Cyclone Rake Leaf and Lawn Vacuums

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Winter Yard Care

Winter is no time to ignore caring for your yard and landscape. Winter storms and winds can down tree branches, limbs or even whole trees; excess snow can damage plants and cause turf damage; snow and ice can damage plants and shrubs. Here are some tips to help your landscape through the winter and recover into its spring glory.

Plan, Practice Pruning

Mid-winter starts the season for pruning. The ideal time for pruning many trees, shrubs and landscape plants starts now – but remember, that timing varies by species and region. Some plants are best pruned nearer spring.

You don’t have to be a professional to prune. A first priority is removing “dead wood,” any dead or diseased branches that can harbor more disease and attract pests. Winter storms may bring down branches and snow may break down shrubs; consult with a garden guide or your local Extension office to find out the best course of action for any damaged plants. Trimming and pruning may need to happen right after the damage, as well as later toward spring.

If you suspect winter damage has killed shrubs or flowers, wait before pruning; plants are resilient, and they may surprise you by coming back. And enjoy the time outdoors while pruning – but take care, especially if pruning trees, to avoid slipping in wintry conditions.

Keep it Clear

Excess snow can weigh down trees and shrubs, and that gives you another chance to get outside this winter to gently shake branches free. A broom can be a good tool for helping free the weight of snow, according to the University of Maryland Extension service. Take care not to damage or break branches while removing snow.

Piles of snow on lawns can bring unwelcome spots later from snow mold. Gray and pink snow molds are fungi that start growing underneath snow in winter, creating unseemly lawn circles in spring. Avoid piling snow in the yard, if possible. Especially avoid throwing snow that may have salt or other ice-reducers into the yard.

It’s not too late to clean plant debris out of the corner of the garden bed you may have missed this fall. Winter winds may bring unwelcome debris or trash to your yard. Monitor your property for any excess trash and other debris.

Don’t Forget Water

In warmer zones, especially, plants may get thirsty amid freezing temperatures if the soil has dried out or remains frozen around the plants. The University of Florida advises, “Watering the area can help defrost the soil and provide your plants with an available source of moisture. Even injured plants need water.”

Find more tips about winter landscape damage and yard care from your local Extension service, or by reviewing these fact sheets we consulted from universities in Maryland, Illinois, Florida and Minnesota:

Winter Pruning
Winter Plant Damage
Snow Molds
Cold Damage

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mulching with Leaves & Pine Needles

Late fall and winter is not too soon to do something with the leaves or pine needles you have collected with a Cyclone Rake. Used properly, leaves and pine needles may provide attractive and economical winter mulch around many plants. Follow these tips to put your leaves and pine needles to use before next spring.

Use Oak Leaves and Pine Needles to Mulch Acid-Loving Plants

Oak leaves are slightly acidic before decomposing. That means they need some time to decompose to be used as garden compost, as they’ll soon rot and lose their acidity. But you can use this fall’s oak leaves to mulch and help protect your acid-loving plants - like azaleas and rhododendrons – this winter.

A University of Missouri growing guide recommends placing oak leaf mulch 4 to 6 inches deep around azaleas and rhododendrons. This helps conserve moisture and minimize winter injury to shallow roots. The mulch can be kept around the plant in warmer months, but be careful that leaves do not mat and form a layer that prevents water from reaching the soil below.

Pine needles provide slightly acidic mulch without as much risk of matting, creating excellent mulch around acidic-loving plants. Clemson University Cooperative Extension recommends a two-inch layer of pine needles. Whole pine needles interlock with each other, creating a mat while still allowing water and nutrients to reach the soil surface. Pine needles can also be scattered on top of other mulches to help keep them in place.

Consider Coarsely Shredded Leaves for Winter Mulch

Some plants can benefit from winter mulching, a layer of mulch leaves laid in late fall to insulate flowers or shrubs in winter. Winter mulching can also prevent “heaving,” when the ground rises and falls from thawing and freezing, which can damage plant root systems. Most garden guides recommend winter mulching after plants are dormant and temperatures are below freezing.

Winter mulch is meant to be removed when temperatures warm in early spring. It is important to use leaves that are not as finely shredded – like the leaves collected with the Cyclone Rake Power Vacuum Pickup – to keep the mulch from becoming matted. Having protected your plants for the winter, the winter mulch can be removed to the compost pile to break down.

If you Grow Strawberries, Use Pine Needles as Winter Mulch

Winter mulching protects strawberry plants during the harsh winter months. Straw is often used, but pine needles are ideal – especially for a smaller home garden strawberry patch. According to the University of Massachusetts Extension Center for Agriculture, the pine needles can be spread out between the rows of strawberry plants as temperatures warm. This helps keep strawberries clean when they ripen, reduce fruit rot, and cool the soil.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Why Leaves Fall — And Why They Don’t Fall At The Same Time

Collecting leaves with a Cyclone Rake is a great time to enjoy the beauty of your landscape and its trees. As you pay attention to your trees year after year, you’ve probably noticed that all leaves do not fall equally. Some trees shed their leaves sooner, and that timing can vary from year to year. The reasons for different leaf falls are anchored in tree genetics – especially in the leaves.

Leaves, as you probably know, contain chlorophyll – the main pigment that converts the sun’s light into sugars. Chlorophyll pigments are green. During autumn, leaf cells begin to seal off the flow of water to the leaf. That leaf moisture loss starts to reduce the green chlorophyll pigments. This process helps guard the leaf from frost damage.

As the Chlorophyll decreases, the leaves start to show their true colors. Leaves also contain over 80 different carotenoid and xanthophyll pigments, according to a Clemson University Extension publication. Carotenoids, like beta-carotene, appear as orange hues, like the sugar maple. Xanthophylls, like lutein, are more yellow, like the leaf changes of aspen and yellow poplar. Other leaf pigments include tannins, which appear as golden and brown; and anthocyanins, which appear purple or red, like red maple and sweetgum.

During fall’s shorter days and cooler nights, a layer of cells at the base of the leaf’s stem, called the abscission layer, starts to seal off the flow of water to the leaf. That “abscission layer” lets the leaf make a clean break from its branch – keeping tree sap from leaking out and tree diseases from getting into the tree. That’s why leaves fall at the stem.

A tree’s species and genetics largely dictate when the water flow starts to seal off, but weather and environment can also change that timing from year to year. Moisture, temperature and sunlight are most important. A late summer drought can delay the process. Drought in the early fall – right when the tree is starting to decrease chlorophyll production – can cause early leaf drop, according to Colorado State University. Early freezes can also kill leaf tissues, leading to an early drop.

By spending consistent time in your landscape, as you do when collecting leaves with a Cyclone Rake, you’ll start to notice the leaf fall pattern and timing of different trees – and notice how the weather from year to year can affect that timing. As you notice that, you might also take time to marvel at how each tree species has particular genetic designs and varying pigment levels that provide the ideal timing for its leaves to fall.

Websites referenced in this blog post:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Cost of Landscaping in the United States: An Infographic

Did you know that homeowners in the United States spend a total of $44.7 billion on lawn care and landscape services per year? There are many ways to reduce the cost of professional landscaping services, including doing it yourself, shopping wisely, and working with what you have. Simple DIY tasks such as cleaning up leaves and mowing the lawn yourself can eliminate a need for professional services. The Cyclone Rake will not only help you get lawn care done quickly and efficiently while saving you money, but it will also eliminate any worry of injuries due to the manual labor associated with traditional lawn care tools. You can also comparison shop and time your purchase of plants and landscaping items. Even preserving your current lawn and landscape can help you save. View the infographic below to learn more.

(Click to Enlarge)

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cyclone Rake vs. Traditional Rake: An Infographic

We’ve created an infographic to illustrate the facts and to better understand the benefits of the Cyclone Rake over the traditional methods of fall leaf clean-up. The Cyclone Rake offers the benefit of eliminating the strain from constantly bending over while raking and bagging leaves, therefore making leaf removal and other aspects of lawn care much easier on your body. The Cyclone Rake turns what would normally be a back-breaking chore into an easy, efficient process. View the infographic below to understand why the Cyclone Rake is the better option for you.

(Click to Enlarge)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Cyclone Rake Leaf and Lawn Vacuum Celebrates its 15th Anniversary in October 2012

Here at Woodland Power Products we're celebrating the 15th anniversary of the company’s founding as well as the introduction of our Cyclone Rake product line. The first Cyclone Rake customer shipments started in October, 1997. Since then it has become one of the most popular pieces of outdoor power equipment on the market.

Before the advent of the Cyclone Rake in 1997, lawn vacuums just weren’t practical for lots of people. They were large, heavy, rigid-body machines, hard to maneuver on a normal size property. And way too big to store, unless you had a barn, a big shed or a spare garage. They frequently clogged on heavy, wet debris. The sheet metal impeller wheels were easily damaged by ingested rocks, causing down time and expensive repairs.

The Cyclone Rake changed all that

We set out in 1993 to design a product that was built for people.
• A product you could maneuver on normal size lawns, but with all the capacity of the big bulky machines.
• Easy to store in any home. Because who’s got room for something the size of an SUV? Every Cyclone Rake folds up flat in a few minutes and can be stored easily in a limited space garage, basement or shed.
• A powerful vacuum system that wouldn’t clog up. And impeller wheels that were rock-proof.
• A machine built light in weight, so you could use it, but strong, like a racing bike. You shouldn’t have to be Hercules to handle it.
• Convenience features for every use. Like automatic debris bagging, power unloading, and an easy way to carry hoses and tools. Simple snap-together components, so you don’t need tools to use it.

The Cyclone Rake design took four years to complete. It was so successful that we started the Woodland Power Products company just to produce it. And today, there’s hardly anywhere in the U.S.A. or Canada that doesn’t have lots of Cyclone Rakes— and lots of happy owners.

Milestones Along the Way

We've continued to innovate along the way. Today there are five Cyclone Rake models to choose from, answering the needs of properties from a modest suburban lot to institutions and huge estates. A few milestones are these:

2000: The Cyclone Rake Commercial is introduced to answer the needs of large property owners and contractors. It features significantly more vacuum power and hauling capacity than our original Classic machine.

2005: The Easy-Flow Unloading system is developed. Its tapered collector shape and 60° dumping angle provide major increases in hauling capacity as well as ease of unloading. Easy flow unloading is now featured on four of our five Cyclone Rake models.

2006: The Jet Path® Vacuum System is introduced. This completely new vacuum system uses three-dimensional computer aided design coupled with finite element flow analysis to set a new standard for clog-resistant lawn vacuum performance.

2007: The 9 horsepower Cyclone Rake XL is introduced, along with Briggs and Stratton® Vanguard™ Engines on all our Cyclone Rake models. The XL features a completely redesigned vacuum system with 70% more vacuum power than previously offered.

2009 - 2011: A host of important advancements including our flagship Cyclone Rake Z-10, with its 10-inch diameter vacuum system and 10 horsepower engine, which gives almost three times the debris flow area of the 6-inch systems commonly sold. In addition, our Blue Diamond liner with 200,000 psi steel is introduced to substantially reduce wear in critical internal areas. Finally, the Cyclone Master and Cyclone Mate power lifters are introduced, making unloading as easy as pushing a button.

Thanks to All our Friends and Customers

On this 15th anniversary we offer particular thanks to all the Cyclone Rake owners who have taken their time to write so many outstanding internet comments and reviews about us, our products and our customer service. We don't always get everything right, but we do take satisfaction from customer service and close relationships with customers. Many of our product improvements over the years have been ideas directly from customers. Nobody knows what’s needed better than an actual product user.

In spite of business pressure, we have stayed as a factory-direct manufacturer and marketer. We think it’s the best way to have one-on-one relationships with our customers, and to serve them quickly and directly.

October 1, 2012
James C. Whitney
Founder & CEO

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