Monthly Archives: May 2016

Benefits and Tips to Mowing in FallA Few Benefits of Turf Grass

Many people plant grass to enhance the appearance of their yard, or to make it a safe place for children to play. Some people plant grass so they can enjoy playing and watching sports. But many people who plant grass are unaware of all the benefits that turf grass brings.

    • Turf grass, when properly and regularly maintained, will capture the carbon emitted from lawn mowers. The grass draws the gas into its roots which in turn reduces emissions that would pollute the air we breathe.
    • It is a great source of oxygen. A family of four will receive enough oxygen from just a 50' x 50' lawn.
    • Ground temperatures are more easily controlled where turf grass is planted. The grass essentially acts like an outdoor AC unit.
    • Do you get a lot of runoff water? Turf grass is a great way to reduce runoff as it works like a sponge to soak up excess water.

Why Continue to Mow During Fall?

When fall weather settles in many people retreat to the indoors. The summer activities are over, school has started for the year, and many businesses are busy preparing for winter holidays. It is no wonder many people forget to mow their lawns in the fall. But mowing through the fall months is essential to ensuring a lush lawn come spring.

If your grass is continuing to grow despite the cooler temperatures, it will benefit from a simple mow. Fortunately, because grass growth slows in the fall, the interval between each mow increases, saving you more time in between each mow for your busy fall tasks.

The biggest reason to continue to mow during the fall is to ensure the health of your turf grass. Keeping your grass shorter in the fall than in the previous warmer months will help reduce the risk of disease, fungus, and snow mold during the cooler seasons. Mowing in the fall will save you from having to treat or dig up the grass you worked so hard to maintain all summer. It will also save you the time, energy, and money required to plant new grass seed in the spring.

Tips for Mowing in the Fall Months:

    • Stop mowing when the daily average temperature is below 50° for a continuous week.
    • When mowing for the last two times of the year, move your mower's blade to the lowest setting. This will help the sunlight reach more of the grass.
    • Keep you grass shorter than 3 inches to reduce the risk of snow mold.
    • Be sure to keep your mower blade sharp to ensure a clean, sharp cut and to avoid various grass diseases.

Mowing Doesn't Have to Be a Chore

Do you often feel like mowing is the worst outdoor chore there is? It requires so much time and energy to mow and to maintain your lawn mower. But mowing the lawn doesn't have to be a chore. It can be a game!

If you have a walk-behind mower, and dislike the effort required to push it across your entire yard, you may find joy in replacing it for a riding mower.

Sometimes a little music while mowing can help lessen the stress and pain of mowing. You can also see how far you can get before the song ends. Set a goal of finishing the lawn before a set amount of songs are over and reward yourself with your favorite treat or activity if you make or beat your goal.

Do you have children? Lessen your yard work load by teaching your older children to mow. If you have younger children you can invite them to be part of a game by letting them set up an obstacle course for you to complete while mowing the lawn.

Garden Furniture SetsGarden furniture sets are a type of furniture specifically designed for outdoor use. They are typically made of weather resistant materials which do not rust. Many people's perception of outdoor furniture is simply that of a patio set consisting of a table and chairs and quite frequently a parasol which provides shade from the sun or shelter from rain. The range today, however, is enormous and garden furniture has been adapted to suit all space sizes from large garden spaces to patios to conservatories and foldable tables and chairs are ideal for balconies. Today you can choose from tables, chairs, sofas, arm chairs, loungers, weather proof cushions, parasols and gazebos which now come with UV protection. Usage of garden sets is enhanced by the addition of a patio heater which allows people to sit outside at night or in cold weather.

A garden is often referred to as an outdoor living room so you need to choose outdoor furniture sets wisely so that they enhance and make a statement in your garden without of course dominating it. It is important therefore to take the size of your garden and the space into which you will be putting the furniture into account. How many people will it have to accommodate? Will there be room to move freely when it is in place? Is it for entertaining or simply relaxing in the sun? Perhaps it may simply be for garden decoration? Is it for outdoor dining? The garden furniture you purchase will therefore be influenced by all these factors plus of course price.

The type of material you choose for your outdoor furniture is generally determined on how durable and weather resistant it is plus of course your own personal preference and as mentioned earlier price. It is not practical to constantly have to move garden furniture into a designated storage area or into a conservatory so furniture that is durable, weather resistant and requires minimum maintenance will give you a better return on your money at the end of the day. Garden furniture sets made of rattan are quite popular as it is maintenance free, practical and UV durable so it won't fade over time. Neither does it rust or warp consequently is ideal for outdoor use. Garden furniture made from metal are strong and solid as we all know and by definition quite durable. Those made of aluminium are lightweight and do not rust. Those made from wood are generally quite attractive, easy to clean and maintain and resilient. Garden furniture made of plastic today comes in all shapes and sizes and can bring a touch of colour and indeed style to your garden. If on a tight budget then plastic can be quite suitable.

Prior to purchasing your dream garden furniture check everything out. Will it fit in the space allocated by you? Are you satisfied with the comfort of the chairs or sofas? Is the height of the chairs chosen compatible with the table height? Are the cushions weatherproof? Should you consider purchasing covers for your garden furniture set or are you confident in your ability to keep it in good shape year round? Talk with the supplier or store and get all the necessary maintenance information at time of purchasing.

Finally sit back and relax and enjoy the added value that your garden furniture will bring to you and your family.

Avocado TreeMost avocado trees are grown in tropical climates, primarily in Mexico (the world's leading producer of avocado), California, Hawaii, and Florida. California is the number one producer of avocados in the United States, with most of the crop being of the Hass variety. But why not growing an avocado tree at home?

Growing an avocado from seed...

To grow an avocado tree, you need to get an avocado seed, clean it off and poke three toothpicks into the side of it. Then immerse the seed halfway in the water while the three sticks rest on the rim of a drinking glass. Set the seed with the wider portion down.

Place the glass with the seed somewhere warm with not too much direct light. The water should be changed at least every couple of weeks, before it gets dirty and depleted of oxygen.

In four to six weeks, the seed should split and out should come roots and a sprout. Once the stem has grown a few inches, place it in a pot with soil. Avocados have been known to grow large, so you will have to repot the plant several times.

What's the ideal place to grow an avocado tree?

The ideal spot for the plant is at the brightest window. Avocados are widely cultivated in tropical to subtropical climates. They may grow in shade but require full exposure to sunlight for best productivity. It should also be watered every few days.

How long does it take to grow an avocado tree?

Under good conditions, growing avocado takes many years, even up to a decade or two, to begin producing fruits. Indeed do not expect to get fruits but you can still grow a beautiful houseplant!

How big is an avocado tree?

Avocado is a medium to large evergreen tree with large, leathery, deep green leaves. The tree grows to 20 m, with leaves 12 cm to 25cm long. The flowers are greenish-yellow.

Why growing an avocado tree at home?

To grow an endless amount of organic avocados! Avocados are very healthy for you. They have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and alkalizing properties. They can help you lower your cholesterol level and contain lot's of healthy nutrients. They are also very rich in fiber. So there're many reasons why it's recommended to include avocado in the diet. Try growing an avocado tree at home if you don't like making regular trips to the grocery store for your daily supply or if you are fed up with spending lot's of money for quality produce!

Create Your Own Mini Meadow GardenWith attention paid to the plight of diminishing wildlife, especially populations of pollinators such as native bees and butterflies, people have responded with an interest in ways they can help keep what pollinators are left and even help increase populations.

This has resulted in a heavy interest in native plants as alternative choices in landscapes, and has changed much of the approaches we take when designing landscapes, as to make benefitting wildlife a priority in design. Ultimately, creating gardens and landscapes that resemble a healthy, established native ecosystem is the ultimate goal, but doing so takes a lot of space, money, and time. So what's the typical eco-conscious gardener living in the urban jungle to do?

Many gardeners are falling in love with the ideas of mini-meadows. While it's not acres of native restored prairie gardens, it's still a beautiful way to enjoy wonderful, healthy plants in the landscape while helping out the bees and butterflies (and birds and a plethora of other native wildlife).

Native prairie plants have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years in tough climate conditions. They can handle a wide range of weather - from heavy rain, to drought conditions, to heavy wind and high humidity. Prairie gardens do well covered in feet of snow, or in dry cold with no protective snow at all in the winter. In a varied prairie plant community, plants are blooming and going to seed throughout the entire year, so something interesting is always happening. And, animals that depend on the food and cover these plant communities provide can rely on a season-long home, which makes them extremely important.

In this prairie garden design by Julie Farris, you can see how beautiful pairing formal lines and modern materials with the informal plantings of native prairie plants can look beautiful together. Mixing flowering plants (often referred to as "forbs" when talking about prairie and meadow settings) and grasses makes for a very beautiful and natural backbone for your perennial plant choices. Best of all, once established, these plants are all absolutely care free if you start with good soil and mulch each fall with natural mulch materials that feed the soil. Every 3-4 years, some division of perennials might be necessary, but sharing divisions with friends is a fun thing to do! Consider adding shrubs and trees, such as spice bush, Princeton Elm, Cottonless Cottonwood and small trees like native dogwoods, like red twig and white flowering, if you have the space.

Some specific plants that are ideal for starting the mini-meadow or small prairie planting include the Cheyenne Sky Panicum Grass, Prairie Dropseed Grass, Little Bunny Pennisetum Grass, Northwind Panicum, Echinaceas, Goldenrod, Yarrow, Asters, Blue False Indigo, Agastache, Monarda, and Heliopsis.

And, of course, there are many, many more! Plus there are seed blends for a fast easy meadows.