The Tools You Need to Successfully Grow and Keep a Lawn
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Looking after your lawn is important, as a poorly maintained lawn looks tired and unattractive. A few simple maintenance practices can make a massive difference to the health and appeal of your lawn, as long as you know what you are doing. Approaching your lawn maintenance with the right tools and a good understanding of which areas are the most important aspects of lawn care can save you a great deal of time and effort, and knowing which garden tools you need is a large part of that.
Here at Best of Machinery, we have put together a brief guide to some of the most important lawn care tools. You won’t necessarily need every single one of these, but they’re all useful, and if you’re looking to maximize the efficiency of your lawn care routine then all of these will help to some extent.
One of the easiest pieces of garden equipment to overlook and forget about, gardening gloves are also one of the most important and useful parts of your garden maintenance arsenal. It’s worth buying a few good pairs of gardening gloves before you get started on lawn maintenance, just to make sure you have spares for when your gloves eventually wear out. Gardening gloves will protect your hands from blisters, scrapes, cuts, scratches, and general injury during lawn maintenance, so it is worth making sure you’ve got a good, sturdy pair that fits comfortably.
Pretty much every homeowner with a lawn owns a lawnmower. These are among the most important tools for lawn maintenance, as they allow you to keep your grass at a relatively constant length, keeping the grass even and healthy as well as smart and neat looking.
There are many different types of home lawn mower, but they generally fall into one of two different varieties: rotary mowers, that cut with a spinning blade arranged beneath a broad metal deck, or reel mowers, that use a set of laterally mounted blades that cut against a flat knife as the wheels of the mower turn.
Most reel mowers are powered purely by pushing, while rotary mowers are powered by electricity or gas engines. This means that rotary mowers require less effort to mow the lawn with, but reel mowers are non-polluting and therefore more environmentally friendly.
Some lawn mowers have many additional extra features that can give a more advanced and complex mowing approach if needed. These include mulching mowers that chop up the grass and return the clippings to the lawn to act as a natural fertilizer and self bagging mowers that collect the cuttings for easy disposal later.
During hot, dry spells such as those that occur in the depths of summer, watering your lawn is a vital part of keeping your grass green and healthy, particularly if you live in an area with a drier, hotter climate such as California. Watering can also help to strengthen the roots of your grass, ensuring that it can survive other hazards more effectively.
You will want a hosepipe in order to water your lawn, but it is important to remember not to water too frequently. Instead of splashing a little water across your lawn every day, give it a good soaking once or twice a week in dry periods to ensure that the water penetrates properly into the ground, soaking in deeply and encouraging the roots of your grass to grow deeper into the soil.
Lawn rakes are a great tool for scraping up leaves into piles, drawing moss and thatch out from your grass, and for disturbing the top layer of soil to aerate the soil a little. This type of rake has fine teeth, making them gentle and safe to use on a well-established lawn without damaging the roots of the grass, but still well designed for scraping up leaves, thatch or moss. You can also find them sold as “spring-tined rakes” as well as “leaf rakes”!
Lawn rakes are available in a wide range of different types, with shafts made from wood, metal or plastic; wood is generally the best choice here. The heads can be purchased in plastic or metal, and either of these options is a good choice, with metal being a little better for dethatching and plastic being gentler on the surface of your lawn in most cases.
If you are looking to establish a new lawn from grass seed or to apply granular fertilizers or weed killers evenly across your entire lawn, you are going to want a lawn spreader in order to allow even application of any of these products.
Lawn spreaders are an important tool for more extensive lawns, but can also be useful for smaller yards. Larger lawn spreaders are wheeled cart style devices, but smaller, handheld models are also available to provide some of the same ease of use and even spreading for smaller environments.
Also known as garden spreaders or broadcast spreaders, lawn spreaders are used for evenly spreading small granules across your lawn. This allows for even spreading of grass seed, granular fertilizers, or granular weed killers without creating patches of higher and lower concentrations. It is worth keeping an eye out for a lawn spreader that comes with adjustable feed controls, allowing you to spread different concentrations of products for when you want to fertilize more lightly or apply a thicker layer of grass seed, for example.
Aerating your lawn is an important part of keeping it healthy. Over time, especially if your lawn experiences heavy traffic from walking or mowing, the soil of your lawn will get compacted, crushing the soil particles together and removing the space for oxygen and water to spread through the soil. Aerating the soil breaks up this compacted earth, providing space for the oxygen, water, and nutrients needed for a healthy lawn to penetrate deep into the soil and feed the grass, encouraging roots to grow deeper and stronger.
Lawn aerators are fork-like devices with hollow tines. Pressing these tines into the earth allows them to remove narrow cores of grass and soil from the lawn, allowing air and nutrients to reach the roots of the grass, aiding drainage for waterlogged soil and breaking apart compacted or clay-filled soil.
Lawn aerators exist as standard hand tools, powered aeration tools, or even as attachments for your shoes so you can aerate your lawn simply by walking across it. Which of these options you go for should depend entirely on personal preference; none of them is objectively superior to the others, and they all offer similar effectiveness for aerating your lawn.
If you want to sharpen the edges of your lawn or cut away turf to create new beds in the lawn or even just remove chunks of turf for other reasons, then you are going to need to add a lawn edger to your lawn maintenance toolbox. Lawn edgers, also known as edging irons or half moon edgers (because the blade is semicircular, reminiscent of the shape of a half moon), are a great way to tidy up uneven lawn edges by trimming away tattered edges and leaving a straight, clean cut behind, or simply to cut new turf blocks out of the lawn.
Lawn edgers work best if you press them into the turf while rocking them from side to side along the edge of the curved blade in order to saw through grass roots and fibers. These tools are easy to use but require a bit of physical strength in order to cut through well established, deep grass roots cleanly and smoothly.
Lawnmowers are important tools for mowing the grass of your lawn, but they are not ideally suited for trimming grass in inaccessible areas such as uneven surfaces, tight corners, or areas around problem obstacles such as tree stumps or rocks. If your garden features problem areas such as this, you are going to want a pair of edging shears to trim that grass if you don’t want it to grow unchecked in certain areas.
Edging shears are essentially just large scissors designed for clipping grass in difficult positions. They are available in short and long-handled varieties; the short-handled version is small enough to enable you to get into small spaces with care and dexterity, while the long-handled type of edging shears have blades horizontal to the ground, allowing you to trim the grass close to the ground without needing to bend down, saving your back and knees from undue strain while looking after your lawn.
Make sure you keep your edging shears sharp and clean in order to avoid tearing the blades of grass, causing bruising, discoloration and ragged edges. These can be easily sharpened just like any other shears or bladed tools, either at home or by taking them to a professional.
Scarifiers and Dethatchers
Scarifiers and dethatchers are similar tools with very closely related functions. Dethatchers remove the build-up of thatch, the remnants of dead crowns, roots, and stems of grass plants around the bases of thriving grass plants, while scarifiers also lightly aerate the top layers of the soil.
Lightweight dethatching, removing only a little thatch when the build-up is not too heavy, can be done with only a simple lawn rake. If your thatch problem is more severe, though, you’re going to want a proper dethatcher. This doesn’t need to be done very often, however, as a little thatch is actually good for the health of your lawn, and aggressive dethatching can damage the grass plants and cause problems for your lawn.
Power dethatchers are available, although they are quite bulky and expensive, and most people will buy simple dethatching attachments for standard lawnmowers, although these can damage your lawn. The best bet is to dethatch before the problem gets too bad in the first place!
There are many other lawn care tools available in addition to the ones listed above, but these are some of the most common and most useful tools you can add to your lawn maintenance toolbox. While you won’t necessarily need all of the tools above, you will How to Restore An Overwatered Lawn, want to purchase at least some of them, and situations may arise during regular lawn maintenance where you’ll find you need some of the others too. A lawn care toolbox can be built up slowly over time, adding new tools as and when they become necessary in any situation!