LIVING MAGAZINES


Safely Mowing An Overgrown Lawn

By Roger Everett 

There are many reasons why lawns are left to become overgrown, the property may have been left vacant for a long period of time, the property may be rented and the gardens not cared about by either the owner or the tenant, a busy lifestyle may just push our lawn care routines so low to the bottom of our list of priorities that we realize one day we have a real problem with an unsightly overgrown yard that now needs to be dealt with.

No matter the reason why our turf may have become overgrown, it's now time to deal with the problem and to bring our lawns back into full health and control once more. However, mowing an overgrown lawn can bring risk of damage to the lawn if we're not careful in how we go about cutting back the excess growth, as mowing an overgrown lawn can actually result in severely damaging the lawn or perhaps even killing the lawn if the mowing is not done correctly.

Why Mowing An Overgrown Lawn Can Cause Damage

All growth of lawns comes from a part of the grass called a crown. It is from these crowns which spring forth new runners in warm season grasses, as well as new lawn leaf material in all grasses. If these crowns are damaged or removed during lawn mowing then it becomes impossible for new lawn growth to occur at all, which in turn can kill the grass in any affected turf areas where this occurs.

In cool season grasses, if we kill the crowns the entire affected area of turf will also die as a result. However for some warm season grasses such as Zoysia and Bermuda grasses, these lawn types also have underground runners which can repair a lawn where the above surface lawn has been killed or had its crowns removed with lawn mowing. Though it is not a guarantee that all warm season lawns will repair when they are severely damaged.

The problem we have with overgrown turf is that these crowns can raise far higher above the soil level whenever the lawn becomes overgrown. Then when we mow the overgrown lawn at our regular lawn mowing heights, we can in fact be removing the now raised crowns in the lawn mowing process, thus severely damaging or even killing the lawn in the affected area where this has occurred.

We therefore need to adjust our mowing practice whenever we are tackling an overgrown lawn to bring it back into an orderly state.

Mowing An Overgrown Lawn Safely

If we are going to begin to mow our yards more frequently from now on, then the very best solution for us in managing an overgrown grass is to slowly reduce lawn mowing heights over time. Not taking too much leaf material off in the first lawn mowing, and then perhaps slowly reducing lawn mowing heights at every third service, until slowly we get our lawns back to their optimal mowing heights.

This method is the safest of all, and while it does take some time to bring our lawns back to their best appearance, it will never risk damaging the turf. What is happening in this process is two-fold: firstly we are never removing these crowns while lawn mowing, so the grass doesn't die off; secondly, as the turf is slowly being lowered over time, the turf will adjust itself to this new growing environment by continuously growing all its new crowns at the lower heights that we have introduced. Slowly, over time, we have safely lowered the lawn height and safely trained the lawn to grow all new crowns lower and closer to the soil level where they belong.

Mowing An Overgrown Lawn In A Single Lawn Mowing

As already discussed, this will be safer to do with a warm season lawn than with a cool season lawn, so the risk and results of this remain with the lawn owner or whomever is mowing the overgrown lawn.

If this is a single lawn mowing meant to quickly tidy up an overgrown lawn, then it would also be expected that we wouldn't want to kill the lawn in the process. Therefore the best method of mowing an overgrown lawn which is not going to be regularly mowed thereafter would be to mow the lawn at the highest height possible which is acceptable to the lawn owner.

By mowing at this higher height we are doing our very best not to be damaging or removing too many grass crowns during the lawn mowing process, therefore this will give us our best result to maintain a lawn which remains alive and in the best possible health after this lawn mowing. While the lawn will not look at its best, it is the safest possible option for us in this situation and to ensure the ongoing survival of the lawn.

Final Notes About Mowing Long Grass

There are often hidden obstacles in long overgrown grass, this could be anything from rocks, toys, glass, tools, or any manner of things. Such objects could become dangerous if hit with lawn mower blades, creating a projectile which risks damage to people or property. Therefore all long grass areas should be carefully checked prior to any lawn mowing taking place.

Finally, whenever we remove a lot of grass leaf material with a single mowing, we are going to be cutting into the brown thatch layer of the turf, and the longer the lawn becomes, so too will the thatch layer increase in height also. Therefore we should expect a browning off on the grass wherever a lot of green leaf has been removed at once. As long as the lawn is properly watered and cared for after the lawn mowing, this thatch layer should decrease over a short period of time and new green leaf grown by the lawn.

Roger Everett has been a professional operating in the lawn maintenance industry since 2002, and now shares his experience, as well as his love and passion for home turf with others at his dedicated Saint Augustine grass lawn care tips website. Roger covers most lawn care topics such as mulch mowing lawns, and more specialized turf subjects including how to control Saint Augustine lawn diseases. For more lawn care articles similar to this one, please visit The Saint Augustine Lawn Care Site.


Valuable Tips for Creating Beautiful Garden Landscapes

By Bob Tom

When you bring a new plant from a nursery to plant in your garden you become a designer who designs the garden landscape that you have. If you want to be a great designer, you need to be aware of certain aspects so that you can have the best landscape.

You may have noticed that some gardens have an organized look while others, having the finest plant collection, look haphazard. The basic reason for this is because the owner or the landscape designer has not planned the future of the garden properly. The following tips will help you to have among the best garden landscapes that can be had.

The following good tips will help you to have a garden which will stand out from other gardens and will also keep you from the headache of knowing what to do.

Plan the garden properly

The landscape of the garden must be planned in such a manner that it looks beautiful now while also having the future in mind. You will find it is best to plant your precious collection of plants in such a manner that there is enough space when in future you require a mower, or the stump grinder, to enter for building projects for your porch or the patio..

If this planning is not done now, then in future you may have to throw away your precious plants in order to have space for allowing movement of such equipment.

Have a focal point

The focal point of your garden must be such that it attracts people and engages their attention when roaming in your garden. It should be different than others but not out-of-place. You can have an antique garden bench as the focal point but don't use an object which is not related to the garden. A water body or an oak tree can be a great focal point which will give the garden landscape a new dimension.

Curves must be checked

It is good to have curved pathways or flower beds in a garden, but you must not overdo them. It must be kept simple so that the geometric design that you have incorporated in the landscaping stands out. If you use those shapes too often it will become common and no one will notice them.

Have movement in the garden

A garden landscape that does not have movement is like a painting. Paintings are good on the walls but in a garden, you must have movement so that you can bring life and create interest in your garden.

You may be wondering how to have movement. It is quite easy to have such movement in your garden by adding swaying ornamental grass or flowers which attract birds and butterflies and this will help to have the desired movement in your garden.

Highlight your house

The landscaping design that you have in your garden must match with the house that you have. If you have a house that does not have much architectural designs, then you can benefit by having the edges softened by the garden that you have.

You must keep in mind while matching your garden with the house is that you must not overdo it. It must not be such that your house is completely hidden by the garden trees that you have. The best of garden landscaping is that which will help to highlight the smallest of architectural features that your house has.

Think completely differently

When you are designing the landscaping of your garden you must think completely differently from the one that you now have. For example, if you have overgrown shrubbery don't think that you have to keep it like that. By removing it you may be astonished to find a sunny sport which can be ideal for a rose bed. So, don't plan your landscaping according to the present situation but think differently and you will find new possibilities to have an even better landscape.

Choose plants according to locations

When you select a plant base for a particular spot in your garden, consider the growth rate and the final size it will be. If you do not base your plant selection on these considerations, then the money you spend will not lead to overall beautification but, in the end, you will have to spend more money for adjustments.

If you think that having a cheap plant which grows fast you are gaining much you are thinking wrongly. The money you will spend later for pruning and other maintenance will eat up your initial savings. So, have a purposeful selection of garden trees and place them properly.

Let the garden show the way

The design of the garden should lead visitors to your house. You don't want visitors losing their way so the garden must show the way to the house. The curved pathway or the big pots that you place need to say, "Hi, this is the way that you need to go."

Limited number of species

If you have a garden don't feel pressured to have every plant species that is available. Select those species which will help you to have a garden which is easier to maintain and gives it a uniform look. Select the species according to seasons so that you can have flowers in your garden all throughout the year and also add to the biodiversity that you have in your garden.

Space plants properly

This is of utmost importance because it determines how your beloved garden will survive. Having proper spacing of plants ensures having the right air flow required for the survival of the plants and avoids having fungal insect infection. You may feel that there are vacant places in the garden. Yes, there will be and you can easily fill those spaces by the proper use, and positioning, of annuals.

Control pests in your garden

Most of all, be sure that your garden is enjoyable and free of pests. Bugs are bad enough in the summer months already. When you add plants, things quickly get worse. Having plants close to your house can be the first step to having pests trail into your home. To prevent pesky bugs from taking over your home, a pest management expert suggests that you spray for bugs, keep the grass short, and grow plants that repel bugs such as basil, lavender, mint, or rosemary. These tips will safely keep your garden pest free and enjoyable all summer long.

So, follow these tips and have a garden landscape which everyone will admire and envy.

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How To Properly Dispose Of Paint And Consequences For Not Doing It Correctly

By Stewart Gillham 

The use of heavy metals in paint has raised concerns due to their toxicity at high levels of exposure and since they build up in the food chain.

Another harmful material that can be found in paint is lead. Lead is normally added to paint to speed drying, increase durability, retain a fresh appearance, and resist moisture that causes corrosion. Paint with significant lead content is still used in the industry and by the military. For example, leaded paint is sometimes used to paint roadways and parking lot lines. Lead, a poisonous metal, can damage nerve connections (especially in young children) and cause blood and brain disorders. Because of lead's low reactivity and solubility, lead poisoning usually only occurs in cases when it is dispersed, such as when sanding lead-based paint prior to repainting.

Primer paint containing hexavalent chromium is still widely used for aerospace and automobile refinishing applications, too. Zinc chromate has been used as a pigment for artists' paint, known as zinc yellow or yellow 36. It is highly toxic and fortunately now rarely used.

Antifouling paint (or bottom paint) is used to protect the hulls of boats from fouling by marine organisms. Antifouling paint protects the surface from corrosion and prevents drag on the ship from any build-up of marine organisms. These paints have contained organotin compounds such as tributyltin, which are considered to be toxic chemicals with negative effects on humans and the environment. Tributyltin compounds are moderately to highly persistent organic pollutants that bioconcentrate up the marine predators' food chain. One common example is it leaching from marine paints into the aquatic environment, causing irreversible damage to the aquatic life. Tributyltin has also been linked to obesity in humans, as it triggers genes that cause the growth of fat cells.

The label of an oil-based paint will say "oil-based" or "alkyd," or it will instruct you to clean brushes with mineral spirits or turpentine. Paints of this type are toxic and they can cause great damage to the environment (including humans and animals) if not disposed of properly.

Latex or water-based paint, on the other hand, is not consider hazardous waste and it can enjoy many reincarnations after its initial use. Latex paints are those that clean up with soap and water. They're very common for both interior and exterior painting. However, even this type of panit needs to be proper disposed of or recycled. Specifically, it is not advisable to pour latex paint into drains, onto the ground, or into creeks, streams or rivers. Disposing of paint this way introduces contaminants into the air, soil and ground water that can eventually work their way into the food chain.

When considering how to dispose of large quantities of unused paint, always ask for professional advice. Any reputable hazardous waste disposal service will be able to assist you.

Here are some measures you can take to reduce environmental impact of you paint consume.

1. Choose a low VOCs paint if possible

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are gases emitted by various solids or liquids, many of which have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Solvents in traditional paints often contain high quantities of VOCs. Low VOC paints can improve indoor air quality and reduce urban smog. The beneficial characteristics of such paints include low odour, clean air, and safer technology, as well as excellent durability and a washable finish. Low-VOC paint types include latex (water-based), recycled latex (water-based), acrylic, and milk paint.

The labels of paint cans can be checked for the following information:

To be considered low-VOC, the paint should contain <50 g/l of VOC.

To be considered zero-VOC, the paint should contain <5 g/l of VOC.

Solid content usually ranges from 25-45%, higher solid percentages indicate less VOCs

2. Avoid overbuying paint

Each year, 10 percent of the paint sold in the UK is thrown simply because too much has been purchased for every single project. You can avoid that mistake by using an o paint calculator to help you pinpoint how much paint your project really needs.

3. Reuse your paint

If stored properly, paint will last for years. In order to store it properly you should

- Cover the opening of the paint can with plastic wrap.

- Put the lid on securely and make sure it doesn't leak.

- Turn the can upside down to allow the paint to create its own seal.

- Store the can upside down in a place that's safe from freezing and out of reach of children and pets.

4. Recycle your unused paint

The best way to handle leftover paint (after avoiding over buying) is finding someone else who can reuse your leftovers. Try to be imaginative-local councils, schools, universities and art academies, they may all be happy to use some of your old paint for their projects.

Unused paint an also be recycled it to make low-quality paint. Latex sludge can be retrieved and used as fillers in other industrial products. Waste solvents can be recovered and used as fuels for other industries. A clean paint container can be reused or sent to the local landfill.

If your large quantity of paint can't be reused or recycle, then it's a good idea to call a professional chemical waste disposal service.

All Waste Matters can offer your company the complete chemical waste disposal service and from collection to disposal, you can rest assured your waste is being handled safely and in-keeping with the latest legislation.

ALL WASTE MATTERS ARE A WASTE DISPOSAL COMPANY BASED IN THE UK. AS A LEADING WASTE MANAGEMENT COMPANY WE DEAL IN HAZARDOUS WASTE DISPOSAL, PAINT DISPOSAL, PRECIOUS METAL REFINING AND CHEMICAL WASTE DISPOSAL UK. https://www.allwastematters.co.uk/waste-paint-disposal/



A Comprehensive Review of the Michelin Crossclimate Tire

BY DALE HARRIS

Spring is here. As the season changes, the demands on your tires are quite different. It is not unusual in some parts of the country to have a set of summer tires and a separate set of winter tires.

Why is that? In dry hot weather, tires made from softer compounds are what give it grip and stickiness on the road. However, in very cold weather these compounds harden and lose their sticking properties.

Changing tires is like changing clothes based on the season. You wouldn’t wear your summer clothes on a winters day and think everything was OK. With that in mind is it possible to have an all-season tire?

Yes, there is no shortage of tires marketed as all-season. Yet, within the car industry, they are sometimes referred to as ‘no-season.’ Simply because they don’t seem to be that useful in any season.

However, the Michelin CrossClimate claims to be a hybrid tire. That is a tire suitable for most seasons and conditions except snowfall that would need a dedicated winter tire.

So what’s the deal? Check out this comprehensive review.

Tires – Basic Principles

Before getting into the pros and cons of all-season tires and whether they are really worth it or not. It is helpful to understand some of the basic principles of tire design and makeup.

Rubber Compound

The rubber compound chosen will depend on the conditions in which the tire must perform. In hot weather, the compound must be sufficiently hard so that as it heats up it, does not breakdown and wear too fast.

As a rule summer tires are made from harder compounds. Of course, as the temperatures drop, these harder rubbers become even stiffer. That means their overall contact with the ground is reduced. This reduces the effectiveness of the tire to bring the vehicle to a stop during breaking.

In contrast, winter tires have a high rubber content and are softer. That means they are softer and more supple in colder weather. This gives better contact with the ground.

Tread Depth and Structure

Winter tires have deep treads that cut into snow and slushy surfaces to improve grip and stability on the road. Winter tires also have many small slices or grooves in the surface of the tread block. These are called sipes.

Their function is to create greater grip and to disperse water away from the contact surface of the tire so that the vehicle does not aquaplane.

Summer tires have fewer sipes but try to achieve the same basic idea by using specially designed treads. This helps water dispersal and reduce aquaplaning but does not provide the same level of grip as the water tire on snow and slush.

Tread Design

Summer tires employ a more simply tread design. The tread usually goes in the same direction and provides excellent contact with the road surface. This leads to shorter stopping distances when compared with tread designs for winter tires.

Winter tires have deeper tread patterns that allow snow to enter and become compacted. This is because of snow grips snow. Once the snow is within the tire, it will have better traction than just being in contact with the rubber.

Winter tread patterns are more complex-looking and angular to give better side to side grip so as to stop sliding. All-season tires attempt to draw on different aspects of these designs and in doing so tend to reduce the effectiveness of the tire in any one season.

Michelin CrossClimate – How Does It Measure Up?

Follow the principles above and see how the design and materials of this tire can compare with the overall characteristics you would expect of a winter or summer tire.

Rubber Compound

The Michelin CrossClimate is made from a specially designed rubber compound. The physical properties of this compound have enabled it to pass the traction tests needed to receive the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol (3PMSF).

That means it qualifies as a winter tire even though it will not perform on par with a dedicated winter tire in the worse conditions. If for example, you are driving a very expensive BMW, you will need to give careful consideration to the use of seasonal tires.

Tread Depth and Structure

An excellent innovation in this tire is the integration of 3-D self-locking sipes. This is a really clever design.

At a basic level, the design of the sipe is such that the surface of the sipe is below the tread and can change its shape as the tire is flexed and pressured under certain conditions.

This means the sipes are dynamic to some degree. In the worse conditions their topological shape changes to become more sipe-like and effective in gripping during snow and slush. In better weather, the sipes retain a more closed structure synonymous with summer tire designs.

As clever as these designs are if you are driving a heavy vehicle like a truck, you will need to stick with winter tires if you drive in harsh winter conditions.

Tread Design

The tread design is both simple and complex. The design is not as open as you would expect to see on a summer tire. The tread pattern has a beveled design that is highly directional.

This creates uniformity but also stability in more adverse conditions. The shoulders are open to help evacuate water in wet conditions. This has given the tire one of the shortest braking distances in wet conditions during industry tests.

If you want to but these type of tires at the best prices then think about using a black circles discount code to save money.

Michelin CrossClimate – Final Word

In this article, you have read about the principles of tire design and how the Michelin CrossClimate has very cleverly integrated aspects of those designs into one tire.

As long as you do not live in a part of the country with extreme winter conditions that require a dedicated tire, you will likely enjoy using this new all-season tire. That is especially helpful if you live in a place where the weather is so variable.







2018 SOFTWARE


Top Money-Saving Tips For Your Garden

By Andrew Scott

If you need to update your current garden furniture or are planning to buy some for next year, here are some great ways you can save some cash while also adding furniture to your porch or patio this summer.

Purchase Garden Fundamentals Out Of Season

Garden furniture is a seasonal business and so buying out of season will usually see lower costs. Buy garden furniture, BBQ's and grills toward the end of the summer months to save a lot of money. Most retailers offer end of season rebates, so by holding off on those enormous buys, you could grab yourself a fantastic deal.

Separate Your Perennials

Dig out your wide-covering and expansive perennials and separate them from the roots using a spade or fork - doing this will give you a few small plants which you would then be able to give to friends or move to another piece of the garden. Reusing and altering the plants you already have, instead of buying new things will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Put Your Money Into Best Buy Items

The consumer website 'Which?' Tests a scope of garden items for you, to ensure that you can spend your money on the right things. However, you don't need to just listen to internet reviews and you don't just need to spend loads of money to get decent items. Lawnmowers can range wildly in price: on Amazon, for example, you can find one for £50 or one for £900, but the £50 still has over 4.5 stars out of 5 from over 400 reviews. A small amount of research on your part will yield the best results.

Develop From Seed

Planting seeds as opposed to purchasing more develop plants will spare up loads of money. Often times, a bag of seeds will contain more than if needed, so why not share them, with a friend or loved one who also enjoys horticulture? A bag of 10,000 Poppy Seeds, for example could cost you less than £2.00, whereas a set of three fully-grown Poppy plants can be as much as £20. You don't need to be a math whizz to see the benefits.

Reuse Your Left Over Fertilizer

Reusing last year's will not be a terrible plan, but it certainly won't be the 100% most effective way of helping your plants. So, do you throw it out? Certainly not! Just cut it with a newer bag and use that to get great results without wasting last year's fertilizer. That is, of course, unless it's a wet fertilizer or has been exposed to the wet. In which case it will have negative impacts and you should just throw it on your compost pile instead.

Update Your Furniture

To switch up your garden decor, you don't need to buy a totally new garden furniture set. Instead, check whether you can work with what you have and maybe update it. If your garden set is made out of metal, you can buy shower paint, mainly intended for outdoor furniture, to revitalize the look. If you have porch furniture that is made out of wood, you can recolor it an alternate shading to give it a different look.

Another excellent method to give your garden furniture a second life is by buying new cushions and pads for your porch furniture. It is a great deal less expensive to update just your porch cushions and pillows than it is to get an altogether new set.

Shop At The End Of Summer

Finally, and admittedly similar to buying out of season, be sure to shop just at the close of summer, when shops know the garden furniture will have a sharp decline in purchases. The prices will drop too, as the shops try to get rid of their excess stock and make way for the winter collection., allowing you to swoop in a grab some great deals.

Finally, it must be kept in mind that styling your garden furniture is a creative task. Creating an effective and balanced layout is the key to enhancing the patina and beauty of your oak furniture.





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