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July 29, 2006

The Best Electric Hedge Trimmer

best electric hedge trimmer
My wife bought me an Ozito electric hedge trimmer for my birthday nearly a month ago now. We have a lavender hedge at the front of our garden that I've previously hacked at with hand shears. While that's been a source of much joy and a recurring challenge my wife decided to alleviate my suffering and purchase me this great electric hedge trimmer.

While this model carries a 450 watt motor and 2100 SPM (nearly double that of it's brother the CGH-180K Cordless Hedge Trimmer), it's main selling point is the price. Try on A$40. Choice tested 8 electric hedge trimmers (between 400 and 650W) that retail for up to $A300. Each of these machines were either on a par with the Ozito or only marginally better with the increased price tag.


So what makes this the best electric hedge trimmer? Firstly, it's lightweight and after half an hour of cutting through some difficult hedge branches I still wasn't feeling any gravity from this gardening tool. The bar was a good size and enabled me to cut my hedge in only one direction but would work just as fine if I had needed to do it from both sides.

The dual blades made easy work of this lavender even though it had to be cut back quite hard. One of its greater advantages is the ability to trim the hedge without a string line placed through the middle. Its variable speed cutting action enabled me to keep a good eye on where it was heading and counterweight as appropriate.

Unfortunately this model is only available in Australia.

July 27, 2006

Your lawn will only look as good as your lawn mower

It's not that your lawn mower has to look good - it just needs to be good! You would never dream of having your hairdresser chop and hack at your hair with a pair of cheap, blunt scissors because you know that it couldn't possibly result in a good hair cut. The same rule applies to your lawn. Buy a cheap mower or allow your blades to remain blunt and you will need to expect that the condition of your lawn will never be fantastic.

Kathy Kemp from the Birmingham News attests to this philosophy in her article, The way your lawn looks may depend on type of mower used. Kathy even points out that the method you employ to mow your lawn may be jeopardising the look you're trying to attain.

Mow too fast and you may cause the mower to bounce resulting in missed spots or parts that become scalped.

July 21, 2006

Planting trees in your lawn

There is a RIGHT way and a WRONG way to plant trees in your lawn. Many gardeners have them and while most experts would advise not to, there is a way you can achieve a happy medium.

The WRONG way

Many gardeners allow their lawn to grow right up to the trunk of the tree or they will cutout a small square from around the base. This is harmful to both the lawn and the tree for a few reasons;

  1. If you need to mow around the tree it is very easy to ringbark young trunks with your brushcutter.

  2. The expanse of the lawn around the base of the trunk could either destroy the lawn or the tree as roots compete for water and nutrients.

  3. If the tree is a vast evergreen chances of lawn growing well beneath the shade canopy are very rare.

The RIGHT way

As you can see demonstrated in the image above, a section of lawn has been cutout to the perimeter of the tree's drip line. On smaller lawns this may look ghastly so the best option would be to create this cutout into a garden bed by raising the soil level.

The benefits of this are basically the opposite of the problems you faced doing it the WRONG way. Both lawn and tree can co-exist harmoniously and the lawn becomes easier to manage.

July 19, 2006

How does a golf course keep their lawn green?

lawn golf green
Finding a green lawn isn't that hard if you live near a golf course. And, who better to learn the tricks of the trade from but a greenkeeper. Their life is dedicated to the daily routines of maintaining a perfect lawn especially around putting greens.

There's a great article about Lee Park Golf Course's general manager, Gary Nelson. Titled Keeping a course it describes Nelson's daily activities where mowing occurs - every day!

July 8, 2006

The best lawn fertilizer tips for all seasons

fertilized my lawns last weekend, in the middle of winter. It may seem preposterous to some but if you want to look after your lawn and not just prop it up every spring it might be worth considering.

Think of your lawn like your body. If you were to stop exercising during winter, eat hearty meals and drink lots of hot chocolates you'll find that the body you had last spring is no longer in shape. Then spring comes and you have to work extra hard to produce the desired result.

Your lawn is the same. Look after it throughout all the seasons and it will continue to look great and remain less onerous to maintain.

Fertilizing a lawn is like feeding it. Give it too much of one thing and you will start to see problems. Too much nitrogen and the roots will struggle to keep up with the blade growth. Too much phosphorous and your roots will grow so well you will struggle with thatch. So each season demands different fertilizer types to be fed well.

When applying lawn fertilizer, use a spreader if you're not an able broadcaster and water in immediately after the application.

Lawn fertilizer for Spring

The aim of fertilizing in spring is to encourage growth. Therefore you need a high nitrogen lawn fertilizer and lower on the phosphorous and potassium nutrients. Straight urea is a great source of nitrogen and you can usually find this can contain anywhere between 40-46%(N). Apply at about 50gm per square metre (1.75oz per 10sq.ft) and only at the start of the season. You should notice a marked difference with 7-10 days.

Lawn Fertilizer for Summer

Depending on your soil type you may want to add another application of fertilizer at the start of summer. If you have clay soils then I would find a product that is still high in nitrogen but also contains wetting agents. If you have sandy soil then stick with the urea but half the application rate to 25gm per square metre (0.85oz per 10sq.ft).

Lawn Fertilizer for Autumn

Now is the time to begin building the lawn roots and less focus on blade leaf greening. The fertilizer you need for this should still have a nitrogen level of between 11-18% but should be much higher in Potassium (approx 8-11%) and also an increased level of Phosphorous (approx 1-2%).

If you were to continue using a high nitrogen fertilizer throughout autumn and winter you will find that thatch will become a problem. Also, dead spots will begin to appear, as the roots are not encouraged to grow.

Lawn Fertilizer for Winter

This should be similar to feeding your lawn in autumn although you may want to use a slow-release variety rather than something that will be readily absorbed. The reason for this is lawns lay dormant during the winter months and very little growth occurs.

If this sounds too onerous a maintenance program then you can just schedule fertilizing in spring and autumn. However, don't be mistaken that a feed of urea in spring will be enough. Relying on just one application will symptomatically show in future problems.

  • Stuart Robinson
  • Busselton, Australia
  • Email Me

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