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Tips and advice on mowing the lawn for the first time this spring

Spring has arrived, meaning that it’s time to dust off your lawnmower and gardening tools to prepare for the season ahead.

Garden lawns play an important part in our outdoor summer enjoyment – they host parties, provide a space to play, relax and read, and el fresco dining.

Therefore, it is important to get the first mow of the year just right to set your lawn up for a summer of use. Here are some practical tips for that first cut.

  1. A pre-cut tidy

After months of bad weather and lack of sunshine, your lawn may look a bit sad. Time to clear any mess including dead sticks, leaves and any rubbish that may have gathered.

Check to see what is hiding in the grass; stones and thick branches may have made their way into the overgrown lawn and the lawnmower blade can be damaged if the lawn mower catches these. Keeping the mower blade sharp is important as a blunt blade can cause damage to the new grass, opening up space for pests and diseases to enter.

  1. Don’t leave it too late

Although the difference in climate can vary depending on where you live in the country, usually the first two weeks in April is the best time to dig the lawnmower out and give the garden a good trim.

  1. Use the one third rule

When cutting your lawn for the first time, always follow the one third rule: never cut more than a third of the blade of grass in one go. The reason: cutting more than this can stress the grass.

Gradually reduce the grass length over a number of weeks to reach the desired length. Cutting the grass too short, too quickly, can lead to disease and weed infestation.

  1. What if your grass is really long?

If your lawn has been a little unkempt throughout the colder months and has grown longer than you would like, still follow the one third rule but take it in stages over a number of weeks. Gradually decrease the cutting height on your lawnmower each time until you reach your preferred grass length.

  1. Contour your garden

The edges of your lawn are important too when cutting your lawn for the first time. Overgrown edges can look messy and can mean time and effort spent working in the garden has been in vain. Trim the edges straight after mowing.

  1. Don’t water immediately after mowin

Don’t water your lawn immediately after mowing. There is no specific point in the month to give your lawn a hose down – it should simply be done if and when it needs moisture which is usually after a long period of drought – if you do chose to water then there are a few guidelines on what time it should be done during the day:

• Watering late in the evening or at night can lead to fungal problems as the grass doesn’t dry out as the sun has set.

• The middle of the day is when the sun is at its hottest. This leads to the water evaporating instantly or the droplets acting as a magnifying glass, burning the blades of grass.

• So the best time is first thing in the morning as the air is cool and the water can travel to the roots before drying up.

  1. Don’t forget about new grass seeds

If you have repaired your lawn in the autumn the new grass that has grown from the seed will be noticeably weaker than the rest of the lawn and can be easily damaged if cut incorrectly. Wait until the grass has grown over three inches in length before mowing for the first time to allow it time to build up strength.

  1. Make mowing your lawn a habit

Following your first cut of the season, you should consider mowing your lawn once or twice a week to maintain the desired length. This is due to the warm weather encouraging your grass to grow.

  1. Choose your equipment carefully

It’s important to remember that no two lawns or gardens are the same even if they are side by side. Take into consideration the condition and size of your lawn, and your gardening needs when choosing the best lawn mower for the job.

Preparing a petrol lawnmower for winter storage

With the growing season coming to a close, you should be looking forward to putting your lawnmower away for the winter. The best time to service your lawn mower is immediately after the last cut of the season. By doing this you will miss the mad rush next spring when everyone else has left it to the last moment to get their lawnmower or ride-on-tractor serviced. Also it is not good to put the mower away for the winter if it is wet and caked in grass clippings as it will cause it to rust and deteriorate.

Have your lawnmower serviced

At WG Gardencare Machinery Ltd we specialise in servicing and repairing all types of professional and domestic garden machinery including mowers, four and two stroke machines and commercial diesel tractors.

When we service a lawnmower, ride-on-mower or tractor we will look at a whole host of things. For a full list of what is included in our winter service click here. We will collect your mower and return it to you at home once the service is complete. Our Collection and Delivery Service covers West Sussex and Surrey.

So once spring arrives you will be ready to go with only a few spot checks needed.

Check the oil level before use

Once any faults have been repaired as part of the annual service, all you’ll need to do before use is check the oil level using the dipstick and top up if needed.

Clean after use

After use, clean the underside of the mower with a damp cloth to prevent a build-up of grass and rusting. Be sure to tip the mower toward the back of the sump, rather than toward the carburettor. Consult the manual if you’re not sure.

Consider a conditioner

If you’re storing more than one can, you can prolong the life of fresh fuel by adding an ‘additive’ or ‘conditioner’.

Servicing your lawnmower with WG Gardencare Machinery

Our comprehensive workshop facilities offer a service – second to none. Our service price is carried out at an hourly rate with free estimates. Please call us on 01403 700743 or email us for a quote. And from the 1st November 2017 until the 1st April 2018 we are giving 10% off our winter service.

Robot lawnmowers – To buy or not to buy?

If you feel that cutting the grass twice weekly at this time of year is important then there are two ways of looking at this job, a chore that has to be done or a way of getting some useful exercise before the BBQ!

Whichever way you look at it there is now the opportunity to buy the latest tech to cut the grass so you don’t have to lift a finger.

The benefits of a robot lawnmower is that you just get out the charging station, set up the lawn boundaries, programme your lawnmower and off it goes – simple. It does all the hard work for you and then after it’s completed the task of mowing the lawn makes its own way back to the charging station

robotic-lawn-mowerYour robot lawnmower can cope with any shaped garden including slopes and garden furniture such as tables, chairs and even trampolines. The environmental benefit is that all robot mowers mulch the grass they cut, shredding it finely and scattering the cuttings back onto the lawn to feed the soil with nutrients and protect the grass from drought.

If you are considering buying a robotic mower, make sure it’s suitable for the size and shape of your garden as the more expensive ones are really only worth it if you have a big plot. Check how long the battery lasts on a full charge and how long it takes to charge up as you will find that some take under an hour to charge whilst others take up to 16 hours.

Other things to consider are

  • Setting up a perimeter wire
  • Do you want it to cope with wet grass?
  • Do you want it to be quiet?
  • How long does the battery need to last to do the whole lawn/lawns?

Below we have listed 8 robot lawn mowers that are currently on the market that you may want to consider.

1. John Deere Tango E5 Series II: £2,130

2. Robomow RX12U Automatic Robotic Lawn Mower: £499

3. Honda Miimo HRM3000: £2,499

4. Flymo 1200R Robotic Lawnmower: £599.99

5. Bosch Indego 400 Connect: £750

6. Viking iMow 632 PC: £2,299

7. Husqvarna Automower 450X: £3,100

8. McCulloch ROB R600 Robotic Mower: £779

If you have any questions, require help choosing a robot lawnmower then please contact Jeremy or Graham on 01403 700743 or email us and we will be happy to help.

Book a full service now and save 10% with NO VAT! Offer ends 1st April 2018

Our Winter Service Supersaver offer is back, with a 10% discount on parts and labour, plus FREE local collection and delivery when we service your garden tractor, lawn tractor or ride-on mower. The 10% saving is for full services only, on any machine. And now we are no longer VAT registered there’s no VAT added to your bill, making your overall service even cheaper. Our Winter Service Supersaver is always popular so book now to be sure of your 10% saving. And remember, this offer must end on 1st April 2018 .

So what’s included in a WG Gardencare Machinery full lawn tractor, ride-on mower or garden tractor service?

The answer is, a thorough and meticulous check on every element of your machine including cleaning, lubricating and tuning.

For petrol mowers, for example, we steam clean the machine, strip the carburettor, flush the fuel tank and replace the pull starter cord, fit a new spark plug, replace the air filter, sharpen and balance the blade, check and adjust the drive belt, lubricate the height adjuster and all control levers and cables. Finally, we tighten the engine mounting and handlebar bolts, run and test all machine functions, check the running speed and tune the carburettor. You can find out more about our full service here.

As part of your full service we also supply a complimentary fuel stabilizer, which means you don’t have to drain the tank prior to storing your machine for the winter – a practical, time saving touch that’s typical of WG Gardencare Machinery’s service.

Why not book your garden tractor or mower in for its full service now before you put it in storage, and be sure it’s running smoothly and ready to go in the spring? Email us now or call us on 01403 700743 and we’ll be happy to help.

Guide to buying a petrol chainsaw

Is a petrol chainsaw right for me?

A petrol chainsaw is a good choice if you have a lot of logs to cut or heavy pruning to tackle in the garden as it will cut through large logs faster than any other machine and you can use it anywhere without the hassle of a trailing power cable.

It will need regular maintenance including:

• Servicing the engine
• Keeping the fuel tank topped up
• Sharpening the cutting teeth
• Keeping the chain at the correct tension

Petrol chainsaws can also be heavy, so it’s worth testing one out before you buy to check whether it’s one you could use comfortably for a reasonable period of time. Consider how you would use a chainsaw for different jobs: pruning branches would involve making single cuts with rests in-between but chopping logs would be a series of vertical cuts in a continual motion.

Petrol chainsaws are noisy, some more than others, but all are likely to irritate the neighbours if you use them constantly and they give off powerful petrol fumes.

Pros: Powerful, portable, great for chopping logs

Cons: High maintenance, noisy, overpowering emissions, expensive

Which petrol chainsaw should I buy?

Petrol chainsaws come in different sizes and power capacities depending on the sort of work they’re designed to do, from pruning the branches of a shrub to felling large trunks.

There are three categories of use:

• domestic
• heavy
• professional

Most of the petrol chainsaws you’ll find in DIY stores and garden centres are designed for domestic use and have a guide bar of 40cm or less and are the best choice for cutting jobs around the garden. Howeverer, choosing a chainsaw isn’t just about cutting. You want a machine that’s easy to use, manoeuvre and maintain.

How does a petrol chainsaw work?

With a petrol chainsaw the engine drives a metal chain, with lots of cutting ‘teeth’, at high speed around an oblong-shaped guide bar. As the spinning chain makes contact with a log or tree trunk, its teeth are dragged along the surface, cutting the wood. The circular motion of the chain keeps the teeth in contact with the wood, so the saw keeps cutting until it has sliced all the way through or the power is stopped.

Most petrol chainsaws have two-stroke engines, which are similar to those used in mopeds or outboard boat engines. It’s worth bearing in mind that a petrol chainsaw’s engine will require regular servicing to keep it in good working order.

Oil and fuel for petrol chainsaws

Petrol chainsaws need a specific mix of petrol and engine oil. Most petrol chainsaws run on a 50:1 petrol-to-oil ratio, but check the user manual for the exact ratio your chainsaw needs.

Petrol chainsaws also need lubricating oil to ensure the chain runs smoothly and doesn’t snag. Look for a chainsaw with an integrated oil chamber that supplies oil automatically, as this will save you time and hassle. Most petrol chainsaw models come with these as standard, but check before you buy.

If you don’t use a petrol chainsaw regularly you must drain it of fuel and oil between uses.

If you have any questions, require help choosing a petrol chainsaw or your chainsaw needs servicing then please contact Jeremy or Graham on 01403 700743 or email us and we will be happy to help.

5 Tips for buying a ride-on lawnmower

Now is the perfect time of year to get that ride-on mower or tractor you’ve always wanted. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are shopping for a new one.

How to Buy the Right Ride-On Mower or Lawn Tractor for You

1. Buying the right Ride-On Lawnmower for your garden. Make sure that the mower you purchase is able to drive around trees, bushes or swings in your garden. Also take things like ponds, hills and fences into account. Ride on mowers typically have front wheel drive, rear wheel drive or zero-turn mower handling.

2. Do you have the need for speed? If you have a garden with lots of obsticles, you may need to slow down to achieve the desired cut. If your garden is large and mostly clear, you may want to speed up to get the job done quickly. A multi-speed system gives you the best of both worlds.

3. It’s all in the engine. Engine power is important in buying a new ride on mower, but it’s not the only thing that should be taken into account. Make sure the ride on lawnmower engine has a quality cooling system and an oil filtering system to extend the life of your engine.

4. Cutting path. Ride–On mowers or lawn tractors are available in a variety of widths – the size of the mower deck is the width that a mower will cut in a single pass. As a reference, here is a guide for what jobs need which cutting path

a) 30-40 inch mowing deck for gardens up to 1 ½ acres

b) 40-48 inch mowing deck for gardens 1 ½ to 3 acres

c) 48-61 inch mowing deck for gardens 3 acres or larger

5. Consider the maintenance schedule. While regular tune-ups and lawn mower maintenance are critical to your new mower’s health, consider factors that may also help protect your engine and reduce the need for repairs. For instance, dirt and debris can damage an engine. Make sure you thoroughly clean the engine surrounds after each use.

If you are looking to purchase a new ride-on tractor or lawnmower then contact us or click here for more information. If you have not already had your ride-on lawnmower or lawn tractor serviced ready for Spring then please give us a call on 01403 700743 to see how we can help.

Caring for your lawn in January and February

General maintenance

Your lawn still needs work in the winter months when you have stored your lawnmower or Ride-on-Tractor away.

If the weather is mild you can lay a new turf or repair hollows and bumps in an existing lawn. For the latter, make a ‘H’ shaped cut in the turf, peel back the grass and either fill the hollow with loam, or scraping away the soil from a bump. Re-lay the turf, press it into place and pinch the cut edges together.

Repair lawn edges, especially around flower and shrub beds, with turf cut from other areas of the lawn.

If your lawn suffers dieback from treading during the wet, muddy season, then laying stepping-stones through it to allow easy access across it without causing damage is a good idea.

Troubleshooting

As the weather gets wetter watch your lawn for signs of waterlogging. If you missed the opportunity to carry out autumn lawn maintenance, then you can still remedy the situation a bit, by spiking the lawn with a garden fork or mechanical aerator. Then fill the holes with a mixture of sharp sand and loam, brushed in using a stiff broom.

In January and February mole activity will increase due to mating and nest (fortress) building. You will need to move the largest molehills and re-firm before overseeding the bare patches in the spring.

Worm casts are particularly troublesome at this time of the year so keep brushing them away so that there is not a build up of soil on the turf surface.

Snow mould can be a problem in wet weather, particularly on overfed and lush lawns that have been left a bit too long. During wet conditions these small patches of yellowish, dying grass become covered in a white or pinkish, cottony fungal growth. The only fungicide available to buy over the counter is Bayer Garden Lawn Disease Control and can be used all year round except when there is a drought or the ground is frozen or covered with snow. However, use should be kept to twice yearly and combined with other non-chemical control methods.

Algae can be a problem on lawns where there is poor drainage, excessive shade, or under the drip-line of trees.

And remember if you have not already had your lawn mower serviced ready for Spring then please give us a call on 01403 700743 to see how we can help or click here for more information.

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.

 

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.