love of gardening. Help others enjoy the fruits of your labor by tying it all together with a relaxing stepping stone path. Lead them on a relaxing journey around your property to discover the wonders Nature has to offer. You’ll surely have a number of repeat guests.

Expert Advice

From wheelbarrows and shovels to saws and drills, our expert staff is always on hand to help you find the right equipment for your next DIY landscape project. Now that you have your garden path planned out, are you ready for Spring planting? Our blog, Get Started on Your Spring Gardening To-do List, may have the ideas you need. As always, 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: DIY Projects, Gardening and Lawn Care, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

5 Items on Your Mid-Summer Gardening Checklist

5 Items on Your Mid-Summer Gardening ChecklistFor do-it-yourself gardeners, the summer season is just starting to heat up! Now’s the time to enjoy all the beauty that your garden, yard and landscape have to offer — at least until summer’s end, which isn’t until September 23.

Yet, a gardener’s work is never done – from mowing the lawn to weeding flower beds – the best way to keep your home grown oasis looking fabulous is regular maintenance. The more care and passion you put into making your garden grow, the more enjoyment you’ll receive, not only from puttering among the begonias but from relaxing to take a look at your handiwork. With this helpful gardening checklist, you’ll be well on your way to enhancing your garden experience!

1. Re-plant Annual Flower Beds: Replace cool-weather annuals that have stopped blooming or have already died back with heat-loving varieties such as verbena, lantana and geranium (in some areas of the country, these plants are considered perennials). Adding new annuals refreshes the garden with color and abundant flowers.

2. Add Tropical Flair: Surround your patio or deck with bird-of-paradise, fig, elephant’s ear, hibiscus, dracaena or bougainvillea, warm-climate plants that love the heat and humidity, which intensifies during the dog days of August. In the fall, move these tropical plants indoors and enjoy them as houseplants. Also, check the supports of palm trees, which are required for the first six to eight months to deter them from toppling over. Do not nail the supports to the trunk of the tree.

3. Add a Water Garden: From in-ground ponds with water lilies to container water gardens that display green and burgundy cannas, papyrus or pitcher plant, a water garden can actually add a cooling element to your landscape.

4. Tend to Vegetables: At this time of year, stop harvesting asparagus and rhubarb so these perennial edibles can prepare for next year’s crop. Mulch the area to prevent weeds from taking over the beds. Protect precious tomatoes from hornworm by inspecting the foliage in the morning and evening, when the big green-and-white caterpillars are feeding. Pick them off the plants with gloved hands and drop them in a jar of soapy water.

5. Prune Shrubs: Spring flowering shrubs such as lilac, hydrangea and spirea should be cut and shaped immediately after flowers fade. Wait until late summer or early fall, when there’s no danger of pruning away next year’s developing flower buds.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next gardening project. From planting advice to landscaping tools, 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.

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5 Ideas to Spruce Up Your Garden with New Plants

Create a Garden Oasis with These 5 IdeasThe long days of summer are just right for getting all those garden improvement projects underway. Along with abundant sun and warmer weather, new plants have a chance to establish root systems and thrive during summer months… just like people tend to do, enjoying a tall glass of lemonade (granted, plants prefer a cool drink of water). Although you may have a fabulous garden already, there are so many ideas for expanding it, or creating designated areas for entertaining or relaxing. This time of year is perfect for enjoying the outdoors, so make your backyard oasis your own. All it takes is a little hard work and a passion for making your garden vision a reality. Below are five ideas for sprucing up your garden.

1. Plant New Trees

If you live in a frost-free or rainy region, give your garden a tropic vibe by planting palm trees. To protect tall palms from wind damage, support them with stakes for at least a year, until roots are established. Other trees that lend themselves to an exotic landscape are Japanese maples, which can add vibrant color in the summer and fall. Ginkgo balboa, sumac and flowering fig have the added benefit of a voluptuous fruit harvest, ready in September. (Helpful Tool: tree spade)

2. Add a Shade Garden

Almost any yard or garden has shady areas. Don’t let them go to waste! From hydrangeas to hostas to hardy fuchsias, fill those dark areas with shade-loving perennials or shrubs and see it come to life with beautiful greens, gentle lavenders, stunning blues and pinks with some showy flowers for good measure.

3. Aquatic Life

Aquatic plants such as water lilies and lotus add depth and breadth to any water feature, especially those located in a sunny spot. Fill two-thirds of a 12-inch diameter pot with garden soil (do not use potting mix). Then place the roots of one plant into the center of the pot. Cover with two to three more inches of soil, and add a light pea gravel covering. Place the entire potted plant in at least 12 to 18 inches of water, and watch them flower.

4. Carpet of Succulents

Succulents such as hens-and-chicks, aloe and sedum are low-maintenance, drought-tolerant sun-lovers that will grow anywhere, from pots to cracks in a stone wall, even in the shade. With so many varieties in striking shapes, colors and blooms, succulents also provide visual interest in nearly any type of garden. Protect succulents from extreme cold and don’t over-water, otherwise, they are easy to maintain, keeping your garden lush.

5. Garden Path of Herbs

Hardy herbs such as rosemary and thyme not only flower in the summer, but also add intoxicating fragrance, especially when planted along a garden path. Group the herbs with a sprinkling of Alyssum in white or purple to intensify the sweet smell (especially after a summer rain). Plus, with a little judicious clipping, you can enjoy an herb-filled marinade or dressing for all that summer grilling you plan on doing!

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next landscaping project. From landscaping tools to tree spades, 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.

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For Healthier, Stunning Roses, Prune, Prune, Prune!

How to Properly Prune Your RosesMost flowering trees and shrubs benefit from annual pruning, especially roses. Not only does pruning rid the plant of dead and diseased wood, it encourages new growth and gives it a nice shape — one that promotes beautiful blooms. With a few tools such as pruners, long-handled loppers, shears and thick gloves, a gardener can cut and shape to their heart’s delight!

For some flowering plants, timing an annual pruning is important. For instance, here’s a list of trees and shrubs that respond favorably to an early summer pruning, after a bloom:

  • Azalea (Rhododendron species)
  • Beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis)
  • Bridal Wreath Spirea (Spirea x vanhouttei)
  • Flowering Crabapple (Malus species and cultivars)
  • Forsythia (forsythia x intermedia)
  • Hawthorn (Crataegus species and cultivars)
  • Hydrangea, Bigleaf (Hydrangea macrophylla)
  • Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
  • Magnolia (Magnolia species and cultivars)
  • Mockorange (Philadelphus coronarius)
  • Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
  • Rhododendron (Rhododendron species)
  • Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora)
  • Slender Deutzia (deutzia gracilis)
  • Weigela (Weigela florida)

When and How to Prune Roses

When gardeners think of pruning, most likely it’s associated with rose bushes — although pruning techniques apply to all flowering trees and shrubs. Pruning a rose bush is very good for the plant plus it’s pretty difficult to kill a rose bush with bad pruning, because most mistakes grow out quickly with this hardy plant that produces such delicate blooms. Generally, roses respond best to pruning in two ways:

1. If the plant blooms on new season growth, prune while dormant or just when the plant is about to break dormancy

2. If the plant blooms on last year’s canes, prune after flowering.

Rose Pruning Basics

  • Use clean, sharp tools and protect your hands and arms from thorns by wearing thick gardening gloves
  • Prune potted roses the same as planted roses
  • Remove any broken, dead, dying or diseased wood and weak, twiggy branches all around the bush
  • Remove sucker growth below the graft
  • Begin pruning from the base of the plant, cutting to open its center for light and air circulation, which dries the leaves and helps prevent foliar diseases from attacking
  • Make clean cuts at a 45-degree angle, about 1/4 inch just above a “bud eye,” or the area on the stem where branching occurs
  • No reason to protect a pruning wound, as cuts are called; however, you may apply Elmer’s Glue to a cut, if rose cane borers are a problem pest

Pruning for the Healthiest Roses

Most rose gardeners are interested in removing dead, damaged or diseased branches from their plant to promote the growth of large, full flowers that are pleasing to the eye.

  • Cutting dieback or broken branches promotes vibrant growth
  • Pruning away winter freeze damage opens up the plant to air circulation
  • Removing diseased wood prevents the disease from spreading to the rest of the bush or to neighboring plants

Prune out crossing branches, all branches smaller than a pencil in diameter and even extra long canes, which prevents the roots from being loosened by strong winds or freeze/thaw cycles. Pruning is also an opportunity to correct any problems with the plant’s overall form or reduce the overall size of a plant in relation to the rest of your garden.

For most rose bushes, leaving six to eight strong, healthy canes will produce a full, nicely shaped plant. Deadheading, a form of pruning to remove spent blooms, prevents the formation of rose hips or seedpods and encourages new, attractive blooms (although rose hip cultivation can be advantageous for home chefs who make rose hip jelly and tea drinkers who enjoy a cup of rose hip tea).

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next landscaping project. 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.

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Easy Bush Removal Takes Planning and a Few Power Tools

Remove Unwanted Bushes in 5 Easy Steps

Seasonal maintenance or an update to a mature landscape could mean removing overgrown, diseased or unwanted shrubs and bushes from your yard. You can do it yourself, with a little planning and a few power tools. Here are Runyon Rental’s easy-to-follow instructions:

Step 1. Survey the situation. Look around each bush for bird nests. Schedule the removal after hatchlings leave. Make sure the bush is not a protected species. If it is, you may be obligated to follow certain removal procedures or transplant to an appropriate site. And last but not least, know where utility or sprinkler lines are buried before digging into them. Call your local utility company for this specific information.

Step 2. Choose your tools. Depending on the size of the removal job, you can start with a heavy spade-type shovel, manual hedge clippers and a large wheelbarrow to get it done. To save yourself some sweat, consider renting a power hedge trimmer, a chainsaw, a stump cutter and even a wood chipper, for easier cleanup.

Step 3. Cut down to size. Cut each bush to a manageable size, removing branches first, and cutting the trunk into manageable pieces that fit into the wood chipper. If you’re going the manual removal route, leave enough of a stump above the ground to get a good hold on it. Otherwise, cut the bush down to the ground.

Step 4. Remove the stump and roots. Especially if the bush is diseased, get rid of the stump and the roots with a stump cutter. Most of the roots can be pulled from the ground manually. If you’re working without a stump cutter, dig a trench around the stump and start breaking it down by cutting through the roots and throwing away any soil containing them, until one piece of the stump is left. Dig the shovel deep into the ground near the stump, moving it back and forth until the roots directly below the stump are cut. Then stick the shovel into the trench, angling it to the middle and push and lift. Repeat this procedure around the entire stump until you can lift it out with your hands.

Step 5. Fill the hole…with soil and continue with your new plan for the landscape. Throw wood chips on the compost pile or use as mulch.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next landscaping project. 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. If you plan to plant a new bush or tree, ask us about our tree spade rentals!

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[INFOGRAPHIC] 11 Lawn & Garden Tips for Spring

Spring has sprung! Lately it’s been the perfect weather for beautifying your lawn and garden, so if you haven’t already started doing so, you may want to consider putting on your gardening gloves, breaking out your mower and other lawn care equipment and getting to work! To help guide your lawn and garden efforts, the following infographic outlines 11 tips to a gorgeous outdoor space. Use it as a jumping off point, and if you have other ideas for spring lawn and garden tasks, please let us know in the comment section below. And as always, if you have questions about the tools and equipment necessary for your lawn and gardening efforts, don’t hesitate to contact us. Happy green-thumbing!

11 Lawn and Garden Tips for Spring

 

About the Author

Heidi Hudnall is the current Digital Marketing Manager at Runyon Equipment Rental. She is passionate about blogging, with a sincere desire to help answer questions and provide inspiration for creative DIY-ers and homeowners.

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Check These 10 Indoor and Outdoor Improvements Off Your Spring Checklist

Continuing with the spring cleaning trend, this infographic provides you with tips for those pesky indoor and outdoor tasks that need checked off your to-do list. Some of these you may not think about typically, so take a look and identify which may be applicable to your home. And it’s a great idea to get a head start on these now, so by the time summer break, and consequentially summer entertaining, rolls around you’re ready to relax!

Spring Cleaning Infographic

About the Author

Heidi Hudnall is the current Digital Marketing Manager at Runyon Equipment Rental. She is passionate about blogging, with a sincere desire to help answer questions and provide inspiration for creative DIY-ers and homeowners.

Categories: Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's, Infographics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tackle Spring Clean-Up in Your Yard with This Handy Checklist

spring clean-up checklistFor the gardener and do-it-yourself landscaper, springtime is nature’s way of giving you a little breathing space, a moment to reflect on how your yard creations are holding up through the tests of weather and time before the real growing season begins. Once you clear away winter’s debris, mulch or dead twigs, you can decide where to focus your efforts. Whether it be thinning out crowded areas, filling in bare spots or preparing your yard for new growth, buds and blooms. Here’s what you’ll need to start your spring clean-up and give your yard a fresh start.

Gather all the necessary tools…

If you’ve got a lot of clean-up to do, and you like trying out different kinds of equipment, consider renting a soil conditioner attachment. You can grade, soften, mix, level, rake, remove debris as well as pulverize and prepare seedbeds, remove entire lawns and weeds, all with this one tool that attaches to a Bobcat. Sweet!

Complete the spring yard clean-up checklist:

  1. Prune dead and damaged branches back to live stems and clip off wayward shoots to an intersecting branch. Summer-flowering shrubs should be pruned before the plant buds. Wait to prune spring-flowering plants until after blooms fade.
  1. Trim overgrown evergreens back, starting from the bottom of the tree trunk to eliminate dead branches and encourage an appealing tree shape.
  1. Cut back flowering perennials to a height of 4–5 inches and ornamental grasses to 2–3 inches, which encourages new growth.
  1. Thin crowded beds by digging up perennial bulbs. Instead of throwing them away, divide the extra bulbs, leaving at least three stems per clump, and transplant them in other areas of the yard.
  1. If rose bushes are winter-damaged, cut back to 1 inch below the blackened area. Remove older woody canes on climbing rose bushes, fastening younger canes gently in place with jute twine or Velcro fasteners.
  1. Rake out fallen leaves, dead foliage and annuals, as well as spent mulch to prepare for a new layer once your planting is finished.
  1. Spread an appropriate fertilizer for existing plantings on the soil’s surface so that April showers can carry it to the roots.
  1. Inspect any drip irrigation lines and repair if necessary.
  1. Give beds a clean edge with a shovel or a weed eater.
  2. Remove damaged grass turf to prepare for spring seeding. It’s also a good time to test the soil’s pH and add an appropriate fertilizer, if needed.

And finally, feed the compost pile! Dump all debris, cuttings, foliage and last season’s mulch into your compost pile, and you’re done…at least until it’s time for spring seeding! And as always, for questions and comments please visit our website or leave a comment in the section below. Happy yard cleaning!

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

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Utilize 3 Easy Steps for a Glorious Garden This Spring

Soil. Fertilize. Mulch.Soil. Fertilize. Mulch. Repeat.

Soil. Fertilize. Mulch. Repeat.

It’s the gardener’s mantra, and sometime during the growing season you’re probably adding “Harvest,” and “Enjoy” to the chant as well. As long as you follow this mantra and do your due diligence in preparing your garden for plants, grass, flowers or shrubs, it really will look glorious. So, get out your wheelbarrow and shovel, and get to work.

1. Prepare the Soil

Before you start digging into your garden patch or lawn, make sure the soil is dry enough to work without causing damage. Turning over or tilling wet soil can actually cause it to clump, becoming brick hard after it dries out. Form a ball of soil with your hands, then see if you can break the ball apart easily. If you can, the soil is dry enough to work.

Here are a few more tips:

  • Test the soil pH every three to four years. Use lime to raise pH and iron sulfate or elemental sulfur to lower it, according to recommendations.
  • Improve poor, compacted soils by adding a six-to-eight-inch layer of rich organic compost.
  • If the soil is especially poor, consider building raised beds and filling them with a mixture of good topsoil and leaf compost, for growing vegetables, herbs and flowers.
  • Avoid erosion by protecting bare soil with cover crops, ground-covers, turf or mulch.

2. Fertilize

Most plants used in landscaping get adequate nutrition from a soil that’s rich in organic matter. Garden beds that get yearly applications of at least one inch of compost are also nutritionally sound. Overusing fertilizers can cause weak growth, more pests and water pollution. Make sure to sweep granular fertilizers away from paved surfaces to prevent them from washing into storm drains and waterways.

Plants that typically benefit the most from fertilizer are flower-producing annuals, fruit trees and vegetables. Apply a soluble fertilizer to the root system or to foliage. Fruit trees are usually fertilized in the spring; however, landscape trees, mature shade trees, fescue and bluegrass turf are best fertilized in the fall.

Cow, horse, sheep, pig, goat and poultry manure makes a nutrient-rich, moisture-retaining fertilizer for your plants. In the spring, use cow and horse manure in flower or vegetable beds and on acid-loving plants such as blueberries, azaleas, mountain laurel and rhododendrons. Chicken manure is good for vegetables and potato crops.

3. Mulch

Mulch is a gardener’s secret weapon, protecting plants and soil in a number of ways:

  • Conserves soil water
  • Suppress weeds
  • Moderates soil temperatures
  • Reduces soil erosion and crusting
  • Increases water absorption into the soil
  • Improves soil structure through aeration, moisture control and less cultivation

To properly insulate the soil, apply mulch evenly at a uniform depth of about two inches. If weeds are a problem in your garden, consider treating the area with a pre-emergent herbicide before mulching.

Ideal mulch is one that is free of weeds, insects and disease, adding organic matter to the soil. It’s also readily available, economical, easy-to-apply and remove, yet stays in place. Summer mulches applied in mid-spring, once the soil is warm enough for roots to grow, are made to warm the soil, reduce weeds and retain moisture. Whereas, winter mulches applied in late fall, before the ground has frozen, protect the soil and plants from winter weather.

Gardeners should choose the right mulch for each garden location:

  • For vegetable gardens or fruit plantings, use black plastic, landscape fabric and straw
  • For shrub beds or around trees, use wood chips, bark chunks and pine needles
  • For annual or perennial beds, use attractive bark granules, wood shavings, sawdust, cocoa shells and buckwheat hulls
  • For rock gardens, use crushed stone, fine gravel or volcanic rock

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

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5 Ideas to Make Your Herb Garden Grow

Create Your Herb Garden

Now that the clocks have “sprung forward,” and the official start to spring is just days away, why not make plans for that outdoor herb garden you’ve always wanted? A strategically placed herb garden will not only enhance the flavor of your culinary creations, it can help to beautify your yard too. Here are a few ideas for creating an herb garden that just may cool your spring fever!

1. Start with the herbs. Kitchen herbs are also good-looking plants, lending a visual appeal to a garden bed. Experts suggest choosing plants with variegated leaves or that bloom in different colors. Thyme, oregano and mint come in variegated versions, while certain varieties of basil have deep purple leaves. For added interest, choose varieties with unusual texture, such as the velvety gray-green leaves of Berggarten sage. Remember to choose for fragrance too – the luscious lemon thyme gives off the bright scent of citrus, as do the lovely lavender flowers of rosemary. Mints not only smell and taste minty, but some carry the flavor of chocolate or pear. French tarragon tastes and smells of licorice or anise, while rosemary itself adds a woodsy pine scent.

Herbs thrive in potting soil and need good drainage, but usually don’t require as much attention as flowers or vegetables. Most cooking herbs are hardy perennials that come back every year; however, popular culinary herbs like dill, basil and cilantro are annuals. Most are available at local gardening centers, either as seeds or seedlings. Specialty herb farms may carry hard-to-find herbs, such as lemon verbena, fennel or scented geranium. Here’s a good list of herbs for a starter garden:

choose from a variety of different herbs

Other landscaping supplies you’ll need are a wheel barrow, watering can or hose, rake, shovel and fertilizer.

2. Plant close to your kitchen door. Herbs will thrive in a surprisingly small space. To make the best use of space near your kitchen door, measure an area of the ground with a measuring tool and prepare the soil. Place the plants of herbs you’re most likely to use closest to the door – say, about 20 paces away – so you can snip a few easily during a rainstorm, for instance. Add to your herb garden by planting more varieties in clay pots, which can be moved to sunny spots more easily. 

3. Create an herb border. Include culinary herbs in your landscape design by planting the edge of a sidewalk with herbs instead of flowers. Hearty herbs like rosemary and thyme can have the same effect as small shrubs. Create a geometrical bedding design in your backyard, with pathways for walking by and smelling the sweet fragrances.

4. Build raised beds for growing herbs. Just like with vegetables, fresh herbs will grow well in raised beds, too. And if you just want a small spot for growing herbs, build yourself a planter to place on a patio, porch or deck. Buy a few two by fours and other wood for a bottom from the hardware store, cut to size, nail together and you’re set. Remember to drill holes in the bottom for drainage. Others have had luck with using plastic trowels inside as a planting form. Or, you can simply use a large bag of potting soil – build the planter the right size to hold the soil bag on its side, then cut a few drain holes in one side of the bag and cut the other side open neatly with a pair of scissors, discarding the excess plastic. Plant the herbs directly into the soil, water and you’ve got herbs in due time.

5. Reap your harvest. One of the best parts of growing culinary herbs is using them! Take care cutting herbs in a landscape border, but most re-grow quickly after harvesting, so your beautiful garden can stay beautiful.

Herbs are perfect for tossing in food during the summer, but you can also dry them for the winter.  Cut and wash, rubber band the bunches together and let them dry upside down. This way each bundle retains its color. It takes them about a week to dry out, but once they are, remove the leaves from the stem and grind in a coffee grinder. Finally, put in plastic bags and write the herb name and date. I also put them in tins and give them to neighbors and friends! Write your great ideas for how to use and preserve herbs in the comment section below, or contact us for more details on how to make  your garden this spring.

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

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

Stir Up a Little DIY Inspiration with these 3 Project Ideas

Outdoor Patio TableIf you’ve got cabin fever, why not dream a littleand start planning some of those outdoor DIY projects you’ve been pinning! It’s never too early to flesh out your creative ideas, especially when it comes to securing all the equipment and materials needed to get the look you’re dreaming about.

For example, take backyard patio transformations – a big feat, but not impossible. Especially given your big dreams and the proper equipment to help you bring it to reality.

Since we’re a go-to tool rental shop for all your outdoor DIY and gardening projects, count on us for concrete equipment, landscaping tools and woodworking supplies. Here’s a look at what we have to offer:

1. New Backyard Retreat

From paver breakers to concrete saws to portable mixers to concrete nailers, you can turn that old patio slab into a luxurious backyard gathering place. Build retaining walls, make lots of seating areas and perfect spots to set plants and other garden accents. We’ve got everything you need to demolish, cut and finish concrete. All you need is sand and gravel!

Take advantage of design possibilities with different colors and textures, such as combining concrete with bricks, block or stone. Our easy-to-use brick and block cutters can help. Use demolished masonry and concrete as decorative gavel to line garden paths or build a low wall. You’d be doing yourself a green favor too by reusing materials. You could also pour concrete to make sturdy, waterproof planters of gorgeous greenery. Or, stack bricks together and fuse with masonry adhesive, creating a stylish pillar or side table.

2. New Landscape Features

Transform that patch of grass into a gorgeous garden with a little sweat equity, and help from our rakes, shovels and wheelbarrows. Haul everything from pea gravel to top soil anywhere you need to, quickly and safely. Dig holes for new trees and rake up debris before mowing, or smooth out garden paths after planting.

3. New Furniture and Privacy Walls

For excellent outdoor entertaining, plan lots of places for guests to eat, drink and be merry. One backyard essential is a picnic table, and another is a stylish privacy wall. Both of these projects can be accomplished by yourself, using a few woodworking tools and a little creativity. Circular saws, drills, air nailers or air staplers can also help make them pretty and painless.

Wood itself is a warm, comforting material – perfect for putting people at ease. Building a privacy wall using wood will let in more light and air, leaving the noise in the street and nosy neighbors without a view. Vary the widths of cedar slats that you lay together for picnic tabletop, and you’ve just added a unique and personal touch to a classic look.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next DIY adventure. 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. We’d love to help you make your pinning dreams come true…and help your cabin fever go away!

About the Author

Heidi Hudnall is the current Marketing Coordinator at Runyon Companies. A graduate of Butler University with a double major in International Business and Marketing, Heidi writes articles that outline seasonal projects and answer frequently asked questions, making your DIY lifestyle more fun and easier than ever before.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, DIY Projects, Gardening and Lawn Care | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fall is the Perfect Time to Plant New Trees

Plant New TreesOne of the more gratifying items to check off your fall checklist is “planting new trees.” The natural beauty of trees growing on your property can be enjoyed by your family, friends and neighbors for years to come. The successful plan for having a yard full of lush, long-lasting trees requires just three essential elements, which give young trees a healthy start. Choose the right place for the type of tree you have and plant it with care.

Special Tools Help with Planting

And since it’s not every season you’re likely to plant a tree, the special tools you need to accomplish proper planting are probably not in your tool shed, but are available for rent. Since trees can be heavy and cumbersome to move, it’s a good idea to rent a tree spade or tree dolly to carry the tree to the planting area without damaging the roots or the tree itself. A post hole digger is made to break through the ground easily, making short work of digging a hole big enough for your new tree.

Landscaping with Trees

Consider the size of your lot when planning a landscape that features trees. They need to be planted at least 10 to 15 feet from the foundation of the house and at least five feet from decks, patios, driveways or sidewalks. Also, make sure to keep tree tops away from utility wires overhead, as well as underground.

  1. Trees need a good deal of sun to grow up strong, so choose a place where your new tree will receive ample sun exposure.
  2. Do you want a little privacy? Planting trees in rows can create a natural wall or fence against nosy neighbors or noisy streets.
  3. Does the wind whip around your home? Trees can also act as wind breaks when planted strategically.

Types of Trees

While you’re scoping out your land, think about tree sizes and shapes, which adds interest to the landscape. When visiting the nursery, learn all you can about specific trees by studying the information on the tags, or ask a nursery employee. In general:

  1. Evergreen trees are good to use for privacy walls and wind breaks because they keep their foliage throughout the year. Evergreens like to be planted on the north side of your home.
  2. Deciduous trees provide shade in the summer and let sun shine into windows in the winter, because they lose their leaves. They like to live on the south, east and west sides of your home. Deciduous trees also add fall color to the landscape.
  3. Trees that grow up to 25 feet tall can be planted under overhead utility lines.
  4. Trees that grow 25 to 45 feet tall are great for shading an entire single-story house or the sides and windows of a two-story home, and slender medium-sized trees can thrive when planted near fences.
  5. Trees that grow higher than 45 feet can shade large, hot areas, like driveways and patios, or large lawns.
  6. Flowering trees add color, attracting birds and other wildlife.
  7. Fruit trees can not only provide shade, but food and fragrance.
  8. Drought tolerant and low-water use trees can protect dry areas of your yard.

Privacy Trees

Planting Techniques for Healthy Trees

  1. Dig a hole twice as wide and slightly shorter than the tree’s roots, also known as the root ball, the area that begins where all the roots start from the trunk.
  2. Loosen the soil in the hole to make it easier for the roots to establish themselves.
  3. If the tree is in a container, remove it gently but firmly, then quickly separate the roots, uncurling, straightening or cutting a little, until they fall outward from the trunk. Take care to shade the roots from the sun while arranging the roots.
  4. Lift the tree by the root ball and place it in the hole, making sure it’s standing upright. You may need to tilt the root ball until the tree is straight. Now’s the time to move the tree around in the hole to make your favorite side of the tree viewable from a window, or have the branches placed where they will grow out unencumbered.  In sunny areas, place the tree so that the best-shaded side of the trunk faces southwest.
  5. Backfill firmly around the tree and cover only the roots with soil. Leave the trunk above the soil surface. Amend the soil with organic compost, if desirable. Pack down the soil to stabilize the tree.
  6. Water, water, water the tree, with at least 15 gallons of water, and then monitor its water requirements at least once a week for the first month.
  7. Stake the tree loosely for protection or support, if needed, taking care not to use wire, which can cut the trunk. Soft, pliable tree ties are best. Place stakes outside of the root ball and use them until the tree can stand tall on its own, in six to 12 months.
  8. Mulch the entire planting area with a three to four-inch layer, especially to prevent a hard crust from forming on the surface of the soil.

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, Fall Checklist, Gardening and Lawn Care | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

INFOGRAPHIC: How Well Do You Know Your Lawn?

Proper lawn care and maintenance is a primary concern for many homeowners, so if you are among these, this infographic should shed light into the fundamentals of lawn care. Explore what type of grass you have, common issues, common weeds and what your yearly lawn care schedule should consist of based on the season. There are several suggestions for the final days of fall and the upcoming winter months, so get out your fall checklist and start marking off tasks this weekend!

How well do you know your lawn?

About the Author

Heidi Hudnall is the current Marketing Coordinator at Runyon Companies. She graduated from Butler University in the spring with a double major in International Business and Marketing, a minor in Spanish, departmental honors distinction and cum laude. She specializes in all things internet marketing, with an emphasis on content creation, website maintenance, blogging, social media, lead tracking and marketing strategy.

Categories: Fall Checklist, Gardening and Lawn Care, Infographics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Go Green: Create a Compost Collection Pile this Fall

Want to check even more items off your fall checklist? Find out how to start a compost pile in today’s post, then get to it!

Start your compost pileWhat is compost, exactly?

Compost is part noun, part verb and all energy! Eco-friendly advocates say it’s the unwanted food and yard waste filling up to 30 percent of our garbage bins these days, helping to bloat landfills and releasing greenhouse gases into the air. But compost is also about creating the perfect environment for organic waste to decompose into a rich, natural additive that nourishes the soil, helping to grow plants that are disease and pest-free. Compost also reduces the need for chemical fertilizers and lowers our carbon footprint.

Browns, greens, water and layers. The recipe for compost has three basic ingredients that combine into one simple technique. An equal amount of dead leaves, branches and twigs,otherwise known as browns, are layered on top of grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps and coffee grounds ( greens) to make a pile. Water is added to the alternate layers of browns and greens to assist the carbon and nitrogen they contain in breaking it all down to its essential organic goodness, speeding up the process of making compost.

When starting a compost pile, layer the material in uniform layers between 6-8 inches thick. For the first layer, use your newly gathered browns and greens, choosing the bulkier organics. For the second layer, consider using animal manures, fertilizers or starters to activate the heating process. The third layer is comprised of a good top soil or active compost, between 1-2 inches thick.

Once your pile starts decomposing to create humus, that rich garden elixir, there’s no need to continue the layering process. Materials can be added by burying them in the center and incorporating them when you turn the pile.

What NOT to compost. It’s a lot easier to identify the appropriate browns and greens in your garbage and yard waste bins than knowing what might not qualify for composting.

Good Browns and GreensGood browns and greens come from grass clippings, hay, straw and twigs, but not black walnut tree leaves or twigs. Why? Because when they decompose they can be harmful to other plants.

Fruits and veggies are good, but throw away meat or fish bones and scraps, because they smell and attract pests. Eggshells are a “yes,” but dairy products like eggs, butter, milk, sour cream and yogurt are a “no” because they too create odor. Leave stinky fats, grease, lard or oils for the dumpster.

Include yard trimmings, wood chips and cotton or wool rags that are not treated with chemical pesticides, as well as fireplace ashes, but not coal or charcoal ash, which can contain substances harmful to plants. Houseplants are good, diseased or insect-ridden plants of any kind are not, for obvious reasons. Surprisingly, compostable material includes dryer and vacuum cleaner lint, hair, fur and manure. However, forget any pet waste or soiled cat litter, which might contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens and viruses that are harmful to humans. Other usual suspects include newspaper, cardboard products, nut shells, tea bags, coffee grounds and filters.

If you’re wondering what not to compost, check with your local composting or recycling center to see what organics are accepted at your curbside or drop-off waster removal programs.

Starting the pile. After you start collecting materials for your compost pile, decide where you’re going to build it. If you have a large enough yard, find a dry, shady spot and start the pile right on the ground. Homeowners who have limited space or want to keep things tidy may want to find a container for composting, placed in an equally convenient spot outside. In either case, choose a place that’s level with good drainage, where a water source is easily accessible.

Size and temperature matter. You want a compost pile large enough to maintain the heat needed to break down material efficiently, but small enough for the water to do its job, and for you to turn the pile easily. Some experts recommend a space no larger than 5 feet x 5 feet x 5 feet. To keep the neighbors happy, camouflaging your compost pile may be necessary; aim for plantings or trellises that help it to blend in with the environment.

In about two weeks, the compost pile will produce enough heat for rapid decomposition, between 110° to 160°F. However, it could take two months, or longer. If you notice the pile settling, then it’s probably working properly. As you add new material, turn the pile each time. Some compost containers are made to roll over end to end for just this purpose. If the temperature dips below 110°F, keep your pile as active as possible with a turn and a drink, adding enough water that the material feels damp to the touch.

Finally, after all that hard work, avoid letting your compost languish in a pile! Spread it on the lawn to make it more lush. Incorporate it into your garden patch to grow bigger, healthier vegetables. Feed your flower beds, your house and container plants too, and keep them pest-free.

Recommended Tools:

  • Compost bin or container (if desired)
  • Wheelbarrow and shovel
  • Pitch fork or landscape rake, for turning the pile
  • Garden hose or watering can
  • Pruners, machete or shredder, to cut up large pieces of organic waste
  • Compost thermometer, to monitor temperature. A practical solution to this is a metal pole inserted into the center of the pile. The metal can indicate heat level by touch.

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

Categories: Fall Checklist, Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Secret to Easily Attaining a Healthy, Leafless Lawn

Secret to a leafless lawnAre you ready for a workout? This time of year, you’re probably looking at a colorful blanket of fall foliage covering nearly every inch of your yard. You may be tempted to leave the leaves alone (everything looks so festive and your kids are having too much fun out there), and then you start to wonder if that big pile is smothering your lawn, not to mention ruining your property’s curb appeal. So you pull out the rakes and wheelbarrow, and get in the zone … for the Annual Fall Yard Clean-up Workout. Time to sweat.

But, not so fast! Not every plan for raking and removing leaves is the huffing and puffing kind. Let me explain.It’s true that removing fallen leaves from the grass can improve its overall health, giving it the proper air, water, sunlight and nutrients needed to thrive in fall and winter, especially for cool-season grasses. So your hard work would be worthwhile.

Eco-friendly yard care. In addition to the tried-and-true method of a rake and muscle, some gardening experts recommend mulching leaves right into the lawn with a mower, to recycle a natural resource that adds nutrients and improves the soil. Others suggest keeping the leaf cover in planting beds and under trees, to protect roots from temperature changes and retain soil moisture.

Using a leaf blower makes quick work out of piling leaves. Placing a tarp or heavy plastic sheet on the ground under the piles can help make the takeaway process even easier. Simply grab the ends to gather leaves for dumping, or prepare as compost for next year’s garden.

Get a goat. If you have a large yard and you’re looking at two+ hours of aerobic exercise, a truly novel option is to rent a herd of goats – but if you need a more accessible approach, save a lot of time and sweat by renting a leaf vacuum.

This season’s complete lawn maintenance choice. A high capacity leaf vacuum can do almost all the work in one pass:

  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.

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

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Mark an Item Off Your Fall Checklist – Aerating and Fertilizing

Fall is the perfect time to aerate and fertilize your lawn in preparation for the cold winter months. And with the weather turning cold already, it is a good idea to do this sooner rather than later. The benefit of aerating in conjunction with fertilizing is that it helps the lawn breathe better, in essence by loosening thatch and reducing compaction that occurs when the ground gets hard and frozen. Not to mention, aerating and fertilizing assist in growth by increasing the amount of air and water in your lawn.

Lawn AerationAerating Your Lawn

Aeration machines make the actual process of aerating much simpler than it sounds. There are a few important steps to consider however, just to be sure you’re effectively combing the lawn. The following process is proven effective by The CISCO Company, an industry seed expert.

  1. Make sure the soil profile has had adequate moisture so a plug can be pulled
  2. Set the depth of the aerator at about 2″
  3. Begin at the longest side of the lawn and make runs back and forth, overlapping
  4. When the entire lawn is finished, begin a second pass at a 30 to 40 degree angle

[Note: Several trips may be beneficial]

Endure WinterizerApplying Fertilizer

Fertilizer is crucial for fall because it feeds your lawn with the proper mix of nutrients and allows it to recover from the sweltering summer months. Since it is already late in October, the suggested fertilizer is one that stimulates root development and ensures a quick green-up in the spring. Apply winter fertilizer (Winterizer) after the top growth is finished, but the ground is not frozen. This will ensure growth of the root mass. Some of the benefits of using a winter root builder:

  • Earth-friendly organics for natural slow release and iron
  • Iron for dark green grass
  • Nitrogen feeds and grows roots

Aerating and fertilizing really is not a complicated task on your fall checklist. However, it is one that will make a huge impact on your lawn, and one that is incredibly beneficial when done correctly. For more information about lawn aeration, find more posts here. Or, if you would like more information about the fertilizing process, please contact one of our experts.

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

Categories: Fall Checklist, Featured Products, Gardening and Lawn Care | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

4 Easy Steps for Maintaining Your Fall Garden

An attractive and well-laid-out garden adds to the beauty of any home. Thus, maintaining your garden throughout the year is especially vital. It is important to pay extra attention to your garden during fall as it helps prepare for the harsh winter ahead.

These 4 simple steps will outline what you should do to ensure a healthy plot through the fall, winter and into spring.

  1. Let Perennials Grow
    The first step in garden maintenance during fall is to allow pFall Garden Maintenanceerennial plants the chance to grow, instead of cutting them early. Cutting them will leave the plants exposed to the fluctuating temperatures typical of the fall season.
  2. Remove Unwanted Branches
    Make use of the fall season and use a simple hedge trimmer to remove broken and damaged branches of trees and other plants before the onset of snow.
  3. Water Your Plants Regularly
    During the next few months, water your plants to lower damage that will be caused during winter. The active plant roots will absorb and store all the water and will make use of it to get through the winter.
  4. Make a Soil Conditioner
    Collect all the dead leaves in your garden and turn them into an organic soil conditioner, which will kill weeds and help plant growth throughout cold weather.
    • Use wire/tree guard products: Make use of wire or tree-guard products to protect the soft bark of trees from critters and the harsh cold.
    • Keep rodents away: In order to keep rodents away from plant roots, add 6 inches of organic mulch after the ground freezes. Organic mulch includes hay, leaves and wood chips.
    • Use more mulch: During fall season, mulch is also added as an insulation layer on top of the soil. The insulating mulch will keep the frost away and preserve the tender plant roots.

Make use of these tips to maintain your garden during this autumn season and prepare it for the winter weather ahead. If you would like more advice on soil conditioners, gardening tools or other fall yard prep, please feel free to contact one of our sales reps who would be more than happy to help!

About the Author

is the current Marketing Coordinator at Runyon Companies. She graduated from Butler University in the spring with a double major in International Business and Marketing, a minor in Spanish, departmental honors distinction and cum laude. She specializes in all things internet marketing, with an emphasis on content creation, website maintenance, blogging, social media, lead tracking and marketing strategy.

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

What Everyone Ought to Know About Lawn Aeration

An aerator is a machine used to aerate the soil in large lawns and turfs. A lawn aerator is available in two types, namely, spike and core. While the spike aerator makes use of wedge-shaped spikes to dig holes in the earth, core aerators are fitted with hollow tines that pluck out plugs from the soil.

Why Aerate the Soil? Know About Lawn Aeration

  • Better soil drainage: The main benefit of aerating the lawn is that it improves soil drainage, which in turn, is very helpful for the growth of new grass.
  • Gets rid of lawn thatch: Using a lawn aerator to aerate the soil will contain the growth of thatch. Thatch prevents oxygen from reaching the grass roots.
  • Aids growth of worms, fauna: Soil aeration helps the growth of worms, herbs and shrubs in the soil by providing them with the much-required oxygen.
  • Helps new lawns: Aerating the soil before planting a new lawn is proven to be beneficial for the growth of the lawn.

How to Work with a Lawn Aerator

  1. Water the lawn a day before: Before beginning soil aeration, water the lawn the night before as it makes the aerating process much easier.
  2. Flag items in the lawn: Flag important items like sprinkler heads in the lawn so that they are not damaged during aeration.
  3. Check weather conditions: Check if the weather conditions are suitable for aerating. It is not good to aerate during periods of drought or high temperatures.
  4. Run the aerator over the lawn: After flagging items, move the aerator over the lawn to cover all areas. Pay more attention to spaces like driveways and sidewalks where the weed growth is high and water access low.
  5. Apply fertilizer: Immediately after aerating, apply fertilizer on the soil so as to secure maximum possible benefit in the shortest time possible. Instant fertilizing after aerating helps the fertilizer reach the grass roots quickly.
  6. Use pre-emergent: After aerating the lawn, apply pre-emergent on the soil to prevent the growth of weeds.
  7. Water the soil: The last step in the aeration process is to water the soil, which helps break down the core of grass and soil in the lawn, and aids the growth of new roots.

Lawns that have soil with high clay composition and are subject to frequent thatching should be aerated at least twice a year. For lawns with sandy or loamy soils, a single aeration is enough to remove thatch and facilitate grass growth.

Still have questions? Talk to an expert at Runyon Equipment Rental to provide advice on your project.

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

Categories: Featured Products, Gardening and Lawn Care | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

How to Build a Beautiful, Landscaped Brick Wall in Your Garden

According to a MainStreet.com survey, a whopping 70% of home projects fall under the DIY category. A quarter of the respondents look forward to garden and landscaping related improvements. Let us help you decide on a project. Here is a detailed description of how to build a DIY landscaped brick wall.

Why “Brick Wall Landscaping”?Build a Brick Wall

  • Maintains Privacy: A brick wall adds to the beauty of the garden. It not only offers privacy from neighbors, but also helps contain dust and dirt from the garden in a confined space.
  • Acts as Divider: The brick wall is also used as a divider between different portions of the lawn.
  • Is Maintenance-Free: The major advantage of building a brick wall is the material. Brick is relatively maintenance-free as it does not rot and is termite-resistant. Brick is also highly energy efficient.

Things to Watch Out For:

The following points must be noted before starting on a “brick wall landscaping” project:

  • Large Brick Blocks: While planning to build a brick wall, it is always better to use large brick blocks as they are easier to work with.
  • Use Lip-Built Blocks: The most convenient and preferred brick blocks are those fitted with a lip built on the lower end to connect the different bricks.
  • Maximum Limit: While building the brick wall on your own, the maximum height advisable is 4 feet, as anything higher requires professional expertise.
  • Keep the Blocks Ready: Before beginning the building process, cut the brick blocks into the required size using a chisel and hammer.

The Landscaping Process:

The entire procedure of building a brick wall can be broken down into the following steps:

  • Identify the End Points: The first step in building the brick wall is to mark out the two end points of the wall. You can also stretch a string or garden hose along the front of the brick wall building area, as per the shape of the wall, for exact measurement.
  • Dig the Trench: Next, use a flat-pointed shovel to build a trench to fit in the bricks. The trench measurements are dependent on the size of the brick block. Most people usually dig up to a depth of 4 inches.
    Level out the trench: level out the underlying soil using a hand tamper and if necessary, add another layer of leveling sand or paver base.
  • Check if Base is Leveled: After completing tamping, use a carpenter’s level to check if the base is even, and if it’s still uneven, add or remove mud/dirt to level it out.
  • Place Crushed Stone/Coarse Sand: The next step is to add crushed stones and coarse sand/stone dust into the trench and tamp them down using the hand tamper. Stones and coarse sand should be placed alternatively.
  • Start Placing Bricks: Next start placing the first row of bricks on the sand/dust. Join the brick ends together and start building the wall. As you build up, always place a level on top of the bricks after each layer, to make sure that it is laid even.
  • Build Up the Wall: After laying the first row, apply coarse gravel and then go on to the second level. Continue until the desired height is reached.
  • Make Space for Flowers, Grass: When the required height is reached, fill up the final few inches with topsoil to grow flowers and grass behind the wall.
  • Add Capstones: After the wall is built, finish it off by adding a row of capstones over it.
  • Use Landscape Fabric: After completing the brick wall, you may want to consider covering the area behind the wall with landscape fabric to prevent seeping from the soil.

Small brick walls also can take on shapes other than straight lines, especially when framing flower or plant beds.

After a few days, when the wall is still standing, your hard work makes all the aching muscles worthwhile. If you plan on building a small, non-load bearing wall, then go for it, just don’t expect it to be an easy few hours’ work.

About the Author

is the current Marketing Coordinator at Runyon Companies. She graduated from Butler University in the spring with a double major in International Business and Marketing, a minor in Spanish, departmental honors distinction and cum laude. She specializes in all things internet marketing, with an emphasis on content creation, website maintenance, blogging, social media, lead tracking and marketing strategy.

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

Dethatchers Explained: How To Maintain Your Lawn

What is a dethatcher?

A dethatcher is a mechanical gardening device, used mainly to remove thatch from lawns. Often dead grass in the lawn leaves behind a layer of overgrown roots, tuber, bulb and crown. This layer is known as thatch and is very harmful to the growth of grass.

Why dethatch?

  • Makes grass healthier: Dethatching the lawn helps the grass become stronger and disease-resistant. Removal of thatch also keeps away pests.
  • Let in air/water: The dethatching process also allows more air, water and nutrients to reach the grass roots.

How does a dethatcher function?

  • Uses rotary blades: The dethatcher makes use of rotary blades/knives to remove the existing thatch from the grass or turf. Certain dethatchers also use tines and prongs.
  • Roll the dethatcher over the lawn: One may need to move the dethatcher twice or thrice over the lawn to cut out all the thatch in the area.

Things to remember before dethatching:http://www.runyonrental.com/Dehatchers.dept

Certain points must be kept in mind before beginning the dethatching process:

  • Know your dethatcher: Depending on their size, different lawns require different dethatchers. Certain lawns will require a power rake while others use a vertical mower or vertical slicer. It will always do the person good to have full knowledge about the type of dethatcher needed for the job.
  • Understand types of blades used: It always helps to know which type of blade is required to cut which type of grass. The person can choose from different blade types like flat steel, rotating or fixed knife-life.
  • Get advice on blade settings: It is very important to get advice on blade settings before using the dethatcher. One must have accurate knowledge about how far apart and deep the blades must be set. Tough grass and delicate grass both require different blade settings.

How dethatching works:

The dethatching mechanism is explained in the following steps:

  • Adjust the blades: Before getting started, one must adjust the blade settings of the dethatcher. The blades must be set up in such a manner that the thatch is removed without disturbing the soil beneath. The usual height of quarter-inch above the ground may vary for different grasses.
  • Highlight objects: Highlight objects in the lawn like irrigation heads so that they are visible and do not get damaged while using the dethatcher.
  • Mow the grass: The first step is to mow the grass at about half the usual height.
  • Run the dethatcher: Next, move the dethatcher over the lawn in such a way that the entire area is covered and all the thatch removed.
  • Rake up the thatch: After dethatching, use a powerful rake to remove all the thatch that has been loosened. While mostly the thatch is thrown away, in certain cases it is used as manure.
  • Water the lawn/add fertilizers: After cleaning up the lawn, one must water the area. Once dethatching is done, experts say this is the correct time to add fertilizers to the soil.

When is the correct time to dethatch?

The best time for carrying out the dethatching process is in late spring and early autumn as the grass recovers best from dethatching during these seasons. After dethatching, the grass usually needs 45 days to grow back properly.

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

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

How to Hedge and Trim Your Garden Greens

Trimming Your Garden Greens A walkway or entrance lined with neatly pruned shrubs or bushes is a welcoming sight. But how many of us allow the shrubs to grow wild, because trimming is a bit of a chore? Well, we shouldn’t anymore, because hedge trimmers are now easily available for the job and are one of the most efficient gardening tools.

Types of Hedge Trimmers

Manual & Electric Hedge Trimmers

  • Cost effective: Manual or electric hedge trimmers are a cost-effective option.
  • Inconvenient: It can be a cumbersome task to manually trim out an entire space with these heavy clippers. With an electric hedge trimmer you are always worrying about cutting the electric cord.

Gas-Powered Hedge Trimmers

Gas-powered hedge trimmers are a great alternative, especially for a larger farm or garden. It is one of the most powerful models of hedge trimmers, and can function smoothly for long hours.

Advantage

A gas hedge trimmer is a top pick for professionals and homeowners alike.

  • Suitable for large gardens: While it may not be very easy on the pocket, especially for casual gardeners, a gas hedge trimmer is definitely an investment for those with regular, large gardening work.
  • Saves time: Gas trimmers cut through the shrubs in half the time as other trimmers, and are also easily portable.
  • Adjustable trimmer: Some models of gas hedge trimmers come with a rotating blade, which gives users the flexibility to adjust the trimmer to get the best results. The blade can be adjusted to trim the tops or to snip out the areas very close to a wall or fence.

Choosing the Right Equipment and Accessories

Every gardener is different, and so is his farm or garden. Thus, one has to be sure of requirements while selecting a hedge trimmer and its accessories.

  • Pick the blades and accessories wisely: Pick the size of the blade depending on the size of the hedges. For small shrubs, a blade of around 13-inch length should be ideal, while for taller hedges opt for at least a 30-inch blade.
  • Design: The design of the handle is a crucial factor, as it dictates the ease with which the trimmer can be used. Try different options and pick what is most comfortable for your use.
  • Add-ons: Check for the add-ons available with each model, and invest smartly.

The Right Way to Trim

Buying the right trimmer is important, but equally important is to ensure the trimming is done at the right time.

  • Time of pruning: The pruning time varies depending on the type of shrubs in the garden. When the shrub changes color from dark green to light green, it is the right time to start pruning in the case of slow growing shrubs.
  • Fast-growing hedges: In the case of fast growing hedges, wait till after spring and fresh growth sets in. But make sure you do not cut into the interior branches as these can take a long time to grow, making it look unattractive.
  • Second round of pruning: A second round of pruning can be done by late July. This allows the shrubs to grow, mature and harden before winter sets in.
  • Slope pattern: Go for a slope pattern while trimming so that the base remains broader than the top. This allows sunlight to seep into the lowest branches too, keeping the shrub healthy from the root.

Gardeners, be it professionals or home-gardeners, understand a gas-powered hedge trimmer allows you to complete your work in half the time, and with double the efficiency. It is a value for money option, particularly for large farms with larger hedges.

About the Author

Jack Runyon is the president of Runyon Equipment Rental. He has 21 years of rental experience, as the 3rd generation son to carry on the family tradition and his grandfather’s vision. He prides the company for its devotion to ethics, quality products and customer service. Jack is known for his passion and vast expertise.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

How to Make Cleaning Your Backyard a Breeze

Cleaning the backyard makes for a good workout, and saves you the considerable expense of getting it done by professional cleaners. With a good hedge shear trimmer at hand, you can easily carry out this task as a DIY project.

What Does Cleaning the Backyard Involve?Backyard Clean-Up

  • Clipping shrubs and back bushes, and pruning perennials
  • Cutting grass and ground cover
  • Cleaning benches, walkways, garage floors, doors and other objects in the backyard

Tools Needed

  • The major tool required is the hedge trimmer. Hedge trimmers come in different variants, and different variants offer different levels of performance and dependability. While the basic models simply do the task, high-end models incorporate features such as ergonomic handles, anti-vibration technology and precision-ground blades to deliver better output and make work easy and comfortable. You can either buy the equipment or rent it out depending on your requirement.
  • Other tools such as a chainsaw, tree shears and leaf blowers may be required, depending on the landscape and the extent of cleaning required.

Cleaning Process

Cleaning the backyard is best undertaken methodically, in the following broad steps:

  1. Remove large pieces of waste and debris, such as rocks, big boulders, and fallen down branches.
  2. Cut off any small overhanging branches using tree shears. Cut off any big branches or the trees itself, if required, using a chainsaw.
  3. Trim overgrown shrubs, back bushes, and perennials using the hedge trimmer.
  4. Use the hedge trimmer to trim and keep the hedge in shape. Gas hedge trimmers score over electric and battery powered ones for detailed and intricate landscaping works. These trimmers are also cordless, facilitating easy movement.
  5. Mow the lawn. Use a weed eater to trim the edges around the base of trees and shrubs
  6. Use a leaf blower to gather dead leaves into a pile, and either burn them or put them in a compost pit.

The right hedge trimmer, and an understanding of the process of clearing your backyard, will have you snipping away at your backyard easily and confidently.

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, Gardening and Lawn Care | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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