Posts Tagged With: Lawn

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

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

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

Aeration Accomplishes Several Important Things

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

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

Types of Aerating Tools

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

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

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

Tips for Aerating Your Yard

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

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you make aeration part of your yearly lawn care regime. From aerator/pluggers to slice seeders to fertilizer, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week. Plus, your beautiful lawn will thank you for helping it breathe again!

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

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

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

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.

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

[INFOGRAPHIC] Mark These 13 Projects Off Your Fall Checklist

How fitting that this infographic outlines 13 projects for you to complete, what with Halloween right around the corner and all! The first item, aerating and fertilizing, is a really key task. You want a gorgeous green lawn come spring right? Well it doesn’t take much, but with it getting colder each day we advise you do this soon – learn how to here. And cleaning your gutters is fairly simple, yet really beneficial. Our latest post outlines how to effectively complete this to-do item. And all the remaining projects will be covered in upcoming posts, so be on the look out!

Fall Project Checklist

Now, although most of these tasks are outdoor-related, there are smaller indoor to-dos that will be covered in a future post as well. This may seem like a lot, but these weekend projects can be knocked out really easily and are worth the effort because it will leave you with less spring cleaning. Not to mention, a lot of these will ensure a warm and cozy winter.

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 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.

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[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.

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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

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

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

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 Perfect Lawn Mower

Though you might think that all there is to mowing the lawn is switching the lawn mower on and pushing it across your yard. There are several things to keep in mind about the kind of mower you use on the lawn. What type of grass is your lawn and how low should it be cut, as well as, should you mulch or bag the grass clippings? Below we try to help you make the right decision.

Grass Cutting Height:

With the general thumb rule being never cut off more than one-third of the grass blade in the morning, the actual cutting height depends on the type of grass you have planted on your lawn, the season of the year and how well the lawn has been maintained thus far. This could range between 2-3 inches for Kentucky bluegrass and 0.5-1.5 inches for Bermuda grass.

Mower Features:Lawn Mower

According to The Lawn Institute, there are more than 25 million acres of tended lawn in the United States. This means there are nearly a million families who search for the right lawn mower every year. There are two basic features that you need to look at when getting your lawn mower:

  • Speed is of the essence. Decide what speed controls you prefer, whether the exercise-free, self-propelled mowers or the push models. Try out a few mowers to see what works for you.
  • Mulch, bag or shred. While lawn clippings degrade when left on the lawn and can be recycled in place, you also have an option of choosing mowers which mulch, bag, discharge or shred leaves. Most mowers come with two or three options, making cleaning up after mowing so much easier.

Choose your mowing accessories cleverly, deciding on whether your mower is gas or electric operated, and choosing whether you will use a walk-behind lawn mower or riding lawn mower. All these decisions should be based on the type of lawn you have and the mower that will suit you best. Once you have yourself a suitable mower, frequent, correct mowing and sensible lawn care is sure to give you that green ball park-like lawn you’ve been aiming for. Happy mowing!

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: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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