Cyclone Rake Blog: New Year’s Day
Showing posts with label New Year’s Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Year’s Day. Show all posts

Friday, December 30, 2016

New Year’s Resolutions for Yard Equipment

      It’s the start of a new year, and the middle of winter, meaning lawn care may seem far from your mind. But it’s never too soon to make sure your lawn and garden tools and supplies are ready to go for spring - and resolving to keep your yard tools well-maintained is a New Year’s resolution that may prove possible to keep. Start this year out right, with some time in your garage, storage shed or barn, making sure maintenance is up-to-date for all the tools you’ll need this spring – or finishing routine maintenance that may have slipped by before the holidays.
            Pay special attention to all the engines in your care: lawnmowers, lawn tractors,
trimmers and weedeaters, and other engine-powered machines, such as the Cyclone SuperHauler. Late fall and winter is a good time for replacing spark plugs and changing oil, if you forgot that task after the lawn care season. Use fluids according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, always storing fluids in approved containers and disposing used oil properly. Inspect and clean or replace filters as needed. Be sure mower decks are clean and blades are sharp, ready for the first grass cutting in the spring. If you send your lawn tractor to a mechanic for an annual tune-up, make that appointment now and beat the spring rush.
            Then, take time to inspect and maintain the moving parts on your tools – including tools without an engine. Many machines, from lawnmowers to lawn shears, have moving parts needing only an occasional application of grease or oil. Apply lubricants as needed, being sure to follow the guidelines in owner’s manuals. If you forgot to give a final fall cleaning for lawn equipment in storage, like the Cyclone Rake and other tools, take some time to be sure they are cleaned and stored properly. Inspect all the tires and wheels on your tools for excessive or unusual wear, which may signal a need for replacement or additional maintenance. It’s not too late to apply a coat of linseed oil to condition and preserve wooden tool handles, in case you overlooked that task in the fall.

            Yard care supplies also include things without moving parts, like fertilizer and seed and other soil amendments. Always store fertilizers and seeds in a dry location; keep grass seed left from last year in a cool place, like a basement, where the seed will not freeze. And use these winter months to take stock of your supplies, making a list for supplies needed closer to spring. That will help you meet the aim of your New Year’s resolution for maintaining lawn equipment and supplies: a truly beautiful, healthy lawn and garden.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Getting Your Yard Ready for Winter

The weeks leading up to New Year’s Day may seem a time to stay busy in other places besides your yard. But don’t miss the chance to take time outdoors and finish getting your yard ready for winter. We like to think of winter yard prep as “Three M’s” –  moisture, mulch and maintenance.
            The first M is moisture, especially important for evergreens, as well as new plantings that may have been installed in fall. Consider giving your evergreen trees and shrubs a good watering before the ground freezes, especially if rainfall has recently been less than one inch per week. If you’re in an area where winter freezing is less severe, keep an extra close eye on evergreens through the winter. Some species could potentially benefit from additional winter watering, especially younger trees and plants.
            Second: make sure you mulch. A layer of mulch after soaking fall rains, or a final fall watering, can help the ground retain moisture. Perhaps more important, mulch insulates the ground from temperature swings. Thawing and freezing causes the ground to heave, which can be hard on plant roots and overall plant health. A two- to six-inch layer of shredded leaves or similar mulch material can help guard your ground, protecting your plant from winter heaving. When it comes to winter mulching, not all plants are created equal; some are tender, some are hardy.  Follow garden guides or seek advice from your local garden center or Master Gardener program to make sure your mulch layer is the proper thickness.
            Finally, pay attention to our catchall “M,” maintenance. Guard young trees and woody perennials from wildlife damage with tree guards or screens. Take a good look at deciduous trees, now that leaves have fallen, to see where you’ll need extra pruning in the spring. Consider applying plant wrap to young evergreen trunks, especially those with southern exposure, to prevent sun scald – a common winter malady.
            Winter yard prep even goes beyond the plants, to your utilities. Don’t forget to drain and stow hoses, clean and store garden tools, oil wooden handles with linseed oil, and install winter faucet covers on outdoor faucets. That way you’ll be able to keep your equipment in top shape, ready to bring out next spring.