Lawn Mowers


Mowing New Lawns

December 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Lawn Care | No Comments »

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Mow a new LawnNewly seeded lawns are more delicate than established ones, which is why you have to be more careful when you mow a new lawn. The soil is soft and the grass plants usually are not deeply rooted by the first mowing . On the other hand, when you mow a new lawn, especially those planted vegetatively, it helps the plants to spread, thus promoting a thicker lawn. Use common sense and apply the same principles for properly mowing any lawn. If you are experiencing a hot dry spell, make sure that the new lawn is receiving lots of water. The top layer where the roots are trying to establish themselves will dry out very quickly and your lawn may perish before it even gets started. You may need to water the lawn every day.

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Mow a new Lawn

For the first time after it has grown a third higher than the regular mowing height. For example, a lawn that should be maintained at a 2 inch height should be mowed when it reaches two and a half to 3 inches. Do not remove more than a third of the total height of the grass.

If you can, use a mower that is not too heavy, especially if the soil is too soft. A lightweight rotary or push real mower is your best bet when you mow a new lawn. Make sure the mower blades are sharp; young grass plants can be easily pulled from the soil by dull blades.

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If the soil remains too soft or if the new grass is too loosely knit to mow without damage, wait. Let the lawn continue to grow, then lower the cut gradually until it’s down to the proper height. reduce the cutting height by 1/2 inch or 3/4 of an inch every second mowing until you reach the recommended mowing height.

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Mow Your Lawn at the Right Height

November 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Lawn Care | No Comments »

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mow your lawn at the right height Mow your lawn at the right height for a healthy lawn. Proper mowing height depends primarily on the type of grass. The rule of thumb is: mow the grass when it grows from 1/4 to 1/3 taller then it’s recommended mowing height. For example, if the recommended mowing height for your lawn is 2 inches, mow when is about 3 inches high.

The penalty for not paying attention to the recommended height is a stiff one. By letting grass grow too high and then cutting away half or more at once, you are expose stems that have been shaded and may burn in strong sunlight. If the lawn is yellowish after you mow, you have waited too long. More importantly, roots are severely shocked by heavy mowing and may need several weeks to recover. Research has shown a direct relationship between the height of the cut and the depth of roots. When grass is properly mowed to it’s recommended height, roots grow deeper. Intern, a deep root system makes lawn care much much easier.

Mow your lawn at the right height

Grasses tend to spread either horizontally or vertically. For instance, Bent grass and Bermuda grass spread horizontally by creeping stems. Because the stems are parallel to the ground as well as the cut of the mower, they are not normally mowed off. Unless these grasses or mowed low preferably with a heavy real mower, they will have problems with thatch.

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Think of it this way: X amount of leaf surface is necessary to keep the grass plants healthy and growing. If that Leaf surface spreads out over a wide area, the lawn can be mowed close to the ground without reducing the necessary leaf surface.

Vertically growing grasses, such as by bahai grass, common Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, and Saint Augustine grass, cannot be mowed too low, below 1 1/2 2 inches, because they do not have enough leaf surface to support the plants.

Mowing to low probably ruins more Kentucky bluegrass lawns more than any other practice. This is especially true in transitional periods were adaptation is marginal. Cut high, Kentucky bluegrass is more disease resistant and can successfully complete with weeds and insects. The tall growth shades the soil, keeping the temperature lower for cool loving roots.

Exceptions are some of the new Kentucky bluegrass cultivars which are essentially dwarfs. They are more compact and have more leaf surface in less area. In shade mow another 1/2 inch higher.

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How Often Should You Mow Your Lawn

November 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Lawn Care | No Comments »

Many people who want a handsome lawn do not realize the importance of mowing. A lawn that is mowed to the right height at the right time will resist weeds, insects, and disease, and appear lush and healthy. Infrequent mowing often results in the removal of too much grass at one time, and eventually produce is a lawn that looks thin, spotty, or burned. Unfortunately, grass could also be weakened by mowing to frequently, especially if it is kept short. Mow your lawn based on the type of grass, how long it is and how vigorously it is growing. It also depends on how much water it receives along with fertilizer.

How often to mow your lawn

How often your lawn needs mowing depends on three things:

  • how often and how much you water and fertilize,
  • what time of year it is, and
  • the type of grass in your lawn.

The fertilizer you apply affects the growth rate of your lawn, and consequently, the frequency of mowing. Lawns that are fertilized often require more frequent mowing. Golf course greens, for example are usually mowed daily.

Cool season and warm season grass responds differently to seasonal climate changes. When cool season grasses slow down or become dormant during summer heat, mowing may only be really necessary once every two or three weeks. However, during spring and fall, cool season grasses grow more vigorously and usually need mowing at least once a week.

Warm season grass do not grow at all in the winter and slowly in the spring and fall. Mowing is required infrequently during these times. But during the high temperatures of summer, growth is vigorous and mowing should be more frequent.

During periods of vigorous growth, many people find it convenient to mow their lawns on a weekly schedule, such as every Saturday morning. Unfortunately this is not appropriate for all lawn grasses. Even though you could establish a general schedule for both cool season and warm season grass, different types of grass still grow at different rates.

For example, although common Bermuda grass  may do well with mowing once a week during mid summer, well fertilized improved Bermuda grass may need to be mowed every two or three days. If you can, match your mowing schedule to the growth rate of the grass, your grass will be much healthier and able to deal with weeds and drought.

 

 

 

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Underground Sprinkler Installation and Testing

October 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Sprinkler Systems | No Comments »

underground Sprinkler Installation and testingThis is our second post about underground sprinkler installation and testing. Our earlier post covered setting up the manifold and the timer as well as laying out where the trenches will be dug. This post covers installation of the pipe, risers and sprinkler heads along with testing. Your trenches are already dug and it is time to install the pipes, risers and sprinkler heads.

Install pipe, risers, and sprinkler heads. Lay out pipe and fittings on the ground, work backwards to the manifold, assemble and solvent weld pipe and fittings in the trench.

Measure the trench depth at each sprinkler head location, making the head flush with the soil surface. If you are installing sod, make the head 1 inch higher than the soil surface. Install risers, making further height adjustments as needed.

In areas where the soil freezes in winter, install drain valves at the lowest point in each circuit in between the control valves and the first gate valve near the water meter. Use a level to avoid having any water pockets in the system. Slightly tilt the drain valves down word in each circuit, cover them with a short piece of pipe, surround them with gravel then cover them with plastic film. Never put a drain valve in a fitting before attaching the fitting to the pipe; PVC solvent make log the valve.

After the pipe and risers have been installed, wait 12 hours for the solvent to dry. Then turn on the water to flush out any dirt, stones or scraps of PVC from pipe lines. When the pipes appear to be clear install the sprinkler heads.

Test for coverage. Turn on each circuit one by one; inspect the sprinkler pattern carefully to make sure that every part of the ground is receiving adequate coverage. At this point, it is easy to add sprinkler heads if they are needed.

Backfill the trenches. Replace the soil in the trenches a little lower than the final soil line. Flood the trenches with water to settle the soil, then add more soil so that the back fill is mounded slightly. It will settle later.

This completes our second post regarding underground sprinkler installation and testing. Watch for more post about lawn mowing and taking care of your lawn. For other posts about sprinkler systems, click here.

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Underground Sprinkler Installation

October 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Sprinkler Systems | No Comments »

We are continuing series of posts about underground sprinklers in residential lines. We have covered planning and ordering of materials. This post will be about installing your underground sprinkler system. Underground sprinkler installation is relatively straightforward provided that you follow a set of rules and guidelines as follows.

Install the manifold. First turn off the water to the house. Cut a 1 1/4 inch section from your service pipe and install a T fitting. Several special tees are available for cutting into lines. Ask at a local hardware store.

Install a length of pipe and a shut off valve in a valve box. The shut off valve is usually a gate valve, and allows you to turn off the water to the sprinkler system without turning off the house water. Once the valve is turned off, you can turn the house water back on. Run lines to the manifold location and install the control valves. It is usually easiest to assemble the manifold at the shop bench, Then carry it to the site and install it. Close the valves, open the shut off valve, and test the manifold for leaks.

Install the controller. If you are using automatic valves and an electric timer, install it according to the manufactures instructions, and lay the connecting wire to the valves. Most timers run on a voltage that is low enough, 24 V, to let you bury the wire directly without enclosing it in conduit. Position the timer where it is protected from sun and rain and it’s close to an electrical outlet; the garage is ideal. The position of the timer may influence the location of your control valves.

Mark the layout on the lawn. Drive a stake into the ground at each sprinkler head location. Sprinkle agricultural lime on the ground to mark were trenches are to be dug.

Dig trenches. Next to your pipe layout, use of spade or rent a trencher to dig trenches. Make the trenches at least 8 inches deep.

Now you are ready to install the pipe, risers and sprinkler heads. Our next post will cover the details associated with this step. Check all of your measurements, especially before digging to ensure that all of your trenches will be in the correct location.

For more information about sprinkler systems, click here.

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Can you jump start a lawnmower Using your Car Battery?

September 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Lawn Mower Safety | No Comments »


Jump start a lawnmower
We recently received a question from a reader?  Can you jump start a lawnmower using your car battery? The answer is yes with conditions! First of all your lawnmower must have a battery and have an electric start capability. This rules out many lawnmower. Operators need to check the manual to be sure that this can be done. There should be instructions on how to proceed.

If you do not have a manual, find one online for your lawnmower. Your cars battery is 12 volts which means you can only connect to another battery that is 12 volts. Make sure your lawnmower battery is also 22 volts.

Can you jump start a lawnmower Using your Car Battery

Once you have confirmed that both batteries are 12 volts you can connect them using proper jumper cables. Always connect positive terminals together and negative terminals together. Never connect positive to negative.

Now that they are connected your lawnmower battery will be charging. Try starting the engine. You should only crank the engine 5 or 10 seconds at a time. More than that can damage the starter motor or the battery.

If the engine will not start you may have more serious problems. Start by disconnecting the jumper cables. Then check that there is gasoline in the fuel tank. Add if necessary.

Next check the spark plug. Remove it from the engine using appropriate tools. If it is corroded either clean it up or replace it. Reset the gap to the manufacturers specifications.

Try restarting the engine using jumper cables if necessary. If it still will not start you may have more serious problems and should consult a mechanic.

 

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Underground Sprinkler Shopping List

September 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Sprinkler Systems | No Comments »

Underground Sprinkler Shopping ListThe next step is to create your underground sprinkler shopping list of parts and supplies that you will need to install your underground sprinkler system. The plan that you drew up will be the source of all the information that you will need. If the plan is wrong or if you make a mistake in transcribing the requirements you may find that you’re short of parts or have the wrong parts. The following is a step-by-step approach to creating your shopping list.

Preparing your underground sprinkler shopping list.

On the plan, write the catalogue number of each sprinkler head and valve. At each intersection or turn in the pipeline, write the fitting needed. Measure the number of feet of pipe needed. Now make a shopping list, transferring items one at a time from the plan to the list. Include PVC cement. If you are using an automatic controller, add it to the list, along with enough wire and wire connectors to wire each valve to the controller.

To avoid costly problems, have your plan checked by a specialist before you begin. The retail dealer who supplies your equipment may offer help, in which case you can have it checked free of charge. Otherwise, it is money well spent to engage the services of an independent installer.

 

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Design rules for an underground sprinkler system

August 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Sprinkler Systems | No Comments »

 Design rules for an underground sprinkler systemThis is a continuation from our last post about planning an underground sprinkler system. This post will cover some of the design rules associated with planning an underground sprinkler system for residential homes. Basic Design rules for an underground sprinkler system are important to ensure proper lawn watering and a healthy lawn.

Design rules for an underground sprinkler system

Areas covered by one circuit must be water together so they should have the same watering needs.

Each circuit should use no more than 75% of the available flow rate. To determine the flow rate of each circuit, add together the flow rate of the sprinkler heads as given in the catalog description.

Do not mix different types of sprinkler heads e.g. impulse, spray, shrub bubblers etc. on one circuit.

Take your time planning the circuits. It may take two or three tries to get it right.

Next, draw in the pipe going from the house water supply to the manifold. From there, draw in every valve going to every head on the circuit. Plan to use the same trench for installing two or more waterlines whenever possible. Avoid going under walks or driveways or near trees. If you are using PVC or other rigid pipe, draw straight lines with right angle turns, you can lay polyethylene pipe in curves.

Following these Design rules for an underground sprinkler system will make a huge difference in your success as a lawn gadener.

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Planning an underground sprinkler system

August 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Sprinkler Systems | No Comments »

Planning an underground sprinkler systemPlanning an underground sprinkler system involves several stages. To begin with, consumers should check to see if there locality requires a building permit. Next, check for underground utilities before digging. Find out if there are any local municipal watering ordinances and finally find out your state and local regulations requiring a licensed professional installation if any. Then begin planning an underground sprinkler system for your yard.

Planning an underground sprinkler system

Next you you must begin planning the layout of your underground sprinkler system. Drawing your plan on paper helps you to visualize your underground sprinkler system. A carefully prepared plan helps when ordering materials. It makes it easier to get advice from your garden center, irrigation specialist, or hardware dealer. It serves as a detailed record of where the pipelines are laid.

Begin planning an underground sprinkler system with graph paper, 10 grids to an inch is fine. Use a soft lead pencil, a dime store compass, and a measuring tape. Make your plan complete. A good plan is actually a Birdseye view of your property drawn to scale, preferably 1 inch equaling 20 feet. It should show shrubs, trees, paved areas, fences, mailboxes, raised planters, very drainage or powerlines, and other features that could affect the sprinkler design and installation. If significant, note prevailing wind direction, sun and shade areas, as well as high and low spots in your landscape.

Draw out the Plan

Draw the plan for both front and back yards, even if you plan to install The system in only one area. You may want a similar system in another area at a later date. If you want to include sprinklers for trees and shrubs, indicate any water sensitive or specially thirsty plants on the plan.

Next, draw in the location of the sprinkler heads. Set your Compass to match the radius of the sprinkler head pattern, available from the manufactures catalog. Locate a quarter circle head in each corner of the lawn, set the compass point I need to head location and draw a quarter circle to show the area covered by their head. Next, locate half circle heads along the edges of the line. Space the head so that their spray pattern overlap at least 60%. If you live in a window area, overlap them 100%, so that the spray from each head touches joining heads. Finally fill in the center area to the line with full circle heads.

It is all right to overlap spray patterns more than is needed to make everything fit, but do not space heads too far apart. If one section of the lawn receives less water than the rest, it will die from under watering unless you could water it by hand.

Once you have located the heads, draw light circles around those that are to be in the same circuit, follow these rules with arranging the circuits.

 

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Valves and Circuits

July 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Sprinkler Systems | No Comments »

Valves and CircuitsThe manifold is the control unit of the sprinkler system. It is composed of a group of control valves that deliver water to different parts of the lawn. Position it in a convenient spot, where you can turn it on and off without getting wet. Try to conceal it with a cover or box, since the plumbing is seldom attractive. One manifold each is needed for a front lawn and another is needed for the back lawn. Together they are referred to as valves and circuits.  It should also be placed in a position which is secure and cannot easily be tampered with. You might consider placing the manifold at the side of the house inside the perimeter fence that surrounds your yard for example.

Valves and Circuits

The control valves that make up the manifold are usually globe valves, the same type of valves used for faucets in the house. Globe valve shut off the flow of water by pressing a soft disc against a smooth valve seat.

Control valves offten have anti-siphon valves attached to them. Anti-siphon valves, also known as vacuum breakers, prevent the back flow of water into the house supply. They are sometimes required by local ordinances and are always a good idea to include.

Each control valve controls several sprinkler heads. This group of sprinkler heads is called a circuit. Two factors control the number of circus you need. What is the available flow rate? If too many sprinklers are turned on at one time, the water pressure drops, preventing the heads from throwing as far as they are supposed to. For proper coverage, it is best to turn on one circuit at a time.

The other factor to consider is the watering needs of different areas. For example, if a shrub bed is on the same circuit as the lawn, the shrub bed will be watered as often as the lawn, even though it does not need as much water.

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Sprinkler Heads and Risers

July 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Sprinkler Systems | No Comments »

Although a wide variety of sprinkler heads is available for every conceivable application, most residential homes are best served by adjustable, pop up sprinkler heads and risers with full. half circle, and quarter circle watering patterns. When not in use, the head rest flush on the ground, out-of-the-way of the mower and foot traffic. Each sprinkler head discharges a specific number of gallons per minute over a given radius, and each requires a certain water pressure in order to achieve its designed throw.

Sprinkler Heads and Risers

Most sprinkler heads have a flow control to adjust how far the water is thrown. Heads set for a specific arc are the most popular, such as three-quarter, 30°, and 60° arc. Heads with adjustable arcs are hard to find and expensive. If you do buy head with an adjustable arc, check specifications to make sure that this feature does not drastically affect the throw rate. This could change your watering strategy.

Sprinkler heads with a square pattern and a low precipitation rate are also available. A square pattern is useful in narrow areas such as side yards and in parking strips. Use a low precipitation ahead where runoff is a problem due to sloping grade or clay soil.

Whenever possible, group sprinkler heads by the requirements of an area. Besides pop up spray heads, impulse sprinklers are useful for watering large areas. However, they are difficult to use efficiently for smaller ones. If wind is a problem, place a pop-up sprinkler with rotary action in the center of a lawn area. It will disperse water evenly in large drops rather than a spray.

Risers

Risers bring the water from the underground pipe to the sprinkler heads. The height of the risers must be carefully adjusted. Several types of risers are available to make this adjustment easier. Cutaway risers have sections of thread in short increments along it’s length. It is easy to cut away small 1/2 inch pieces, one or two at a time, until the proper height is reached. Flexible risers also require proper height adjustment, but if the  sprinkler head is accidentally kicked or hit by a lawn mower, the risers flex rather than break.

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Flow Rate Underground Sprinkler System

June 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Sprinkler Systems | No Comments »

One of the most important aspects of installing a sprinkler system successfully is determining the available flow rate: the rate at which water travels through a pipe, measured in gallons per minute. The easiest way to find the available gallons per minute is by using a special gauge. Many sprinkler suppliers will loan this gauge on request.

Another way to deduce the available gallons per minute is to measure how many seconds it takes an outdoor faucet, turned wide open, just fill a 1 gallon container. Dividing the total number of seconds into 60 gives you the flow rate in gallons per minute.

Flow Rate and Piping

For most sprinkler systems, galvanize steel and copper pipes have gradually given way too light weight PVC pipe and flexible polyethylene pipe.

Ease of handling, assembly, durability, flow characteristics, cost, and availability for all reasons for recommending PVC pipe in solvent weld fittings as the piping for sprinkler installations. Use the heavy duty schedule 40 for all pressure holding lines. To save money and materials used class 200 or class 315 pipe for lateral Lines that will never be required to hold constant pressure.

The less expensive but less substantial substitute for PVC pipe is flexible polyethylene pipe. It comes in 100 foot and 100 hundred foot rolls and can be cut with a knife. Fittings are inserted into the pipe and held in place with stainless steel clamps tightened with a screwdriver or wrench. The advantage of polyethylene pipe is that it does not restrict you to following straight lines. However, this pliability is a disadvantage as well. You can cut through it with a spade while digging in your garden without being aware of it. Rodents, especially gophers, like to chew holes in it. And it cannot handle enough pressure for it to be used between the water meter and the control valves.

In general, unless you have a large lawn, three-quarter inch pipe is sufficient for the entire system. If water needs to travel more than 100 feet, the friction of water through the three-quarter inch pipe may reduce the available gallons per minute. Use 1 inch pipe for distances over 100 feet to avoid this occurrence.

Our next post will talk about sprinkler heads and risers.

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Installing Underground Sprinkler Systems

June 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Sprinkler Systems | No Comments »

Installing Underground Sprinkler SystemsAfter you have decided to put in an underground sprinkler system, you need to decide how much, if any, of the work you’re going to do yourself. Companies specializing in here in irrigation get can often install a system within a few days. Doing it yourself may take several weekends. If the sprinklers need to be installed before planting a new lawn , The clutter of materials and equipment may not be important. In and establish lawn, however, it may be bothersome, even damaging. Cost is also a consideration. If you are handy with tools and have the time, it is much less expensive to do it yourself.

Installing Underground Sprinkler Systems – Choosing a system

Once you decide who is doing the work, be sure to choose the manufacturer as well as the supplier carefully. Consult neighbors who have underground systems. As well as irrigation specialists,  nursery workers, or your real estate agent for advice about the trade name that best suits your needs. Then either write the manufacture or see your local distributor to obtain detailed information. If you are installing the system yourself, before purchasing it read the installation instructions to make sure they are easy to follow.

Our next post will discuss Flow Rate and piping.

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Lawn Mower Spring Maintenance

May 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Maintenance | No Comments »

Lawn Mower Spring Maintenance Now is the time to complete Lawn Mower Spring Maintenance and also the annual maintenance on your snow blower at the same time. Doing both machines at the same times saves time and you only need to get dirty one time. Change the oil in both machines, check the spark plugs, make sure the cutting blade is sharp and compete any other repairs that are needed on your lawn mower and snow blower. Grease the auger, check the belt tension and review the belts for any wear and tear. All of this work can be accomplished in a few hours and save you hundreds of dollars later on in repair costs, frustration or worse buying a new machine.

Lawn Mower Spring Maintenance

In summary, lawn mowers are pretty easy to maintain. Change the oil once a year minimum. In the fall drain all of the fuel out of the gas tank and carburetor. Alternatively you can just let the engine run until all of the gasoline is burned off.

Also check the spark plug to make sure it is properly gaped and also clean from deposits. If your spark plug is not in good shape, the engine may run rough or not at all. If it looks bad, replace the spark plug with a new one after properly setting the gap.

An hours work will make sure that your lawn mower runs well for many years. These checks are easy to do and most do it yourself consumers can handle this job easily.

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Lawn Mower Annual Spring Maintenance Tips

May 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Maintenance | No Comments »

Lawn Mower Annual Spring Maintenance TipsMany home owners don’t bother with lawn mower annual spring maintenance. They just pull their lawn mower out of the garage, add some fuel to the tank and pull on the starter chord. In most cases, after a few pulls on the starter chord the engine coughs and starts. It may run rough for a little while, but then once new gasoline gets into the engine it smooths out and runs well. You might even get away with this for several years. Eventually the engine will not start at all and will require a complete overhaul. The engine oil is black and the carburetor is gummed up by old gasoline residue. If you want many years of use from your lawn mower, complete a lawn mower annual spring maintenance every year.

Lawn Mower Annual Spring Maintenance Tips

Here are a few spring maintenance tips that will help to keep your lawn mower running for many years.

  • Change the oil once every year or more often if you have a very large lawn
  • Dispose of the oil properly
  • Change or clean the spark plug if it is badly corroded
  • Put new gasoline in the gasoline tank
  • Disconnect the spark plug wire, then check the blade to determine if it needs sharpening
  • Perform any repairs that might be needed

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What will a bad Spark Plug do for a Lawn Mower

April 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Maintenance | No Comments »

What will a bad Spark Plug do for a Lawn MowerWondering what will a bad spark plug do for a lawn mower engine? It will make it difficult to start at the very least. It may cause the engine to run roughly. A bad plug may cause the engine to burn more fuel than normal ans spew more noxious exhaust. Finally it just may not start at all. Leaving you to wonder how to get your grass cut and who is going to repair your lawn mower. There may be a number of things wrong with your lawn mower engine. However checking your engine’s spark plug is one of the easier things to do.

What will a bad Spark Plug do for a Lawn Mower – Clean or Replace

The simplest thing to do is to replace the spark plug with a new one after properly setting the gap on the center post. Replacing the spark plug will ensure that there is no soot or deposits that might be inhibiting the spark that is needed to ignite the gasoline in the combustion chamber.

You can also clean the existing spark plug. You will need to use a wire brush to remove all deposits from the spark plug. Use a bit of sand paper to clean the end of the center post and the rest of the surrounding area. Make sure there is no carbon deposits that are adhering to any metal parts. Reset the gap according to the manufacturers instructions. Reinstall the plug and test the engine by starting it to see if this makes a difference.

If not you may have other issues that need to be addressed. There could be a bad gasoline filter or a gummed up carburetor from old gas sitting too long in the gas tank. You will need to get these cleaned and re-calibrated for your engine to run smoothly.

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Can bad spark plug affect Lawn Mower

April 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Maintenance | No Comments »

can bad spark plug affectSpring is a great time to tune up your lawn mower and get it ready for the coming season. We get questions from readers such as, can bad spark plug affect lawn mower engines? The answer is definitely yes. An engine with a dirty spark plug can be difficult to start. When you finally get it running, the engine may run poorly and shut off often. There can be a number of reasons this is happening, but one for sure is a bad spark plug. What do we mean by a bad spark plug? It is dirty around the electrode with lots of carbon deposits and the porcelain may even be pitted. All of these things will impede the spark that ignites the gasoline oxygen mixture in the cylinder causing a rough running engine. It may not even start.

Can bad spark plug affect Lawn Mower – Repairs

If you have this problem, the easiest thing to do is to remove the spark plug and clean it up. Remove all of the dirt and grime along with any carbon deposits. Once it is clean and spotless, reset the gap according to the manufacturers specifications.

You can test your spark plug by reattaching the spark plug wire to the plug. Hold the spark plug against the metal housing of the engine to ground it and crank the engine several times to generate a spark. If you do not see a spark you may not have grounded it properly or there is something additionally wrong with the spark generation system.

You may need to investigate further, but at least you know that the spark plug has been cleaned and / or replaced.

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Underground sprinkler systems

March 28th, 2017 ernie Posted in Watering | No Comments »

Underground sprinkler systemsInterest in underground sprinkler systems increases every year. An underground system has many advantages over a portable sprinkler system. The most obvious is the convenience of not having to constantly move it. Most underground systems are also more efficient than portable types. They are planned for your yard so that all areas receive the same amount of coverage.

Sprinkler heads apply predictable amounts of water over an exact area. This eliminates the most objectionable grievance pf portable sprinklers, even water distribution. An underground system combined with an automatic timer can even water your lawn while you’re away from home.

Underground sprinkler systems

Before deciding to install an underground end to end system, consider the initial cost of materials and the labor involved in installing it. Because of the increased popularity of such systems, manufactures now produce illustrated easy to follow directions for homeowners who do the work themselves. Materials have also become easier to install and less expensive.

Home owners living in cold climates that have below freezing temperatures in the winter, must also design their system for easy drainage. All water must be drained from the system for the winter. Any water left in the lines can freeze and potentially crack the pipes.

Keep in mind, however, that a poorly designed or poorly installed underground system can be as bad as or worse than a portable sprinkler. Our next post will cover typical installation considerations, potential problems and how they can be solved.

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Types of Sprinkler Systems

March 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Watering | No Comments »

Types of Sprinkler SystemsThere are many different types of sprinkler systems. Stationary sprinklers deliver water in an irregular pattern. The accumulation of water in the containers may vary from 8 inches an hour in one spot, to 2 inches an hour just for feet away, to almost nothing near the sprinkler head. There is no predictable pattern that leads to proper overlapping and efficient watering. However, it is unfair to label the sprinkler useless. As long as you know how it distributes water, it can be valuable for spot watering, or supplementing other types of sprinklers.

Oscillating arms sprinklers deliver water in a rectangular pattern. Many observers believe that this type of sprinkler deposits most of the water near the sprinkler head. With increasing amounts toward the periphery is the arm moves away from the vertical central position. Well this is true of older models, newer versions stall momentarily when the arm is furthest from its upright position, thus evening out distribution at the periphery.

Types of Sprinkler Systems

The whirling head sprinkler deposits the largest amount of water close to the sprinkler head. The amount decreases the further away it goes from the source of the spray. Water distribution is uneven when the sprinkler is used without a system of overlapping. With a 50% overlap, efficiency increases and the sprinkler becomes quite useful.

Impulse sprinklers are best for large areas and are commonly used for golf course lawns. And internal jet rotates the sprinkler, which delivers pulses of water covering anywhere from a full circle to a part circle. Coverage to your lawn is quite even.

By combining the knowledge gained from experimentation and observant eye, it is quite easy to set up the watering schedule for your lawn with a portable sprinkler.

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Measuring water sprinkler delivery to your lawn

February 21st, 2017 ernie Posted in Watering | No Comments »

Measuring water sprinkler delivery to your lawnMeasuring water sprinkler delivery to your lawn is quite easy. Set up a grid like pattern of small containers of the same size on a section of the lawn. Even though different types of sprinklers require different grid patterns, it is a good idea to start with a straight line of containers, extending them at set intervals. You want to start from close to the sprinkler Head to just outside the reach of the water.

Measuring water sprinkler delivery to your lawn

Turn the sprinkler on at the normal operating pressure. Leave it on for a set period of time. Then record the amount of water deposited into each container. This gives you a good idea of the sprinkler pattern, as well as the amount of water distributed.

Realizing that the lawn generally needs 1 to 2 inches of water per week, the container test is an easy method to follow. It helps you determine how long to turn on the sprinkler and to what degree to overlap the sprinkling pattern for efficient watering.

As you can see by the picture you can use any kind of container that you would like. The important thing is to keep them all the same size and then measure accurately with a ruler or tape measure. If you let the sprinkler run for 30 minutes, and then take your measurements you will be able to figure out how long you need to water to deliver 1 inch to 2 inches of water per week.

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