Hills and holes: Not part of your landscaping design? Written by L. J. Bruton
Do pests 'gopher' your lawn? Chances are, if you have a lawn, you risk chance of having pests, such as gopher and his cousin mole. And, perhaps even those pesky six-legged creatures- ants and other insects- call your grass patches home. Why are these animals and insects attracted to your lawn? And, what can you do to stop them from burrowing and nesting? Those answers and more will follow in this article.
Most household lawns are not large enough to attract so many pests that a serious problem will result, but nonetheless, they can be a nuisance and cause some minor damage to your grassy nook. Insects are not very easy to spot, as some are so small they are naked to eye, however, they can be identified by dead, brown patches of grass. Telltale signs of moles and gophers are a little more obvious- dirt hills on top of your lawn, and beneath them, tunnels and holes. Once you identify that you have pests, you then need to decide best way for you to take care of problem.
The first option is to call an expert. Use your local directory or a referral from someone you know that had a similar problem. But if you are like most people today, you may want to do it yourself. And, if you are a DIYer, first thing you need to do is size up your situation, and what you are up against. Let's look at insects first.
When dealing with insects, first thing you must realize is that not all insects are bad guys. Sure, we probably would swat at them all, but in reality, some insects can actually act as exterminators against others. Other insects can actually help control your thatch level. There are two types of insects when it comes to ones who invade your lawn: above and below ground insects. Above ground insects usually feed on your grass, and can be seen fairly easy. Some examples of these can be chinch bugs, green bugs and armyworms.
The below ground insects are just that, they feed on your lawn through root system, which means they are most destructive of two. They are also most difficult to identify since they are not easily seen. These can include grubs, beetle larvae and billbugs. There are literally thousands of species of insects, far too many to list here. You could borrow a book on insects from your local library, or check out some entomology websites to learn more about what roles and functions they have. After all, you don't want to kill off any allies!
Guide to basic Lawn Mower MaintenanceWritten by Keith Kingston
Trying to start your lawn mower after a long winter can be very frustrating. Performing a few routine maintenance tasks before you store your lawn mower for winter can save you time in spring, prolong life of your lawn mower, and save you money over long run. Even if you have already put your lawn mower into storage for winter, a few simple maintenance tasks performed before starting your lawn mower in spring can be very beneficial.
Wash and dry your lawn mower after mowing season is over. A power blower can be very helpful in removing grass and debris from underside of your lawn mower and other hard to reach areas. If your lawn mower engine is air-cooled, use a stick or wooden dowel to remove any residue from cooling fins. If you have a lawn mower with a water-cooled engine, check coolant level and fill reservoir if needed. Clean radiator cooling fins with a strong jet of water. You should also drain fuel tank and replace fuel filter. The air filter housing should be cleaned and air filter replaced.
Remember to check spark plug(s) for corrosion and wear. Don't attempt to clean spark plug if it is showing some wear. It is cheap and easy to replace spark plug. Be sure to remove any debris before removing spark plug and by using a bit of anti-seize compound when you replace old spark plug, you will ensure easier removal next year. Clean and lubricate throttle linkages and choke, and apply grease to mower deck and all fittings. This will be easier if you remove mower deck and you can sharpen blades while mower deck is off. Sharpening blades after each mowing season will give you a better cut next year and save you trouble of having to sharpen them in spring.