Posts Tagged ‘Equipment’

Long Handled Gardening Equipment

Icon Written by Geoff on May 1, 2007 – 5:19 pm

This is the second in a series on Gardening Equipment we will be doing over the next several months. In our first installment we looked at pruning tools . We learned about the importance of keeping our pruning tools clean and sharp. We also discussed how good quality tools, with proper care, will last a life time. 

This is even more true with the tools we are about to discuss. Some of these tools have been passed down for generations. We have had to replace a few broken handles due to our own carelessness, but for the most part, routine cleaning and sharpening has been enough. Here are the basic long handle tools every home gardener should have hanging on the wall. 

  1. A high quality Garden Rake with all-welded heavy-duty construction, a 60 inch hickory handle, and three inch treated teeth spaced one inch apart is used for many gardening tasks.
  2. The Bamboo Leaf Rake with a head of rugged poly material that firmly grips the natural bamboo teeth, is a great improvement from the bamboo rakes of our grandfathers. Great for light raking and clean up.
  3. The indispensable 14 gauge heat-treated steel Garden Shovel with a rounded nose and solid closed back is made for heavy use. Wood handle should be made of top grade American Ash. Ones with a saw-tooth edge are great for cutting through roots.
  4. A forged steel Six Tine Hay Fork with 12 inch oval pointed sharp and a 60 inch ash handle tines has many uses around the home. Good for general clean up around the yard.
  5. The Pointed Push Hoe is a necessity for home gardening. We use it all the time either in edging or weeding around tender plants.
  6. The Shuffle Hoe is a double action heat treated cultivator with a 54 inch ash handle great for cutting just below the soil surface.
  7. Every gardener needs a basic Planter’s Hoe of heavy 14 gauge forged and heat treated steel with an extra long ash handle. Good for chopping weeds, loosening the soil, or planting.
  8. The Scoop Fork is ideal for mulch, vegetables, ensilage and more. This tool has 12 forged tines which are approx. 16 inches long and 1 1/2 inches apart with a 60 inch hickory handle.
  9. A Forged steel D-Shaped Edging Tool with a 60 inch ash handle has so many uses in the garden it would be impossible to list them all.

The solid steel tough tempered Mutt ia a tool that just about does it all: edges, digs, chops, and scrapes to clear ice, remove roots, and cut sod. One of the most versatile tools we have ever seen, 

For heavier work, the home gardener should invest in a few good quality power tools. While these are relatively more expensive, they can save a lot of time for larger tasks.

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Equipment for the Home Gardener

Icon Written by Geoff on April 1, 2006 – 4:57 pm

There is a lot of excellent lawn and garden equipment for the home gardener to choose from today. The last few years has seen a rapid development of quieter, reliable, and more efficient machines. We have also seen a vast improvement in the availability of good timely parts and service from dealers of brand name equipment. 

Pricing between major brand name manufactures has also become very competitive. The home gardener will find that the cost difference between a quality reliable piece of equipment and marginal products made for the large discounters is not all that great. Factoring in cost of replacement parts, service costs, and loss of equipment use, the higher priced but better built machine may just be more economical. The old adage “you get what you paid for” definitely applies to lawn and garden equipment. 

While a brand name in itself does not insure a good product, it is a major step in the right direction. Today, more than ever before, a manufacturer cannot afford to turn out a poorly made product. Word quickly gets out about shoddy poorly designed equipment. 

Brand name manufacturers, also cannot afford to have bad, poorly trained dealers represent them in the market place. Service is more than just a buzz word today in the lawn and garden industry. Quality equipment means good service, quality parts, and timely repair. Fortunately the days when anyone could call themselves a dealer just by selling a few pieces of equipment are gone. 

So how should you begin looking for a piece of equipment? Look for brand name equipment from local dealers who service what they sell. By service we mean providing more then just that “shinny new mower, we mean timely service and quality parts. The dealer should be your resource center, they should freely provide information (this does not mean just handing you a brochure) to help you select the best equipment for your needs. 

Good dealers like good manufactures want your repeat business! These are the people who will go out of their way to help you, they know and use the products they offer.

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Getting Your Lawn mower Ready for Storage

Icon Written by Geoff on November 1, 2003 – 6:02 pm

We use to abuse our lawn mower, although, ashamed we freely admit it. Until the time we entered the property maintenance business, we took our mower for granted. Oh sure, we kept it clean and changed the blades regularly. We even managed to follow the manufactures recommended greasing and cleaning schedule. But when it came to preparing your lawn mower for off-season storage we failed miserably. 

There just are so many things to do in the garden in the Fall that our thoughts are not on grass and mowers but leaves and snow. Our Fall maintenance consisted of pushing it out of the way to make room for the snowblower. Sad but true, a trusty steed cast aside, forgotten until Spring. Then we wonder why it will not obey our commands and start. 

Fall is the time to do a few simple maintenance procedures listed in your mowers owners manual. That is, if you remember where you put it, that will keep your mower healthy. While it is always best 

Check the blade and engine mounting fasteners making sure they are all tight. Take time to remove and sharpen the blade or better yet replace with a new one. Clean built-up grass clippings and dirt from under the deck. Clean or replace the air filter taking care to oil it. On four cycle engines we drain and refill the engine crankcase with fresh oil. 

On self propelled model, clean grass clippings and debris under belt cover and drive belt and oil height adjuster brackets. Check the mower tires and replace any that are cracked or worn. Check all screws for tightness and replace any missing. 

You can drain the fuel tank or run it dry but we prefer stabilizing the fuel as there are no gasoline disposal problems. Fuel stabilizer can be purchased at any hardware store or automotive supply center. Simply add to the mowers fuel tank, start the engine, and run a few minutes to mix stabilized fuel through 

Service your mowers engine by removing the spark plug and spraying fogging oil into the plug hole. Slowly rotate the engine several times by hand to distribute oil. Install a new spark plug but do not connect spark plug wire. Blow or vacuum off the engine paying particular attention to the cooling fins. 

Wash the mower thoroughly and allow to dry. Spray all exposed surfaces with a wax or other protectant such as Armor All. Cover with a plastic tarp or other dust proof cloth. Store in a cool dry place, but near a stove, furnace or water heater. 

In the Spring you should be able to roll out your mower and with a few quick tugs be off to the lawn.

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Gardening Equipment – Pruning Tools

Icon Written by Geoff on November 1, 2001 – 5:06 pm

This is the first in a series we will be doing over the next few months on Gardening Equipment. This month we will be looking at pruning tools for the home gardener. As with any gardening tool, always keep it clean and sharp and never use a tool beyond its capacity. Good pruning tools are not cheap. This is one area you really do not want to skimp on. Good tools with proper care will last a life time. Some of the tools we use have been passed down for generations. 

Selecting the proper tools for pruning saves time, effort and frustration. Using the correct tool assures the job will be done correctly and safely. Most pruning jobs can be done with just three or four simple hand tools. We will be discussing those tools that we have used and found, through experience, works best for us. 

The Bypass Pruner is ideal for cutting soft stems up to 3/4 inch in diameter. It is also recommended for roses. The bypass pruner allows cutting closer to the trunk of the plant, which means quicker healing of the bark. This pruner also allows a close, clean cut without crushing the end of the twig or limb. Great for cut flowers. Without a doubt, our best hand shears is the original Felco that has remained unchanged for over forty years. The Felco has replaceable precision ground forged cutting blade, with sap groove and soft wire cutter, easy grip forged alloy handles, and rubber shock absorbers. 

Anvil Pruners are best for cutting woody stems or dead wood up to 3/4 inches in diameter. Anvil pruners are usually lighter in weight and are easier to sharpen. Felco Anvilsbuilt with quality in mind having 1 1/2 inch carbon steel blade and a 3/4 inch cutting capacity. 

Bypass Lopping Shears are pruners with a long handle for extra leverage to cut branches up to 2 inches thick. Bypass loppers will cut a branch closer to the trunk. Corona Extra Large Professional Lopper we have found to hold up under hard use year after year. 

The Hedge Shears are used for shaping ornamental hedges. Hedge shears have scissor-like cutting action and are very easy to use. Some blades are serrated or notched to prevent foliage and small stems from slipping away during the cut. 

Pole Tree Trimmers are especially useful if you have tall trees. This trimmer usually has a cutter blade operated by a lanyard or rope pulled downward. The best poles are in sections that fit together in a telescoping fashion and have a combination cutter and saw. 

The Turbo Pruning Saw should have a curved blade with teeth sharpened in three directions that cuts on the draw strokes. This saw is recommended for work too large for a lopper. 

For heavier work, the home gardener should invest in a few good quality power tools. While these are relatively more expensive, they can save a lot of time for larger tasks. We would recommend the following: 

  1. Echo’s 18 inch chainsaw is a good quality, general purpose saw, which is also easy to handle.
  2. Echo’s powered pruner with a 12 inch cutting bar makes overhead tree pruning a snap.
  3. ECHOHedge Clippers SHC2100 offers great reach and superior balance because of its shaft-type design. The 20-inch double-sided, double-reciprocating blades, and 33-inch shaft increases reach.

While there are a number of excellent manufactures of pruning tools, we have found the ones made be the following to work well for us: 

  1. The people at Felco describe their product as “Simply the Best Pruners in the World” and we agree with this statement. Made with Swiss precision, their pruners are highly regarded by experienced gardeners. Many of us start out buying cheap pruners, often with a similar Felco-like appearance, from the local hardware store, not even aware of the difference. Once you have tried a pair of Felco pruners you will understand.
  2. Echo tools are world class. Made by Japan’s leading manufacturer of high quality power equipment, Echo offers, unmatched performance, unequaled quality, unbeatable reliability and unflagging durability.
  3. Corona Clipper began business in the late 1920’s manufacturing one product, orange clippers, in an old “Corona Foothill” packing house. Forgings were obtained from Los Angeles, as our manufacturing equipment did not include drop forge hammers. Others settle for stamped or cast parts. But only pounding, compressing and flowing hot steel under the blows of the forge hammer can yield the dense, uniform structure and greater strength-to-weight ratios required for Corona’s precision cutting tools.

We cannot say this enough, “Buy Quality Tools”! Once you have these tools, keep them clean, sharp, and well oiled. Good tools are a gardener’s best friend.

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