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Choosing the Right Mower

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For more than 150 years, human and animal-powered machines have given way to compact equipment powered by internal combustion engines of all sizes and configurations.  Even as caring for yards and gardens becomes more mechanized, homeowners still have a basic choice: power and speed—or muscle and patience—with lots of options in between.  A homeowner necessity, lawn mowers today range from manual reel push mowers to technologically sophisticated zero-turn-radius mowers. Speed…

When to mow and what height

When to Mow & How Much to Cut

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North Cut cool-season grasses when they reach heights of 3 to 3-½ inches, typically once a week.  If the lawn grows too high for you to cut off one-third of the height and have an acceptable length, cut off one-third and then wait two or three days before cutting off another one-third.  The best time of day to mow is in the evening when the sun is lower in the sky….

Self-Propelled Walk-Behind Mower

Self-Propelled versus Push—What is the Difference?

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Walk-behind rotary mowers come in two basic types: self-propelled and push.  Over recent years there have been many innovations for the push mower.  For example, some manufacturers now offer ground speed controls that allow you to mow at the pace you desire. Self-Propelled Mowers Both electric corded and cordless units are suitable for small to average-size lawns (2,500 square feet or less), but  corded units are limited by the nearest…

Riding Mowers

Riding Mower Maintenance

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Riding Mower Maintenance Maintenance Frequency Regular maintenance is the most important step for achieving the best performance and longest life out of your riding mower.  If equipped, use the hour meter to track and perform routine services, such as oil changes and spark-plug replacements.  If not equipped with an hour meter, one way to track time used is to put a piece of masking tape on the product and make…

Fertilizer Guidelines

Fertilizer Guidelines

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North and South The optimal time to apply fertilizers is when the grass roots and blades are actively growing. 

Self-Propelled Walk-Behind Mower

Buying a Self-Propelled Walk-Behind Mower

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The vast majority of self-propelled gasoline walk-behind mowers are rotary type, meaning they cut the grass with a horizontal blade attached to the vertical drive shaft of the engine.  The deck is a protective housing component and an integral part of the mower that supports the engine and wheels and controls the airflow to maximize the cutting and bagging efficiency.  Most decks are steel, but some are aluminum alloy or high-impact…

Tools for a good lawn care program

Tools For a Good Lawn Care Program

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Lawn tools fall into three categories: Basic Tools to Own, Specialty Tools to Rent or Own (if you have the budget and space), and Tools to Rent (seldom used or take up a lot of space).  The recommendations assume average situations.  Your needs may differ. Basic Tools to Own The following recommendations assume average situations.  Your needs may differ. Bulb Planter: Digs a hole and pushes the bulb into the…

Setting the Right Mowing Height

Setting the Right Mowing Height

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There are several reasons not to cut your grass too short. Grass grows from the crown, not the blade tips, a trait that makes grass ideal for lawns.  Grass keeps growing despite regularly cutting off the upper stem, leaf sheath, and blades. Keeping grass longer allows it greater surface area to carry out photosynthesis,  which in turn results in healthier plants.  In addition, taller grass grows slower than shorter grass. …

Choosing the Right Mower

Rules for Smart Mowing

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Cut no more than one-third the height of the grass in any single mowing.  By setting cutting heights correctly, you can greatly reduce weed growth and mowing frequency. Mow only when the grass is dry. Mow with a sharp blade.  Re-sharpen after every 10 hours of mowing.  Bring the blade to a professional sharpening service once a year.  Replace the blade as necessary. Change mowing patterns frequently to prevent soil…

Thatching rake

Prevent Thatch Buildup

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The best way to control thatch is to avoid a buildup.  Here are some maintenance practices that will help: At regular intervals, cut grass to the recommended height for your turf.  This will help avoid depositing too many clippings on the lawn at one time. Fertilize only in the fall to reduce excessive growth.  Promote microbial life by maintaining a proper soil pH. Aerate your lawn once a year.  If…