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What to consider when buying a lawn tractor

What to consider when buying a lawn tractor

When deciding on a new lawn tractor there are 3 main options to consider:

These are a ride-on mower, lawn tractor or garden tractor, however, there are further options if you have a lawn this is difficult to mow.

Ride-on mowers
A ride-on mowers main function is to cut grass. This type of lawn tractor is the smallest type of machine with the engine at the back and a seat towards the front. They have smaller cutting widths (from about 60cm) and engine sizes (from about 4.4kW) and are the cheapest type to buy.

Lawn tractors
Generally, lawn tractors are much larger than ride-on mowers and have the engine in front and the seat behind. Cutting widths start at about 76cm. With more powerful engines, from 8kW upwards, this makes them suitable for larger areas, tougher terrain and harder tasks, such as towing (although they are limited to fairly low towing weights).

Garden tractors
Garden tractors are the real heavy duty machines with the most powerful engines (11kW and above), the widest cutting widths and the toughest build. Not only can garden tractors do all the regular mowing, they can also be used for towing, tilling and snow clearing. With all these extra features they are, unsurprisingly, the most expensive of the three types of lawn tractor.

Ride-on mowers and tractors for a difficult lawn

Uneven or sloping lawns
Some of the more expensive tractor mowers offer four-wheel drive (sometimes called ‘all-wheel drive’), often with a differential lock. These are particularly useful for difficult ground, such as those that slope, as they offer better traction and less wheel slip.

Whichever mower you choose, go for as powerful an engine as you can afford, because then the mower will have the force needed to tackle a slope. Also look out for engines that have pump lubrication to ensure that the engine is lubricated even when the mower is at an angle. Wheel chains can also help, as can a pivoting rear axle.

Manufacturers have recommendations about the use of machines on sloping ground and limits of the slope on which an engine can be expected to perform normally.

A lawn that’s dotted with obstacles
If you have a garden with plenty of interest including areas with small turns and hidden spaces consider a ‘zero-turn’ model. These are designed to turn on the spot, so they’re easy to negotiate around obstacles. There’s also no wasted movement when you’re turning at the end of each ‘stripe’ and they’re good for parking in tricky storage areas.

They have two steering handles that separately control the rear wheels, unlike the conventional steering wheel system which only controls the front wheels. These mowers generally have a faster top speed than conventional models, too.

If you need any help or advice on which ride-on mower, lawn or tractor mower to choose then please contact us or give us a call on 01403 700743 and our trained and experienced team will be happy to help. We also offer a wide selection of garden tractors and ride-on mowers which can delivered direct to you.

When is the best time to stop mowing your lawn?

When is the best time to stop mowing your lawn?

There is an Old Wives’ Tale about when to stop mowing your lawn in the winter months. The true is grass does not actually stop growing even when it is really cold, it simply slows down. So the question of when you should stop mowing the grass is more a question of the prevailing weather and ground conditions that quite often prevent you getting onto the lawn when you have the ideal opportunity to mow it.

The factors restricting lawn mowing in the winter months can be –

• Ground frost and snow
• Water logging
• Earthworm casts
• Rain
• Reduced daylight hours
• Temperature
• A heavy lawnmower or ride-on-tractor

The lawn’s growth pattern will naturally slow as the soil and air temperatures reduce. If the air temperature is above 5 degrees centigrade the grass will keep growing. Reflective heat from buildings and localised sheltered microclimates will aid growth and where you live in the UK geographically.

As we are now into the winter months the frequency of mowing will reduce from twice a week or more normally once a week only to once every 10 days then down to once a fortnight and finally down to once a month in December and January. The aim is to literally take the ‘top’ off the lawn, so that means no more than 25% of grass growth at one time. This will keep the lawn tidy and help in the removal of leaf litter and debris.  And mowing the lawn if you are able to a few weeks before Christmas keeps the garden looking neat and tidy ahead of the festive season.

If you have any questions regarding what type of lawn mower, ride-on-mower or tractor you should be using then give us a call on 01403 700743.

Lawn mower servicing

At this time of the year getting your lawnmower, ride-on-tractor or any other garden machinery ready for storage or use is as important as keeping it maintained through the spring and summer months.

At WG Gardencare Machinery Ltd when we service a lawnmower, ride-on-mower or tractor we will look at a whole host of things. Our full service on a petrol rotary mower, for example, includes: 

1. Remove all covers and guards

2. Steam clean the machine to remove any grass build up and oil residues

3. Remove and strip the carburettor and clean it in an ultrasonic tank

4. Flush the fuel tank to remove stale fuel and contamination

5. Replace the pull starter cord and re-wind the return spring and lubricate all moving parts

6. Check the air gap on the ignition coil and fit a new spark plug

7. Replace the air filter

9. Sharpen and balance the blade

10. Check drive belt and cables and make any necessary adjustments

11. Lubricate height adjuster mechanism and all control levers and cables

12. Tighten the engine mounting and handle bar bolts

13. Run and test all machine functions

14. Check the running speed and tune the carburettor.

We also supply a fuel stabilizer with each service with our compliments. This addition means that there is no need to drain the tank of fuel prior to storing your machine for the winter.

Our service price is carried out at an hourly rate with free estimates. Please call us on 01403 700743 for a quote.

Winter servicing offer

Get a 10% discount on all parts and labour when you book your lawn mower or ride on tractor in for a winter service from the 1st November 2018 till 1st April 2019.

 

Lawns: autumn care

Autumn is the time to examine lawns for signs of summer wear-and-tear, and treat if necessary. At this time of year, any treatment has time to take effect before temperatures fall and growth stops.

One or more of these tasks may be required:

Scarifying

Regular raking (or scarifying as it known) keeps levels of thatch (old grass stems, dead moss and other debris) at an acceptable level. Layers of thatch greater than 1cm (3/8in) deep can impede water and the penetration of any fertilizer that you use.

To remove thatch, rake vigorously but carefully with a spring-tined rake. For larger areas powered tools are available as single units or mower attachments. Contact us if you need further advice on the different kinds of mower attachments available.

Be aware, turf is damaged if scarified too deeply. Do not scarify in spring – a light raking is all that is needed, as the lawn may not recover in summer conditions.

Aerating (spiking)

Aerating (or spiking) lawns allows better movement of air and water in the root zone. A well-aerated lawn will manage better in periods of drought or prolonged rainfall. For an average lawn, aeration every two to three years should be enough, concentrate on areas that receive the most wear and those that are compacted.

Small areas can be spiked with a garden fork, spacing holes 10-15cm (4-6in) apart and deep. On clay or waterlogged soils use a hollow-tine aerator every three to four years. This extracts plugs of soil from the lawn. Hand held and motorized hollow tiners are available. After hollow-tining, sweep up the plugs and then rake a top-dressing (see below) into the holes to improve air and moisture penetration.

Top-dressing

Top-dressing is the application of loam, sand and well-rotted organic matter to a lawn in order to correct surface irregularities and improve the texture of difficult soils. This encourages greater rooting and thickening of turf.

The top-dressing mix is three parts sandy loam, six parts sharp sand and one part compost or leaf mould. Apply 2-3kg per sq m (4.4-6.6lb per 10 sq ft), working the dressing in well with the back of a rake.

Flattening

To correct bumps and troughs, use an edging iron or spade to slice through the turf and roll it back. Fork over the underlying ground and add or remove soil as needed. Replace the turf, pressing the edges together, and water thoroughly.

Mowing

The autumn rains make the end of August and September a good growing time so mow your lawn frequently. You can lower the cut now if you raised it during the summer. Whether you use a cylinder or rotary lawn mower or a ride-on-lawnmower the principle is the same, never remove more than one third of grass on any one cut. If you need any advice on servicing or repairs to your lawnmower or ride-on-tractor then call 01403 700743 or contact us and we will be happy to help.

Top lawn mowers for 2014

With the grass-cutting season in full swing and the regular use of your lawnmowers and Ride-on-Tractors, at WG Gardencare Machinery we thought you might like to know which garden machines were considered some of the best in 2014 by Which magazine.

Flymo Venturer 32 – rotary lawn mower

The Flymo Venturer 32 is a good option if you mow your lawn regularly and are looking for a light and easy budget mower. It is very manoeuvrable and can cut right up to lawn edges, reducing the need for trimming. This wheeled rotary mower easily cuts a family lawn and leaves a striped finish on short grass, thanks to the roller between the rear wheels. It’s small, easy to move around and comfortable to push. The inset front wheels mean it can cut close to obstacles and right over lawn edges. It is light and has a convenient carry handle on top. The grass collector has a good capacity and is easy to use.

Typical Price – £77.00

Bosch Rotak 37 Li – cordless electric lawnmower

This is the latest cordless electric lawnmower from Bosch. A light (13kg), battery-powered lawnmower with a 37cm cutting width. It has all the usual features, including grass combs so you can cut against obstacles and a single cutting height adjustment lever. Its Ergoflex handles means that you can use with your wrist horizontally or vertically and a roller to give stripes on your lawn. The 36v battery comes with a charger and fits onto the front of the lawnmower and has charge indicator lights. It is perfect for small and medium sized lawns and very easy to use as the system of switches on the handles means you can operate it one handed, ideal if your wrists or hands are not very strong. The handles are adjustable and have large, quick-release clips that make it easy to fold down for neat storage. It collects all the grass very well in grass box leaving no clippings on the lawn and the grass box is easy to empty and fits securely.

Typical Price – £243.00

Honda HRE370 – corded-electric rotary mower

This lawnmower cuts a wide range of lawn types and has enough power to collect the clippings, leaving a good finish – although it isn’t the best at edging a lawn. It’s comfortable and easy to use with a large grass collector and five cutting heights from 18mm to 65mm. It has a 37cm cutting width. This mower gives a family lawn a very even cut and removes nearly all the clippings. Even on damp, long and rough grass, it has enough power to cut and collect up the clippings to leave a neat finish.

Typical price – £179.00

Hayter Sprint 41 – push petrol rotary mower

This mid-range petrol rotary mower has a 41cm cutting width. It’s a push mower with a Briggs & Stratton series 500 engine and breezes through standard lawns and long grass, struggling only on damp grass. It is particularly good on short ornamental lawns, thanks to a lowest cutting height of only 13mm – most rotary mowers are unsuitable for short fine turf, but this might be an exception. It also cuts close to lawn edges, which makes it suitable for a well-kept lawn. The cutting height is easy to adjust as there’s a nice chunky, single lever with seven clearly marked positions.

Typical price – £279.00

Mountfield SP425R – self-propelled petrol lawnmower

This self-propelled petrol rotary mower has an ‘easy start’ 140cc Honda engine. It’s relatively small, weighing 32kg, and has a 41cm cutting width. It has five cutting heights between 20mm to 70mm and a single lever to change between them. It has a rear roller for stripes and a 55-litre grass collector. It can cut down to 20mm and is short enough for ornamental grass. It only has one speed but, as it’s a bit lighter than a lot of petrol mowers, it’s easy to handle. This lawnmower is ideal for a lawn but still manages long and damp grass with ease.

Typical price – £429.00

Remember you can always contact us if you need any advice or help with servicing, repairing or purchasing a new lawnmower and we are able to order and deliver most makes and models on request.

How to keep your lawn in good shape this summer

June is upon us so lawn mowing is a regular job in the garden and it may even be necessary to mow your lawn twice a week. With a well-serviced lawnmower or Ride-on-Tractor the job is so much easier. If rainfall is low then water the lawn thoroughly but not too frequently to encourage deep root growth. If weeds are still prevalent then apply a lawn weed treatment when the soil is moist and if clover exists then rake the lawn before mowing.

Mowing the lawn is probably the most well known of all lawn care jobs but it is still carried out incorrectly by many gardeners. To develop and keep a top quality lawn you need to know when and how often you should mow the lawn and with the right lawnmower for your lawn. Mowing too often or at the wrong times can seriously damage the condition of the lawn.

The aim of mowing the lawn should be to keep the grass somewhere in between ‘not to long’ and ‘not to short’. The height of the grass will depend on what you use it for and the aspect of the garden. If the grass is too short then the roots will not receive adequate nutrients and the ability of the lawn to take up these nutrients and water through the roots will decline which in turn will result in poor growth rates and a loss of vigour. Mowing the lawn helps to stimulate side shoot development in the grass and this leads to the build up a dense lawn that has a strong growth rate.

Always aim to mow the lawn when the grass is dry as the blades of the lawn mower will cut the grass better. If you mow the grass when it is wet then the weight of the mower and your footsteps will leave muddy patches and the lawn surface will become compacted when it dry’s out. The grass will find it hard to re-establish itself on these areas.

Remember you can always contact us if you need any advice or help with servicing, repairing or purchasing a new lawnmower or Ride-on-Tractor to keep your lawn in the best condition this summer.

WG Gardencare Machinery Ltd have moved!

WG Gardencare Machinery is pleased to announce that we have moved to Slaughterford Farm, Sumners Ponds, Barns Green, West Sussex.

Our new premises have excellent workshop facilities manned by highly trained mechanics and whether you need your lawnmower or ride on tractor servicing or repairing, we will be able to give you a fast and efficient service. We are happy to give advice on any new purchase and have a variety of lawn mowers, ride on mowers and tractors available to buy.

With an on-site licensed cafeteria by a lake offering meals, snacks or afternoon tea, you can enjoy refreshments while you wait for your machine to be assessed or repaired.

If you are unable to come to us then we offer a collection and delivery service to customers throughout West Sussex and Surrey. Contact us now or call us on 07926 168953 or 01403 283814 and we will be happy to help.

Your guide to buying a new lawn mower or ride-on tractor

Getting started

Whether you are looking for a petrol or electric lawnmower, a small ride-on tractor to ease the burden of lawn cutting, or the power and performance of a larger machine, WG Gardencare Machinery have over 15 years of specialist expertise to draw from to make the process of buying and owning these machines much easier.

For many ordinary lawns a petrol or electric push mower or a self-propelled petrol model for larger, sloping lawns will do the job perfectly and but if your lawn is half an acre or larger a lawn tractor could be a better choice.

How to choose

1. Consider what you want your lawn mower or ride-on tractor to do. Most mowers have features that mulch, bag, or side-discharge the grass cuttings. It really depends what facilities you have to compost the waste you get after each cut.

2. Check the features and controls. Most ride-on tractors allow you to speed up or slow down with a convenient pedal or lever. With self-propelled mowers, some models let you vary your speed simply by pushing the handlebar, whilst others let you adjust the ground speed without removing your hands from the handlebar.

3. If your property is hilly then tractors with a zero-turn or rear-steering wheels will not suit a steep gradient as, although they are capable of doing tight turns, this makes them difficult to control on steep slopes. Exceptions to this include mowers that have steerable front wheels instead of the usual levers.

If you are considering buying a new lawn mower or ride-on tractor ready for spring and still don’t know where to start then contact Graham or Jeremy today or call 01403 700743 and we will be happy to help you decide which type of mower is right for you. And our servicing and free delivery makes it an even easier way to make the right choice.

Getting your Lawn Mower ready for winter

Take a bit of time and care to maintain and store your lawn mower or garden tractor properly in the winter, and you will have no problems getting started again in the spring.

How WG Gardencare Machinery Ltd can help.

Although most people can generally care for their Lawnmower or Garden Tractor during the season, many choose the convenience and security of having a professional do the final maintenance service before putting the machine away for the winter. We recommend doing this now, not only to maintain its performance, but also to avoid the spring rush so you are ready to get going when the grass starts to grow in the spring!

At WG Gardencare Machinery Ltd we have excellent workshop facilities and highly trained staff who will take care of all your winter servicing needs. We specialise in servicing and repairing all types of professional and domestic garden machinery including two and four stroke mowers and commercial diesel tractors. Plus we offer a FREE collection and delivery service throughout West Sussex and Surrey.

So contact us today or call 01403 700743 and we will be happy to help.

Autumn Lawn Care – Part 2

As the weather starts to change the grass on your lawn will be growing much more slowly. For this reason it’s important to adjust the cutting height on your lawnmower so the cut is higher. You now only need to mow about once a fortnight but this will depend on whether we continue to have such mild days and nights! As always, maintain your mower in good condition and keep the blades sharp. Contact us if your lawn mower needs a service or blades sharpening on 01403 700743.

Feeding & Conditioning

Feeding your lawn in the Autumn will depend on how much wear and tear it has had over the Summer but an Autumn lawn feed and moss killer will provide your lawn with the essential nutrients it needs to strengthen itself for winter, as well as killing any moss that is present. If weeds also need to be controlled there are plenty of products at your garden centre that combine both feeding, weeding and killing moss all in one treatment.

Overseeding

Depending on the wear and tear that the lawn has received over the previous months you may want to overseed the lawn in early autumn. By using a combination of lawn and turf dressing with an equal quantity of grass seed this mixture can then be brushed gently into the surface of the lawn. The grass seed will germinate ahead of the winter frosts and produce a thicker, healthier lawn next spring.

Topdressing

If your lawn has become uneven then topdressing will even out any low areas. A rate of 1 – 3 kg per square metre will be sufficient when brushed into the lawn surface especially in lower areas. It is a good idea to add a top dressing to help fill in any thin areas and it is always best to carry out topdressing when the lawn is dry. Topdressing also helps break down thatch and aids drainage.

The effort put into a lawn in autumn will improve the quality and health of the lawn and ensures it will look its best right through the following year.

Edging

To recut your lawn edges use a half moon edging iron to create a neat finish. You will need to trim the lawn edges every week using lawn-edging shears to give a neat finish. For more information on sharpening or repairing lawn-edging shears contact us now.