lawn & garden tips

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Safety First!

Use Extreme
Caution on Slopes

When operating on sloping ground, exercise extreme caution and common sense to avoid possible personal injury or property damage.

Do not mow excessively steep slopes.

Avoid slopes that are greater than 15 degrees, or wherever footing is unsure. If a slope is difficult to stand on it is probably too steep to mow (in that case, it may be best to establish a ground cover that doesn't require mowing).

Do not mow on slopes when the ground is wet. Mow across the face of a slope, never up and down. Slow down and exercise extreme caution when changing direction on slopes. Keep the Wheel Drive lever engaged on self-propelled models to ensure easier operation and better control of the mower.

 

 






 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Lawn Tips .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Mowing Tips.
 
 

1. Mow when the lawn is dry. It is difficult to mow wet grass and may result in an uneven cut. Wet clippings tend to stick together and leave unsightly clumps on top of the lawn.

2. Never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade length. Removing more than this may expose tender, shaded stems to the drying effects of sun and wind and produce a dull, brown-looking lawn. Cutting off too much blade area is also a shock to the root system and it may take weeks to repair the damage.

3. Mow often enough and high enough to avoid damage to your lawn. For example, if you are maintaining your lawn at 2 inches height, mow it before it reaches 3 inches.

4. Vary your cutting pattern. This will help prevent wear patterns and soil compaction. One week mow from north to south, the next week mow from east to west. Also, overlap slightly when mowing to reduce wheel marks and to give your lawn a more evenly cut appearance.

5. Avoid midday mowing. If possible, mow in the late afternoon or early evening to avoid exposing newly cut grass to the drying effects of direct sunlight.

6. Clean the mower frequently. By removing grass buildup, your mower will cut properly and evenly. Refer to the cleaning instructions in the maintenance section of your owner/operator manual. Remember to always disconnect the spark plug before cleaning.

7. Avoid sharp turns when mowing. Sharp turns may produce an uneven cut or deposit clippings at the turning point. If possible, follow natural ground contours or use gentle, sweeping turns for a better looking lawn.

When turning, unmulched grass may accumulate at turning points (tilting the mower deck reduces mulching performance). It may be necessary to mow turning points again until the clippings are no longer visible.

8. Mow at full throttle. Set the throttle at its fastest setting for best mowing performance and peak engine operating efficiency. Faster blade speeds result in a better quality cut, and the higher engine RMP helps to ensure proper cooling and oiling to engine parts.

9a. Use the correct wheel speed. On variable speed models, adjust the wheel speed to grass conditions. Use speeds 1 through 4 for normal mowing conditions. You'll get better results at slower speeds, especially if the grass is tall or lush.

Use speeds 5 and 6 for transporting, or where the grass is light and appearance is not as important.

9b. Disengage wheels when trimming. On self-propelled mowers, disengage the wheels and gently push the mower to cut near obstacles.

10. Mow long grass twice. If grass is 5 inches long or more, cut it once at the highest setting and then mow it again at the desired height. Use a collection bag to deal with excess clippings (well-mulched grass clippings are a great addition to a compost pile).

11. Keep mower blade sharp. A sharp blade cuts the grass cleanly, resulting in a smooth, evenly cut lawn. A dull blade tears at the grass and will fray the tops so that they dry out quickly, resulting in a dull, brown-looking lawn.

Refer to the blade sharpening instructions in the maintenance section of your owner/operator manual.

12. Mulch leaves. A light covering of leaves can be effectively mulched into the turn. As the leaves decompose, they will add valuable organic matter and minerals to the soil.

To ensure effective mulching, be sure the leaves are dry. Use a slow travel speed and don't try to mulch a deep layer of leaves. Leaves from oak trees tend to be acidic and may affect the soil's pH level over time. If a soil test indicates acid soil, use ground limestone to help neutralize the acidity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Safety First!

Operate Safely.
Inexperienced tiller users often encounter difficulties when they attempt to manhandle the machine. Instead, they should relax and allow the tiller to do the work.

Don't allow people or pets to stand near the tiller during operation -- and never leave a machine unattended while the engine is running. Don't allow children to operate tiller equipment.

Never attempt to remove material entangled in tines while the engine is running. Stop the engine to make any adjustments and to refuel.

Dress for Safety.
Appropriate protective clothing includes safety shoes or boots, eye protection, and gloves.

 

 

 

 

 
 
Tilling Tips.
 

The tiller is used to break up and turn soil for a variety of landscaping and gardening jobs. Its rotating blades slice into the earth, breaking up the soil, turning and mixing.

There are tillers with tines positioned in front of the wheels, others with tines mounted behind the wheels, and mid-tine designs with tines between the wheels.

Small front-tine tillers are easily moved around the work site on rubber tires. For tilling, wheels either are removed or repositioned so they do not restrict the tilling action. Larger models may be self-propelled.

The digging depth of a tiller is adjustable, and for ease of use, the throttle and clutch controls are mounted on the handlebars.

1. The ground to be tilled should be moist -- either from a recent rain or from watering. Tilling in dry, hard soil is difficult and hard on equipment.

2. Till in parallel lines. If the soil is difficult to break, make a second pass.

3. If mulch or fertilizer is to be added, till the area first, spread material evenly across the top and retill to mix additives thoroughly in the soil.



 

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Starting a Lawn
 

Buying Grass Seed

By learning to read the label on a bag of grass seed, you can save yourself many dollars and hours of hard work.

Cheap grass seed is exactly what the word says. And it can end up costing you more in the long run. It's full of weeds and other things that will take you months -- even years -- to eliminate in your lawn. This is why it is crucial to start with good seed. Even though it it costs more, you'll be rewarded with a lawn that costs you less to maintain in terms of time and money.

By law, growers and packagers of grass seed must print an analysis of the contents of each seed bag, and this usually has six classifications stamped on it.

1. Purity
2. Germination
3. Crop
4. Weeds
5. Noxious weeds
6. Inert matter

To get your money's worth, you need to know what each of these classifications mean, and we will explain them below.

Purity. The basic type of seed will be named, i.e. Kentucky bluegrass, and its percentage of the total weight will be given. There may be other types of improved seeds listed, such as Victa, Windsor, Merion, etc. You should look for at least 35% to 40% purity.

Under the seed analysis, you will probably find two more categories: Fine Textured Grasses and Coarse Textured Grasses. Fine textured grasses will include bluegrass, bentgrass, and fine fescue, including strains such as Windsor, Merion, and Victa. Coarse textured grasses will usually include perennial ryegrass, or others such as: redtop, timothy, tall fescue, or Kentucky 31.

There should always be at least 40% of ryegrass or other strain of coarse grass in the package.

Germination. Usually labeled "Germ.," this tells you how much of the seed is capable of growth. This is % figure is usually determined in laboratory tests under ideal conditions. Your yield may not be as high -- or it may even be higher, and you must remember that all seeds do not germinate at the same time. As a rule of thumb, if the germ. figure is 85%, you can reasonably expect 80% to 85% growth under normal conditions.

Crop. Crop seeds are a critical figure in lawn seed. The lower the % the better.
Crop seeds are what a farmer grows, i.e. oats, wheat, rye. And if you don't want your lawn to look like a field of any of these, make sure the figure is low. If the crop seed content is more than 5% the label must state the name of the crop seeds in the package.

Weeds. Since all grass seed mixtures contain some weed seed, the lower the % the better. Even 0.1% chickweed in a pound of seed can result in half a million chickweed plants in 10,000 sq. feet of lawn. Look for grass seed with the lowest % of weed seed, or you'll have to buy a lot of weed killer. That can cost you plenty before the lawn-growing season is over. So weed out your choices before you buy.

Noxious weeds. These weeds are more of a problem in farm fields than in lawns, but they must be listed by name and count on the label. Classification of these noxious weeds varies from state to state. It's better to be safe and buy grass seed products that contain no noxious weeds.

Inert Matter. Matter such as sand, ground-up corn cobs, and empty seed hulls are considered inert. It serves to add weight to the package -- and nothing more.
The more inert matter, the less seed. Read the label carefully and buy a mixture with as small a % of inert matter as possible.

Seed Differences

Quality blends of seed suitable for different lawn conditions are offered by growers and packagers. Once company may offer a blend of bluegrass to provide high density, thick texture and deep, rich color. One may offer a blend especially for shady areas; while another is made specifically for lawns subject to hard use, such as baseball, football, tennis, etc. Blends for covering bare spots with grass quickly are also available.

Seeding Guidelines

Growing a handsome new lawn begins with proper seeding. You can seed it using about 2 pounds of quality seed for each 1000 sq. ft. For best results, we recommend overseeding a new lawn with another 1/2 pound of seed per 1000 sq. ft. This will help compensate for those seeds that will not germinate.

Buying quality seed and doing the job right will eliminate a lot of work and aggravation later. It will be money well-spent on a lawn you can be proud of.

1. When starting from scratch, prepare the soil first. If your lawn has lots of hills and holes (if it is a new building lot), rent a Bobcat with scarifier rake from A to Z Rentals and Sales. You can also do the job yourself with a spade and/or hoe, and a wheelbarrow if you have the time and energy.

2. After leveling, remove all loose debris (sticks and stones) and prepare the soil for seeding. The soil should be tilled about 3 to 4 inches deep to loosen it.

3. Let the soil settle for a week or so. Sprinkle it lightly to help settle the soil, if it does not rain during this period. Avoid overwatering, which can turn the soil into hardpan.

4. After the soil has settled, fertilize the entire area. Use a quality new grass fertilizer with a high phosphorous content to establish a strong root system.

5a. Sow the grass seed. It is best to use a spreader with controls for seeding rather than broadcasting the seeds with your hands or using a whirling spreader.
The seeds will be distributed evenly over the ground, giving you correct and consistent coverage, while minimizing waste. Remember to overseed lightly.

5b. Divide the lawn into quarters. It's much easier to keep track of your work in this way. Apply the seed to one section at a time and then rake it down into the soil. Be sure to cover as much seed as possible with a reasonable amount of raking. Seed and rake the other quarters in the same way.

5c. Water the earth with a garden hose. Set the nozzle on the light spray setting and water the soil until it is damp, but not muddy. Keep watering on a daily basis, and don't skimp on water. You can skip the watering on rainy days, but always be sure to water adequately otherwise.

6a. Cut the grass when it reaches a height of about 3 inches. For best results, you should set the mower height set between 2 to 2-1/2 inches until your lawn is fully established (usually about two years). After that, you can lower the cutting height to 1-1/2 inches for most grass.

6b. Re-fertilize your lawn. Between 30 to 40 days after planting, fertilize the soil again using a quality fertilizer. Once your lawn is established, you can continue to fertilize it between February and April and again between August and October.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Choosing a Mower







 

1/4 acre or less
Push mower or self-propelled walk-behind mower.

1/4 acre to 1/2 acre
Self-propelled walk-behind mower or rear-engine riding mower






 


1/2 to 1 acre

Lawn tractor with a cutting width up to 38 inches.

1 to 2 acres
Lawn tractor with a cutting width of 42 to 46 inches.

 


3 acres or more

Yard tractor, lawn tractor, or lawn and garden tractor with cutting widths of 48 inches or more.



























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