Tending your lawn requires proper lawn care equipment. The following are the basics recommended by experts, their advantages and disadvantages, and what to consider when choosing what’s right for you and your lawn.
Unless you have a huge yard, a walk-behind mower is your best bet. It manicures your lawn well, cuts corners, squeezes into narrow spaces, and mows close to the edges of your lawn. Whether you choose gas, electric, or an old-fashioned reel lawnmower is up to you.
Gas mowers are noisy and emit fumes, but they’re also your most powerful option. Many are self-propelled, but of course you must buy fuel, maintain the filter, check the oil, and change the spark plug periodically. They are generally heavier, harder to manoeuver and the most expensive option too.
Many electric mowers now come with battery packs so you don’t have to worry about electrical cords. They’re cleaner, quieter, and require little maintenance, so they’re often a practical choice. They generally cost less than gas mowers, but only select models offer the power of gas.
Reel mowers have come a long way and they’re no longer difficult to push. However, they’re not the ideal choice for a large lawn or if the lawn’s littered with small twigs or branches. They do work very well on a small, flat lawn and do not use electricity or fuel. They’re usually less expensive and require little maintenance, but you provide the power.
Contrary to what many believe, leaving grass cuttings on your lawn isn’t a bad thing, if done properly. Mulching mowers use special blades that cut them finely. Fine grass clippings are beneficial to your lawn as they deliver nitrogen to the plant’s roots as they decompose. You can buy electric and gas-powered mulching mowers.
Your grass trimmer may be the most important piece of lawn care equipment you buy as it provides the finishing touches that make it look its best. You need to consider how powerful your trimmer needs to be to handle your yard and how easy it is to manage. Test the “feel” of a trimmer in your local home improvement store before you buy. If it is too heavy or awkward it will take longer to trim your lawn and you’ll avoid using it.
Gas-powered trimmers have either two-cycle or four-cycle engines. A two-cycle engine is powerful enough for most yards and more lightweight. If you have brushy areas you need to clear regularly, a four-cycle engine offers more power, but weighs substantially more.
A gas-powered trimmer is noisier, emits fumes, and requires more maintenance. You must fill it with fuel, change the oil, clean the air filter and spark plug, and sometimes adjust the idle. Most electric trimmers are cordless today and come with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Some models offer comparable power to gas, with little maintenance.
Every homeowner needs rakes, but many different types exist. It is important you buy the correct one for the job to avoid extra work and strains. These are the basics you’ll want to consider.
Plastic or Metal Leaf Rake
Leaf rakes are designed to move many leaves in one pass. They have wide tines to prevent clogging and a sturdy handle to manage the weight of wet leaves. A 24-inch plastic or metal rake is a good choice as it covers plenty of ground, without unnecessary strain.
Steel Bow Rake
A bow rake has sharp steel points ideal for moving soil and garden debris. The head of the tines has a flat surface you can use for tamping down dirt after planting too. It’s your durable, reliable workhorse in the yard and garden.
Bamboo rakes are lightweight and narrow so they’re ideal for working around plants and shrubs. They’re very inexpensive, fit in small spaces, and cause little back strain while you use them. Some even have telescoping handles to reach into awkward areas.
Steel Thatching Rake
Too much dead plant matter on the surface of your lawn forms a hard shell. It repels water and nutrients and blocks air and light. “Thatch” impedes grass growth, but you can remove it in several ways.
A dethatching rake has thick, razor-sharp blades on both sides of the head. One side digs at dig into to thatch to loosen it and the other removes it. However, it can be very hard work, especially if your lawn has 1/2” or more of thatch. It may take several passes in various directions to remove the thatch.
Many people choose to rent or buy a power dethatcher instead. They’re typically gas-powered, but partially self-propelled with variable speeds and relatively easy to handle.
An aerator pulls tiny plugs of grass out of your lawn to allow more air to reach the root system. This promotes a healthy lawn and vigorous new growth.
You need a hollow tined-plug aerator which pulls the plugs of soil up and leaves them on the lawn. Aerators which punch holes into the earth compress it further which defeats the purpose of aeration.
You can rent or buy aerators, but they are heavy and bulky to use. You may want to rent one first and see how the model performs and whether you’re up to the task.
The best fertilizer applicator for home use is usually a drop applicator. You load dry fertilize into the hopper and use adjustable gates to regulate the flow. They offer excellent uniformity across their width. Sizes range from 2 to 12 feet to suit the size of any yard.
Buying the right lawn care equipment makes yardwork easier, but not everyone enjoys it. Watering your lawn can be exhausting, so why not consider an irrigation system? You can’t have a beautiful, healthy lawn without delivering the proper amount of water regularly, and an irrigation system does it automatically.
Blue Jay Irrigation is a Landscape Ontario Green for Life member and we’re considered experts in our field. Lose the hose and discover how painless lawn maintenance can be. We’re your Southwestern Ontario irrigation experts, so contact us anytime for a free quote.