Cyclone Rake Blog: cyclone rake
Showing posts with label cyclone rake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cyclone rake. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Choosing Mower Blades

Not all lawnmower blades are created equal. That’s because different types of blades are better suited for specific mowing applications and turf types. Some lawnmower blades are also more suitable for use with collection systems like the Cyclone Rake. Here’s an overview of the three main types of rotary mower blades for the homeowner: standard blades (also called low-lift or medium-lift), mulching blades, and high-lift blades.
            Rotary mower blades create “lift” as they rotate and cut the grass, helping move the grass out of the mower discharge chute. Standard blades, sometimes called low-lift or medium lift, are engineered to provide enough lift to move the grass out of the mower deck area. Different blade designs can extend farther out from where the blade attaches to the mower, creating blade clearance differences. The mower operator has to understand how the blade design and mower deck height work together, especially when mowing terrain that may be uneven.
            Mulching blades are designed to help return the grass clippings back to the lawn. Mulching blades usually have a more curved design and longer blade edge. The mulching blade is designed more for cutting and returning grass clippings to the lawn, rather than creating lift needed to propel the grass cuttings from the mower.
High-Lift Blades
            High-lift blades are designed to create more “lift” as the mower blade spins. This design is helpful when running a lawnmower with a lawn collection system like the Cyclone Rake. The difference in blade design, especially the distance at which the blade extends downward from the mower, can help create more lift for the grass clippings and yard debris that are collected.
            Lawnmower manufacturers specify the types of blades that can be installed on different mower models and provide recommendations for different blades in different applications. Be sure to consult your mower manual, as well as the user manual for your Cyclone Rake collection system, when choosing a blade for each mowing application. 

Reviewed for this post:
Troybilt blade selection

Friday, January 6, 2017

Best Practices for Cleaning Up Leaf Debris in the South

Lawns and gardens grow longer in the South, where milder winters may mean more time to clean up leaves and yard debris. Here are some best practices for cleaning up leaves and lawn debris in the South - whether you’re catching up on raking, cleaning up debris from pruning or a winter storm, or just thinning out pine needles from under your trees.
            Large leaf rakes make cleaning up small and mid-sized yards easy. Raking is also a great way to get some winter exercise and enjoy being in the colder season. Many
Brilliantly colored tree in Alabama
homeowners shred small piles of leaves, using a lawnmower or chipper/shredder, to make mulch. Shredding also makes composting leaves easier. Composting is a great practice that can help make your yard neater, and shredded leaves are a useful ingredient for compost, when mixed with other organic wastes in the compost pile or compost bin.
            Large yards with more deciduous trees, as well as yards with mature pines and other evergreens, can see even more leaves and pine needles.
Long Needle Pine Tree in North Carolina 
Rakes and leaf blowers are useful for cleaning up larger yards. A Cyclone Rake leaf vacuum, which attaches to a riding lawnmower, makes cleaning up leaves and pine needles easier and less time-consuming. The Cyclone Rake and its attachments can also be used for year-round yard cleanup chores.
            Homeowners in the South can take a two-step approach when dealing with small tree branches, as well as disease-free shrub clippings and prunings. Branches and prunings can be first gathered into neat piles – or left just out of sight, behind the trees or shrubs where they are pruned. After some time has passed, leaves will fall off or can be easily shaken off, making it easier to move the stems and branches. The leaves can then be tidily raked into mulch around the plants, used as mulch elsewhere, or added to the compost pile. Branches can be shredded or added to a brush pile for birds and wildlife to enjoy the rest of winter.

Reviewed (mentions leaving branches behind pruned plants):

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.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Honor Our Veterans With Fall Cleanup


        Fall yard cleanup is a way of bringing beauty and order to the yard or landscape. This Veterans Day, you might consider yard cleanup as a nod of appreciation to those who have served a country with a truly beautiful landscape.
            Veterans Day comes at the when many trees have lost their leaves – but homeowners may not yet have finished cleaning them up. It’s also the time of year when fall rainstorms – and snow storms, in some states – bring gusty winds that scatter leaves everywhere. With Veterans Day falling on Friday this year, some people will take the long weekend to finish some fall cleanup chores. While you’re outside, don’t forget to ponder veterans you have known and what they have meant to you, your family, and your country. And, if you happen upon a veteran while running errands or being about town this Veterans Day, consider making a special effort to simply tell them, “Thank you,” for their service.
            Good neighbors often lend a hand to help each other with fall cleanup, and this can especially be helpful for elderly neighbors as winter approaches. Simple expressions of kindness can help build community, and the ability of citizens to build healthy communities is a benefit of living under freedom. Over Veterans Day, consider helping a neighbor with his or her yard chores – particularly if your neighbor’s knees and back are not so young, and especially if he or she just happens to also be a veteran.
If your neighbor is agreeable, you might even use your Cyclone Rake leaf vacuum  to help clean up some of the heavier piles. You would not be the first to lend your time and equipment to helping to making your neighbor’s yard cleanup a bit easier.

            Many of our families also have older vets who served during World War II, Korea and Vietnam. If you have kids, consider teaching them what it means to serve by finishing up some outdoor (or indoor) fall cleanup tasks for those older veterans in your family. That can later be a teachable moment to the next generation about the value of service and remembering to be grateful for veterans who have served.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Cleaning Your Yard before Setting It Up For Halloween

Decorating the yard for Halloween is more popular than ever, with some fall yard setups designed to extend beyond Halloween and toward Thanksgiving. Whether you’re getting your yard ready for this season or the next, the Cyclone Rake and Cyclone SuperHauler are some of the most helpful tools around.
Clearing the yard for fall decorations usually involves removing leaves. Raking leaves can be a backbreaking task; even harder can be moving and disposing leaves after they are raked. The Cyclone Rake lawn vacuum takes care of that problem. The Cyclone Rake is easily attached to your riding lawnmower and vacuums up shredded leaves, making them easy to unload. The compact load of leaves can be easily dumped for the compost pile or spread for mulch around flower beds and in gardens.
            Decorating the yard can mean hauling heavy decorations from the garage, storage shed or a vehicle. The Cyclone SuperHauler has a large hauling capacity and the ability to maneuver loads over even difficult terrain. The SuperHauler offers stability for heavy loads, reducing the risk of dropping decorations or having them spill out of a wheelbarrow.

            The SuperHauler is also perfect for moving a load of pumpkins from the car. With an 800-pound capacity, the SuperHauler would be the tool of choice to maneuver all your pumpkins into place. The SuperHauler also has a convenient Flexi-Deck option, which adjusts to haul large objects – just in case you find a great big pumpkin to be your yard’s centerpiece this fall.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Invest in Fall for a Beautiful Spring Lawn

When it comes to yard care, spring gets plenty of press – but what you do in the fall can get your yardscape ready for next spring. Use these reminders to invest lovely autumn mornings, evenings and weekends toward a beautiful spring.

Remember to Water

The first week of September is shaping up hotter and drier than normal in many regions. Keep evergreens and other perennials primed for a healthy winter by considering supplemental watering in September. Evaporation can still be an issue in September, so water in the early morning to let moisture soak in.

Sow the Seed

Turfgrass is best seeded in the fall. There’s still time, through mid-September, to prep the soil and sow for new seedings in most regions. Fall overseeding is another yard chore that will pay dividends come next year. Consider overseeding with grass species different from the most prominent in your turf; lawn diversity can guard against some disease pressure.

Watch for Diseases

Speaking of disease pressure, cool and wet fall weather will bring it on. Fungi causing “fairy rings,” powdery mildew, and rusts on grasses are three common fall yard invaders. Mowing to proper heights can help keep grass rusts at bay during fall.

Keep it Clean

Too many leaves and grass clippings on the yard during winter are a liability. Thick organic matter left in a yard can encourage snow molds and patchy lawn growth come spring.
Your Cyclone Rake can help turn your leaves and other organic matter into a yard and garden asset. Deliver leaves to the compost pile or spread them thinly onto gardens or beds, for the winter, to be incorporated into the soil in the spring.

Fertilize, Spray According to Preference

Applying one pound of actual nitrogen, per 1,000 square feet of lawn, can promote healthy grass growth and a thicker lawn. Consider two fall fertilizers applications about six weeks apart at this rate. Both organic and conventional fertilizers are available.
Yard owners using herbicides can get the best control of broadleaf weeds (like dandelions!) through a fall application. Always follow all label requirements, and use an herbicide product that combines “active ingredients” to improve the effect of weed control.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Better Lawns and Gardens Using the Right Fertilizers and Pesticides

It’s spring, and lawn and garden centers – as well as other big box retailers – are lining up shelf after shelf of fertilizer, soil amendments, weed killers and insect controls. So we thought it would be a good idea to review the basics before spending time and money on products to improve the lawn and landscape.

Fertilizers provide three essential nutrients for plants: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). The three numbers on a fertilizer label (like 10-10-10) tell how much N, P and K are available per 100 pounds of the fertilizer. Fertilizers come from different sources; most commercial fertilizers are produced using relatively low-cost, large-scale chemical processes. A wide variety of organic fertilizers are also available; these are usually more costly and often contain ingredients derived from animal proteins, byproducts of the rendering process.

Knowing what kind of fertilizer you need starts with knowing the nutrient content of your soil, and the nutrient requirements of your turf, landscape or garden. Soil testing will help you determine the soil’s needs; a good soil test will let you know how much fertilizer to apply. After that, fertilizer choices are largely based on your personal preferences, budget and landscape situation. One thing to watch: avoid over applying fertilizer or applying in situations when the nutrients are likely to leach or run off the soil, rather than soaking in and feeding your plants.

Soil amendments may contain nutrients; but amendments are usually applied to promote soil and plant health. For example, incorporating compost into a garden bed will provide some nutrient boost, but compost also increases organic matter in the soil and the soil’s ability to retain and drain water. Some soil amendments, like lime and sulfur, are added to change soil pH.

Herbicides (weed killers) may kill a broad spectrum of plants or more specific kinds of plants. Common lawn herbicides killing more specific plants include broadleaf weed killers and crabgrass inhibitors. Caution is urged when applying herbicides, especially broad spectrum herbicides, as they can affect both target and non-target plants.

Insecticides are substances that kill bugs! Like herbicides, insecticides may either kill a broad spectrum of insect life – pests as well as insects that can be beneficial to the garden – or be targeted more specifically (think: wasp killer). Biological insecticides usually involve materials and organisms that are derived from organic sources. An example is Bacillus thuringienesis bacteria, which can control caterpillars that invade broccoli, cauliflower and other garden crops.

No matter what kind of product you choose to apply to your lawn or garden, follow these “Good Practices” for responsible application:

1. Know what you need to “fix” or control – and apply the proper product rate to meet that need. Over application wastes product – and your money – and can even create potentially toxic levels of nutrients and pesticides in the environment.

2. Follow product labels. Always. Using products “off-label” is against the law.

3. Understand resistance. Weeds and insects can develop resistance to herbicides and insecticides. That means that what works this year may not work next year. Alternating products and methods of control will help avoid this problem.

4. Don’t underestimate elbow grease. Taking a little extra time to dig out problem weeds in a garden bed – or even a lawn – is a form of “mechanical” control. Really pesky weeds may require a mix of both herbicidal control and cultivation. Also, using a lawn vacuum like a Cyclone Rake will help. It collects the weed seeds as you are mowing – keeping them from spreading themselves around the yard.  Some insects may even be controlled by trapping – or plucking them off the plants they are attempting to munch!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

10 Reasons to Try Cyclone Rake for Spring Clean Up

The Cyclone Rake offers unique features you won't find anywhere else, while offering easy property care for spring. View the infographic below to learn about ten reasons to try the Cyclone Rake for spring clean up.

(Click to Enlarge)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Your Guide Keeping Critters Out of Your Yard & Gardens With Alternative Food Options

There are a variety of non-chemical and non-lethal ways to keep these critters at bay. One option is to feed the animals cheaper, more desirable alternatives to steer them away from the plants and vegetables you don't want them to eat. Learn more from Cyclone Rake in the infographic below:

(Click to Enlarge)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

It's Not Too Late to Welcome Wildlife

Winter is far from over, and it is still a wonderful time to welcome birds and beasts to your yard. In some parts, like New England, birds and wildlife may be feeling the effects of a long, hard winter. In other places, with milder winters, it’s time to make sure your bird feeders are well-stocked to attract both the locals - and migrating birds that will soon be passing through.

Cyclone Rake yard vacuum owners often enjoy welcoming birds and wildlife to the winter landscape. Follow these tips to welcome outdoor friends to your yard as this winter winds down.

Expand the Bird Buffet

Keeping feeders well-stocked with good quality birdseed in later months can maintain bird interest and, in some areas, may attract migrating birds on their way north. Try attracting finches with niger (thistle) seed.

Suet blocks are another popular bird feed, and block feeders are easily hung from tree branches. According to Penn State University, suet helps attract woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches and titmice – as well as species not as easily drawn to feeders, like Carolina wrens and brown creepers.

Birds (and others!) are also drawn to peanuts. Shelled or in-shell peanuts may be placed on your platform feeder or scattered on the ground. When spreading bird feed on the ground, place it near bushes and other cover and rotate the spots where it is placed. Remember that ground feeding could attract other wildlife, too. Peanuts will attract squirrels, too – so you might want to keep peanuts scattered on the ground away from your other birdfeeders!

About Those Squirrels

While squirrels always appreciate a winter snack, like squirrel corn, they are legendary for invading bird feeders. If your birdseed seems to be disappearing more quickly than normal, it might not be because of the long winter. Refer to your university Extension service or other trusted resource for tips on making your feeder squirrel-proof.

Watch Your Wildlife

Winter wildlife, especially rabbits and voles, can damage trees, plants and shrubs. Rabbits find some varieties tastier than others, but heavy snow cover and lengthy winter can make most plants susceptible.

Even if you have put up the recommended two to three-foot fence to guard your plants, deep snow may put higher branches within a rabbit’s reach. Consider removing snow around some plants. For more tips on rabbit control, check out this resource from Iowa State University:

Deer will also browse your landscape in the winter. Like drought, long winters can make deer less selective as they browse for feed. It might not be too late to put up temporary fence or other barriers if you see deer roaming closer than normal to your trees and shrubs as winter ends and spring nears.

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