Archive for WG Gardencare Machinery

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.

More information and advice on buying a ride-on mower, lawn or garden tractor

Ride-on mowers
A ride-on mowers main function is to cut the grass. This type of mower is the smallest kind of garden machine, where the seat towards the front and the engine is at the back. Ride-on mowers have smaller cutting widths, from about 60cm, and engine sizes, from about 4.4kW. They are the least expensive to buy.

Lawn tractors
Generally lawn tractors are larger than ride-on mowers and are the opposite way around with the seat at the back and engine in front. Their cutting widths start at about 76cm and they have more powerful engines, from 8kW upwards making them suitable for larger areas of lawn, tougher terrain and harder tasks.

Garden tractors
Garden tractors are real heavy-duty machines and have the most powerful engines, 11kW and above, the widest cutting widths and the strongest build. In addition to regular mowing, they can be used for towing, tilling and snow clearing. And for this reason it usually makes garden tractors the most expensive of all.

Ride-on mowers and tractors for a difficult lawn

Sloping or uneven lawns
Some of the more expensive mowers have four-wheel drive, also named ‘all-wheel drive’, often with a differential lock. These mowers or tractors are particularly useful for difficult gardens with sloping lawns offering better traction and less wheel slip.

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

Most manufacturers give recommendations about the use of garden machines on sloping ground, and limits on the slope on which a machine can be perform normally.

A lawn that’s covered with obstacles

For lawns that have a number of obstacles, individual trees, large bushes, water features or ponds, a ‘zero-turn’ model could be the best option. These machines are designed to turn on the spot, so they’re easily negotiate obstacles on the grass. And 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.

The ‘zero-turn’ models have two steering handles that separately control the rear wheels, instead of the conventional steering-wheel system, controlling only the front wheels. They usually have a faster top speed than most conventional models, too. Hydrostatic transmission models are better than manual ones for ease of manoeuvrability and tackling obstacles.

Mulching or grass collection

Whether you want ride-on mowers or tractors that collect the grass or mulch it, the information below may help you decide which is best for you.

Large areas of grass generate a lot of grass clippings, and what you decide to do with them will affect the lawn’s finish and the amount of work needed. There are two options for you to consider, you can collect and dispose of clippings on the compost heap or recycle them back into the lawn.

Rear-collection mowers
There are a number of mowers or tractors that have a rear collection facility. The cheapest rear-collection mowers rely on airflow to push clippings into a collection bag. However, the more expensive machines use a powered sweeper to brush them up, or have an integrated rear-collection system. If you don’t want to pick up your grass clippings, you can often buy a deflector, which goes on the back or side of the mower and helps distribute the clippings evenly over the lawn. But if considering this option check the size of the collection bag as the larger it is, the less frequently you’ll have to stop to empty it – although it will also be heavier. Some have to be emptied manually, while others have an automatic tipping system to reduce the amount of effort involved.

Side-discharge mowers
Lawn garden tractors that have mid-mount cutting decks with side ejection give you the option of spreading the clippings from the side of the deck when you don’t want to collect them. This is a good choice if you mow your lawn regularly and have a small amount of grass clippings as in hot conditions it helps to protect the grass from drying out and scorching.

Mulching mowers
As an alternative mulching mowers can give you the best result – the machines blade cuts the clippings until they are very fine, and then blows them on to the lawn. Here overtime they decompose and help feed the grass. You can combine or convert some collecting mowers into mulching mowers by buying a special mulching plate which you can alternate between mulching or collecting depending on the weather conditions and the length of the grass.