Monthly Archives: May 2018

Are Robotic Lawn Mowers Safe?

You’re standing in your front yard minding your own business when a robot with three razor sharp blades spinning at 5,800 rpm starts racing toward you. What do you do?

Is this some kind of nightmare? No, you’re awake and this is really happening, so once again, what do you do?

The answer is nothing. It will just bounce off you and go another direction. Rather anti-climatic ending wasn’t it? That is just the way the robotic lawn mower companies want it to be.

The greatest concern most people have about robotic lawn mowers is safety. Bots with Blades just cant be safe. According to Ames Tiedeman, National Sales Manager for Systems Trading Corp., the US distributor for the Friendly Robotics Robomower, over 72,000 emergency room visits involved lawn mowers in 2005. ZERO involved robotic lawn mowers.

These mowers have so many safety features and shut-off triggers that it is amazing that they are actually functional.

The Friendly Robotics Robomower turns the blades off at 16 degrees, not even high enough to get a hand under. Even if a small hand could get under, the blades are far back and recessed into a chamber in the body. It would take creativity, not stupidity, to get to the blades while they are still turning.

Unlike push and riding lawn mower safety devices, robotic lawn mower features are not easily disabled. The tilt detection devices are soldered on to the main boards. Even the resistance against the blades and the ability of the software to stop them is measured in thousandths of seconds.

Since these robotic lawn mowers are designed to mulch there is no easy outlet for flying debris. Pebbles and pine cones do not get tossed very far and at low velocity.

Some robotic lawn mowers have sonar detection systems that if any moving objects get close theyíll slow down and at another point stop the blade before even being touched. All have some sort of touch sensors that when they lightly bump into a stationary object that they change direction. So actually getting run over is unlikely.

Another big concern is pets getting chopped to bits, again, no reported accidents involving robotic lawn mowers. Dogs have a tendency to chase and bark, but not attack. A dog actually chewing up a robotic lawn mower is more feasible than a robotic lawn mower chewing up a dog.

Robotic lawn mowers move relatively slow, people and animals can easily move out of the way. Although it takes a lot longer to mow, if everyone used them there would be 72,000 fewer hospital visits this year.

This article was written to educate people that robotic mowers under intended circumstances are safe. There has been a great deal of thought and engineering involved to make robotic lawn mowers safe for public use.

National Pollinator Garden Network Seeks 300,000 Pollinator Gardens to Reach Goal of One Million Registered Gardens

million pollinator garden challenge
million pollinator garden challenge

Americans concerned about saving bees and our food production systems are being asked to #beecounted and help the National Pollinator Garden Network reach one million bee-friendly gardens by National Pollinator Week, June 18-24, 2018.

Saving pollinators has become a national obsession. Since 2015, over 700,000 pollinator gardens have been designed, planted and registered across the United States.

“One thing is clear, Americans love pollinators and their efforts are paying off. Research in recent articles, such as the Journal of Applied Ecology, have shown that even small gardens can make a difference for pollinators by increasing diversity of bee species across urban and suburban landscapes.” says Mary Phillips, senior director at the National Wildlife Federation, one of the founders of the network.

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Hummingbird Information- Helpful information about the popular hummingbird!

Hummingbird Information- Helpful information about the popular hummingbird!
Hummingbird Information- Helpful information about the popular hummingbird!

Your hummingbird feeders need to be cleaned, and the humming bird nectar needs to be changed every 3-4 days. If black spots are visible inside your hummingbird feeder, it can be a sign of mold and you will need to scrub it out with a stiff thistle brush. If you can’t reach the spots with a brush, you can mix some sand and water together and shake the feeder vigorously to remove the mold. Never use harsh detergent to clean your hummingbird feeder. Rinse the feeder out with hot water each time you change your nectar. If you do this on a regular basis you should not have a problem with mold growing inside of the feeder.

Pesty ants can be a problem at a hummingbird feeder. The best way to prevent ants at your feeder is to use an “ant guard”. An ant guard is a barrier between the ants and the nectar, making them ant proof. These guards are built into many feeders but are also available as an add on accessory for existing feeders.

There are certain ways to attract hummingbirds to your feeder. Red! Red! Red! All hummingbirds are attracted to the color red. Most feeders that are purchased these days have red on them somewhere, but if you are in doubt that there is enough red, try tying a red ribbon on the feeder itself. Another way to attract attention to your feeder is to place it among flowers that hummers like, or hang a basket of flowers nearby the feeder. You will find that feeder activity slows as more flowers bloom in your yard. Do not panic! They prefer natural nectar over what we give them in our feeders, so as the flower start to diminish, you will see them come back again.

How To Create Classy Container Gardens With Roses

According to the National Gardening Association, 91 million households participated in some form of do-it-yourself lawn and gardening activity, spending an average of $387. Over the past decade, an increasing percentage of this total has gone towards container gardening.

Containers offer a versatile form of gardening that fits into any lifestyle and yard size. City dwellers can use them to brighten up lifeless balconies, roof decks or front stoops, while those with more space can decorate high-traffic spaces and incorporate them into lawn and garden areas for added drama and flair. Because of the multitude of options on the market, container gardens are an easy way to add a splash of color to any outdoor space, big or small.

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Planting Fruit Trees For Your Garden

Fruit trees bear at different times of the year. For example, there are apples for early season, mid-season, and late season (well into fall), so it is wise to select trees for the season you want. Just how long it will be before trees will bear is another consideration; apples and pears bear in 4 to 6 years; plums, cherries, and peaches bear in about 4 years.

Besides considering bearing season and length of bearing, you should also think of size. In addition to standard-sized fruit trees there are dwarf varieties that grow only a few feet. There are also different kinds of apples, peaches, or cherries; your local nursery will tell you about these. Your nursery also stocks the type of trees that do best in your area, so ask for advice. Your trees must be hardy enough to stand the coldest winter and the hottest summer in your vicinity.

Many varieties of fruit trees are self-sterile, which means that they will not set a crop unless other blossoming trees are nearby to furnish pollen. Some fruit trees are self-pollinating or fruiting and need no other tree. When you buy your fruit trees, ask about this. Fruit trees are beautiful just as decoration, but you also want fruits to eat.

Buy from local nurseries if possible, and look for 1- or 2-yearold trees. Stone fruits are usually 1 year old and apples and pears are generally about 2 years old at purchase time. Select stocky and branching trees rather than spindly and compact ones because espaliering requires a well-balanced tree.

Whether you buy from a local nursery or from a mail-order source (and this is fine too), try to get the trees into the ground as quickly as possible. Leaving a young fruit tree lying around in hot sun can kill it. If for some reason you must delay the planting time, heel in the tree. This is temporary planting: dig a shallow trench wide enough to receive the roots, set the plants on their sides, cover the roots with soil, and water them. Try to keep new trees out of blazing sun and high winds.

Prepare the ground for the fruit trees with great care. Do not just dig a hole and put the tree in. Fruit trees do require some extra attention to get them going. Work the soil a few weeks before planting. Turn it over and poke it. You want a friable workable soil with air in it, a porous soil. Dry sandy soil and hard clay soil simply will not do for fruit trees, so add organic matter to existing soil. This organic matter can be compost (bought in tidy sacks) or other humus.

Plant trees about 10 to 15 feet apart in fall or spring when the land is warm. Then hope for good spring showers and sun to get the plants going. Dig deep holes for new fruit trees, deep enough to let you set the plant in place as deep as it stood in the nursery. (Make sure you are planting trees in areas that get sun.) Make the diameter of the hole wide enough to hold the roots without crowding. When you dig the hole, put the surface soil to one side and the subsoil on the other so that the richer top soil can be put back directly on the roots when you fill in the hole. Pack the soil in place firmly but not tightly. Water plants thoroughly but do not feed. Instead, give the tree an application of vitamin B12 (available at nurseries) to help it recover from transplanting.

Place the trunk of the fruit tree about 12 to 18 inches from the base of the trellis; you need some soil space between the tree and the wood. Trellises may be against a fence or dividers or on a wall. Young trees need just a sparse pruning. Tie branches to the trellis with tie-ons or nylon string, not too tightly but firmly enough to keep the branch flat against the wood. As the tree grows, do more trimming and tying to establish the espalier pattern you want.

To attach the trellis to a wall use wire or some of the many gadgets available at nurseries specifically for this purpose. For a masonry wall, rawl plugs may be placed in the mortared joints, and screw eyes inserted. You will need a carbide drill to make holes in masonry.

Caring for fruit trees is not difficult. Like all plants, fruit trees need a good soil (already prepared), water, sun, and some protection against insects. When trees are actively growing, start feeding with fruit tree fertilizer (available at nurseries). Use a weak solution; it is always best to give too little rather than too much because excess fertilizer can harm trees.

Observe trees frequently when they are first in the ground because this is the time when trouble, if it starts, will start. If you see leaves that are yellow or wilted, something is awry. Yellow leaves indicate that the soil may not contain enough nutrients. The soil could lack iron, so add some iron chelate to it. Wilted leaves could mean that water is not reaching the roots or insects are at work.

Lawn Care Maintenance For Mere Mortals

Though everyone likes to see their lawn in an enviable condition few are aware of the basics of lawn preparation and maintenance. Planting the seeds, spraying for the weeds, and watering your lawn, all look simple but proper maintenance of a good lawn is no simple task. To some, lawn care is serious business – reading every bit of the literature that they come across and going for a serious lawn building exercise that may make this interesting past time a rudimentary daily routine.

Lawn care and maintenance is more of an enjoyable past time rather than a core activity. Consider these basics of healthy lawn care. While talking about lawns the first thing to consider is mowing. The frequency of mowing, the growth of the grass, and the lawn movers are all integral part in deciding a good mowing habit. Quite often small opening up of the soil leaving more space for the lawn to breathe would accelerate healthy growth of the grass. The lawn is to be sufficiently watered especially during large dry spells of summer to sustain the growth of the grass. Lawns need a good supplement of a proper mix of fertilizers with adequate nitrogen phosphate and potash.

If we go a bit technical, lawns require more than one annual feed. The feed for the summer need contain a nitrogen rich fertilizer where as an autumn feed should be rich in phosphate and potash with an adequate supplement of worm killers and disease resistance. For watering, the coolest time of the day, either in the morning or in the evening is advisable, the frequency being once a week.

A good lawn care management program includes proper weed control besides appropriate mowing and application of fertilizers. The basic mowing lesson includes use of sharp blades and regular mowing from March to October. Care should be taken not to move the mower backwards and forwards. In the case of new lawns, the first thing to be considered is to prepare a smooth and level ground by a tractor and box blade. As regards sowing the seeds they need spread in two directions preferably with a rotary spreader. The seeds are to be planted around thirty days in advance. Depending upon the temperature the seed suitable for hot season or for the cold spell may be selected. A healthy lawn requires more or less an inch of water during a week. Further aerating in spring is considered best for the lawns. The recent trend in the lawn care is the use of the organic fertilizers. These are environmental friendly and harmless to the plants. Literature on organic fertilizers is plentiful on the market. The cost of the organic fertilizers is almost the same that of the chemical fertilizers but the benefit stays longer.

The type of lawn care depends on oneís budget. One can afford to spend thousands of dollars should the lawn making is taken as a serious hobby. If, on the other, hand one needs a well maintained lawn to spend a few hours with family and friends the same may not cost much.