Posts Tagged With: Horticulture

[HOW-TO] Cisco Seeds Yard Transformation: Initial Evaluation

Runyon Yard Makeover - Part 1Sometimes the best way to learn how best to solve tough yard problems is by learning from someone else’s. Well, that’s the aim of this continuous how-to series, brought to you by Runyon Equipment Rental‘s very own Jack Runyon and our distributor Cisco Seeds. Jack’s yard definitely needs some work, so with a little help from our friends at Cisco, we identified problem areas and underlying issues in order to put a plan in place.

Issues Upon First Review

First things first, we did an in-depth walk-through of the yard with Jack’s wife. One of the major issues: swampy grass. The underlying source is pre-existing bedrock not far below the soil surface. However, a more manageable source is over-watering. These inevitably led to dying trees in the front yard due to grounding issues. One of the trees could literally be pushed over because there isn’t enough room for the roots to grow down.

In regards to the over-watering situation, at the time of the evaluation, sprinklers ran three times per week for 15 min, which was way too much according to the Cisco Seed experts. Another problem area, the front yard has an abundance of yellow nutsedge. Now, normal weed killer won’t get rid of this pesky weed, so a strong solution is in order. Finally, because of the pre-existing issues, there is a lack of nitrogen in the soil, which is extremely evident where the dog pees because it turns the grass dark.

Looking Deeper (Literally)

After having a more in-depth conversation with Jack’s wife about the history of the house, we discovered that the Runyon household was built last in the whole sub-division, meaning that before it was there, the land was a dumping ground for all the muck pulled out of the now-pond. Trucks most likely drove up to this land and dumped off pond gunk in their now-yard. This accounts for a morrow smell in the soil and some of the other major issues.

Also, in the back yard the soil is incredibly deep, about a foot or more down, rather than a typical 6″ before hitting clay. Not to mention, the concrete and rock underneath keep trees from taking root — they are staying just a few feet below the surface, accounting for wobbliness and instability.

Overarching Goals

Before determining the action plan for restoring this yard, as should be the case for anyone, it’s important to consider short-term and long-term goals. Jack and his family would like to move in the next 1-2 years, so the main goal is to make the yard more presentable and “sellable.” That said, the short-term focus is on immediate, easy-to-fix issues.

Short-Term Solutions

1. Aerate at least once a month for the next few months

2. Fertilize with Endure 2603 fertilizer (use 1/2 bag now and 1/2 later)

3. Only water about every 10 days, not 3 times per week

4. Rid the yard of weeds

a. Use an herbicide nut grass killer for yellow nutsedge (grassy weed)

b. Use Q4 speed zone on the rest of the yard

[Note: do both in the same day and don’t water (or no rain) for at least 1.5 days after i.e. turn off sprinklers and check the forecast]

Before looking into longer-term solutions, soil samples have to be analyzed. The result from the soil samples will determine what other factors may be out of balance and how to amend these imbalances. However, a long-term solution may be re-infusing carbon and possibly another chemical that reaches deeper under the soil and breaks down the hard rock surface underneath.

Key Takeaways

Although there is an incredibly specific set of issues for Jack’s lawn, there are definitely key takeaways for you. The first of which being, that if you’re currently experiencing issues with your lawn, it may be prudent to take a deeper look at what may be going on, literally and figuratively. Also, for problem grasses and soil, consider your watering schedule, weed elimination and prevention, as well as any other short-term solutions that you can identify and treat right away. If you have questions about your lawn, the problem areas discussed in this post or lawn products, please contact us or comment below. We’ll update you in a few weeks about how the makeover is going!

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

Keep Gardens Thriving with 3 Simple Maintenance Tips

One of the pleasures of summer living is enjoying a homegrown bowl of salad greens and vegetables harvested from your garden. Not only are these meals super fresh and bursting with flavor, harvesting your garden is one of the ways to keep it healthy. In addition to watering, weeding, mulching and composting, home gardeners need to tend to their patches of produce and petals all season long. Below are three more ideas to keep your gardens thriving.

3 summer garden maintenance tips1. Replant Leafy Vegetables

As the summer heats up, cool-season salad vegetables such as lettuce, spinach and Swiss chard grow stalky and bitter as they go to seed. Pull them out, pitch them unto the compost pile, and replant the area with quick-growing, warm-season veggies and herbs like loose leaf and oak leaf lettuce, red romaine, beans, summer squash, basil or rosemary.

2. Protect Berries and Fruit

Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are not only nature’s candy for people, but critters love them as well. As your plants bear fruit, covering them with bird netting or synthetic fabric row covers will protect from a raccoon’s midnight raid or a bird’s early morning breakfast. Another possible deterrent from birds stealing your harvest is stringing Mylar flash tape over and around your garden.

3. Secure Climbing Plants

Climbing roses, clematis, even string beans and hops produce new growth faster in the summer and will benefit from the help of an arbor, trellis or garden stake. Secure plants loosely with any soft or flexible material such as hook-and-loop plant ties or garden tape, allowing for expansion. Avoid using twist ties with wire centers, which can rust and cut into plants over time.

Expert Advice

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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!

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

How-To Remove Your Dead Tree in 6 Simple Steps

How-To Cut Down Your Tree in 6 Simple StepsIn addition to providing beauty and increasing your property value, trees keep the air and water clean, hold soil in place, and give you and your family a shady spot to enjoy a sunny day. It’s a tough decision, removing a tree from your property, but if the tree is old and dead, taking it down helps keep your yard and the surrounding area safe. No one wants an old dead tree falling into a neighbor’s yard.

There are a number of reasons why you’d want to cut down a tree besides it being already dead. Is the tree healthy? Is the trunk damaged? Is it leaning to one side or dead on only one side? Is it interfering with power lines? Is there enough space around the tree for more growth? And finally, is the tree stunting the growth of nearby trees? Depending on the answers, you may decide to take the tree down.

Tree removal can be a job best left to a professional arborist, one who is fully insured, licensed and certified by the state in which the tree lives. However, depending upon the size of the tree and the scope of its demise, do-it-yourselfers can handle a successful tree removal with ease. Below are the six steps of how to do it.

Step 1. Prepare for the fall. Determine the direction the tree leans naturally, because this is the direction you want the tree to fall. Make room for the fall by clearing away anything in the way, making sure the tree won’t hit anything of value like a fence, car, power lines, house or other structure. Keep helpers and family out of the way. Remove any of the lower tree branches with a handsaw or a chainsaw.

Step 2. Choose two escape routes. Determine two ways to get away safely from the base of the tree as it falls.

Step 3. Make the undercut. Using the chainsaw, make a V-cut at a 90-degree angle on the side of the tree in the direction it is leaning, about one quarter into the circumference of the tree.

Step 4. Begin the backcut. On the opposite side of the undercut, start cutting the tree about two inches higher than the V-cut. As soon as the tree starts to fall, turn off the chainsaw and hurry away using the safer of the two routes.

Step 5. Remove limbs. Once the tree is on the ground, move from the bottom of the tree to the top, cutting branches on the side opposite from where you are standing. Then cut the tree trunk into pieces.

Step 6. Clean up. Feed the cut branches into a wood chipper. Use a stump cutter to grind the stump into wood chips. The wood chips can be recycled into your landscape.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next home improvement 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. We’d love to help you with all your landscaping needs!

Categories: How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Build a Rain Barrel for Your Garden in 5 Easy Steps

How-to Build a Rain Barrel in 5 Easy StepsWhat’s a great way to conserve on water this summer? Collect water in a rain barrel and use it for watering your potted plants, flowers, vegetable garden, or even your lawn. Not only are rain barrels friendly to the environment, they’re easy and economical to make on your own. Using one can also help to reduce utility bills. Experts calculate that you can collect up to 300 gallons of water for every inch of rain that falls on 500 square feet of roof, which can add up to more than 1,000 gallons of water a year. Thank those rain clouds for that big gulp!

How to Build a Rain Barrel

Rain barrels come in all shapes and sizes and can be made easily from plastic drums or trashcans. Some even include a garden pot on the top for planting flowers, which makes for an attractive water feature. Here’s what you’ll need to make a rain barrel:

  • Large 55-gallon plastic garbage can or barrel with lid
  • Tube of watertight sealant, roll of Teflon tape or Silicone caulk
  • 2 rubber washers and 2 metal washers
  • 2” male and 2” female threaded electrical PVC conduit adapter with a threaded coupler
  • Sections of 2” PVC pipe
  • Hose clamp
  • Spigot
  • Glue
  • Unions, reducers and valves
  • Landscaping fabric or screen
  • Cordless drill
  • Hole saw
  • 4×4 treated lumber and construction screws or stainless steel lags or stepping stones to stack for rain barrel stand

Step 1: Drill Hole

Drill a hole near the bottom of the barrel for a spigot. Leave enough space under the hole to place a watering can underneath it.

Step 2: Insert Spigot

Place a metal washer onto the threaded end of spigot, then put a rubber washer over the threads to help hold the washer in place. A bead of waterproof sealant or watertight Teflon tape applied over the rubber washer will prevent leakage. Insert the spigot into the hole. If using sealant, let it dry and put a rubber washer, then a metal washer onto the spigot threads inside the barrel, securing it in place with the hose clamp. This helps to keep the spigot from coming loose.

Step 3: Make Entry and Exit Holes

Your rain barrel will sit under the gutter downspout. With a saw, cut a hole in the lid, large enough to accommodate the largest water flow, so it runs right into the barrel. Next, drill a couple of holes near the very top of the rain barrel, for any overflow to run onto the ground. To conserve even more water, connect two rain barrels by placing a short length of hose or PVC pipe from the overflow hole to the other rain barrel, so any excess water will run into it, reducing loss of overflow water.

This step can also be accomplished using PVC pipe. Cut holes in the barrel bottom with a hole saw. Then screw in a 2” male threaded electrical PVC conduit adapter. Bead silicone caulk around the opening and screw on a threaded electrical PVC coupler. Next, glue together sections of 2” PVC pipe, unions, reducers and valves. As long as you’re at it, install an overflow pipe so you can direct the excess where you want it.

Step 4: Seal Top

To create a debris and insect barrier, cut a piece of landscaping fabric or tight screen and mount it to the inside of the lid, then put the lid over the top of the rain barrel to secure.

Step 5: Position Rain Barrel

  • To use a watering can,place your new rain barrel directly underneath the downspout in a way that’s easy for you to fill the watering cans.
  • To use a hose, wand or spray nozzle, elevate the barrel on a stand for more water pressure. Build a platform out of wood or stack stepping-stones and place the platform underneath the downspout and put the rain barrel on top of it.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you find easy ways to keep your yard looking great. 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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

Categories: Gardening and Lawn Care | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

[INFOGRAPHIC] Prepare Your Lawn for Fall and Winter

With winter coming up, it is important that you consider the best ways to prepare your lawn for the harsh weather – you want it to thrive again in the spring, and there are several ways to ensure that it does. Dethatching, plugging, bark blowing and lawn vacuuming are four suggested autumn lawn applications. The infographic below outlines what each one is, why to use each machine, when to use it and important tips. Feel free to use this as a guide for your lawn this October. Happy yard-working!

Fall Winter Infographic

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

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

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

Sod Cutters: Ground Leveling Made Easy

Anyone with a beautiful garden and landscaping appreciates sod cutters. It helps remove grass, complete with its roots. There are a few levels at which it can be operated, giving you flexibility while using it. Sod cutters give you a consistent work flow and allow for an even finish.

Using a sod cutter

Bluebird Sod CutterBefore you get down to using the device, it is important that you get rid of all small branches and rocks that are in the way.

  • Turning on and moving to neutral: Operating a sod cutter is simple and once it is on, its lever has to be moved to the neutral position.
  • Engage blades and move into low gear: Next, engage the blade lever and lift the sod cutter’s handlebar with your other hand. Now move the gear shift into low and pull gently on your throttle exerting only a little pressure on the handlebar.
  • Check depth of trial cut: Cut a small patch and place the cutter in neutral. Check for the level of cut and adjust it at this point if you are not happy with it. Turn it to the right for lesser depth and counter-clockwise for more.
  • Set and lock depth: Once set, lock the depth with the knob. Work on the grass till it is done to your satisfaction.
  • Cut sod strip: Once the grass is cut, push forward on the blade engagement control while holding the throttle. This will cut off the end of the sod strip and you can take the blade off.

Kinds of sod cutters and their uses

The next thing you need to know is that there are different kinds of sod cutters and they are used in varying circumstances.

  • Square Edge Cutter: This is the most basic of models and looks like a shovel with a shorter handle and rounded edge. You can use it to remove small patches of sod or to edge your garden.
    • Using a square edge cutter: When using it as an edger, place it in the soil and use your foot to drive it in. This should be as close as possible, to the point, where your grass ends at the pavement. Use the shovel like a cutter and get rid of all the sod and dispose.
  • Kick Sod Cutter: This has two handles that are anchored together with a cross bar. You have a blade and roller at the end and the blade can be adjusted for project you are working on.
    • Using a kick sod cutter: You move the sod cutter by kicking the crossbar along. This is best for long strips of sod that can be cut and rolled up.
  • Motorized Cutter: For large patches of area, a motorized cutter will work best. It is powerful,therefore you will need to check first whether you will be able to handle the machine or not.

Most of the models come with their set of instructions, which is pretty easy to follow. Get yourself a sod cutter, which is in good condition, and well-maintained, so you can carry your project through to a smooth finish.

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: Featured Products, Gardening and Lawn Care | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cut Down a Tree and Clear Foliage in 6 Easy Steps

Chain SawsOne usually associates work, such as tree felling, limbing, pruning branches and removing foliage as long, drawn out hard manual work. However, the use of a chainsaw speeds up the work considerably and makes it easier as well.

Chainsaw Types

The first action is to get yourself a chainsaw. Chainsaws come in many shapes and sizes, and the best one depends on the task to be done.

  • Bar Blade Chainsaws: Chainsaws with a bar type blade is best suited for basic tasks. For best output, the bar has to be at least a one third size longer than the tree or log.
  • Electric Chainsaws: These are best suited for small trimming tasks.
  • Gasoline Chainsaws: These are most suited for large-scale work, which require heavy felling and clearing.

When getting a chainsaw, select the one most appropriate for the task to be carried out.

Process of Pruning a Tree with a Chainsaw

  1. Sharpen the Blade: Regardless of the chainsaw selected, make sure to fine-tune the bar and ensure a sharp blade. For large scale work, it is a good idea to have a filing kit handy, to sharpen the blade as required in the midst of the work.
  2. Check for Obstructions: Before starting the actual work, estimate the felling zone for medium to large trees. If there is a shed or other immovable objects in the felling zone, the felling may have to be done in stages, starting from higher elevations.
  3. The Safest Way to Cut: It is safer to cut from either the top or bottom of the bar and chain, but avoid the kickback zone, which is the top half of the bar’s tip. If this zone comes in contact with something when the chainsaw is in motion, the saw kicks back, which can cause serious injury. As an added safety measure, grip the handle by encircling it with the thumb around the front part of the handle.
  4. Clear Outgrowth and Foliage First: Cut the branches, outgrowth and foliage first before aiming for the trunk. For big trees, cut the branches from bottom to top.
  5. Begin Cutting from the Left Side of the Trunk: It is a safe practice to work from the left side of the trunk, as it allows resting the side or bottom of the saw on the trunk and slicing off the branches with a pivoting motion.
  6. Cutting the Trunk: Cut the trunk by making a downward cut, one-third the diameter of the trunk. Cutting straight down through a trunk may cause the weight of the trunk to pinch the bar and stop the chainsaw.

A Word of Caution

Regardless of the type of chainsaw used, leave sufficient room for cutting. A chainsaw getting in the way of power lines, nearby cars and buildings, or any other obstructions can create a big mess, and turn out to be dangerous for the operator.

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: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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

How to Choose the Right Sod Cutter

Sod Cutter

Want to clear grass? Whether you are simply trying to clear grass from your driveway, beginning a DIY project to improve your lawn or engaging in professional landscaping, a sod cutter will make your life easier. A sod cutter does a complete job of cutting grass from the roots and exposing the bare ground underneath. The cutting blades with adjustable angles allow a fine and deep cut, even when the soil conditions and depth vary.

Sod cutters come in different types.

  • kick sod cutter is more ideal to cut long and narrow strips of sod. This cutter comes with two long handles anchored with a cross bar. Kicking the cross bar moves the cutter along.
  • motorized sod cutter is the easiest to operate and is the best option to remove large quantities of sod. The operator raises the blade and sets the cutter in place before lowering the blade, starting the engine, shifting into gear and beginning the cutting process. The blade may be adjusted depending on the depth of the cut required.

It makes sense to rent a sod cutter rather than buy one, as you do not need this tool on a daily basis, and it is imperative to choose the right type of sod cutter to ensure a job well done, without breaking your back. Motorized sod cutters require extensive maintenance, including monitoring the oil levels, regular cleaning and adjustments, as well as installation of replacement blades. Renting a sod cutter often makes more financial sense and offers you flexibility as well.

Whether you choose to rent or buy, a sod cutter can make any landscaping job a breeze. Check out your options and decide which type of cutter is the right one for you and your job!

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, Featured Products, Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: