Blog Flux Directory

November 11, 2009

grow-grass-seed-green.jpg When the neighbor's perfect lawn leaves you green with envy, it's time to do something. Although the concrete parking lot effect may be tempting, the easiest and most cost effective way to a beautiful lawn is to grow grass seed. Seeding a yard is more economical and less back-breaking than laying sod, but the process does require patience. A little knowledge is helpful too.

Before you run to the home improvement store to purchase seed, it pays to do some research. Finding out ahead of time what type of grass seed grows best in your area will make things easier in the long run. One way to determine this is to find out what planting zone you live in. Grass seed packaging will denote grass type along with recommended planting zones. Trying to grow grass that thrives in the north when you live in the south will bring searing results. Planting southern grass in a northern climate will leave you feeling a bit wilted. You get the idea.

Another way to find out what grows best in your neighborhood is to ask your neighbors. Don't ask the neighbors with lawns that resemble your own. Swallow your pride and approach that guy with the golf course green grass in his front yard. He may ramble for hours about fertilizer and watering schedules, but taking notes wouldn't be a bad idea. You can't argue with results.

Now that you have an idea what to buy, it's time to decide on how much grass seed to purchase. Running out of seed halfway through the job is not a good feeling. Luckily, figuring your yard size is as easy as running a tape measure and multiplying the length times the width to get square feet. The grass seed manufacturers include coverage in square feet on every bag, so you'll know how many bags to buy if you know how big an area you need to cover.

While you are in the home improvement store, it may be a good idea to look at walk-behind spreaders if you don't already own one. Hand-casting grass seed is fine for covering small bare spots here and there, but you'll be tossing a few choice words along with the seed if you try to use that method for an entire yard.

You've purchased your bags of grass seed, lubed up the wheels on your spreader, and you are ready to go to work. Before you spread that seed, take a look at the soil in your yard. If you are having a hard time growing gorgeous, green grass on your lot, there's probably good reason. Healthy green grass needs healthy soil. If your yard is sandy or rocky, clay-filled or simply malnourished, it's time to remedy the situation. Having your soil tested by a county extension agent or lawn specialist is the optimum way to find out what to feed your dirt to make it healthy. The easier method involves a trip back to the home improvement center for some bags of topsoil. Spread the topsoil before you spread the seed to give your grass a perfectly balanced place to put down roots.

Now you are ready to spread the seed. Adjust the setting your spreader to the disbursement rate recommended by the seed manufacturer. Try to spread the grass seed slowly and evenly, making sure you don't get an overabundance of seed around the perimeter or bald spots in the center. Picture the seeds as blades of grass. Are they thick enough? Will they stay put in a hard rain? Nothing ruins a good mood like watching your newly planted grass seed washing down into the city sewer. It may help to go behind your spreader with a roller to tamp the seed lightly into the ground. You can use the old-fashioned foot stomping method if you don't have access to a roller. Your neighbors may think you are doing a rain dance, but some rain couldn't hurt right now anyway.

If the clouds aren't rolling in with the rain, it's time to get out the sprinkler. Neglecting to water newly planted grass seed is for the birds. That means that the neighborhood birds will soon be feasting on the huge feeder that you call your yard unless you soak it down with water. Water the seed into the ground with a gently spray to simulate light rain, being careful not to overwater or cause wash-outs.

The next few weeks will be a time for diligence and patience. Regular watering will eventually bring bright green sprouts of tender grass. Beware of roving stray dogs and children riding bikes until these sprouts really take root. Once the blades of grass begin to thicken and grow taller, it's time to fertilize. Use a fertilizer recommended for the type of grass you planted, and don't overdo it. You know what they say about too much of a good thing. Always water immediately after fertilizing to avoid burning off your brand new lawn.
Congratulations. You are well on your way to a think, lush carpet of grass that will rival the best lawn on the block. Remember that maintenance is the key to "lawn-gevity" Keeping your grass cut without scalping it and maintaining a regular watering and fertilizing schedule will be necessary from here on out. Anytime you think that maintenance is too much trouble, picture yourself repeating the steps listed above. You'll be back on track in no time!

June 2, 2007

kubota mower G series.jpg
Kubota's G-series mowers are a viable alternative if you're searching for a new ride-on and shouldn't be your last stop after searching the major brands - although I think you could be convinced even then.

The real advantage Kubota mowers have over some of their competitors is the liquid-cooled diesel engine - that's right, I said 'diesel' - which offers 21 horsepower. Diesel engines are by far more efficient and require less maintenance than their petrol-guzzling counterparts. Plus, they work cleaner. For those who love their petrol powered mowers, Kubota can accomodate you with the G2460 model offering more grunt with their own 24hp engine.

Couple both these engines with the G-series large fuel tank and you will find that even commercial contractors won't need to refuel until the end of the day.

Kubota's G-series are constructed using their innovative ladder frame chassis while many of their competitors use C-Channel frames. While both are good, most reports tend to favour the ladder frame due to its increased torsion stability.

Comfort hasn't been missed either with electronic steering, onboard height adjuster and a suspension seat.

By their own admission, Kubota compares itself with John Deere's X485 and comes up a little short in the specs department. But when you consider the price difference between the two models you have to seriously ask yourself whether the X485 is worth all the extra attention.

In the past Kubota mowers haven't been pretty machines but they have certainly taken great strides in the aesthetics of this series.

Would I own one? The diesel model - no problems.

May 2, 2007

Of all the questions I get asked about servicing a lawn mower, this one is probably the most common. And it makes sense that it is because when it comes down to the most important factors concerning mowing your lawn, your mower blades are paramount.

Sure, the engine's important and without it your mower won't work. But, try mowing your lawn with blunt blades and you will instantly recognise that sharpening is a key skill in your mowing arsenal.

Most brands carry their own replacement blades and these can be quite expensive if you replace them often. Some cheaper brands won't even offer sharpening as the blades are not tensile enough to warrant re-sharpening. But, for most brands they can be honed or at least replaced by non-genuine parts.

Obviously sharpening your own mower blades is a worthwhile skill so I thought I would offer a set of details for both rotary and reel mower blades.

How to sharpen rotary mower blades

1. Be sure to disconnect all the power sources before you begin with the process. In case that your lawn mower is a battery powered one, remove the battery or batteries, depending on the model. Check twice that all the power controls are off to avoid an accidental engine start.

2. Remove the blades totally from the mower. You might need external help to achieve it, using a couple of spanners may help however be sure that it doesn’t slip. Take care while doing this, because it’s easy to cut yourself if the spanner slips.

3. Once the blades are out of the mower, you need to number them in order to re-fit them later.

4. Fix the blade in a stable holding or a vice to work easily.

5. To begin the sharpening process you will need a grinder or file. Make sure to follow the blade’s contour and sharpen it to your convenience. Sharpen all blades the same and don't try to hone the edge at a tighter angle than what has already been set. This will weaken the blades and may cause a break if they come in contact with any hard objects such as stones or branches.

6. Time to refit the blades. Make sure to do it along with balancing, if it exists.

7. There is an option to sharpen blades without removing them from the mower, however it’s uncomfortable and more difficult. It will also require a flexible shaft angle grinder to reach a perfect sharp blade.

8. The last step is to check the blade balance. One clue in finding whether or not the blades are correctly refitted, is checking if the mower vibrates. If so, then blades have not been fitted well and will need more adjustment.

Sourced from Lawn Mowers & Garden Tractors.

How to sharpen reel mower blades

1. The first step is to take off the handle to get it out of your way, and then turn the mower on its side and pop off the side cover with a screwdriver. This will uncover the ring that holds the wheel onto the mower.

2. Pop off the C ring that holds the wheel in place. It's pretty easy to slide it off with a big flathead screwdriver.

3. Once you slide off the C ring, the wheel will come right off the mower. Take it off and set it aside.

4. Next, take off the gear that sits inside the wheel and allows the wheels to turn the blades. It just comes right off without any tools.

5. Next, take the crank that came with the sharpening kit, and slide it over the piece of metal where the gear was attached. This is going to allow you to turn the blades backwards, which is key to sharpening. You are sharpening it using the "backlapping method" when you use a sharpening kit. This is much safer than grinding the blades with a grinder, because you won't accidentally overgrind and ruin the mower.

6. Now you'll take out the paint brush and plastic container of sharpening compound that also came with the sharpening kit. Open up the plastic container, and put some sharpening compound on the paint brush.

7. Apply the sharpening compound evenly onto all five blades on the reel. After you do this, you'll be ready to start cranking the blade backwards and get going with the actual sharpening part.

8. Crank it! Turn those blades backwards and get to sharpening. If you get tired, take a break and get going again. You'll want to sharpen until you can see a smooth metal edge on all of the blades.

9. Are you sure you are finished? If so, take off the crank, put back on the gear, put the wheel back on, and pop the C ring back in place to hold the wheel on the mower again.

10. You've finished.

Sourced from Reel Mowers Info.

April 5, 2007

toro multicycler.jpg
Toro can't get away from their trademark red even when their new Mutlicycler range of push mowers is so - green.

The green mower is based on its revolutionary recycler technology that chops the grass blades into tiny particles and then returns it deep into the lawn, hidden from view. Now, this isn't the first mower that's mulched lawns with its own cuttings but it is the first mower that can achieve this without the unsightly two-day old brown clippings.

Toro claims that these cuttings are not seen and as they're fed back to the root source, they mulch the grass and decrease the lawns need for watering.

The Multicycler range, due out before Easter in the UK, has three models each sporting a not-so-green 190cc Briggs & Stratton petrol engine and a sturdy 48cm (19in) cutting deck. And while most operators will choose to use the recyler option it's good to know that you also have the ability to beg your clippings if you desire.

Selling for GBP399 including VAT for the base model, they're not the cheapest lawn mowing option. However, with the environmental benefits and the structural quality we've come to expect of Toro they're still a good deal.

Source: PR NewsWire

March 28, 2007

green lawn.jpg
If you were told that you could make your own lawn fertiliser using only 5 household products, what would you think? And, what if you were told that this home-made recipe was good enough to make your lawns really green - greener than the neighbours, in fact?

Now that you're tuned in, what if I went a step further and said that the recipe was developed by a former golf course greenkeeper? Would you be a little interested in at least finding out what the five ingredients were? Would you even consider trying the recipe and at least testing it on the neighbours patch of turf first?

Well, the suspense is over as Paul from Wise Bread lifts the lid on a secret tonic that will help your grass grow during the spring growing season. Here's the recipe;

* One full can of regular soft drink (any kind-no diet soda)
* One full can of beer (no light beer)
* 1/2 Cup of Liquid dishwashing soap (do NOT use anti-bacterial dishwashing liquid)
* 1/2 Cup of household ammonia
* 1/2 Cup of mouthwash (any brand)

Mix all this together in a hose-end sprayer and drench your lawn with it, applying every 3 weeks or so when the high temperatures hit.

How does it work?

  • The liquid soap is a wetting agent, helping the formula penetrate the roots.

  • The ammonia promotes growth and turns your lawn green.

  • The mouthwash does something you would never suspect mouthwash would do. It kills the bugs and grubs.

  • The soft drink is high in acid which invigorates new growth, and

  • The beer is full of natural acids that will promote root growth and should stabilize the soil

So you might be able to walk past the fertiliser aisle this season without being tempted by all the green advertisements, confident that your secret lawn fertiliser recipe is doing the job.

March 22, 2007

Most people take good care of their lawn mowers because they realise their investment in the machinery. Most people, that is...but not this guy....

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March 17, 2007

Last year I was recommending Sunlawns new addition to the push mower family - the MM-1. This year, it seems that Sunlawn has extended itself yet again and produced another top-selling range.

The Sunlawn LMM series, including the LMM35 and the LMM40, are a couple of kilo's lighter and sport a lower cutting height. Their precision sharpened blades mean that this new range is even more capable of achieving a lower cut than their older brothers and other push lawn mowers on the market. Sunlawn is even touting that the blades should have a longer life increasing their range from 7-10yrs to 8-10yrs.

The LMM push mowers come with a segmented roller and optional grass catcher and are reasonably priced for a durable mower at US$159 for the LMM35 and US$179 for the wider LMM40.

If you're scaling your lawn down or you only have a postcard size turf, then this is a great option and should be as popular as last years offering.

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Stuart Robinson
  • Stuart Robinson
  • Busselton, Australia
  • Email Me

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