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Publication: Garden Guides
Mow & Edge

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                   GardenGuides Newsletter 
                       August 15, 2006

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Use the Right Fertilizer

* Test your soil to find out what nutrients ar needed. 
Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service or 
Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extention Service 
office to get information on obtaining a soil test. Local 
fertilizer dealers can also be helpful. 

* A soil test will help you understand what your plants 

* Follow label directions. 

* Choose a fertilizer that has at least one-fourth of the 
nitrogen in a slow-release form, such as sulpher-coated 

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Mow & Edge
By Jack Stone

Speed. Accuracy. Efficiency. For anyone who has a lot of 
lawns to mow these three things are very important.

* Speed. Getting the job done as quickly as possible. The 
faster you can do a job, the more jobs you have time to do.

* Accuracy. Doing the job right the first time you do it. 
Having to do part of a job over wastes time.

* Efficiency. Doing all parts of a job in a logical, 
convenient order, as well as using the right tool or a 
better tool. 

Let's apply these ideas to mowing and trimming a lawn. If 
you are like most gardeners the first thing you probably do 
when you arrive at a customer's house is mow the lawn. Next, 
you edge and/or line trim it. Mow and edge, that's what it's 
called isn't it? Yes, but the procedure is not efficient.

The edger is the first tool you should use. It's used for 
trimming along hard edges such as sidewalks and driveways. 
It's more accurate and leaves fewer divots than a line trim-
mer. With a proper length blade and an established edge, the 
edger is also faster than a line trimmer.


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Next, use the line trimmer. Use this tool in such a way as 
to cause the trimmed grass to be thrown onto the lawn and 
not into beds, groundcover, and shrubbery. The line trimmer 
is the messiest of the grass cutting tools you use. 

Finally, mow. Not only will your lawn mower pick up grass 
from its own activity, but it will collect a good deal of 
the trimmings created by the edger and line trimmer. This 
saves you raking, sweeping, and blowing time.

Some other ideas: Edge the entire perimeter of a lawn with 
the edger. Edge along hard edges as well as beds and tree 
wells. Since an edger cuts deeper into the soil than a line 
trimmer it's more efficient at cutting stolons or runners on 
such grasses as Bermuda and Kikuyu. An edger can also create 
a clean crisp straight edge along beds. This is much more 
attractive than the typical wavy edge left by a line trimmer.

Don't let grass grow up against fence boards, walls, or 
plants. By maintaining a narrow edge with your edger or line 
trimmer you can prevent damage to these features as well as 
using less line.

Don't run your edger blade right up against concrete. 
Nothing works faster than concrete to turn your edger blade 
into an edger stub. Create an edge that's at least a 1/2" 
wide. Such an edge reduces wear to a blade and makes edging 

The line trimmer is the most dangerous of your lawn care 
tools. Line trimmers are notorious for the damage they cause 
to fence posts, sign posts, bender board, fence board, and
stucco. Avoiding damage to these structures is easy. It's 
simply a matter of trimming carefully and slowly. 

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If time is important then you should create edges, borders 
or wells around or along these structures. A combination of 
proper edging techniques, plant growth regulators, and herb-
icides should do the trick quite well. Plant growth 
regulators can cut your edging and line trimming time by as 
much as 75%. Instead of trimming once per week you may need 
to trim only once per month. 

The other landscape feature a line trimmer is dangerous 
around is trees. There is nothing more unsightly and amateur-
ish than trees damaged by an inept line trimmer operator. 
This is the one aspect of line trimmer use that customers 
are concerned most about. Nothing can kill a tree faster 
than having its bark and vascular layers slashed by someone 
who doesn't know how to use a line trimmer properly. 

A damaged tree is susceptible to insects, fungi, and 
diseases. In some tree species, this can lead to a quick 
death. When using a line trimmer around trees and other 
plants be very, very careful. It's always advisable to 
create at least a small well around any plant that's located 
in a lawn.

Remember, work smart. Don't work hard, work efficiently.

Pergolas add elegance and style to any garden. A pergola is 
simply a charming outdoor shade structure designed from 
either metal or wood featuring a very open plan.   

Generally pergolas are freestanding, although they may be 
attached to your home or other structure. Typical pergola 
construction uses some type of vertical supports which in 
turn hold open, horizontal rafters across the top. Pergolas 
can be adapted to enhance and beautify any garden situation 
and have a variety of uses.

           GopherCentral's Question of the Week   

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