One of the most thrilling things about gardening is having a lush, green lawn to complement all your plants and flowers.
In addition to a sensible watering regime, you’ll also want to get yourself the best fertilizer for the job.
Today, we’ll take a look at what the numbers like 15-0-15 displayed on the packs of fertilizer mean along with some general tips and guidance on fertilizing your lawn the right way.
The right nutrients are paramount if you want to get the very best out of your lawn.
Source: Woerner Landscape Services
When you look at packs of fertilizer, you’ll see 3 numbers quite prominently displayed.
These numbers refer to:
Your lawn needs plenty of nitrogen so that you’ll get proper growth, a perfect color and overall health to your grass. Warm-season and cool-season grasses both respond well to a slow-release fertilizer rich in nitrogen.
Phosphorus helps to kickstart early growth. This is crucial for your seedlings to develop correctly. If your lawn has been freshly seeded, you should opt for a mix heavy in phosphorus.
You’ll want potassium in your fertilizer to help build up resistance to disease and to add strength to the root structure.
The numbers will always be listed in this order (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) and illustrate the percentage of each component found in the pack.
A 10-10-10 mix is a very common all-purpose garden fertilizer. To break it down, if you got a 50-pound bag you would have 5 pounds (10%) of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The remaining 70% of the bag is made up of inert filler to help get the chemicals circulating efficiently.
Source: Woerner Landscape Services
If you go for a mix of 15-0-15, you’ll have nitrogen and potassium but no phosphorus.
Warm season grasses like Bermuda and St Agustine respond well to this mix. From shrubs and trees through to ornamental gardens or vegetable patches, 15-0-15 has a range of applications.
The ideal time to apply this fertilizer is from the middle of spring on through the summer. You can use it year-round with no problem at all.
Apply it with a spreader, mix lightly and water thoroughly.
You have a choice of several different types of fertilizer over and beyond the mixes listed above.
This type of fertilizer does not need to be used as frequently. The trade-off is that it’s usually much more expensive.
If you want results in a hurry, fast-release fertilizer will deliver.
You’ll need to apply this fertilizer more often and using lesser amounts. Be very cautious not to use too much or you might burn your lawn.
These are tough to apply evenly and need to be regularly re-applied so are best avoided.
Compost and manure are not as concentrated as chemical fertilizers so you’ll need to use a great deal more.
Be very careful with horse manure as it can contain weed seeds.
Source: Pike Nursery
You should ideally fertilize your lawn three times a year.
It’s absolutely essential to feed your lawn while it’s still activelt growing and never during a period of drought.
Start off in early spring as the grass starts to get green.
From that point, your fertilizing schedule will depend on 3 main factors:
Most lawn seed that you get is a mixture of a few types of grass so fertilizing in spring and fall is advisable.
If there is any kind of drought, either stop using fertilizer or cut it right back. In these conditions, you want to lessen the amount of nutrients your lawn gets so growth will slow back. Reduce watering too if things are too dry for comfort.
Source: Curbed Seattle
You can fertilize by hand but the results are questionable. You risk burning the grass if you apply it in too concentrated a manner. If you miss covering other areas adequately, you’ll get pale patches.
The best option is to buy yourself a fertilizer spreader. We reviewed some of the best fertilizer spreaders here.
While making sure your lawn gets the added nutrients it dearly needs is wise, being heavy-handed with your fertilizer can lead to problems.
Using too much feed will mean you need to mow your grass far more often.
The grass also tends to grow back quickly so, if this happens, make certain to obey the one-third rule: don’t cut off more than one-third of the leaf blade in one session of mowing. If you end up scalping the lawn, you’re inviting the weeds in.
Also, over-fertilizing can lead to turfgrass diseases setting in. Both pythium and brown patch take root in warm and moist conditions where over-fertilization has occurred. You’ll need some fungicide to fight back if these diseases take hold.
If you go totally over the top and grossly exceed the recommended application rate, you’ll finish up with scorched yellow grass and a ruined lawn.
The key? Less is more with fertilizing.
Well, hopefully you have enjoyed our explanation of 15-0-15 fertilizer and you now have a clear idea of what the numbers on fertilizer packages translate to.
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Now get that fertilizer spreader going!
A sprawling green lawn in perfect condition sets off any garden, large or small.
Keeping your grass in peak condition is not easy, though. You will need the best fertilizer and a solid spreader in order to make light work of the job at hand.
Everyone needs food in order to survive and thrive. Your lawn is no different. Although the process of photosynthesis will result in most of the sustenance being provided, it never hurts to give nature a helping hand.
And if you want to fertilize your garden properly, you’ll need to get yourself a good spreader unless you want to invest a great deal of effort into performing this task manually.
Broadcast or Drop?
Coverage in square feet
If you properly fertilize your lawn then you’ll enjoy a vibrant, healthy and deep green landscape.
A proper feed schedule means that your grass will grow back rapidly after mowing as well as growing better.
The cornerstone of maintaining a lush lawn, in addition to mowing regularly, is the upkeep of a proper fertilizing regime. Giving the soil a helping hand and adding nutrients as required boosts color and also sees off any intruding weeds.
The critical ingredient is nitrogen although carbon and oxygen also play their role along with other minor nutrients.
Different types of grass require different proportions so it pays to do your homework.
One knock-on effect of a regular fertilizing routine is that you will subsequently need to mow your lawn more frequently. Look at this in a positive light: anything worthwhile demands a certain level of effort.
We will look today at some of the best fertilizer for grass reviews.
These 5 products are all quite widely recommended and are sure to help your lawn to flourish.
This universally renowned and versatile fertilizer comes packed with 36% nitrogen. A healthy dose of potassium is included to give your lawn the extra boost it needs to realize its full potential.
You can easily dissolve this all-purpose food in water. Be careful to get the correct mixture or you run the risk of burning the grass.
When you plan to fertilize, you will need a decent window of time before, during and after. Once you are done, make sure that pets and kids stay off the grass for at least 24 hours.
As well as a highly competitive price tag, you’ll also only need to apply this fertilizer once or twice a year. You’ll cover around 5000 square feet with a 5-pound box so it’s cost-effective as well as great at its job.
Take note that this is not an organic fertilizer. This does not detract from its ease of use and affordability but you will need to call for the disposal of any unused feed.
The beauty is that with Miracle Gro, if you have given your lawn enough attention, you can also use the plant food on trees, plants, flowers or shrubs.
The beauty is that with Miracle Gro, if you have given your lawn enough attention, you can also use the plant food on trees, plants, flowers or shrubs.
This turf-building natural lawn food is reasonably priced and packs a high nitrogen count. It poses no problems to children or animals so you can use it worry-free.
You will need 12 pounds of this fertilizer to deal with 5000 square feet so bear this in mind when calculating the value for money.
This flexible fertilizer will trap water in the soil to aid the optimum hydration of your lawn.
As with many lawn fertilizers, care needs to be taken when disposing of waste and adequate precautions taken.
With Scott’s, you’ll get no unpleasant smells and can enjoy using a product which is far safer than chemical fertilizers.
As outlined above, chemical fertilizers are not without their drawbacks. Many people are deciding to move away from this method of lawn care.
The immediate advantage of this organic option is that you will not experience your lawn being burned. OK, when that happens the grass recovers soon enough but it’s handy not to be inconvenienced by this at all.
The heat-dried organic formula poses no threats to people or livestock. This is always important when considering fertilizers. Safety is paramount.
If your grass is tired and needs a real kickstart then Milorganite is a smart choice. You’ll notice a rapid and tangible benefit within weeks of fertilizing.
You can dole out nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous to your grass with some iron thrown in to extract maximum greenness. Sulphur, copper, manganese and zinc are also included and valuable nutrients for your lawn.
Milorganite responds well to application at any time during the growing season. It also copes admirably in most climates.
The 36 pound bag will cover 4000 square feet if used 4 times so it’s a budget-conscious and ecologically-sound feeding method.
Milorganite can also be pressed into action for plants, flowers or shrubbery so it’s well worth popping on your shortlist.
This liquid solution from Humboldt’s Secret is a fantastic consideration for the best lawn fertilizer.
You can benefit from a range of different nutrients in one useful product. Everyone likes to save time and money. With Golden Tree you can do both while treating your lawn in the manner it deserves.
There are no miracle cures for most things but this plant food comes close with results noticeable within a day or two at most.
You can watch your lawn grow more rapidly with lasting results and added strength.
If you go for the 8 oz bottle you can extract 125 gallons of the feeding solution. It’s a professional grade fertilizer which stimulates the development of your plants. Basal metabolism will be increased while nitrogen will be encouraged to assimilate better.
Golden Tree is ruthlessly effective on other garden greenery as well so if you are looking to overhaul your entire yard with a much-needed shot of varied nutrients, this liquid could be just what you have been looking for.
A final option for you to think about is this efficient plant fertilizer from Safer Brand.
You can enjoy an odor-free nutrient session to promote quick growth with no danger of damage to lawn in the case of over-application.
The nitrogen here is obtained from feather meal while bonemeal acts to aid slow release. Soybean works as a great filler to help balance things out. Not only will this cause the grass to grow nice and thickly, you’ll get the fringe benefit of killing weeds.
There are no manures of other smells to contend with so fertilizing time will not menace your family or neighbors.
With 25 pounds you can cover 5000 square feet. Keenly priced, Safer Brand offers quality without overcharging.
It’s a fertilizer which works very well on all types of grass so if you have been let down with other attempts at feeding your lawn, consider this plant fertilizer. Safer Brand might just deliver where you have been previously let down.
We will look at more facts about fertilizing in a coming article.
Once you have found the feeding program that gives best results then stick with it. The only challenge is making sure that you keep to the schedule and in turn mow the lawn regularly to really get the very most from your garden.
Explore the rest of our site for many handy pieces about all aspects of gardening.
The art of bonsai continues to be a popular form of gardening all around the world.
Check out our bonsai tree series for a snapshot at several different types of bonsai.
Today, we’ll take a look at bonsai tree care so you can cut through the confusion and confidently take on what can be a very rewarding project.
You’ve got to keep your bonsai properly watered. Dehydration can kill your tree so get this part right.
In general, make sure the soil never gets dry.
Check the soil daily to monitor things.
For a variety of reasons, watering early in the morning works best.
Bear an old Japanese saying in mind when it comes to watering your tree…
“With the bonsai, it rains twice.”
This means you should water until it runs from the holes in the pot. Hold fire for 15 minutes then repeat.
You can mist your leaves to help keep them breathing and free of dust.
Never water your bonsai with a hose that’s been laid in the sun. Let the water run through for a few minutes so it cools down.
If your bonsai has flowers, do not water them.
In summary, you should strike a delicate balance and give your bonsai just enough moisture for its needs without going over the top.
Feeding your bonsai on a regular basis is essential for healthy growth.
Bonsai fertilizer contains the following:
These elements will have numbers to indicate the proportion of each in the fertilizer. There will also be some inert filler.
With bonsai, you’ll want a balanced fertilizer. Whereas for some plants and trees a 15-0-15 fertilizer works wonders, bonsai call for a 20-20-20 mix. This has even amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium with 40% filler.
Always water your bonsai thoroughly before applying your fertilizer. Never feed it when it’s dry.
Do not fertilize your bonsai if it’s in poor health. Rather than overcompensating with feed, wait it out until your tree improves before fertilizing.
Don’t keep using the same brand of fertilizer. They all contain slightly different nutrients so it’s worth mixing it up.
Always exercise a light touch. Over-reliance on fertilizer can be damaging for your tree.
Bonsai trees have different needs. It pays to be familiar with the type of soil preferred by your bonsai.
Some people swear by pre-mixed soil but this is an expensive approach. Mixing your soil at home is a far more economical solution.
It’s crucial that the soil has good aeration. The roots of your bonsai need to breathe easily and produce food.
The soil must also be able to drain effectively. Too much water not draining can lead to suffocated roots.
You also need to be sure that the soil can retain enough moisture so it’s a fine line to tread.
There are 2 principal types of bonsai soil:
As long as your soil has the attributes above, you can then tweak and fine-tune it to your requirements.
You owe it to yourself to choose the best environment for your bonsai to grow in.
They need to receive plenty of sunlight and air with a well-maintained temperature. It should be between 50 and 70 degrees at all times. Monitor this with a small thermometer.
If you are growing your bonsai indoors, place it in the brightest window as long as it’s not next to the fireplace.
Grow lights are a great solution if you can’t provide your bonsai with the natural light it demands.
As well as lighting, you’ll also need to think about proper air circulation. Poor quality air can lead to the photosynthesis process in the bonsai being messed with. Sufficient movement of the air can also help keep pests away. Good air circulation also helps transport essential moisture to the leaves and promotes the evaporation of surplus water.
Take action to crack the windows and door allowing some breeze through. Consider purchasing a fan if necessary.
When you are re-potting your bonsai, opt for a pot that’s slightly wider than your tree. Smaller pots force you to prune more frequently and you will need to re-pot more often. With larger pots, the soil might not dry out properly and in turn the roots can rot. Take your time and get the size right.
There are 2 main styles of bonsai pot:
While your tree is in the training phase, keep it in a special training pot made from mica, wood or plastic. You need adequate room for the roots to take and the trunk to settle. Large drainage holes ensure there’s no saturation of the roots leading to rotting.
Once you are up and running, you can re-pot to a ceramic display pot.
These pots are much easier on the eye and come with a variety of finishes. They are available in a wide range of colors and often feature striking designs.
Bonsai pot selection is all part of the fun so embrace it and make sure you get the best pot for the job.
It’s crucial to re-pot your bonsai. The roots grow and need increasingly more space. The soil also hardens so it’s a smart move to replace it.
Failure to re-pot your bonsai at the right time can cause it to wither and subsequently die.
When you’re re-potting, it’s a good chance to prune the roots and conduct some general reshaping.
If the roots of your tree are outgrowing the pot, it’s time to give it a new home. Another sign is water remaining on the surface of the soil. This shows that the soil has hardened and the water is not permeating properly.
Young evergreen conifers should be re-potted every 2 or 3 years. This can slide back to once every 5 years for adult trees. With young deciduous trees, re-pot annually. When they are adult, you can move them every 2 to 3 years.
Re-pot either in spring before the buds start growing or in early fall when they have matured. Carrying out your re-potting at these times will help with rapid root growth.
In the lead-up to re-potting, allow the soil to dry out somewhat. This helps lessen the chance of root damage.
You don’t need much by the way of tools to enjoy the art of bonsai.
Bonsai wire is available in an assortment of shapes and sizes.
Copper is extremely strong but can be unwieldy to use.
1-2mm wire is a sensible starting point. As you practice, wiring becomes easier.
These cutters are expressly designed for cutting bonsai wire. Don’t be tempted to use regular wire cutters instead. With proper bonsai cutters, you can prevent any damage to the trunk or branches while still enjoying enough jaw pressure to cut evenly.
Consider a good pair of bonsai wire cutters as a sound investment.
These large-handled shears are a fundamental tool for bonsai growing.
You can trim roots, branches, buds or leaves. These shears are very versatile. The blades are sharp and tailor-made for dealing with bonsai.
These saws are the size of a large knife with handles for precise movement.
They cut effectively but using relatively little force. Use these saws on branches but not on the roots of your tree.
This is superb for disentangling roots. You can use a root rake safely without worrying about damaging the rest of the true while rescuing the roots.
Bonsai trees are liable to be attacked by a fairly wide number of pests and diseases.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this glance at bonsai tree care.
If you have put off taking on a bonsai for fear of it being too complicated, hopefully now you’re ready to give it a try and armed with plenty of valuable information.
Please contact us any time with your queries or feedback. We love to hear from our readers.
Go and try a bonsai for size. They make a perfect conversation piece either indoors or in the garden. Keep coming back as we will continue our bonsai tree series over the coming months.
Now happy planting!
Rolling green lawns set off any garden perfectly.
Keeping up with the maintenance can seem like hard work, though.
How about mowing? Does it have to be such hard work?
Today, we’ll look at some self-propelled lawn mower reviews.
These nifty appliances don’t cost as much as a full-blooded riding mower but they will save you a huge amount of effort.
Before we walk you through 5 of the best self-propelled lawn mowers, we’ll take a look at what they are and what to look out for when buying one…
A regular gas mower simply generates the power to cut your grass. It does one job and it does it well.
With self-propelled mowers, as the name suggests, the mower will also power itself around your yard. Where a standard mower only powers the blades, these models divide the power between the blades and the wheels.
Rather than a vertical shaft over the blades, with self-propelled mowers there is a drive train and gearbox so each wheel is powered while the remainder affects the blades.
If you struggle with mobility or lifting heavy weights, this is a superb way to take the sting out of garden maintenance. Self-propelled mowers also work well on any uneven lawns or in gardens set on a slope.
These mowers are not for everyone.
It pays to take a look at the good and bad points before launching in. You can then decide whether or not you would benefit from one of these nifty labor-saving appliances or if an alternative would better suit you.
You should now have a decent idea whether or not this type of mower would make a good fit for your needs.
What about the different types of self-propelled mower?
While self-propelled mowers differ in many ways, there are 2 main choices:
Gas-powered self-propelled mowers are heavy and feature-rich.
Most of these mowers come with 4-stroke engines. These deliver enough power for both the blades and wheels. You do come across some 2-cycle engines. These are noisier and less efficient. You will also need to add oil to the fuel.
All gas models come with a clutch and brake.
On the plus side, you’ll get ample power, a mower that’s built to last and with the ability to cut large gardens fuss-free. They also maintain a consistent blade speed.
The principal drawback of gas-powered mowers is the noise coupled with the fumes it gives off. You also be limited by the amount of gasoline you have to hand. You’ll also need much more maintenance. Winterizing it for the first year is sufficient. From that point on, service the drivetrain, gearbox and blades regularly to avoid problems.
The benefits outweigh the disadvantages with gas self-propelled mowers. For this reason, our self-propelled mower reviews focus entirely on this type.
Electric self-propelled mowers are powered either through a cord or by battery. They are quiet and come with either single-speed or variable-speed transmission.
Operating in silence and requiring no fuel, you can cut your grass without disturbing the neighbors. There is almost no upkeep required. You can stash your mower away in a limited space with ease.
Whether it’s the length of the power cord or the run-time of the battery, you will be rather restricted with an electric mower. They are also more expensive than gas alternatives.
Now you have a good overview of these awesome assisted machines, it’s time for our self-propelled mower reviews so you can choose the best mower for your circumstances…
Deck Size (inches)
First up in our look at the best self-propelled mowers is a rugged and affordable 4-stroke from the industry titan Husqvarna.
The 22-inch steel deck boasts 3-in-1 functionality. You can choose to mulch or bag your grass clippings. You can also opt for side discharge. For most reasonable cutting, a single pass is all that’s required.
The capable 4-cycle motor displaces 160cc. There’s no messing around with oil and it fires up immediately thanks to the automatic choke.
Although it’s a hulking beast at 100 pounds, the self-propelled system means you can work for hours without straining yourself. Since it’s rear-wheel drive, it works brilliantly on slopes and inclines. The large wheels cope with uneven terrain admirably.
You can flick the handle through 3 different positions to find one that works best for you.
Height adjustment is where the Husqvarna really scores. There is a single lever rather than the pair featured on many models. This makes life easier. With 9 cutting heights varying from 1 to 4 inches, you’re spoiled for choice.
If you want a durable and affordable self-propelled mower that offers outstanding cutting power with minimum effort, the Husqvarna 961450023 is a smart choice.
Next up in our look at the best self-propelled mowers is a consistent best-seller from Lawn Boy, the 17732.
Although the 144cc engine is not the most powerful on the market, it copes well with most normal gardening duties. Since it’s rear-wheel drive, you’ll have no snags working on a slope or even a steep hill.
You won’t get the same degree of height adjustment as you find on the Husqvarna. Nevertheless, you can tweak the cutting height from 3 ¾ inches right down to a close 1 ¼ inches depending on your needs.
A superb touch with the Lawn Boy is the innovative Tru-Start guarantee. If you can’t get your mower fired up first or second time, you can get it fixed courtesy of the manufacturer without spending a dime.
Whether you roll with side discharge, bagging or mulching, you’ll enjoy a commendable cut quality even if the grass is wet.
For a cost-effective and environmentally sound cutting solution, think long and hard about the Lawn Boy. It’s a rising start in the world of self-propelled mowers. Snap one up before the prices increase!
Honda has a reputation for first-class products in many different industries. From cars to motorbikes and through to lawn mowers, this Japanese multinational rarely disappoints.
While this mower is not cheap, you get a winning combination of performance, longevity and ease of use from a brand you can rely on.
With a solid 22-inch cutting deck, you can mulch, bag or discharge as with most self-propelled mowers. You’ll be able to work on larger areas of grass without needing to make constant return passes. The dual blades deliver an incredibly close cut. Choose from 6 cutting heights to get the job done right every time.
With a patented Start Safety System, you can lessen the chance of any accidental fire-up.
Although gas-powered mowers have a heavier environmental footprint than electric models, the Honda complies with both CARB and EPA so it’s a notch above most of its competitors.
At 84 pounds, this is not the lightest mower on the market but the self-propulsion makes it seem light as a feather.
For a dependable and precise self-propelled lawn mower that punches above its weight, pop the Honda on your shortlist. It might not be cheap but the best things in life seldom are.
As we near the end of our look at the best self-propelled lawn mowers, up steps a superb 21-incher from the highly reputable Snapper.
Powered by a potent 163cc engine, you can work quickly without any drop in cutting quality. You can choose between 6 different heights so you can get precisely the finish you want.
With 8-inch wheels out front and 11-inch wheels behind, you can maneuver over even rough and hilly terrain in complete comfort and safety. At just over 85 pounds, it’s reasonably lightweight for a self-propelled model.
When it comes to washing the deck, a port is included to make this super-simple.
The superb 3-year limited warranty means you can buy without the headache of wondering what happens if things go wrong.
For a powerful and reliable mower that will keep your lawn looking immaculate, test-drive the Snapper today. It might be just what you were hunting for!
Finishing up our self-propelled lawn mower reviews is the TB330 from the heavyweight Troy-Bilt.
Powered by an outstanding 163cc Briggs and Stratton engine, you can take advantage of the single lever to mix up the speed. Some users have reported build quality issues with the plastic lever so use a light touch.
As with almost all self-propelled mowers, you have a 3-way choice… You can discharge the clippings out the side, mulch or bag them instead.
Comfort is uppermost with the Troy-Bilt. The wheels are designed to handle questionable terrain. The handle is exceptionally comfortable. Troy-Bilt even has you covered when it comes to washing your deck. There’s an integrated cleaning system so you can keep things looking tip-top.
Weighing in at 80 pounds, although the Troy-Bilt is reasonably lightweight for a self-propelled mower. Guiding the mower around on its high-performance wheels is a breeze.
For a solid and efficient self-propelled mower that’s built to stand the test of time, you could do far worse than the Troy-Bilt TB330. The 2-year limited warranty is the finishing touch.
We trust you found some useful snippets in these self-propelled mower reviews.
Rather than looking at garden maintenance as a chore, try to focus on the relaxing benefits instead. If you invest in the best self-propelled mower, you can take the strain out of cutting the grass without necessarily spending a fortune.
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Contact us any time with any queries or feedback. We are always delighted to hear from our readers.
Gardening takes on many different forms.
Bonsai trees are an interesting way to inject a bit of variety into your foliage.
First thing’s first, a few simple facts about this striking tree.
Acer palmatum, the Japanese maple, is a deciduous tree native to Asia.
The leaves on this beautiful tree turn magnificent shades of red, orange and gold during the fall. If you want a wonderful injection of color into your garden, think seriously about one of these maples.
These bonsai require very little by the way of care and maintenance. They make a great starting point for anyone interested in the art of bonsai but concerned about the difficulty level.
You can keep your Japanese maple indoors if you have an apartment in need of livening up.
With over 300 types of Japanese maple tree, you really are spoiled for choice.
There are a few simple things to take into account when looking for a Japanese maple bonsai…
Japanese maple prefers to be positioned in plenty of sun and air.
Be careful, though. These trees are intolerant to direct sunlight during the hotter summer months.
The occasional touch of frost won’t be a disaster but protect your tree when the temperatures start to dip below -10 degrees.
Solid organic fertilizer works best with the Japanese maple. This is slow-release and contains all the valuable nutrients your bonsai needs. If you want to encourage more vigorous growth, introduce a liquid fertilizer alongside.
You should feed your tree every couple of weeks through spring and summer. When fall comes around, switch to a liquid fertilizer. Cut the feed entirely in winter. Your bonsai will be dormant.
You should steer clear of fertilizer that’s too rich in nitrogen. This causes the leaves to grow excessively.
The Japanese maple cries out for soil which is nice and moist.
Over the course of the growing season, you’ll want to water pretty much daily. It’s not a disaster if you skip a day but you should stick to a regular schedule as much as possible.
During the hottest months, you might need to water your tree several times a day. This is particularly true if your soil drains well and your bonsai is in peak health.
When the tree goes dormant over winter, water just often enough to keep the soil sufficiently damp.
Japanese akadama clay is the best bet when it comes to growing medium. You can mix in some lava rock or pumice if you like. You want a mixture that will drain effectively.
With younger trees, you should re-pot them each year. Drop this to once every 3 years once your tree hits the age of 10.
Re-pot in spring just before the buds start opening.
Source: Garden Walk Garden Talk
Root growth is strong with the Japanese maple so you should keep on top of pruning roots. Consider this ongoing maintenance.
You can also trim the twigs and shoots around the year.
Pruning leaves during the period of active growth will help to reduce their size. Pruning like this will also enhance the colors when fall comes around.
The main branches should be pruned in winter. Attack strong branches in the fall.
It’s a smart idea to use cut-paste after pruning. This tree can be prone to fungal diseases entering through any cuts.
The best time to wire your tree, if necessary, is during the summer when all the leaves are in place.
Restrict any wiring to a maximum of 6 months.
Raffia is a neat way to safeguard the bark.
Although the Japanese maple is quite a resilient tree, aphids can become a menace. Use a regular insecticide to kill them off.
Verticillium wilt can be catastrophic for these bonsai. If you see black spots on fresh cuts, your tree is probably infected by this nasty fungal disease. Destroy your tree and sterilize all your bonsai tools. The wilt can easily spread through contaminated tools.
We hope you have found this glimpse at the Japanese maple bonsai to be interesting and informative.
Get in touch any time if you have any feedback or any questions at all. We’re more than happy to help you and love hearing from our readers.
We’ll continue our journey into the world of bonsai with a look at how to care for your bonsai.
Come back next week for some handy hints!
The art of bonsai continues to grow in popularity.
Check out our previous article on the rosemary bonsai for some background information on the history of the intriguing art of growing miniature trees.
Scientifically known as Juniperus chinensis, the juniper bonsai is a member of the Cypress family.
These coniferous trees vary greatly in terms of growth. They range from pretty low-slung shrubs through to 15-foot trees.
The hardness of the deep red wood makes it ideal for cabinet making.
Juniper berries are used for spices and also for gin.
Bonsai in general can be pretty tricky to grow. Fortunately, juniper bonsai are one of the easiest types to bring on successfully.
They are highly durable in the sunlight and extremely versatile. Unlike most other bonsai trees, the juniper bonsai can grow equally well indoors or outside. They favor outdoor conditions.
If you take them out in the garden, it’s best to just plant them in regular garden soil. If you use containers, you are likely to restrict growth.
One of the key advantages of the juniper bonsai is that it can cope with neglect. It’s not going to die off if you forget to water it. Indeed, over-watering can be fatal so go sparingly.
Your juniper bonsai will be dormant over water. You can go easy on the watering during these months but don’t forget to give it some sunlight. If you live somewhere with a particularly cold climate, you’d be advised to bring your tree indoors over the winter months.
Source: Bonsai Empire
Place your juniper bonsai anywhere it will get at least 4 hours of sunlight.
Opt for soil that is slightly dry if possible. Your tree will appreciate it.
You should use a half-strength liquid fertilizer on a monthly basis in fall and spring. Look for a fertilizer that is particularly rich in nitrogen in spring. Use feed with lower nitrogen levels in the fall.
There is no need for any kind of feeding regime in the summer.
Your tree will be dormant over winter. All it needs is water and a little light.
If you re-pot your juniper bonsai, leave it a while before introducing fertilizer.
Many bonsai trees are thirsty. The juniper bonsai can tolerate being fairly dry in between watering. They actually prefer drier soil but don’t overdo it and keep them too dry.
It’s good practice to monitor the soil daily so you can add moisture when it’s called for.
Make absolutely certain that the water is able to drain. If not, the roots are prone to rotting.
Keep a spray bottle handy to mist the leaves. Spraying the leaves helps them to breathe. This is doubly important for any re-potted juniper bonsai. The roots will need to settle in. Misting keeps dehydration at bay without menacing the roots as they adjust.
Simply stick a chopstick a couple of inches into the soil. Leave it for 10 minutes then remove it. If the chopstick is damp, you’re all good. A dry chopstick means it’s time for watering.
Growing juniper bonsai directly in the soil is by far your best bet. They will perform in containers but they are likely to be stunted and retarded.
If you choose to use pots, make sure you re-pot every other year. Follow the guidance above regarding watering and fertilizing as your tree gets used to its new home.
Once your tree hits 10 years old, you can dial back the re-potting. For these older trees, changing pots every 3 to 4 years is about right. It’s a smart idea to prune the roots each time you re-pot.
All bonsai thrive on humidity. It forms an important part of their growth cycle. Indeed, if the environment becomes too moist, they will wither up and potentially die.
Take steps to ensure that humidity levels are sufficient for your tree’s needs. If you don’t, you could end up disappointed.
Although you can keep juniper bonsai indoors, they would rather be outside enjoying natural sunlight.
They can deal with direct sunlight but it’s advisable to position them somewhere tht benefits from afternoon shade.
If you do choose to keep your tree indoors, opt for somewhere light with plenty of air.
If you need to do any pruning, take care of it during the spring or summer. Pinch any new shoots back as soon as they get an inch long.
Tail off with the pruning in September.
You’ll have no problem at all wiring your juniper bonsai.
You should always use wire cutters and work with care to avoid damaging the tree.
One problem with juniper bonsai is that can appear outwardly healthy when they are, in fact, struggling. Often, by the time you notice that something is amiss, it’s too late.
If your tree is looking a little brown and withered, there are a few things you can do to step in…
We hope you have enjoyed this look at the striking juniper bonsai.
Please feel free to contact us any time if you have any questions. We are more than happy to help.
If you fancy getting started in the world of bonsai, the juniper bonsai makes a very wise starting point.
Give it a go!
Proper lawn maintenance requires a great deal of effort and time.
Once things are looking nice and green, you then have to keep on top of the mowing. As if that’s not enough, you then need a weed eater to finish off the edges nicely.
So much work!
How about if you live somewhere with rolling slopes and hills in the area?
We’ll look today at some riding lawn mower for hills reviews.
First, though, we’ll walk you through the options available when you need to cut grass on an incline.
When it comes to mowing on a slope, you have 4 main choices:
If you can manage to cope with the physical demands, a walk-behind mower makes great sense. For those who are less able, you can get some wonderful self-propelled models if you have the budget to spare.
Look for a high quality motor and enjoy a safe, therapeutic way to mow your hilly grass without spending a fortune.
Rear-engine riders make for a relaxing and comfy experience.
These scaled-down riding mowers have smaller decks making them ideal for gardens with lots of obstacles. You can maneuver these mowers around in tight spots fuss-free.
These rear-engine riding mowers work brilliantly on hills.
The deck will pivot along with the front axle giving you a superior cut through turns. Less obstruction means you’ll get a better view while the exhaust fumes are safely expelled behind.
Cutting width is determined by the size of the deck. The larger the deck, the more grass you can cut in a single pass. Smaller decks are wise if you have to think about gates and other tight spaces. The more grass you can cut with your mower, the less you’ll need to trim manually. Get the right size deck for your circumstances.
Hydrostatic transmission gives you a nice gentle ride with no hassle of changing gears. These models are correspondingly more expensive. The other option is a disc drive manual transmission which is probably most common.
On the downside, rear-drive riding mowers are slightly sluggish topping out at just 5mph. Also, you won’t be able to drag any heavy attachments like you would with a tractor.
If you have more garden duty in mind than just mowing, a lawn or garden tractor is the logical solution.
For a multi-purpose workhorse, these powerful units with very capable engines – usually 420cc -750cc – hit the spot.
Although they are not the quickest at 6-7mph, if you want to perform lots of pulling and grunt work alongside regular mowing, tractors are a smart bet.
A lawn tractor is best if you are looking to cut your grass and carry out very light yard duties. These are lighter than garden tractors although still substantial vehicles. They have less horsepower and torque along with smaller tires in back.
From advanced lawn care like aerating and spreading through to towing light carts, lawn tractors are very versatile.
For gardens with hills, look for a tractor with locking rear differential. You’ll lose a little speed but gain plenty of traction.
For heavier earthmoving, whether it’s cultivating or tilling, a garden tractor is the most suitable option.
If you need to tow heavier loads or start in with some serious earthmoving, a garden tractor takes some beating.
The minimum size engine for a garden tractor is 24HP. With beefed-up back tires, you’ll get more ground clearance and stability.
With welded steel frames, super-strong axles and potent engines, garden tractors might not be cheap but they certainly represent great overall value.
The final option when it comes to riding mowers is a zero-turn mower (ZTR).
While these are certainly not cheap, they are generally used for commercial projects or for houses with several acres of garden so think of it as an investment.
The innovative steering system means you can turn on a dime with these variants.
There is a whole range of ZTRs from entry-level and mid-grade on through commercial machines for the very heaviest work.
While a ZTR certainly means business, this is absolutely not the best approach if you have a hilly garden to mow. Having an accident with one of these beasts rolling over could result in serious injury or death. ZTRs are awesome pieces of equipment but save them for flatter terrain.
Now you have a solid grasp of the different options at your disposal, it’s time to check out some riding lawn mower for hills reviews.
If you take the time to think carefully about exactly how you will use your mower and what you expect from it, getting the best riding lawn mower for hills is really not rocket science.
Engine Power(HP or cc)
First up in our riding lawn mower for hills reviews is a powerful but compact model from the legendary Troy-Bilt.
The 382ccc engine offers you all the power you need if you are mowing on hills. The Powermore OHV plant is rugged and built to last. You’ll fit 1.3 gallons in the fuel tank. There’s a handy sight window so you can easily see when you need some gas.
While larger cutting decks have their place, the 30-inch Troy-Bilt is much easier to store away and allows you much more mobility than you’d get with a larger mower. The turning circle is impressive at 18 inches. It’s not quite zero-turn but it’s getting there!
Engaging the blades is a breeze. You’ll be able to choose from 5 settings for the cutting height allowing you great freedom when you’re cutting.
The wheels perform best on level terrain. If your garden is rather uneven, think about a different mower. It always pays to think about what your requirements are so you can get the most suitable option for what you have in mind.
Troy-Bilt offer a comprehensive 2-year limited warranty. Riding mowers are not cheap and a sound guarantee gives you the peace of mind you need when making a substantial purchase.
Next up in our lawn mower for hills reviews is an innovative and multi-tasking vehicle from Raven.
You’ll get more than just a lawn mower with this hybrid. It’s an MPV, mower and generator in one devastating package.
The gas-fuelled motor displaces 420cc. As well as powering the mower, it also juices up the on-board generator. This powers up both the blades and the outlets. It also charges up the batteries.
There’s an extremely tight 14-inch turning circle so if you have a smaller garden or need to get in and out through gates or around obstacles, the Raven is tailor-made.
The 46-inch deck means you can cut through wide swathes of grass in next to no time. Usually, larger and bulkier mowers lose out on maneuverability but the Raven gives you the best of both worlds: power in a nimble unit.
Riding the Raven is fun while the front shocks and suspension help to dampen it down for you. You’ll make light work of any hills and you can tow up to 550 pounds so you’re all set for even heavy chores.
If you want an entertaining and adaptable vehicle offering far more than just mowing, take a good hard look at this Raven MPV. It’s a great deal of bang for your buck and it cuts the grass beautifully too!
Another contender for the best riding mower for hills is this automatic from the well-respected Poulan Pro.
The 42-inch deck allows you to make great progress when you’re mowing without losing out on maneuverability. You have 6 cutting heights to choose from so you can get the very best from your mower.
The Briggs and Stratton engine common in riding mowers kicks out almost 16HP and lets you move up hills without a hitch. The air filter is very easy to clean and maintain.
With an oscillating deck, you can get a crisp, even cut whatever the ground is like underfoot.
The driving experience is straightforward. With an automatic hydrostatic transmission, you’ve got no clutch or gears to worry about. Just hop on and hit the lever to move forwards.
If you are not so practical, you can opt in for the expert assembly option. Your Poulan Pro would ordinarily be delivered in pieces. It takes around 3 hours for a skilled professional to get things up and running. Be realistic about your abilities and take this option if you need it.
For a formidable riding lawn mower that won’t let you down on a slope, give some serious thought to the Poulan Pro.
Husqvarna have a hard-won reputation for producing first-class appliances of all natures. Their yard tractor is no exception in this tradition of excellence.
Although this yard tractor has a generous 48-inch cutting deck, it’s still relatively compact so you can zip around in confined areas without too much problem.
With a 24HP Briggs and Stratton engine equipped with cruise control, riding the mower is much more fun than using a hand mower. The hydrostatic automatic transmission takes all the sting out of driving and you can travel forwards or in reverse.
You engage the blades electronically so there’s no messing around.
If you want to tow anything behind this tractor, there are plenty of accessories to enable this. There’s also a useful mulching kit available.
For a reliable and adaptable riding mower for hills, pop the Husqvarna on your shortlist. This tractor delivers admirably and will last for years and years.
Finishing up our hunt for the best riding lawn mower for hills, here’s a neat 42-incher from Yard Machines.
It weighs in at just under 500 pounds and has a generous cutting path but this mower is not too awkward to move around either. It’s a real win-win with the Yard Machines 420cc.
There’s a 7-speed gearshift meaning you can cope with all your cutting needs and maximize performance.
The mower arrives practically assembled so it won’t take much effort to get it running straight out the box.
With a comfy seat, you can work for extended periods without straining yourself.
You’ll get a 2-year limited warranty so you can buy this mower without worrying about any problems down the line.
There’s no need to strain yourself when it comes to garden maintenance.
Today, there is an enormous range of tools and appliances to take all the sting out of grunt work in the yard.
Keeping that grass neatly trimmed means you’ll need to invest in a decent lawn mower.
We’ll look later at some corded electric lawn mower reviews so you can make the right choice.
First thing’s first, though…
Why go electric?
Using an electric mower has a number of key benefits…
Mowing your lawn is not rocket science but with a few simple pointers you can enjoy superior results.
Getting the very best out of your lawn mower means making sure the blades are sharp.
If you try to mow your lawn with blunt blades, you’ll regret failing to break out the metal file. You risk giving your grass a very patchy haircut.
Replacing blades is straightforward.
Call in professional help if you can’t attend to these tasks. However you achieve it, make absolutely certain that your blades are razor sharp.
Mowing when the grass is wet is not a smart idea.
Although it’s critical to keep to a regular mowing routine, safety comes first. If you have no choice but to cut damp turf, try to use a cordless rather than your best corded electric mower.
If you must mow in the rain, you’ll find it harder going. The grass also tends to clog up on the blades.
Using a corded electric mower in the garden generally means you’ll need an extension cord. This will give you the freedom to cut far larger areas without being tethered to a power outlet.
Take great care to check that the gauge of your extension cable is man enough for the current your mower kicks out. This is an issue of both safety and optimum functionality.
Also, it pays to stick to outdoor extension cords. Your best option is a GFCI outlet. These comes with jumbo reset buttons. In the event of anything going amiss, they will trip the circuit and prevent any nasty accidents.
Considering the size of your garden and where you will need to mow is not something to leave until after purchase. The last thing you want is to spend your hard-earned cash on a mower with a cord cut too close for comfort.
Take all obstacles into account. Think about how far the extension cable will stretch and if you will have enough scope to take care of all your cutting needs.
Be honest with yourself. If a manual or cordless electric mower would better suit your needs, don’t force yourself to go corded.
You should check the wheels of your mower every month or so.
Clean it regularly and avoid letting leaves or grass clippings accumulate. Little and often saves you plenty of effort down the line.
Blade maintenance is ongoing. Replace them as necessary. Buying replacement mower blades is not expensive and essential for best cutting results.
Check with the user’s manual. You can break out a hose with some models where others are not so keen on water!
While budget and length of warranty as well as the level of customer service all come into play, the issue of size is where you want to focus your research.
For most small, regular gardens, the best corded electric mower is the smartest option. You can keep your lawn in check while doing so in the most cost-effective manner.
Either corded or cordless mowers work well with medium-sized gardens to about 7000 square feet.
If you have a much larger area of 10000 square feet or more to deal with, a cordless offering at least 45 minutes of run-time is probably your best bet.
Anything over this size and a garden or lawn tractor makes sense.
Every mower will eject the grass clippings but how about mulching and bagging?
Mulch is simply grass clippings cut down into smaller pieces. If it’s left on the lawn, it can help with fertilizing. Mulching is handy way to sidestep needing to rake after mowing.
You can also bag the mulch. Either throw it in the compost or dispose of it in line with your local regulations.
You should now have a decent overview so it’s time for our corded electric mower reviews.
Time spent at this stage can prevent money wasted on an inappropriate mower for your situation.
BestRidingLawn Mower For Hills
Hopefully, these corded electric lawn mower reviews have come in handy.
Buying the best lawn mower for the job needn’t be overwhelming. Focus on your precise cutting requirements and budget then fire away and get cutting.
If you need any guidance on any aspect of gardening, you’re always more than welcome to get in contact. We respond promptly and we’re happy to help in any way we can.
One of the drawbacks of having a large garden is what seems like endless maintenance.
A lawn is perhaps the most labor-intensive and demanding part of the yard. From making sure the grass is properly fertilized and watered through to mowing it regularly, keeping on top of the lawn is hard work.
Today, we’ll look at some weed barrier reviews to help you in the constant fight against these menacing garden invaders.
If you want your vegetables to retain all their nutrients and your flowers to look their best, the best weed barrier is a smart investment. They are not expensive and will minimize the time you need to spend manually pulling weeds.
This month, we are working on a detailed lawn care guide so you can get the very most out of your garden. For now, though, our focus is purely on those weeds and getting rid of them the easy way…
If you want to avoid using chemical weed killers, a weed barrier is a worthwhile alternative. Not everyone wants potentially dangerous chemicals leeching into their soil.
The purpose of a weed barrier is to prevent sun, air and water from reaching and nourishing the weeds. You can kill off their life source without needing to resort to chemicals.
Weed barriers generally come as lengthy rolls of fabric. Whether you choose to buy your material at the garden center or online, it needn’t cost the earth to keep those pesky weeds at bay.
Look out for dark material which better blocks the sunlight while at the same time darkens your soil. Most barriers are made from a synthetic geotextile. Some are laminated with polyethylene. Mesh allows the air and water your plants need to seep through without benefiting the weeds.
Plastic barriers are highly effective. By warming up the soil, the plants will be encouraged to grow while the weeds are efficiently strangled. UV-resistant plastic is available at a premium.
Most weed barriers will last for a year, perhaps even longer if you’re lucky and there’s not too much traffic on the lawn that might split the barrier.
Before spending your hard earned money on this equipment, take a look at a handful of reasons why it makes sense…
Although they are extremely simple products, there are a handful of things to be aware of when you are looking for the best weed barrier…
Choosing to use a weed barrier rather than weed killer is half the battle won when it comes to considering the environment.
The last thing you want is to select a harmful weed barrier so make certain you buy carefully. It’s the resilient weeds you want to kill not your plants and vegetables so make sure the fabric is suitable. Any old roll of black plastic is not good enough.
The best weed barrier should be easy to install. You don’t want to be forced to call in a contractor and face added expense.
With many barriers, all you need is a pair of scissors and some patience. Don’t get this wrong and go for something that’s a grind to set up.
Whether or not you have plants under the barrier, protecting the soil is still crucial. You want the air and water it needs to get through. This is why the fabric on the weed barrier is breathable.
The whole object is the complete destruction of weeds with no damage done to the rest of your garden.
If you are taking the time, trouble and money to get yourself a weed barrier, you don’t need a cheap piece of junk you’ll need to replace every other month.
Look for a barrier that receives positive reviews and is built to last the distance.
Every buying decision involves price. You should think not only of the bottom line but of value for money in overall terms.
A cheap barrier that falls apart and needs replacing after a matter of weeks is false economy.
Buy the best weed barrier you can afford without compromising your budget.
Now it’s time to move on to our weed barrier reviews. If you take a little time and trouble, getting the best barrier is really not so difficult.
3 x 150
4 x 50
3 x 50
6 x 300
3 x 300
If you check out any list of the best weed barriers, this offering from Scotts is always at or near the top.
When it comes to lawncare and gardening supplies, it pays to buy into a brand you trust. Scotts are a true industry heavyweight so you know you’ll be getting top quality at an affordable price.
You can buy this barrier in a number of configurations. The one we are reviewing gives you 3 x 150 feet of fabric so represents outstanding value.
This fabric from Scotts is incredibly durable. It’s 1.5 ounces in weight and has a feeling more of cloth than plastic.
Installation could not be easier. There’s no need to call in the professionals or break your back, just lie down your fabric and start kissing goodbye to the nuisance of weeds.
This barrier also works well on any patios, walkways or retaining walls so it’s truly multi-purpose.
The one thing to be aware of with this weed barrier is that it doesn’t quite let enough water through.
For a no-nonsense and affordable weed barrier that will not let you down, Scotts 25-Year Pro is a best-seller with good reason.
DeWitt have a deserved reputation for producing first-class products at very reasonable prices. This weed barrier is no exception.
This rugged fabric is rated to last 12 years. Much like Scotts 25-year material, it makes sense to focus on barriers that will last the distance.
Much more durable and heavier than much of the opposition, this makes perfect sense if you want to put down any mulch or gravel.
In terms of the fabric, this actually beats the Scotts barrier. It’s not woven and will allow all the moisture and air your plants need to pass through while suffocating the weeds. It is dense enough to prevent too much light getting through which in turn helps to kill weeds off.
This barrier is a cinch to install. The design stops the fabric from continually rolling up. It’s super-simple to cut and measures 4 x 50 feet.
If you want a really hard-hitting weed barrier without needing a bank loan, pop this great DeWitt barrier on your shortlist. It will deliver in fine style.
Another strong contender for the best weed barrier is this superb fabric from Easy Gardener.
If you are on the hunt for a cost-effective and capable barrier for the price of a couple of beers, this landscape fabric hits the spot.
The rolls are fairly light so unraveling them and installing the barrier is a piece of cake. Since it is a bare 3 feet wide, you’ll probably need some degree of overlapping if you want to treat a larger garden.
Although it feels lightweight, the fabric is surprisingly thick. It will not get ripped by stones and the right amount of water and air will make it through to the soil.
For dealing with smaller gardens or lining plant containers, this excellent barrier makes a smart budget choice if you want to see off the weeds while revitalizing your flowers and vegetables.
For anyone looking for the very best weed barrier money can buy, this awesome geotextile fabric from Mutual Industries is a must-see.
The roll is a generous 300 feet long and 6 feet wide. It’s not cheap but considering the amount of fabric you get and the quality, it’s actually not bad value at all.
Made from durable woven polyethylene, you can hold the soil in place nicely. These geotextile fabrics are also a wonderful alternative to using aggregate or sand as filters.
You can get up and running in no time with this barrier. Simply trim to fit and you’re good to go. Plain scissors will be fine. There is very little fraying which is reassuring.
As with all the best weed barriers, the mix is just right so that your soil gets all the nutrients it needs while the weeds are properly stifled.
If you have a little spare cash and you don’t mind spending out on a first-rate solution for getting rid of weeds, don’t overlook Mutual Industries.
Rounding out our weed barrier reviews is another offering from the ever-reliable DeWitt, the SBLT3300 ground cover.
For a cheap alternative to harmful herbicides, this weed barrier will not disappoint.
The air and water you need can permeate the fabric and it’s treated to be UV-resistant into the bargain.
Rated for 5 years assuming it’s in direct sunlight, you won’t need to worry about continually replacing the barrier.
Made from woven polypropylene, it’s dark enough to starve the weeds of sun without hurting your plants.
Note that when you cut the ends, it tends to fray and unravel slightly. One way to combat this is to use a lighter to singe the tattered ends.
For a heavy-duty weed barrier that will not let you down, this 3 x 300 feet roll from DeWitt might come last on our list but it punches above its weight.
We trust you’ve found our weed barrier reviews helpful in your quest for a beautifully manicured lawn.
While keeping weeds away can be tiresome, getting the best weed barrier certainly makes life easier.
Feel free to reach out with any queries or feedback. You are always welcome to share our articles on your social media.
Now banish those weeds!