Our yard requires weekly maintenance to look it’s best but we don’t mind it. In fact we look forward to spending an hour or so each weekend watering, trimming and mowing. We’ve covered many of our lawn and garden tips before but with Spring now shifting fully into Summer we wanted to compile these tips into one helpful post.
Last month, Lowe’s approached us about trying some of their new outdoor power tools from Kobalt. This new line features seven cordless tools − a hedge trimmer, blower, chainsaw, string trimmer/edger, pole saw and two lawn mowers. Exclusively available at Lowe’s, Kobalt cordless outdoor power tools all operate off a single, interchangeable, 40-volt lithium ion battery system providing extended runtime and incredible power.
Our first task was using the hedge trimmer. We’ve got a few bushes that have gotten a bit out of hand but they always respond nicely to a quick cut. After a quick initial charge the unit was ready to go. It features a 24-inch dual-action bar that offers 3/4 inch cut capacity at 2800 strokes per minute. All of those stats add up to a solid tool that will be ready when you need it. The weight and vibration are a non-issue and when raising it above our shoulders we didn’t feel any extra stress.
Hedge Trimming Tips
When trimming start with the vertical sides of the hedge first and use an upward and downward sweeping motion and move forward along the hedge. When cutting the top of the hedge, angle the blades at around 10 degrees to the horizontal and sweep cut material off the hedge.
Use safety gear when operating any of these outdoor tools and that includes gloves and eye protection. Also consider protective clothing such as long pants, long sleeve shirts and close toed shoes.
Lawn Mowing Tips
The Kobalt tool we were most looking forward to trying out was the 40-Volt Max 20-Inch Cordless Electric Push Lawn Mower. We have a small lawn and like the simplicity of an electric powered lawn mower. We wondered about the power, but as soon as we fired up the mower and started using it we realized this mower had more than enough juice to get the job done.
We love it’s high-tech looks and the blue is simply stunning. With a pull-bar push button start it fires up easily every time and the battery is easily accessible at the top of the unit.
Remember that mowing is pruning. Proper mowing increases the density of the lawn, which in turn decreases weeds. Each type of grass has a recommended mowing height. Find out which type of grass is in your lawn (you may have more than one) and mow at the proper height which your mower can adjust to.
The folks at Pennington Seed told us to stick to the 1/3 rule — never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade length at any one time. A healthy lawn can survive an occasional close cut. Repeated close mowing produces a brown lawn and has several harmful side effects.
More tips include:
- Mow when the grass is dry. The blades will be upright and less likely to clump when cut.
- Avoid mowing in the heat of the day to prevent heat stress on your grass and yourself.
- Keep mower blades sharp and balanced. Ragged cuts made by dull blades increase the chance of disease and pests.
- Change the mowing pattern each time you mow. Grass develops a grain based on your cutting direction, tending to lean towards the direction you mow. Alternating the pattern causes more upright growth and helps avoid producing ruts in the lawn.
- Mow moving forward, whether you’re pushing a walk-behind mower or sitting behind the wheel of a lawn tractor.
- Discharge the clippings (unless you bag them) towards the area you have already cut.
- Leave clippings on the lawn unless they form clumps or rows. This technique returns nutrients and nitrogen to the lawn.
- Consider using a mulching mower or mulching attachments.
- If you bag your clippings, consider composting them.
- Mow grass higher in shaded areas under trees. In these areas grass has to compete with tree roots for water and nutrients.
- Reduce mowing frequency and raise the mowing height of cool-season grasses when hot, dry weather slows their growth rate.
- Follow the proper fertilizing schedule for your type of turfgrass.
Visit Lowe’s for more lawn mowing tips.
Leaf Blower Tips
The tool we will probably use the most is the hand-held electric leaf blower. The Santa Ana winds have already started to kick up, and that coupled with the amount of trees we have, seems to bring a lot of leaves to our yard. We’re constantly sweeping out the yard and a leaf blower makes this task much easier as we can blow all of the leaves into one area then sweep it up.
Remember to close all open windows and doors to your yard to minimize dirt and air contaminants that might enter your home. Eye protection is also recommended.
The leaf blower is operated by a trigger on the handle and with a deliberate sweeping motion, move the blower from side to side across the area you need to clear. Always keep the blower moving and it’s best to work in one direction.
Here’s a quick video introducing the Kobalt outdoor power equipment and you’ll find all of these tools at your local Lowe’s home center.
The tools are easy to start, with no cords to pull. Interchangeable batteries and a quick 60-minute charge time provide nearly infinite runtime, offering homeowners looking to avoid the maintenance of gas-powered tools an ideal option for maintaining their lawns this spring.
In addition to these outdoor power tools check out these 10 yard tools that every homeowner needs.