As always, if you are looking for new equipment, be sure and come by Robstown Hardware and our friendly sales people will be glad to answer your questions and help you decide on what you need. Also, please remember that, although our sales personnel can demonstrate proper usage of any equipment that we sell, after purchasing any new equipment the first thing you should do is read the operator's manual. It is the one place that contains the information you need for proper running, care and maintenance of your equipment and can answer many of the questions that may arise after purchase.
For mowers and other small engines, use regular unleaded gasoline of 87 octane. High octane gas can cause problems in small engines.
The crankcase oil on a 4-cycle engine should be changed after the first five hours of use. This will help to flush out little bits of metal that occur naturally when the piston rings are seated. After that, the oil can usually be changed every 25 hours of use, or every spring, whichever comes first. When changing oil, be sure and follow the instructions in the operator's manual.
If equipment is hard to start it could be due to a damaged spark plug or a clogged carburetor. Clean the spark plug with a wire brush and check the gap. Replace it if it is damaged. If problems do arise, call us or bring in your lawn mower or tractor to Robstown Hardware and we'll get you back outside and going.
Although there won't be many days of mowing left this fall, the basic rules still apply, the most important of which is Always Think Safety! If you are going to mow then dress for the occasion. Wear leather shoes to help protect your feet from objects that could be thrown by the blade, tuck in loose clothing that could become caught anywhere on the mower. Before mowing, check the lawn for things such as hoses, tools, toys and other impediments to safe mowing. This will help to ensure that the mower blade will not kick out anything unexpected or become entangled. When mowing on a hill using a lawn tractor mow up and down for greatest stability. If you are using a walk-behind product then mow side to side. That way, if you fall, the mower is less likely to tumble on top of you. If mowing on a hill is a problem then consider planting ground cover and dispensing with mowing altogether. If trees and shrubs have grown into obstacles that force you to back up with your mower, consider pruning them or taking them out, so you can always mow in a forward direction for safety. Mower blades can spin at up to 200 miles per hour so if your mower becomes clogged, shut off the mower and use a stick to remove any blockage. Don't put your hands in the blade area!
Mowing removes old growth and stimulates a lawn to spread out and thicken. Mowing often enough to cut the top one-third of the the plants will help promote a healthy root system. Mowing can also aid in air circulation and lessen fungal attack. Making certain that the mower blade is sharp will help to ensure a nice, smooth look when finished. If its been awhile since the blade on your mower was sharpened, bring it in to Robstown Hardware and have one of our service technicians inspect it.
Mulching mowers will shred grass into tiny clippings and blow them down into the turf where they eventually return nitrogen to the soil and aid in preventing fungal diseases.
In the fall, most lawns will benefit from aeration and over-seeding.
Fall planting for spring blooming. The following plants are recommended by the Texas Agricultural Extension Service for fall planting: Ornamental Kale/ Ornamental Cabbage (Brassica oleracea), Pansies, Dianthus (Pinks - Dianthus chinensis), Dusty Miller (Senecio cineraria), Larkspur (Delphinium/Consolida spp.), Nicotinia (Nicotiana alata), Phlox (Phlox drummondii), Iceland Poppy (Papaver nudicale) and Viola (Jonny-Jump-up). These plants will flower in spring.
The ideal time for planting most trees in Texas is November through March. Trees to plant in the summertime are palm trees.