Choosing a Lawn Mower

Photo by Steve Woods, sxc.hu

Photo by Steve Woods, sxc.hu

Mowing your lawn is a tradition as well as a chore. When you select the right lawn mower, it can become a chore that is perhaps a little more enjoyable. There are several things you will want to consider when you are choosing a new lawn mower. With the many options that are available, you shouldn’t have a problem finding one that matches your needs and wants.

Cutting Size

When choosing your lawn mower, you will need to determine the size of your lawn. This will help you to choose a mower in the correct cutting width.

Less than 1/2 acre —You will want to choose a mower that is 20” to 22” if your lawn is within this size range.

1/2 to 3/4 acre — When your lawn falls within this range, you will need to choose a mower that is 21″ to 22″ and has a higher horsepower.

More than 3/4 acre — If the lawn you are cutting falls into this group, you will want to consider a lawn or garden tractor.

Type of Terrain

You will want to choose a lawn mower that will work best with the type of terrain that you have in your yard.

Small Yard-If you have a small yard, then a push mower will be just fine and will help you to get a little exercise while you mow.

Large Yard or Hills-Consider using a self-propelled lawn mower in these types of yards.

Rough Terrain-Choose a high wheel mower in yards with rough terrain. This will provide you with maneuverability that is easier.

Lots of Obstacles-If you need to mow around several obstacles, then a rear bagger makes a great choice. This will allow your work to be easier and faster while allowing for greater maneuverability.

Mower Terms

When you begin looking at lawn mowers, there are many different features available to choose from. Here are some of the terms you should be familiar with:

Mulching—With this feature, no bagging of grass clippings is required. A mulching lawn mower will cut the grass clippings into fine pieces. This is a great way to add organic material back into your lawn.

Side Discharge— In this model, the grass clippings are dispersed back onto your lawn. This is a great choice if you do not have many obstacles to deal with or if you prefer to cut your grass high.

Rear Bagger—This mower will collect your grass clippings and thus provide you with an immaculate lawn. It is preferable to have a rear bag rather than a side bag as it is easier to use around trees, fences and many other obstacles.

Assembled in Carton—This simply means that you will need to just add gasoline, oil and start.

3-In-1—This lawn mower is capable of performing side discharge, mulching and bagging functions. It is a great option when you want the flexibility to change how you mow your lawn.

Other Options

There are many alternatives to the standard gasoline powered engines available. Mowers which are powered by electricity have greatly improved over the last few years. There are models which are corded and cordless that will offer you a choice when selecting one of these models.

Another great choice is a manually operated reel lawn mower. This lawn mower will work on most grasses if the grass doesn’t become too tall between cuttings. The majority of these lawn mowers have five blades and they are adjustable to different heights. The mowing function is similar to that of a pair of scissors. You will need to mow more often in order to maintain your cut, but this mower is a great choice when properly maintained. It is an efficient, quiet and lightweight tool.

What are your favorite options in a lawn mower? What things do you look for when you are choosing a lawn mower for your yard?

Preparing Your Yard For Spring

photo by gracey, morguefile.com

photo by gracey, morguefile.com

The sun is shining and the birds are beginning to sing their sweet songs. The flowers are pushing their heads up through the fresh soil announcing the arrival of spring. So what can you do to prepare your yard for spring? There are several things that you can do to ensure that your yard receives the proper start to a fantastic year.

Flower Beds

*Rake-Clean up the leftover debris from last year. This will include items such as leaves, twigs and any garbage that has blown in during the winter.

*Uncover any plants such as roses you have protected during the winter.

*Maintenance pruning-clean up any winter damage.

*Amend the soil-add compost to create a rich soil for this year’s plants.

*Fertilize-choose a slow release fertilizer and add it to all of your flower beds, roses and perennials for a healthy start.

*Add pre-emergent weed preventers-this ensures weed-free gardens throughout the summer.

Lawns

*Apply a humic acid based fertilizer such as Natural Guard Soil Activator. This can be found at your local garden center. Applying this at the beginning of the season aids in nutrient enhancement without stimulating premature growth.

*Mow-if you allowed your grass to grow long during the fall, an early maintenance cutting is recommended.

*Apply a pre-emergent crabgrass and weed preventer. This will cut down on or reduce the amount of weeds that will develop in your lawn throughout the season.

Trees

*If you have ornamental trees, then pruning is recommended in the spring.

*Prune-do any necessary repair pruning that might have come from winter damage. This is also a great time to thin out any excess growth in your trees.

*Apply a dormant spray-this will depend on which type of tree you have. But a dormant spray will help to control any overwintering insect eggs and funguses.

*Fertilize with a tree and shrub specific fertilizer. This will give your trees a great and healthy start for the year as they wake up from their winter slumber.

Taking these general steps in the spring will help you to have a yard you can be proud of during the summer months. Where do you begin when you are preparing your yard for spring?