Author Archives: charity


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The motor on my lawn mower died. Is there somewhere I can take it to have it recycled?


All too often I hear people say, “My lawn mower died. I guess I need to get a new one.” Every year, we pull out our lawn mowers, change the spark plug, the air filter, and the fuel filter. But when the motor dies, most people seem to think they need to throw away the whole machine. Pulling the motor off your old mower and putting a new one on is not that difficult although you may want to get a small engine shop to insure all the belts, levers, and attachments are removed and reinstalled correctly. A replacement motor for most lawn mowers can be bought for about $200.00. So before you spend several hundred dollars on a new lawn mower, consider spending a couple hundred on a new motor. If your lawn mower is finished, (or any other piece of lawn or garden equipment) you can bring it…

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I’m planning to put wood mulch or wood chips in my shrub beds. How can I do this to make sure that weeds don’t come through?


Wood chips, wood mulch, and decorative stone are a great way to enhance your landscape, particularly where it’s difficult or impossible to grow grass. I can’t tell you how often we see decorative rock or wood mulch that is not properly installed. In order to keep weeds and grass from growing through wood mulch alone, the mulch needs to be at least 10cm thick if it is a heavy mulch, and 16cm thick for lighter mulches. Keep in mind that both light and heavy mulches will settle by as much as 20%. New mulch should be added after one year to insure the proper depth is maintained. If you prefer not to use such a large volume of wood mulch, a weed barrier may be used. Heavy duty weed barrier is available at most garden centres. It comes in rolls either four feet or five feet wide. Simply measure the…

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When I mow my lawn or walk across it I see hundreds of little green bugs jumping out of the grass. What are they? Should I be concerned?

They’re called leafhoppers. Yes, that is the incredibly scientific name that lawn care experts have come up with for a small green bug that hops from leaf to leaf, or should I say blade to blade. Maybe we should rename them bladehoppers. Up close they’re about the size of a grain of rice. Leafhoppers are always present in your lawn. They suck the juices out of the grass blades. Damage is usually visible as a small yellow spot in the middle of the blade. They also excrete a sap like substance called honeydew which sometimes appears as a shiny spot on the blade. Leafhoppers do very little damage. A huge infestation might give your lawn a slightly pale appearance. Since the damage is only short term and superficial, and such large infestations are very short lived, treatment is not recommended. Leafhoppers overwinter in debris and thatch and emerge in mid spring….

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I have a two foot strip of dead lawn all the way around the foundation of my house. I’ve tried everything to get it to grow but nothing seems to work. The rest of my lawn looks great. What’s happening around my foundation?


Without having seen your house I know that the exterior is stucco. Psychic power? I wouldn’t be in lawn care if I was psychic. Every stucco home built in Manitoba shares the same problem. Stucco contains lime. Over time, the lime in the stucco gets washed down the side of your home and into the soil around the foundation. Lime is alkaline, meaning it raises the pH in the soil. Your lawn requires a pH of 6.5 to 7.0 to remain healthy. Lawn fertilizers are slightly acidic. When you apply fertilizer (an acid) to your lawn, you change the pH of the soil which results in a deep green colour. Add too much fertilizer (or acid) and you can unintentionally “burn” your lawn. Lime works in the opposite manner. As the lime washes off the stucco on the walls of your house, and into the soil around the foundation, it…

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I’m installing a new lawn. Which is better, peat based sod or mineral based sod?


The answer to this question depends on the intended purpose of the lawn. Peat based sod is for what I call the “classy” lawn or the “look but don’t touch” lawn. Peat based lawns are very high maintenance. They require vigilance and uninterrupted care. The benefits of a peat lawn is that it will achieve much darker colour than mineral based lawns. Peat based lawns will also achieve a much thicker, pillowy soft density. The drawbacks to a peat lawn is that they dry out very quickly. Two or three days of thirty degree heat will quickly stress the lawn. Peat lawns are also somewhat more susceptible to insect problems and are distinctively more susceptible to disease. Peat lawns also suffer quickly under even light or medium traffic. When properly cared for, peat based lawns look absolutely amazing; the key word being “look”. Just don’t touch. If you have kids…

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My lawn suffered a lot of winter kill this year. Is there anything I can do to help my lawn recover and how can I keep this from happening?

Winter kill was extremely prevalent this spring. Several factors contribute to winter kill. The most likely cause of most winterkill this year was last years dry conditions. Although we did get some moisture last fall, it didn’t come any where close to making up for what the ground was missing. Yes, some people had astronomical water bills and still got winter kill, but most people just don’t realize how much of that water burned off before it penetrated any further than two or three inches down, or how tremendously shortchanged we were by Mother Nature we were. Take a parched lawn. Freeze it. Then let 100 centimetres of snow melt over 4 weeks, then ask it to go through a growth spurt. Only the strongest plants are going to survive the ordeal. How fast the snow melts, how many times the meltwater under the snow on your lawn freezes and…

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