Monthly Archives: February 2018

Why You Should Aerate Your Lawn This Spring

Lawn aeration is the single best thing you can do to make your lawn lush and healthy. More so than extra watering, fertilizing, and mowing, aerating your lawn will ensure that each blade gets the water and nutrients it needs to be healthy. Aerate your lawn this spring for your most beautiful summer lawn yet!

Lawn Aerator Core

What is lawn aeration?

Aerating your lawn consists of removing small cores of turf at regular intervals. This decompacts hard-packed soil and allows moisture and nutrients to access the grass’s roots where they’re needed most. You may have heard of spike aerators, which simply stab holes into the ground. These actually make the problem of soil compaction worse by compressing soil even more. The best way to decompact soil and get get water, nutrients, and oxygen to the roots of your lawn is to aerate your lawn with a core aerator.

When should you aerate?

While lawn aeration won’t hurt any time of the year, it is most beneficial in the spring and fall. In the spring, you give your lawn’s roots the water, oxygen, and nutrients they need to grow long, healthy roots that will last all summer. Essentially, you’re setting them up for a productive summer season. Aerating in the fall is almost as important as doing it in the spring, as it leaves each plant fully fortified for the dormant winter season.

So this spring, make core aeration a part of your spring lawn care regimen. You only have to do it once during the season to be effective, and it’s incredibly easy. Most core aerators can be simply pushed across the lawn, and others are even self-propelled.

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8 Tips for Spring Lawn Clean-Up

feature-llvThose of us with large properties know that spring cleaning isn’t just for the closets and cupboards – it’s for your lawn, too. Winter leaves behind all kinds of debris, from sticks and dead leaves to trash and gravel. So when the weather warms up and it’s the season for working outside, here are 10 great tips for spring lawn clean-up:

1. Wait for dry conditions.

However you clean up your lawn – with a lawn vacuum, rake, or other method – the whole process will be easier and faster if you wait for dry conditions. Moisture makes debris stick together in heavy clumps, making your job harder than it needs to be.

2. Clear large debris first.

If you’re using a DR Leaf and Lawn Vac for cleaning your lawn, you’ll want to clear away anything that’s too large for it to pick up. While pine cones, gum tree balls, nuts, and small sticks will be picked up without a problem, large branches should be cleared away beforehand.

LLV2 Premier Oct 2014-353. Uncover flowerbeds and shrubs.

If you’re raking, be sure to get right up close to trees, shrubs, hedges, and fully clean out flower beds. If using a leaf vac, we recommend the Vacuum Hose, which attaches easily to your machine and allows you to vacuum hard-to-reach spots. Debris left in flowerbeds and around shrubs can stunt growth and foster disease.

4. Tidy hard surfaces.

Walkways, driveways, trails, and other non-lawn surfaces need some spring cleaning, too! Vacuum debris from walkways and trails and rake displaced gravel back on to driveways and roads.

5. Don’t forget window wells!

While you’re vacuuming the lawn, clean out window wells and other nooks and crannies around the house. The result will be better-looking and you won’t worry about mold or other disease festering so close to your foundation.

6. Get rid of thatch build-up.

Thatch is dead grass blades and other small weeds that collect on top of the soil, at the base of the living grass blades. If the build-up gets thick enough, it can choke your lawn by restricting the flow or air and water to the soil. Spring is a perfect time to remove thatch for the summer growing season. Depending on how much thatch build-up you have, a leaf vacuum may be all you need to clear it. For particularly thick build-up, a rake or dethatcher may be required.

7. Clear snow mold.LLV2-Premier-Oct-2014-68

Snow mold often appears on your lawn after the winter if leaves or other debris is left on the grass before winter hits. Usually it looks like dry, brown patches of matted dead grass, and may have a pinkish hue. The best way to get rid of it is to gently loosen it with a rake, then vacuum up the dead debris with your lawn vac.

8. Compost it!

After you’ve finished cleaning the lawn, compost the waste material! Once it’s broken down, it will be a great way to improve your soil structure and return vital nutrients to your garden. For larger waste, consider shredding it to a fine mulch with a chipper/shredder. Luckily, if you’ve used the DR Leaf and Lawn Vac, your leftovers will already be shredded to an easy-to-decompose mulch.

Spring Tune-Up Tips for Your Power Equipment

Your machines work hard for you. Give them a little love after they’ve been resting all winter and you’ll reap the benefits in their performance over the coming seasons. Remember that the life span of a gas engine is directly related to the routine maintenance performed on it, so to ensure a long life for your power equipment, take the time to give it a spring tune-up.

All gasoline-powered engines require the proper fuel and lubrication to run, air for full power delivery, and adequate ventilation to prevent over-heating. A few simple procedures that are easy to perform and take very little time can double the life of your engine. You can find more information about your particular engine in your operating instructions.

Change OilEngines

If you drained the gas from the gas tank last fall, refill it with clean, unleaded gasoline. Leave at least 1/4″ at the top of the tank to allow for fuel expansion. If you left gas in the tank and added a stabilizer or additive, you’re all set gasoline-wise! If you left gas in the tank without stabilizer or additive, you should drain the tank (see your manufacturer’s manual for instructions) and add fresh gas. Gas left in the tank over the winter will degrade and leave a gummy build-up in the machine, decreasing its lifespan and performance. Stabilizers keep the fuel fresh for spring.

If you changed the oil in the fall, it’s not necessary to replace it again. If you did not change it in the fall, you’ll need to do it come spring. Run the engine until it warms up, then drain the oil and refill with the correct grade (look for instructions in your manufacturer’s manual). The oil should be changed after 25 hours of machine use, or more frequently if you use it in particularly dry or dusty conditions.

Remember to also check and change the air filter and spark plugs if necessary. Spark plugs should be cleaned or replaced after about 100 hours of use, or every season, whichever comes first. Cleaning can be done with a soft wire brush.

Blades and Cords

Any piece of equipment that has a blade or cutting cord (lawn mowers, all-terrain mowers, string trimmers, etc.) will need their blade or cutting cord checked and possibly replaced. Blades should be checked for nicks and dullness, and sharpened or replaced if necessary. Learn more about sharpening your mower blade here. Cords should be checked for damage and replaced as necessary.

Tires

Check the tire pressure on your machines before use, especially if they have been stored in a location that has experienced drastic temperature changes, such as in an unheated shed or barn in cold-climate areas. Cold temperatures decrease the air pressure in tires, which puts added strain on the rubber. This strain increases with the weight of the machine (i.e. a heavier machine will put more stress on the rubber of its tires when the tire pressure gets low, while a lighter machine will exert less stress).  One option is to over-inflate the tires in the fall, so that they will have close to the ideal pressure in the spring, or simply remove them before winter storage.  Regardless, it is important to check the tire pressure before using the machine and inflate if necessary.  Your owner’s manual will tell you the ideal tire pressure for your particular model.

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