Tackling spring lawn care provides a just-right dose of fresh air, sunshine, and exercise—and sets your lawn on its way to season-long glory. Spring lawn chores aren’t difficult, but they do play a vital role in getting your grass on track for a healthy, productive growing season.

Here are some tips to help make your lawn summer ready:

Tune Up Your Mower

Change the oil, air filter and spark plug. Clean the top and undercarriage, removing dirt and grass clippings-just be sure to detach the spark plug wire before working around the cutting blade. Don’t flip a gas mower over to clean underneath; simply lift one side and brush away dried grass. If dried grass has hardened, loosen with a hand trowel or putty knife. Sharpen the mower blade, and replace it if it has large nicks or gouges. It’s a good idea to keep an extra blade on hand so you always cut with a sharp edge. Last but not least, fill the fuel tank. Note, too, that a cold mower can be hard to start in early spring. Warm it up by placing it in the sun for an hour or two prior to starting. Enhance warming by placing a dark trash bag over the engine while it’s soaking up some rays. (Remove the bag before you start the mower, though!)

Clean Up Your Lawn

Walk over your lawn and gather any twigs, branches or other debris that has appeared over winter. Dispose of trash, and add small twigs and leaves to your compost pile. Then, rake out dead grass. It can also go on the compost pile, unless it contains weeds.

Aerate

Aerating refers to the removal of plugs of soil from your lawn, which helps loosen compacted soil and allows vital air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots. You want to aerate when your grass is in its peak growing season so it can recover quickly. If you have high-traffic areas or heavy clay soil, you will want to aerate every year. If you have sandy soil or your lawn is growing well, you can aerate every 2-3 years.

Overseed

Overseeding is often overlooked when it comes to home lawn care. Extra seeding can repair bare patches and create a thick lawn that crowds out weeds and resists insects and disease. Purchase a grass seed appropriate for the conditions you are growing in. Make sure to read the label of all products to ensure you’re using the right one for your lawn. Distribute it evenly onto your lawn. Lightly rake the soil to create seed-soil contact, but don’t cover the grass seed as it needs direct sunlight to begin to sprout.

Fertilize

Your lawn will naturally thrive if you pay attention to it early in the season, but lawns do require fertilizer in order to stay healthy and maintain a lush green appearance. A healthy lawn is the best defense against insect pests. It endures insect feedings without showing visible signs of minor damage, and it repairs itself with new growth once the insects have departed. Common insect problems on Canadian lawns are white grubs, sod webworms, and chinch bugs.

Once you have taken care of everything that needs to be done during the spring you will be ready to enjoy a summer with a lush and healthy lawn!

Lawn Mower Safety Tips

Lawn care season is here, and we want to make sure you stay SAFE when tending to your lawn all season long. Even if you’ve been mowing injury-free for decades, we have some safety tips that you may have never thought of, tips to help continue mowing injury-free for decades to come.

1 .Wear Proper Footwear

Sandals are not proper footwear for mowing the lawn. The reason sandals are a poor choice is that they’re less stable, and a trip, slip or stumble could cause you to come in contact with moving or hot parts. Sandals also increase the odds of pinching or stubbing a toe when mounting a riding mower or zero-turn mower.

2. Avoid Yard Missiles

If you prefer non-shattered windows on your home and neighbor’s car, then pick up stones, branches, toys, sprinklers and other items before you start mowing. And if you do miss something and notice it while you’re mowing, don’t wait until you mow over to the spot. Pick it up right away.

3. Don’t Pull Backward

Whenever possible, try not to pull a lawn mower toward you. If you slip, you could end up pulling the mower right on top of you. This is a real and serious hazard.

4. Remove the Spark Plug before Changing Blades

Always remove the spark plug when working on the blade. If the piston happens to be at the top of the compression stroke, a little bump to the blade might force the piston over the “hump” and into the power stroke. This could cause the blade to lurch forward, possibly whacking your hand in the process!

5. Mind the Hills

Most riding lawn mowers are more likely to tip over sideways than forward or back, so mow up and down the hill. Mow hills side to side with push mowers. That way, if you do slip, you won’t fall toward the mower or have the mower roll back at you. Also, mowing wet grass on hills increases your chance of having an accident no matter which type of machine you’re using.

6. Wear Hearing Protection

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, listening to sounds over 85 decibels for extended time periods can cause hearing damage. Lawn mowers can produce more than 100 decibels.

7. Keep Clear of Moving Blades

If the blades are spinning, don’t unclog the chute, adjust the wheel height, inspect the blades or do anything that would bring your appendages in harm’s way. The reasons are pretty obvious. And never disable the kill switch or tie down the safety lever.

Keep safe this season and following these tips!

Towing a Trailer?

This chapter tells you what you need to know to tow a trailer behind a car, van or small truck in Ontario. This includes licence and registration requirements, trailer size and characteristics, as well as safety tips to follow when towing a trailer.

Before you attempt to tow a trailer, consider the size, power and condition of your vehicle. Make sure it is capable of towing both the trailer and the load you intend to carry, and that your trailer and hitch meet all the requirements described in this chapter.

Towing a trailer brings unique challenges to drivers. Almost half of the reported collisions while towing a recreational vehicle are single-vehicle collisions. Another 20 per cent involve rear-end collisions. In collisions where the driver was determined to be at fault, about 30 per cent of the drivers had “lost control” of their vehicle.

Have you winterized your outdoor power equipment? Taking a few simple steps before storing your gas-powered tools for the winter will ensure a hassle-free start next spring. It will also extend the life of your small gasoline engines.

Your outdoor power equipment will last for many years with some basic maintenance and care. As you get your equipment ready for storage, it is also a good time to take a few extra preventive maintenance steps. But whatever your plans – full tune up or just washing the the dirt off – remember…

The most important step is draining or stabilizing the fuel.

Gasoline left in fuel tanks over the winter will degrade leaving gum deposits and varnish build-up that will plug up the fuel system. You can either drain the fuel system or use a fuel stabilizer. I recommend using a stabilizer in your mower and draining fuel from tools with two-cycle engines – string trimmers, blowers, hedge trimmers and chain saws.

Fuel stabilizers will keep the gas fresh until spring. They can be found at most hardware and home stores. After adding the stabilizer, run the engine for at least 5 minutes to be sure the stabilizer gets into the carburetor.

To drain the fuel system, first pour the gasoline out of the tank into a gas can. Then pump the primer bubble several times, start the engine and let it run until the remaining fuel in the carburetor and lines is used up.

Let’s start with mowers and then we’ll discuss the two-cycle engines.

  • Add fuel stabilizer to a full gas tank and run the engine a couple of minutes. Then fill up the tank. A full tank prevents water condensation from getting in tank and keeps gaskets from drying.
  • Remove and sharpen the blade
  • Clean the mower deck. The caked-on grass clippings and soil trap moisture next to the metal and cause rust. Tip mower over toward the side that has the oil opening so oil doesn’t drain into the air filter and carburetor. Scrape with a brush and putty knife, then rinse with water.
  • Change the engine oil. Old oil contains moisture and acids that will pit bearings and other engine parts so it’simportant to change oil prior to storage.
  • Remove the spark plug. Then pour about a half ounce of oil into the spark plug port. Replace with a new spark plug.
  • Inspect and clean the air filter. Tap out debris and use compressed air to clean paper filters. Foam filters can be cleaned with soap and water. Replace damaged and extremely dirt filters.
  • Check fuel lines and replace the fuel filter. Rubber fuel lines will rot, crack and eventually disintegrate over time.
  • Inspect for worn or missing parts and hardware. And lube throttle cables, hinges and moving parts.

Winterizing Two-cycle Engines

String trimmers, blowers, hedge trimmers and chain saws are usually powered by two-cycle engines. These are real easy to winterize. The most important step is draining the fuel system!

Winterize in Five Easy Steps:

Winterize a Stihl weed whip 1) Drain the fuel tank. Press the primer bulb several times. Then try to start the engine and run the rest of the fuel out of the carburetor.
How to winterize a two-cycle engine 2) Remove the spark plug. Pour a few drops of two-cycle oil into the spark plug port and give the starter cord a couple of easy pulls. This lubricates the pistons and crankshaft. Install a new spark plug.
How to winterize a Stihl string trimmer 3) Clean and inspect the air filter.
How to winterize a Stihl weed whip 4) Check fuel lines and replace the fuel filter. Rubber fuel lines will rot, crack and eventually disintegrate over time.

5)Clean and lubricate moving parts (ex. hedge trimmer blades)

Come springtime your clean, gunk free tools will be ready to mow, trim, rototill and blow!

Tips:

  • Store your lawn equipment indoors if possible. Protect them with a tarp if you need to store them outside.
  • Use your leftover gas in your car. Unless you treat the gas in your cans with fuel stabilizer, Empty it into your car…or your daughter’s car. She’s probably running around on empty.
  • Check on your lawn equipment while its stored. Mice and other vermin love to chew on wires and will nest in your machines.
  • To dispose old oil properly, take it to a local service station or recycling center. My local Walmart recycles used oil for free.
  • Tips for cleaning up grease and oil stains: Stain Removal Guide offers stain removal advice for almost every spot known to man! Solutions are provided for clothes, fabrics, carpets and upholstery.

The winter is when you spend the least amount of time thinking of your lawn. Unless you live in an area that is relatively warm all year long, chances are you have put the lawn mower away and are ready for a few months of relaxation before you have to start the lawn maintenance routine again.

There are a few things you can do during even the harshest winter that can ensure a beautiful, lush yard once spring rolls around again.

Fertilizing in the Winter

Late fall or early winter are the best times to fertilize cool season grasses. Since the majority of the lawns in North America are made from these grasses, like Bermuda and bluegrass, it is a good bet your yard has a typical cool season blend.

Before the first freeze, give your lawn a thorough fertilizing to replace all of the nutrients that can be lost from the soil during the hot summer months. Once the weather turns cold, the fertilizer will remain in the soil and feed your lawn’s roots all winter long.

When spring comes your lawn will be full of healthy, lush, green grass that has been feeding on good fertilizer nutrients underneath the snow.

Mowing Strategies

During the last month of the summer you should gradually lower the cutting base of your lawn mower each time you mow the lawn. Slowly cutting your grass shorter will allow it to winter well without shocking it by cutting it all off at once.

If you leave your lawn too tall during the winter months it will be prey to field mice and other burrowing animals that want a warm place to sleep. Mice can destroy large parts of your lawn by building nests. They create dead spots where they spend all of their time as well as pulling up large amounts of grass to build their structures.

Make sure your grass is as short as possible at the end of the season. Short grass also protects any new growth that may be more fragile near the end of the growing season.

Keep it Clean

It is easy for items to be left on the lawn during the long, cold winter when no one goes outside very often. Stray logs, toys, and even lawn furniture can be accidentally overlooked before the first snow comes.

Make sure that you clear the lawn of all objects after you mow it for the last time of the year. Do an occasional sweep of the lawn every couple of weeks during the winter, as well.

If an object is left on the grass during cold weather and snowfall it can create large dead spots because of the weight of the object. In the spring the grass in that area will be stunted and thinner than the rest of the yard.

Avoid Excessive Lawn Traffic

When the grass is brown and short it can be easy for people to forget that it shouldn’t be walked on. Try to prevent very much foot traffic on your winter lawn. Grass is relatively resilient, but it will have a difficult time recovering if a path becomes well worn across the lawn.

  • Keep your sidewalks cleared of ice and snow so that you and your guests won’t be tempted to cut across the yard very often.
  • Never allow anyone to park a truck or a car on your lawn. Even the smallest vehicle will leave impressions in the soil and kill off the grass that is underneath the tires. Using the lawn as a parking lot is the fastest way to kill the good grass and make room for crabgrass and other types of weeds.

Prepare in the Fall

There really is not much lawn care that needs to be done during the cold months of winter. If you properly prepare the lawn during the fall, it will be fine until the warm days of spring arrive once more.

  • Make sure you aerate, fertilize, and mow the lawn before the first freeze of the season.
  • Rake away any dead leaves that may have fallen and collected on your yard to avoid wet spots that can become mossy or moldy.
  • Keep the lawn cleared of debris and help everyone in the family respect the yard while it is dormant.

Once you have taken care of everything that needs to be done during the fall you will be ready to enjoy a nice cozy winter indoors with your family before lawn care season begins again in the spring.

At Forest and Lawn, we only carry the highest quality brands of outdoor power equipment and trailers. Our products come with uncompromising standards and our commitment to every customer is just as strong. Our expert staff will make sure you’re equipped with the best products you need to get the job done..

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