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November 18, 2006

Ortho Weed-B-Gon Crabgrass Killer

I'm not a big fan of chemical sprays and would much rather find an organic alternative to controlling lawn weeds than reaching for the shelf. But when even the best organic alternatives can't rid your lawn of the worst weeds then it's time to find something that will.

Scott's have now produced a new crabgrass killer under the Ortho brand name which is guaranteed not to harm your lawn (if used as per the directions) but will destroy not only your crabgrass but also dallisgrass, barnyardgrass, goosegrass, sandbur, vaseygrass, bull paspalum, foxtail and other grassy weeds. It comes in a handy trigger spray that doesn't require mixing and can be safely stored in your garden shed.

Applying Weed-B-Gon Crabgrass killer is a matter of aiming to the centre of the weed and spraying lightly. Within 5-7 days the crabgrass should be completely dead while more established weeds may take a second application. It's best to apply in spring and summer and the warmer the temperature the faster the result will be.

Those gardeners with bigger crabgrass problems than a mere 700ml (24oz) spray bottle can purchase Weed-B-Gon in a 480ml (1pint) concentrate that should do about 640sqm (2100 sq.ft) which can be mixed up in a tank sprayer and applied in a similar way.

November 15, 2006

Husqvarna's z4217: Is the z4218 better?

Whenever a later model is superseded you expect the technology to increase exponentially - well, at least a little anyhow.

With Husqvarna's z4218 you won't find too many differences to its predecessor the z4217. A slightly more powerful engine (18hp up from the original 17hp) now made by Kohler instead of the Briggs & Stratton. They're both electric start and both have the same Ogura GT1 Electric Clutch blade engagement. Both sport the Twin EZT transmission and will get you there at the same speed - which, BTW, doesn't say much for the upgraded engine.

Or was it an upgrade?

So what's different? Are you sitting down for this? The Hour Meter came standard on the z4217. Not only that but the price has increased nearly US$300. For what?

The z4217 retails for US$2,690 (A$3,550) while the z4218 will set you back US$2,990 (A$4,000).

I'm not going to argue that Husqvarna make great zero turn mowers and they're affordable machines but I can't see the value in updating. I personally prefer the B&S motor over a Kohler but while Kohler fans will see this as a plus I'm not sure it's a US$300 plus.

So, one has to ask the question was Husqvarna losing money on the z4217 and had to make a few modifications, including the engine, to make money out of the z4218? I'm not sure we'll find out but I'm keen to hear from those who might know.

November 6, 2006

Food Not Lawns?

food not lawns
I'm all for conservation, environmental awareness and sustainable gardening but why is it that whenever someone has a point to make they always pick an unrelated activity to compare it to?

I've just read this article, Food not Lawns, where another obscure columnist has decided to pick on those who enjoy keeping a lawn. Why didn't they choose "Food Not Parks" or "Food Not City Entry Statements"?

A book of the same name has been written by Heather Flores, a permaculture designer, pointing the finger at our desire to have and keep lawns. What permaculturalists don't get is that lawns and sustainable gardening are not mutually exclusive.

We have a vast area of lawn within our gardens and are also contemplating installing an aquaponics system in our backyard. Both can be supported on a small suburban block.

When is someone going to write a book called "Food And Lawns."

November 4, 2006

Toro's 51591 and 51598 leaf blowers

toro 51591 51598 super ultra leaf blower vac
Toro's top selling leaf blowers, the Super Blower Vac 51591 and the Ultra Blower Vac 51598, are no lightweights to the blower market. They're receiving resounding applause from owners for their effectivenss and power.

Both the Toro 51591 and 51598 have an airspeed maxing at 225 mph (362kph) yet still boast infinite air control. They're really 3 machines in one; leaf blower, vacuum and leaf shredder. The leaf shredder on the 51591 can reduce 10 bags to one making great mulch or compost additives for your garden. The bigger 51598 can reduce 16 bags to one due to the metal (not plastic) impeller inside.

Both blowers are electric so if you're into fuel powered blower/vacs these may not be an option for you. While the issues with an electric blower are confined to working in inclement weather and limited reach the Extension Cord Lock will ensure that your power isn't accidentally halted.

The Toro 51598 and 51591 both have two year extended warranties which should give peace of mind while hoepfully not necessary.

The only disadvantage of these two models are the conversion from blower to vacuum and vice versa. Other machines offer a blower/vacuum in one while the Toro 51591 and 51598 require an attachment change to occur. This does have it's advantages though as it lightens the machine when you are blowing rather than carry a cumbersome vacuum nozzle around.

The Toro 51591 retails for approx US$70 (A$95) and it's big brother the Toro 51598 markets at US$85 (A$110).



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  • Stuart Robinson
  • Busselton, Australia
  • Email Me


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