Posts Tagged With: tiller

Go Green – Plant a Living Privacy Fence

how and why to plant a privacy hedgeWe’ve all experienced it. The horrible view from our kitchen window staring straight at a neighbor’s hot tub. While they may be nice people, do you really want to intrude on their private time? Go green! Plant your privacy fence rather than building one. We’ve got a few suggestions to help you make it happen.

Hedges Add Interest and Privacy

If you want more privacy or to add interest to your landscape, a privacy hedge is the ticket. A living fence does much more than just shelter you from prying eyes.

A Privacy Hedge:

  • blocks noise coming from the street and neighborhood.
  • acts as a natural windbreak.
  • can be a snow fence, reducing snow build up around your house.
  • turns your garden into a secluded retreat.

Location Dictates Plants to Use

Starting a privacy hedge will take patience. While there are fast growing varieties of trees, shrubs and vines, none will reach the height or thickness you desire quickly. The location of your fence dictates the size and type of trees and shrubs to use.

Avoid Excessive Maintenance

An important consideration is how much time you want to devote to maintaining your hedge. In formal gardens boxwoods and other shrubs need to be regularly groomed to maintain their precise shapes. If this is not for you then select plants that give you the natural shapes you desire.

How to Plant a Privacy Hedge

  • Select the type of tree or shrub that works best for the location – Do you want it to provide a screen all year long (go with an evergreen)? Or do you want it to flower and give you privacy during certain times of the year?
  • Decide on the height – Set up a ladder to help visualize the approximate height of the plants needed. If you want a 6-foot tall fence, then planting a tree that grows 10-15 feet is only going mean more maintenance.
  • Determine the width – If you have limited space, select trees and shrubs that can be planted closer together. Some species need more room for roots to spread in order to thrive.
  • Density – If you want a thick hedge, plant several staggered rows, which will allow them to fill in.
  • Map it out – Don’t eyeball your planting. Mark off a row with paint or wooden stakes and string to keep your hedge straight.
  • Train your plants – Trim the tops and sides a few times a year after they establish. Keep the shape wider at the bottom than the top to allow sunlight to reach lower leaves.

Fast Growing Plants Can Often Be Invasive

There are many popular plants to use in making a privacy hedge. Most will take one or two seasons to fully establish. Be careful when selecting fast growing plants like bamboo and Japanese Barberry. Some varieties are considered invasive and may not be approved for use in your community.

Best Trees and Shrubs for Hedges 

  • Arborvitae
  • Boxwood
  • Flowering Quince
  • Sawara False Cypress
  • Japanese Euonymus
  • Holly
  • Juniper
  • Privet
  • Oleander
  • Variegated False Holly
  • Korean Lilac
  • Hybrid Yew
  • Canadian Hemlock
  • Rose of Sharon

Vines Good Option for Privacy Screens

Use wire fences or screens that serve as supports for vines like Ivy, Clematis or Hops. Privacy hedges can also be used to hide compost bins or those large green power boxes.

Skip the Bland Privacy Fence and Go Green!

A living privacy hedge is a great way to add color and texture to your garden while providing the privacy you crave. Before you get out the post hole digger and invest in a bland white fence, think about the eco-friendlier option. Soon the sight of your Speedo clad neighbor stepping into his hot tub will be a distant memory.

Expert Advice

From wheelbarrows and shovels to trimmers and tillers, our expert staff is always on hand to help with your next DIY home project. Looking for other Fall gardening projects? Our blog, Landscaping Ideas to Create a Fabulous Fall Yard, has some great suggestions for ways to spruce things up around your home. As always, if you have any questions about pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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

Top 10 Most Popular Runyon Equipment Rentals for Fall

Top 10 Fall Rentals from RunyonThe first day of fall is about a week away (September 23 this year), and it may seem like finishing all the things on your DIY-do list seems impossible. We’ve put together a list of our most popular equipment rentals for fall – “fan favorites” that’ll help you complete those projects in no time (in no particular order).

  1. Aerator/ Plugger – Fall is prime time for treating your lawn to a little TLC. By aerating, you help keep the soil from compacting and strangling the grass roots. Our blog on fall lawn care will show you why an aerator is a lawn’s best friend.
  2. Slice Seeder – If your lawn has thinned over the summer, then a slice seeder will help you bring it back to its “greener” self. As its name suggests, a slice seeder slices through the turf, creating furrows for seeds. The dirt that it kicks up buries the seeds, eliminating a need for straw or top soil. Learn more about this effective machine in our article, Improve Your Existing Turf with Slice Seeding.
  3. Tiller – Now that you are wrapping up your summer garden and flower beds, don’t forget to give back to your soil. Tilling helps to oxygenate the soil and mix in organic materials. Our post, Time to Till it Up, can help you decide if a tiller is in your future.
  4. Chainsaw – A chainsaw can make easy work of trimming trees or removing any that have died. We run through some handy tips on cutting down trees and using a chainsaw in this blog.
  5. Chipper – When removing a tree, what to do with the debris is always a consideration. We suggest using a chipper. You will eliminate the yard waste and get back mulch in return. We review different types of chippers in this article. Check it out.
  6. Log Splitter – While a chainsaw is handy for taking down a tree, a splitter will cut up the larger sections of a downed tree into usable pieces for your fireplace. Our blog post on repurposing yard debris for your fireplace may light a fire under you to rent one of these.
  7. Stump Cutter – Cutting a tree down and grinding up the debris is usually step one of the process. There is always a stump left to deal with. A stump cutter will break up the tree base and roots so that they are easier to remove. That’s why this piece of equipment is listed as one of the Essential Yard Tools for Your Fall Maintenance.
  8. Auger – Fall is an ideal season to plant trees and shrubs. In our post, Garden To-Dos Pt 3 – Planting Trees and Shrubs, we discuss how augers make digging holes for planting trees and other plants so much easier.
  9. Bobcat/ Dingo – Ever had to transport endless loads of dirt, gravel or mulch from your driveway to the back of your house with a wheelbarrow? You swore never again. What you need is a bobcat. From hauling to excavating, this is the “Swiss Army knife” of maintenance tools due to all the attachments available. We outlined how to use a Bobcat in our blog, How to Safely Operate and Maneuver a Bobcat.
  10. Boom Lift – For jobs that are too high or too dangerous for traditional ladders, the boom lift should be your choice. It will safely deliver you and your materials to the height you need. See how one of these can help on your projects in the article, Versatile Uses of Boom Lifts.

By selecting the right tools and equipment to do the job, your to-do lists don’t have to be so overwhelming – they can actually help you tackle your projects in record time. You may be able to add even more items to your list! On further reflection, taking one’s time while doing home improvements can also be seen as a virtuous endeavor. Food for thought, folks, food for thought.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with all of your DIY home improvement projects. If you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, DIY Projects, Fall Checklist, Featured Products | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

3 Options for How to Replant Grass in Your Yard

If looking out over your yard at the brown patches left by winter’s brutal temperatures isn’t enough to make you throw in the towel on growing a lush lawn in Indiana, then we may have some tips that can help.

At this time of year, DIY-gardeners have three options for replanting an existing lawn and giving it some love.

  • Over-seed
  • Plug it
  • Start over in the fall – the best time to replant grass in your yard

Although there’s no guarantee your lawn will improve if you engage one of the spring options instead of waiting until the fall, each one is worth a try. 

Climate Zones Determine Grass Growing

Climate Zone Map

In Indiana, climate zones 7 and 8 help determine what types of grass you should grow.

  • Cool weather grasses – the top third of the state falls into this category. These are grass types that grow better in areas that have cooler summers and winters. Some grass types in this category are Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Rye and both Tall and Fine Fescue. You primarily plant these type lawns in the early spring or the late summer/ early fall since they take time to germinate.
  • Warm weather grasses – the bottom third of the state falls into this category. These are grass types that grow better in areas with warmer summers and winters. Some of these are Bermuda grass and Zoysia. These grasses can be planted in the late spring as long as they have enough time to establish before the summer heat comes on.

1. Over-Seeding

If you want to over seed an existing lawn, be prepared to put in the time it will take to maintain it until the seed establishes. On an existing yard of Kentucky Bluegrass try seeding with a mixture of Bluegrass and Fine Fescue. The Fescue will establish faster and give the Bluegrass seed time to germinate. Here are a few basic steps to over-seed any type of lawn:

  1. Set your lawn mower at the lowest setting to remove most of the vegetation from the lawn. It will make it easier for the seeds to reach the ground.
  2. Rake the grass and top ¼-inch of soil underneath it and dispose of debris.
  3. Add fertilizer – apply per manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Broadcast seed over lawn in parallel lines – first in north/ south direction and then in an east/ west direction to avoid missing any areas.
  5. Use backside of rake to spread about ¼ inch of dirt over seed.
  6. Cover the ground with a thin layer of mulch made from wheat straw. You can rake straw away once grass starts to appear.
  7. Water lightly each day until grass is 2 inches tall.
  8. Best to wait to mow until grass has reached about 3 inches in height.

2. Lawn Plugging

If seeds are too slow for you then lawn plugging is the way to go. A “plug” is a 2 x 2 inch piece of sod that you can use to fill in bare spots on your lawn. You will need to till up the area you wish to plant, amend the soil with compost, and then create holes using a hand held grass plugger or an aerator/plugger. Place the plugs in a checkerboard pattern and fill the holes with lawn starter fertilizer. Insert the grass plugs and pack down the ground around them to eliminate air pockets. Give the entire area a thorough watering. Check out our blog, How to Plug Your Lawn in 3 Easy Steps, for additional details.

3. Great Grasses for Indiana

Whether you over-seed, plug or wait until the fall, here is some information on the different grasses that work well in our area. We have listed which are cool season grasses and which are warm season grasses. Depending on how you plan to proceed with improving your lawn one of these grass types may offer you a solution.

Kentucky Bluegrass – This is a cool season grass

  • Performs best in full sun
  • Slow to germinate
  • Winter hardy
  • New varieties are more disease resistant
  • Will need more fertilizer and water than other types

Fescue – This is a cool season grass

  • Drought, heat and shade tolerant
  • Requires less fertilizer
  • Grows deeper roots
  • Different varieties – Tall (broad leaf, clumping) and Fine (thin leaf,non-clumping)

Bermuda grass – This is a warm season grass

  • Best in full sun
  • Medium to fine texture
  • Drought resistant
  • Turns brown in winter when temperatures drop to point of frost
  • Can be aggressive and will take over flowerbeds
  • Need to keep in check with trimming or use of organic herbicides like vinegar

Zoysia – This is a warm season grass

  • Spreads and forms dense sod
  • Slow upward growth so needs less mowing
  • Low water consumption
  • Good for high traffic areas
  • Somewhat shade tolerant
  • Needs no pesticides or weed killers since it chokes out pests and weeds
  • Thrives in heat, goes dormant in cold weather

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your yard and garden projects. From seeders and tillers to aerator pluggers and more, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week. To learn more about your lawn, check out our helpful how-to guide, How Well Do You Know Your Lawn?

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

Your Spring Gardening Checklist (Part 1)

Till Your Garden for SpringPreparing the soil in your garden for planting helps assure a bountiful harvest. Before spring planting and transplanting begins, the soil should be prepared. First, remove old mulch and leftover plants tops, such as those of asparagus or rhubarb from all garden beds. Before any new growth appears on berry plants, remove old canes that look weak, diseased, damaged or bore fruit. Till the soil using a tiller machine.

Tips for Tilling:

  • Adjust the machine to match ground conditions by testing the soil. Depending upon whether the ground is hard or loose, set the tiller accordingly and work a test area, then evaluate the result. Reset the depth bar, tine configuration, throttle or gear selection as necessary and continue tilling.
  • Some tillers are designed to propel itself forward only; some are designed to till when moving both forward and backward. Determine which kind of tiller you’re working with. A forward-only model will need to be hauled backward to re-work the soil.
  • Allow the tiller to “bite” into the soil and work its way forward. After the initial groundbreaking, work the tiller back and forth to cultivate the soil.
  • Adjust the depth bar so the tiller is tilted slightly backwards.
  • For hard, compacted soil or to dig deeper, lower the depth bar. Raise the depth bar when working in softer conditions.
  • To cultivate soft soil or shallow soil, slow the engine speed, which will slow down the tines so the tiller can take smaller “bites” of soil for better performance.
  • To cultivate hard soil, run the tiller at full throttle so the tines can take bigger “bites” of soil.
  • After tilling, use a shove and rake to amend the soil with compost and peat moss, followed by “side dressing” with nitrogen, manure and fertilizer. Remember to test the soil for type of fertilizer and pH recommendations.
  • Fertilize woody plants before new growth begins but after soil temperatures have reached 40 degrees.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with gardening projects. Learn more by reading our blog, Tackle Spring Clean-Up in Your Yard with This Handy Checklist. From tillers to landscaping tools, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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

3 Early Fall Gardening Clean-Up To-Do’s

Early Fall Gardening Checklist

September is the perfect time to start thinking winterization in terms of your garden. As it’s the very beginning of fall, the place to begin is preservation of your perennials and cleaning up dead plants that won’t make it to springtime. We’ve been so blessed with warm weather the past few days, continuing on to the end of the month, so use it to your advantage. Put on your gardening gloves and get to work!

Step 1. Flowerbed Clean-Up

Think fall clean-up for your flowerbeds. For instance, day lilies look beautiful while they bloom, but by the end of the season they look pretty rough. So clean up the weeds around your flowers and remove annual flowers that have died and won’t grow back next year.

Step 2. Pull Out Your Veggies

Next, step over to your vegetable garden and survey the situation. An easy rule of thumb: let the garden grow on until the vegetables and tomatoes stop growing. At that point it’s time to pull everything out and till for next year. A small tiller will do the trick!

Step 3. Take Care of Your Ornamental Grasses

Although some people leave ornamental grasses out for winter interest, honestly leaving them just makes a mess. And ultimately, keeping the grasses makes it harder to clean up in the spring. That said, it’s best to rope them off and cut each patch of grass at the base.

We’d love to help you with your entire fall gardening and lawn care checklist, so let us know what you need! We rent everything from aerators to chippers to stump cutters. Take a look at the next batch of early fall to-do’s here and get to it. Happy gardening!

Categories: Fall Checklist, Gardening and Lawn Care | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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