Killing Weeds in a Patio

Killing Weeds in a Patio

Killing weeds in a patio can be accomplished quickly and easily.

The following methods are non-selective, which means they will kill any plant they come into contact with. This includes grass and plants, which also often pop up between patio stones.

Just be careful around the edges of the patio so that you don’t accidentally kill the bordering lawn or landscaping.

  1. Nonselective herbicide. Roundup is the most familiar brand name product. Its main ingredient is glyphosate. This is the choice of landscapers because it is quick and efficient.
  2. Boiling Water. Just pour boiling water onto your patio. It will kill all weeds, grass, and garden plants. This won’t harm people, pets, or the environment—as long as you don’t burn yourself in the process.
  3. Vinegar. This is acetic acid, a very effective weed killer. Whether you use the vinegar you have in the pantry or buy it at a garden center, the result is the same. Garden centers often contain weed control products that are a combination of vinegar and lemon juice, rather than straight vinegar.

Killing Weeds

Note: I do not recommend pulling weeds out by hand, unless there are very few. It’s too cumbersome.

Killing weeds is never a one shot deal. Landscapers spray Roundup several times a year on patios, walkways, sidewalks, gravel driveways, and in plant beds. Nature is persistent. It will overtake your house if you neglect maintenance.

If you don’t have time to do it yourself, have a local lawn maintenance company do it. You can sign up online for a free estimate.

How to Kill Crabgrass in Lawns

How to Kill Crabgrass in Lawns

Crabgrass is universally hated by anyone who wants a nice lawn. The best ways to kill crabgrass in lawns are with chemicals and practicing proper lawn maintenance.

Description of Crabgrass

Crabgrass has coarse, light green leaves on heavy, thick stems that form a compact circle at ground level.

Crabgrass multiplies by stems rooting at the lower nodes and by seeds. The seeds dropped the previous fall sprout to form new plants in the late spring to early summer. It grows fast until the purplish, seed head forms in summer or early fall.

Control of Crabgrass

Crabgrass requires high light-intensity. Once established, it is very hardy. It will tolerate high temperatures, compacted soils, and dry soils better than most turf grasses.

Although crabgrass can appear throughout your lawn, it is most commonly found along cobblestone, asphalt driveways, and sidewalks. These areas are hot zones because stone and concrete heat up rapidly in the summer sun.

Crabgrass can be controlled with pre-emergent herbicide, post-emergent herbicide, and with proper lawn maintenance.

Control of Crabgrass

1. Pre-Emergent Herbicide

Preemergent weed control must be applied in the spring before seedlings appear. The best timing is usually when forsynthias finish flowering in late April.

Herbicides that work best contain benefin, bensulide, DCPA, oxadiazon, pendimethalin, or siduron.

Note: Don’t expect the use of pre-emergent herbicides to be a foolproof method. Every summer, I still need to use a post emergent to deal with crabgrass.

2. Post Emergent Herbicide

For postemergence control, use MSMA or MAMA. More than one application is often required.

If you get tired of trying to kill crabgrass in lawns or don’t want to be exposed to pesticides, have a local lawn treatment company do it. I like how you can sign up online for a free estimate.

Post Emergent Herbicide

3. Proper Lawn Maintenance

Since crabgrass thrives on patchy, sparse turf. So reduce the need to kill crabgrass in lawns with these lawn maintenance tips.

  1. Mow high and mow often. Mowing high means keeping your grass on the longer side of its optimal height. This keeps the soil cooler and provides shade that restricts the growth of annual weeds. Weed seeds on the soil surface need the heat of the sun to flourish. Scalping your lawn is an open invitation for weeds. Second, once weeds have already invaded your lawn, frequent mowing will keep them in check. A weed can’t form seedheads when its topmost growth keeps getting lopped off.
  2. Fertilize at the correct times. The goal is to feed your lawn, not your weeds. Cool season grasses should be fertilized in early spring and late fall. Fertilizing cool season grasses in the heat of the summer will only promote more weeds. Warm season grasses should be fertilized at the height of their growth period in the summer. Avoid feeding in the cooler spring or summer when the weeds are likely to emerge.
  3. Water deeply and infrequently. There are weed seeds hiding out in your lawn just waiting for the right conditions to emerge. Those seeds grow best when kept damp with light frequent watering.
  4. Reseed in the Fall. The fall is the best time to reseed for several reasons. Grass has nine months to get its roots deep and to get more established before facing the summer heat. It has a better chance surviving than grass planted in the spring. In the North, crabgrass and other weeds complete their life cycles in the fall and die out. So they aren’t there to compete with the new seedlings for space, water, and soil nutrients.

Reviews: John Deere Zero Turn Mowers

Reviews John Deere Zero Turn Mowers

The John Deere zero turn mowers include the residential EZtrak Series and the commercial grade Z-Trak mowers. While John Deere is known for its long history of producing quality farm equipment, they are relative newcomers to the commercial turf equipment industry.

So, do their zero turn riders deserve the same high quality reputation?

Share your rant or rave below. To read other visitor reviews, scroll down or click here.

John Deere Zero Turn Mowers

What do you think of the John Deere ZTR’s?

Be honest and tell us about your experience with this brand mower. Compare it to other ZTR’s. And tell us if you a landscaper, mechanic, dealer, homeowner, etc.

Hustler ZTR Mower: Review of Super Z

Hustler ZTR Mower Review of Super Z

The Hustler ZTR Mower (Super Z) was compared to other top zero turn riders in the following categories…

Hustler ZTR Mower

Hustler completely redesigned its Super Z making it bigger, heavier, and more durable.

Cut: Rating A-

The new VX 4 deck is a big improvement over the XR7. It has a very good vacuum, clean cut, and a smooth finish. If Hustler had used this deck 6 years ago, there would be a lot more Super Z’s cutting grass.

Durability: Rating A-

This should be an A because Hustler really has done its part. However, it loses 1/2 a grade due to the lack of engine options. The big block Kawasaki’s have had their share of issues. Engine aside, this machine is built like a tank. The Hydros are an industry first and I’m expecting great things from it.

Handling and Balance: Rating A-

This mower has power, torque, and is responsive. It is a bigger and heavier machine than its predecessor, which needs to be considered on smaller properties.

I recommend the Flex fork on higher cutting height applications. If you are mowing under 3 inches, expect some dipping and scalping, unless much care is taken when stopping and turning.

Available Accessories: Rating B+

This Hustler ZTR mower has an acceptable line of accessories. Mulch kit is good and reasonably priced at around $100.

The Bac-Vac system is a good collection system that allows the operator to dump from the seat. The only problem with the Bac-Vac is using it on a deck bigger than 52”. With a capacity of only 9 bushels, a 60” deck fills the collection system too fast. An easy remedy would be to increase the vac’s capacity like Scag’s 16 bushels and Exmark’s 13.5 bushel capacity. However, Hustler does not recognize this as a shortcoming.

Maintenance and Ingenuity: Rating A

This mower is a completely redesigned machine and unique compared to other ZTR’s. The only negative I see is size and weight. Like Scag’s Turf Tiger, the New Super Z is big and heavy.

Hustler ZTR Mowers on Ebay

Hustler ZTR Mowers on Ebay

Here are the Hustler zero turn mowers that are currently listed for sale on Ebay. I’ve found some great deals there. And I’ve sold a ton of old equipment through it.

If you aren’t already a member of eBay, you need to go to the registration page before you can bid, buy, or sell anything.

How to Lay Sod

How to Lay Sod

These 10 steps on how to lay sod will make your lawn an instant showpiece of the neighborhood.

  1. Prepare soil. Clean site of weeds and stones. Add organic matter. Apply a starter fertilizer. Rake soil bed smooth and level. The prepared bed should be an inch lower than it would be for a seeded lawn. Since sod comes with its own soil, this increased depth will ensure the new lawn will be even with walkways.
  2. Buy sod. The sod will arrive piled on pallets in rolled or folded strips with the soil side exposed. The strips are usually 1 to 2 feet wide and 4 to 10 feet long. Each roll typically costs between $3-6 per roll. The grass should be at least 2 inches long and the same green color. The underlying soil should be dark and moist, 1 inch thick, and show dense healthy roots.
  3. Lay sod as soon as possible after harvest. Store in shade. Keep it rolled and moist until ready to use it. If left in stacks for more than 24 hours in warm weather, it can die.
  4. Lay first row out following a straight line. The line may be a sidewalk, or string pulled taut between stakes. Unroll gently.
  5. Start second strip so its end neatly abuts the first.
  6. Lay subsequent rows in a staggered pattern. The end seams on one row should fall in the center of the previous row. Fill in gaps with loose soil.
  7. On slopes, lay sod perpendicular to slope. This prevents it from sliding when watering. If slope is very steep, use stakes to keep sod in place. Use 2 to 4 stakes per roll.
  8. Cut the sod to fit irregular spaces. Use a heavy-duty knife or small hatchet.
  9. Pat down the sod (or use a roller) to establish good root contact with the soil. Air pockets can cause the sod to dry out and die. Do not stand on newly planted sod. If necessary, stand on a board to help distribute your weight.
  10. Deeply water the lawn often. Pay attention to the seams between the sod and edges along walkways/driveways because they dry out quickly. Water everyday for the first three weeks. Then every other day for the next three weeks. Although books tell you to only water twice a week, this is not enough!**Note: In the past, I’ve had beautiful new sod lawns die because customers do not water them enough. Now, I refuse to install sod for customers unless they have sprinkler systems because I don’t trust them to water adequately.

How to Lay Sod.

Once you’ve mastered how to lay sod, make sure you protect your investment with a diligent chemical program. If you don’t have time to do it yourself, have a local lawn treatment company do it. You can sign up online for a free estimate.

How to Kill Sidewalk Weeds

How to Kill Sidewalk Weeds

The best way I know how to kill sidewalk weeds is to spot spray with a nonselective herbicide. It will take a week to shrivel up and die. Eventually it will disintegrate.

Landscapers choose to week wack any dead remains to the ground. Some homeowners use a shovel to scrape out the remains.

NonSelective Herbicide

The term nonselective herbicide means it kills any plant it touches. Garden centers sell nonselective herbicides under many brand names. The most common brand name is Roundup, whose main ingredient is glyphosphate. This chemical causes weeds to stop producing proteins and they starve to death in 7 to 10 days.

Manually Pulling out Weeds

Word of Caution

A nonselective herbicide doesn’t discriminate which plants it kills. So be very careful spraying close to the bordering lawn or desired garden plants. If you are nervous about spraying too close to the lawn or landscaping, make sure you shield what you want to protect. Use a newspaper as a drape.

Do NOT spray on a windy day.

These chemicals are most effective when the temperature is over 70 degrees Farenheit.

 

Manually Pulling out Weeds

I do NOT recommend using your two hands to pull out weeds. This is too labor intensive. Not to mention, it is difficult to pull out the all the roots. That means the same weed will keep coming back.

Boiling Water Kills Weeds

If you don’t want to spend the money on weed control, boiling water will do the job. It’s as simple as it sounds. Boiling water acts as a nonselective herbicide since it damages any plant it contacts. Use common sense and don’t do this if you fear it might touch the bordering lawn and/or landscaping.

This is method of weed control also won’t harm people, pets, or the environment—as long as you don’t burn yourself in the process.

Boiling Water Kills Weeds

Never Ending Battle

Expect the need to kill sidewalk weeds more than once. Landscapers spray Roundup several times a year on patios, walkways, sidewalks, gravel driveways, and in plant beds. Nature is persistent. So stock up on weed control.

Exmark Laser Z Mower Review

Exmark Laser Z Mower Review

The Exmark Laser Z was compared to the other top zero turn riders in the following categories…

Exmark Laser Z Mower

Cut Quality: Rating B+

The Triton deck was introduced in 2006. It has gotten mixed reviews. It cuts very well in thick, lush grass. However, in weedy, sparse grass, the cut is mediocre. In 2007, Exmark raised the blade tip speed from 16,500 to 18,500. Most complaints on the Triton have been in the Northeast.

The Ultra Cut deck is still available on the AS Model. This deck delivers an excellent clean cut and superb mulching job.

Durability: Rating B+

It is a little lighter than the others, but still tough. Rarely breaks down. There are no issues to mention. All bugs seemed to have been worked out.

Handling and Balance: Rating A-

The hydraulics are very smooth, responsive, and consistent. Balances very well. Turns are smooth. Tearing turf is not a problem with experienced operators.

Exmark has since upgraded their hydro pumps from 10cc to 12cc, which gives a slightly faster ground speed.

The Laser Z with the Triton deck is a couple inches longer, which doesn’t affect manuverablility. This is something to keep in mind for trailer space.

Available Accessories: Rating A

Exmark makes a wide variety of accessories from mulch kits (Micromulch) to vacuums systems (Ultra Vac). Their accessories are well thought out and quite durable.

Maintenance and Ingenuity: Rating B+

Exmark’s improvements are constant, but subtle. Daily grease fittings are minimized with sealed bearings. Exmark didn’t invent the wheel, but they do improve upon it. The only drawback with the Exmark Laser Z is that it can be pricey.

Exmark ZTR Mowers

Exmark ZTR Mowers on Ebay

Here are the Exmark zero turn riding mowers that are currently listed for sale on Ebay. I’ve found some great deals there. And I’ve sold a ton of old equipment through it.

If you aren’t already a member of eBay, you need to go to the registration page before you can bid, buy, or sell anything.

Commerical Grade Lawn Mowers: Top Brand Reviews

Commerical Grade Lawn Mowers Top Brand Reviews

There are three kinds of commerical grade lawn mowers: Zero-Turn Riders, Walk-Behinds, and Standers. Since it is never an easy decision which to buy, here is a detailed review of the top brands…

Zero-Turn Riders (ZTRs)

Zero-Turn Riders (ZTRs)

Walk-Behind Mowers

The top walk-behinds are all hydraulic-drive mowers instead of belt-drives. The hydros have more advantages. They are easier to maintain, can pull a sulky, and are more maneuverable. If you can afford buying a hydro over a belt-drive, you won’t be sorry.

Walk-Behind Mowers

Stander Mowers

The standers are an intermediate between a walk-behind and zero-turn rider in many ways: price, ground speed, productivity, size, and weight. Many users with back problems find them more comfortable than sitting in a ZTR. The standers are better on hills than a ZTR, but not as stable as a walk-behind.

The Stand On mower market has gotten much more competitive in the past two years.

The Great Dane, Everride, and John Deere standers are all made by Auburn Consolidated Industries. They are similar in design with a few noteworthy differences.

The Wright stander is made by Wright Manufacturing. (This small innovative company also invented the velkie, later known as the sulky.)

Exmark and Toro will be reviewed together due to similarities in the units and Toro owns Exmark.

Some newcomers to the Standers are Scag, Exmark/Toro, Badboy, and Gravely. They have all released or will be soon releasing new or redesigned units. Bad Boy’s and Gravely’s redesigned Standers are too new to give reviews at the moment.

There are not too many accessories available for the standers. Mulch kits are available. However, still no real collection systems exist similar to an Ultra-Vac or Hulstler Bac-Vac. With a Stander’s visibility and operator positioning, I’d like to see some innovation.

Stander Mowers

 

Commercial Lawn Mower Reviews

These commercial lawn mower reviews were provided by landscapers, small engine mechanics, dealers, and homeowners who mow some serious acreage.

If you have a rant or rave about a particular brand mower, we want to hear it!

Zero-Turn Riders (ZTRs)

Zero-Turn Riders

Walk-Behind Mowers

Walk-Behind Mowers

Stander Mowers

Stander Mowers

 

Commercial Lawn Equipment for Business or Serious Home Use

Commercial Lawn Equipment for Business or Serious Home Use

Here is a barebones checklist of commercial lawn equipment for business or for serious home use. A well manicured lawn requires more than just a mower…

1. Power Equipment:

  • Lawn Mower
  • Weedwacker
    • Get a straight shaft commercial 2 cycle trimmer under 12 lbs.
    • Good ones cost around $200-400.
    • Trim grass the same height as mower. Do not scalp the lawn.
    • Advanced users flip the trimmer upside down and use as an edger. It takes a lot of practice.
    • Carving beautiful straight edges along walkways, curbs, and other borders gives your lawn that professional manicured look.
  • Backpack Blower
    • Get a powerful 2 cycle one.
    • Costs around $250-$500.
    • Need to blow debris off of walkways, driveways, and out of beds.
    • Helps with spring cleanups and is essential for fall leaf cleanups.
  • Push Blower
    • Essential for fall leaf cleanups.
    • Costs around $500-$1400.
    • Look for one with a powerful engine: Honda or Kawasaki.
  • Hedge Trimmer
    • Costs around $200-$400.
    • Get one with double sided blades.
    • Another great option to buy a weedwacker with an interchangeable head. Redmax offers a unit with three interchangeable heads: weedwacker, hedgetrimmer, and chainsaw attachment. This is a great tool because it offers extended reach.
  • Chainsaw
    • Costs around $150-$600.
    • Echo or Stihl brands are pretty good.
    • Chainsaws are easy to use, but can be dangerous. They tend to jump around a lot in hard wood. I’ve seen tons of experienced landscapers slip and cut themselves.

Commercial Lawn Equipment for Business

2. Fertilizer and Pesticide Equipment:

  • Granular Applications – Wheeled Rotary Spreader or Drop Spreader
  • Liquid Applications – Backpack sprayer

3. Cleanup Tools: Leaf Rakes

4. Hauling Tools: Wheelbarrow, Green Barrel, Plastic Tarp

5. Digging Tools: Edging Shovel, Spade Shovel,

6. Climbing Tool: Ladder

7. Measuring Tools: Tape Measure, Measuring Wheel

8. Safety and Comfort: Ear and Eye Protectors, Knee Pads, Gloves,

9. Repair Tools: Screwdrivers, Socket Set, Wrenches

10. Miscellaneous: Gas Cans, Fire Extinguisher,

Commercial Lawn Equipment

The following equipment is worth mentioning, but not necessary to buy. Just rent one from your local hardware store when you need it.

  1. Aerator
  2. Thatcher

Keep in mind that preventative maintenance during the season and properly winterizing your equipment at year’s end will save you a fortune in repairs.