Atco

  • Happy 90th Birthday Mickey Mouse!

    Mickey Mouse, the lawnmower, the hose pipe and other garden adventures!

    Disney’s best-loved cartoon character, Mickey Mouse, turns 90 this month. And, to mark the 90th anniversary of his first ever appearance in Steamboat Willie on 18 November 1928, we’re celebrating some of Mickey’s most memorable moments in the great outdoors.

    As part of our ‘research’, we have trawled the Disney archives (have watched cartoons all afternoon) for examples of Mickey’s gardening ‘prowess’.

    Who knew that everyone’s favourite mouse is a keen gardener?  And that he loves getting out and about in nature?  Just for fun, we’ve selected the pick of the crop, in our top 6 Mickey Mouse short animation movies-with-a-nature-theme.
    mickey mouse tomato

    1. Mickey Cuts Up, 1931. Did you know that there is a Mickey Mouse film about a lawnmower? With Mickey pushing it and Pluto pulling it, you know it will end badly. This is one of the earliest MM shorts and also features Minnie Mouse, a large number of song birds and a cat. It’s when Pluto starts to chase the cat while still pulling the lawnmower that it all gets a bit messy.
    2. Mickey’s Garden, 1935. Times were different then. You could get away with making a cartoon where the main character (Mickey) gets high on insecticide and has trippy dream about giant insects and fights with a snake that’s really a garden hose. This is where we learn that despite his love of gardening, Mickey never really manages to get anything right. Pluto, meanwhile, gets his head stuck in a pumpkin.
    3. The Little Whirlwind, 1941. Mickey offers to clean up Minnie Mouse’s yard, in return for some of her home-baked cake. This involves sweeping up all the leaves, dead easy until a little whirlwind arrives. Mickey finds out that it doesn’t pay to pick a fight with a little whirlwind. It just flies off to fetch a bigger whirlwind. “Be careful of my begonias!” shouts Minnie. Oops!
    4. Potatoland, 2013. Goofy has always wanted to visit the Potatoland amusement park, so Mickey and Donald Duck decide to make his dream come true. The only problem is, the potato-themed park doesn’t exist, it’s just a recurring dream Goofy keeps having. To avoid shattering Goofy’s dreams, Mickey and Donald build a potatoland in Idaho – ‘America’s Potatoland’. If you think that’s surreal, wait until the bit where there’s a gravy flood!
    5. Feed the Birds, 2018. Mickey befriends a little bird called Tuppence but every time he tries to feed the bird, a gang of pigeons swoops and gobbles everything up. Mickey brings a now starving Tuppence into his house to share the contents of his fridge – but the pigeons invade the house and kick Mickey and Tuppence out. Finally, Mickey and Tuppence set a trap for the pigeon bullies and send them into space in a rocket.
    6. Steamboat Willie, 1928. We couldn’t leave this one out, could we? The first ever MM animation is about a river steamboat ride, with Mickey as the pilot. This is another plot that features potatoes. There are also livestock on board, which Mickey and Minnie use as musical instruments, as you do. When the real skipper, Pete, finally gets fed up with Mickey, he sends him below decks to peel spuds. Very badly.

    Happy 90th birthday Mickey!
    mickey mouse

  • NOVEMBER is a month when we really can learn something from the pros

    NOVEMBER is a month when we really can learn something from the pros. From golf courses to formal gardens, professional gardeners will be hard at work doing housekeeping. And it’s all because of leaves…
    frozen leaves on lawn
    We don’t think about it much but leaves actually play a big part in lawn care. In the spring and summer when they’re on the trees, they’re creating shade just where we don’t always want it; and in the autumn and winter, they’re falling off and settling on the grass – again just where we don’t want it. It’s not so much of a problem on flowerbeds where we can leave them to rot and for the worms to pull them down. But on our lawns, fallen leaves can cause lots of problems, not least being the duration of the leaf-fall season itself. No one wants to be popping out every day for weeks on end to clear the latest fall.

    So here is some information and advice to encourage you to do your own good housekeeping during November (and beyond).

    1. Get some kit: If you have big deciduous trees, then it’s worth investing in some machinery to make your leaf-clearing a lot easier. You can of course use your mower to pick up fallen leaves, but a good leaf blower can be just as easy – in fact it’s quite fun! You might even choose to secure a large heap of blown leaves in a quiet corner to give some hibernation shelter to some wildlife – just remember to check carefully next spring when you clear the pile.
    2. Prevent disease: Leaves on the lawn aren’t just untidy; and they don’t just create pale and slow-growing patches of grass. They can actually kill your grass. And they do this by encouraging our worst known lawn disease, fusarium.

    Fusarium is a fungal disease that comes to life in the winter months, and the fallen leaves create a warm, damp environment that is perfect for it to flourish. And fusarium can be fatal. It takes no hostages and if given a chance will attack all types of well-looked-after lawns including sports turf.
    disease scar fusarium
    Fusarium can be discouraged by using good healthy lawn care practice, but the most important thing you can do is to remove those fallen leaves. And keep on doing it. Get them off the grass as soon as possible.

    You should also be wary of any sections of lawn that don’t get much winter sunshine. Damp, dewy mornings are a fact of winter life (and a delight too) but if the grass never gets the chance to dry out, then fusarium can take hold.

    But how do you dry a lawn? Well, all that’s actually needed is what I want you to do anyway – walk out across the grass (knocking of the dew) and use a mower or a leaf blower to shift those leaves. That much can make all the difference to those especially damp areas (a blower can actually remove dew to enable a dry afternoon winter cut.)

    We don’t always have to be as meticulous as the professionals in every aspect of our lawn care, but with autumn leaves we definitely do!

  • Beautiful Lawns With a Few Simple Steps

    Gardeners are always looking for perfection when it comes to their lawns. And those healthy green lawns can be had by following a few simple rules.

    Every gardener wants a healthy green lawn. In most regions, chemicals are now banned. But gardeners can still have a beautiful lawn without their use. All it takes is a little attention, a good seed mix, fertilizer, and water.

    sprinkler watering grass turf
    https://pixabay.com/en/sprinkler-watering-grass-turf-1209900/

    Choosing Lawn Seed

    In choosing grass seed, there's a lot to consider. Superior brands are usually more expensive, but poor investments as grass from this seed may be prone to fungus or rot. The experts suggest sowing a mixture of several varieties of lawn seed.

    A mix of seeds will guarantee the gardener a rich green lawn even if some grass plants don't do as well as others. Different varieties are at their best at different times through the growing season. Even in the drier month of August and well into fall, the grass will be green, because the gardener isn't relying on one type of seed.

    For gardeners in regions with dry gardens, add a higher percentage of seed suitable to withstand dry spells.

    Sow Grass Seed

    The best time to sow grass seed is in late summer. The weeds have exhausted themselves by this time, so there is little competition in the soil. Sowing in late summer also gives the grass a chance to grow on before frost – above and below the soil.

    Aerating and De-Thatching the Lawn

    Lawns need to be aerated. While dense lawns keep the weeds at bay, there has to be a happy medium. Tightly-packed grass doesn't allow water to seep through into the soil. The lawn will need to be hard raked to de-thatch it. Then use a garden fork and walk around with it poking small holes in the lawn. Lack of water at the root level is the most common reason why lawns fail.

    Adding Organic Matter

    compost garden waste bio nature
    Via https://pixabay.com/en/compost-garden-waste-bio-nature-419261/

    Once the lawn is de-thatched and aerated, it's time to add organic matter to the soil. The best time to do this in on the day before rain is expected, to save a little water. For an established lawn, the gardener will need well-rotted or composted manure from the garden center. Fresh manure from a farmyard is full of weed seeds from pastureland, so it's not recommended.

    Add a shovel load of composted manure to an area within a four-foot square and rake it in evenly. Add a sprinkling of mixed lawn seed and rake it in before you move to the next square. The rain will let the new organic matter and the seed seep into the aerated soil. If working with composted manure doesn't appeal to the gardener, garden centers have all sorts of organic fertilizers formulated for lawns.

    Fertilize to Keep Weeds Out

    If weeds are persistent, the gardener needs to stay on top of it to keep them from going to seed in his garden. Fertilizing is the best way to keep the weeds at bay. Be more generous with the feeding if weeds are an ever-present problem. The grass will be more vigorous and the weeds won't have a place to plant themselves.

    By following these few simple tips, the lawn could be the greenest in the neighborhood. It isn't difficult to rejuvenate a tired old lawn or keep a new lawn healthy. Use a variety of lawn seed, aerate the lawn by de-thatching, add fertilizer and water.

  • The Return of the Good Life

    We’re marking British Food Fortnight from 22 September to 7 October by celebrating the Great British home-grown fruit and veg revival.

    It seems that we’ve fallen back in love with ‘The Good Life’, with not enough allotments to go around, and more of us creating our own fruit, veg and herb plots at home.

    The UK’s first own-grown food survey since the Second World War’s Dig for Victory campaign is currently under way, as home-owners and local communities are encouraged to ‘dig in’ for a healthy lifestyle and self-sustainability. More of which later, but first, a brief look at where it all began.
    potatoes
    Allotments go all the way back to Anglo Saxon times, from 410 to 1066. But today’s system of allotments was a response to the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, when there was no such thing as The Welfare State. Pockets of land were given to ‘the labouring poor’ so they could feed themselves. Allotments were therefore born out of necessity.

    Later, at the end of the First World War, an Act of Parliament was passed that allowed land to be made available to all. This was primarily to help the servicemen returning from the war.

    Today there is a statutory obligation on local authorities to provide allotments where there is a demand – but nowhere near enough are being provided. The National Allotment Society reckons more than 90,000 gardeners are waiting for an allotment.

    Which brings us back to the MYHarvest (Measure Your Harvest) survey. It’s being carried out by researchers at the University of Sheffield to help us get a picture of what and how much we are growing at home or in our allotments.

    It comes at a time when more of us are growing fruit, veg and herbs – and amid concern over the UK’s food sustainability. The researchers and its supporters, including the National Allotment Society, are hoping it will lead to more space being provided for grow-your-own projects.

    The survey began in 2017 and runs until the end of March 2019 – anyone who grows produce at home or in allotments can take part by sending in details of their harvest (www.myharvest.org.uk).

    According to the data so far, there is a clear leader in the veg we like to grow the most: let’s hear it for the humble spud. Potatoes are grown by the most people, while strawberries are the most productive when it comes to yield. Apples provide a bountiful harvest too, while courgettes, tomatoes and plums are also popular amongst home-growers.

    Growing your own doesn’t just save money, it’s also rewarding in other ways. It encourages a healthy diet, it’s fun and it’s great for keeping fit. Yep, it seems that people who grow their own really do know their onions!

  • September Gardening Tips

    SEPTEMBER can lull us into that dreadful false sense of security; it can still be blissfully warm and we forget that it is actually the autumn, with winter just around the corner. But the better the condition of your lawn prior to the onset of winter, the better it will cope with the extremities of the weather ahead. So there’s a lot you can be doing this month.

    REDUCING THATCH: Thatch production will be at its highest during summer, so now can be another great time to control your thatch levels. And that means scarification! Yes, it makes a mess, but not for long; the lawn will soon fill right back in with natural grass growth. And that’s the key to proactive intelligent lawn care – letting nature and natural processes do the hard work.
    Grass thatched topsoiled
    Another reason for scarifying now is that the lawn has more time to recover before the hardships of winter. As strong growth returns after the summer, the pruning effect of scarifying – slicing the shoots and stolons – will encourage superb natural thickening.

    MOSS: Now, many people make the mistake of applying moss killer before scarifying; there’s a logic to it as the scarifier can surely pull away the dead moss? Well, yes and no. This way you only kill some of the moss. Much better is to scarify first, thereby opening up the sward and allowing the subsequent application of moss killer to reach right down to the base of the pesky plants. That’s where it works at its most effective. Do it the other way round and you’ll leave behind plenty of living, green moss in the thick thatch layer.

    SQUASHED SOIL? You bet. Even if you haven’t walked on your grass all summer, the soil beneath will have become compacted as it dries out. So now is the time to sort this out in time for the autumn rains, and to make sure plenty of oxygen can reach the roots and the microbes and good bacteria below.

    Hollow tine aeration is essential – never use a garden fork as this just squashes the soil sideways and doesn’t remove those lovely little cores of earth. And those cores make great seedbed soil for patch repairs, or you can rake them into any dips you want to level out. You don’t always need to worry about filling in the holes either. You need good drainage in the months ahead for healthier soil and stronger grass, so leave them open.  It’ll be fine!
    Top Dressing
    TOP DRESSING? If you are cylinder mowing, you should apply a dressing – buy carefully; don’t just throw any old thing down. Once a year is a minimum, but you can do it more often if you wish.

    *

    And of course, keep mowing, and keep that blade sharp. Begin raising the height gradually from the end of the month; you don’t want to be removing too much of the nutrition that’s stored in the leaf – your grass will need it in the months ahead. But if you have to pick just one big job for September, make it aeration – it will always pay dividends!

  • The Atco car – a rare piece of British motoring history

    It has a 1hp Villiers 98cc 2-stroke engine, can reach speeds of 10mph and do 70 miles to the gallon.  Welcome to our homage to the humble, but quite brilliant, Atco car.

    Atco car in colour
    The Atco car is like no other car. Finished in trademark Atco green, the car’s full title is the Atco Junior Safety-First Trainer.

    There were only 200 to 250 of them ever made at Charles H Pugh’s Atco factory in Birmingham in 1939. The outbreak of war that September ended their production, as all manufacturing switched to focus on the war effort.
    Atco cars at the factory
    Remarkably, it’s thought that as many as 45 of the cars are still out there, in private collections and museums up and down the UK. There might also be some in overseas collections. You won’t see any on the roads, however – they’d never pass any of today’s regulations!

    Atco had been making lawnmowers since 1921 and by 1939 had already established a reputation for quality and reliability that was second-to-none. So why did the company suddenly decide to make a miniature automobile?

    Let’s rewind for a moment …

    Atco lawnmowers were initially in the same group as Rudge-Whitworth motorcycles. Have a guess how Atco’s salesmen travelled around the country with their lawnmowers in those days.  Yep, they’d ride a motorcycle, with the mower in the sidecar! So Atco already had connections with the automotive industry.
    Woman and child in Atco car
    The answer behind why the company started to make the Junior Safety-First Trainer lies in its name.  With more cars hitting the roads, there were more accidents. In response, the Government announced that road safety should be taught in schools. Atco thought: “Why don’t we put our engineering skills into making a training car for children to learn in?”

    The press launch of the Atco trainer was a plush affair. It took place not on a road or in a school – but, somewhat incongruously, in a carpeted room at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, London!

    Nobody knows more about the Atco car than Brian Radam. Brian is the founder of the Atco Car Owners’ Club, which has over 40 members in the UK. The club is part of the British Lawnmower Museum in Southport, which Brian also set up: “To put it in perspective, there were lots of car companies and motorbike companies that made lawnmowers, but Atco was the only lawnmower company that made a car,” he said.

    Atco created a special circuit at the back of the factory, complete with a zebra crossing, road markings and junctions: “It was a sort of driving proficiency testing circuit,” said Brian, “and in fact, I have a lovely story about it.

    “We had a coach of quite elderly people come and visit the museum as part of a tour of the area. One of the ladies, when she saw the car, she became a completely different person. Her face lit up. She said: ‘I went in one of those cars when I was 6 or 7-year-old and I drove it. But when I got home and told my family I’d driven a car, they didn’t believe me. It was one of these’. I got a copy of the guide book out and showed her the photos of the circuit at the factory and she couldn’t believe it. That’s where she’d driven it.”

    So what of the Atco car itself? “It had red leatherette seating and there was a St Christopher badge on the front grille. The engine was started with a hand crank that could be used from the driver’s seat, and the pedals were like the 1930s cars, with the clutch on the left, the throttle in the middle and the brake on the right. It also had a hand brake, and simple forward, reverse and neutral gears. When you’re sitting in one, you can’t help but have a great big smile on your face!
    Atco car Villiers engine
    “What was also quite extraordinary was that it came with a 68-page hardback guide!”

    To take it on the road, the car would need a registration number. During the war, the little Trainer proved its worth for its few owners, as it used so little petrol during fuel rationing.

    It’s thought the car retailed at £35 in 1939. Today, it’s a valued collectors’ item and you can expect to pay something in the region of £10,000 for a restored one.
    Atco car and Policeman
    The British Lawnmower Museum has two fully restored Atco cars, including one originally owned by the Joseph Rowntree family. A third one is in the process of being restored. The National Motor Museum in Beaulieu also has a restored Atco car.
    Atco car interior
    The cars at the British Lawnmower Museum are among 1,000 rare lawnmowers in the collection, 200 of which are on show. Brian’s first job after leaving school was as an Atco engineer, so it’s no surprise to learn the brand is well represented: “We’ve got some of the very first Atco lawnmowers in our collection. But our oldest material goes back to 1799. We have such an amazing lawnmower history in this country and people come to the museum from all over the world to see the collection. We want to keep the heritage alive.”

    And a wonderfully nostalgic part of that heritage is the Atco car. As Brian says: “It’s a rare piece of British motoring history.”
    www.lawnmowerworld.co.uk/archive/atcocar.html

  • August - Gardening Blog

    AUGUST is for many the holiday month – but does that mean your lawn can take a short holiday too? If following a dry July, your lawn is probably taking a nap having shut down until the rains return; but the great thing about a healthy lawn is that whatever nature throws at it, it will survive. But you can help too. So – what can you be doing during this late summer period? Well, one task can be done from the deck chair – planning – and the others are just little bits and bobs for those who just can’t quite leave it alone.

    Lawn Mower
    PLANNING: When there’s nothing much happening on the lawn, now is the time to plan ahead and be ready for when it does need attention. The problem for lawns is that we can easily forget the little jobs that make all the difference and just concentrate on mowing; then something does go wrong – disease, thinning patches, etc – and it’s too late; then we’re in reactive mode. I’d prefer you to be always working proactively with your lawn, preventing these things from happening in the first place.

    So, make a list of the things you’ll need to do in autumn and winter – pre-order the rental scarifier and hollow-tine aerator ready for September, buy in some autumn and winter feeds, and clear some space in your compost heap ready for the autumnal grass clippings.

    You can also be planning any alterations; you might have a shrub or tree that has finally grown too big but instead of cutting it you want to do something about the expanded shady area beneath. Decide now whether to reseed with shade-tolerant species, or whether to redirect the lawn edge around the shady spot.

    OTHER JOBS: You’ll still be mowing unless we’re in a long dry spell. But remember not to cut too short if it’s very dry – there’s no point taking off more leaf than you need, and the longer, thicker grass will protect the soil from the scorching sun.
    Garden Bench
    You may have a few weeds, although if your grass is thick enough this should be only a minimal problem and easily addressed through careful spot treatment.

    It’s probably not a good idea to do any repair work right now – both seeds and turf can require a huge amount of watering so better to wait until the autumn or early winter.

    One thing you can do right now, if you wish, is to apply an early autumn feed. A nice organic feed can sit on the lawn for a while until we get some rain but you do still need it watering in, so monitor the forecast and see when rain is next coming. If you’re living with drought conditions, you can put this off until September.

    And other than that? Well, I’m sure there are all kinds of things to do in your garden, from harvesting summer vegetables and fruits to tidying up your annuals. But your lawn? No, relax; this is the very best time simply to enjoy it.

  • 10 Great summer holiday garden games for children

    School’s out and summer fun is in!

    Water Bubbles
    Image by Maxime bhm (Unsplash)

    We did a quick, entirely unscientific poll of mums and dads to find out what the kids really love to do in the garden in 2018 – and for many, old school games are still tops. Here are 10 of the most popular activities for children of primary school age…

    1. Bubbly mower. Where else could we start, but with the children’s lawnmower that blows bubbles?! Suitable for children aged 3 and over, they’re great fun for the younger ones – and they don’t cost the earth.
    2. Make a splash. Whether it’s paddling pools, water pistols or water fights, doing stuff with water was the clear Number 1 in our poll of parents. Just make sure it doesn’t contravene any water restrictions that might be in place!
    3. Penalty competitions. We couldn’t leave this one out, after England’s first ever penalty shoot-out success in the World Cup.  Mark out a penalty spot, invest in a net and you’re ready for action. Don’t have a net? Not a problem … a couple of jumpers are a good substitute.
    4. Garden Olympics.  Hula hoop and skipping contests, egg and spoon races, boules, badminton and tug-of-war are all popular this year, again showing that the oldies are still goodies. Skittles are dead easy too, using a tennis ball and empty water bottles.
    5. Build a den. All you need for a perfect hideaway is a few bamboo canes, an old sheet and something comfy to sit on. Or go natural, by creating a den amongst the trees.
    6. Bounce. Trampolining came a close 2nd to water games in our poll. A trampoline is a bit more of an investment, but it’s guaranteed to get plenty of use.
    7. Wheelie fun. Scooters are right up there with trampolines and water games this year. But when it comes to fun with wheels in the garden, you can’t beat a wheelbarrow race!
    8. Get arty. Wall murals will add a splash of colour to the garden, but for something the children can do over and over again, buy a roll of lining paper from the DIY store and let them get creative – and messy – on the lawn.
    9. Treasure hunt. Hide or bury a treasure chest of goodies, with a trail of clues in envelopes for them to follow en route to finding their rewards.
    10. Nature activities. Planting and tending plants and creating nature-friendly zones are a great way for children to get involved in the garden. Or buy them a little trowel so they can join in when you’re doing the gardening.

    All we need now is for the fabulous summer we’ve enjoyed so far in the UK to last throughout the school summer holidays!

  • Lawnmower racing - the grassroots Grand Prix!

    July 5-8 sees one of the highlights of the sporting calendar, the Formula 1® 2018 Rolex British Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone.
    lawnmower racing
    Hamilton v Vettel, Mercedes v Ferrari; Ricciardo v Verstappen, Red Bull v Red Bull!  With the cars costing millions of pounds to build, and reaching speeds of over 200mph, who wouldn’t want to swap places with the stars of the track, even for just one day? The thrill of the race, the exhilaration of hitting those speeds. Ah, if only.

    However, there is a version of motor racing that’s open to everyone – lawnmower racing. It might not be quite so quick – the top speeds are 50-60mph – but if it’s good enough for Sir Stirling Moss, then it’s good enough for us.

    It all started in a pub

    As with so many good ideas, lawnmower racing was born out of a chat with mates over a beer down the local pub. It was 1973, the pub was The Cricketers Arms in Wisborough Green, West Sussex, and the man with the lightbulb moment was motor sports fan and former Ford rally driver, Jim Gavin. Fed up that Formula 1 had become inaccessible and commercialised, Jim and his pals organised a race in a field in the village – and 80 racers turned up with their mowers. A 1923 Atco was among them!

    The new sport soon took off and has attracted big name celebrities and motor racing legends, including Sir Stirling Moss, Murray Walker, Chris Evans and Kimi Raikkonen. Sir Stirling, a veteran of 16 Formula 1 victories, won the Lawnmower ‘Grand Prix’ in 1975 and 1976 – there’s a wonderful black-and-white photo from the 1975 race, where an Atco lawnmower is pictured just ahead of him! Sadly, the rights prohibit us using the photo – but you can see it if you do an internet search.

    These days, races take place right across the UK, run by the British Lawnmower Racing Association (BLMRA), a non-profit organisation that uses the events to raise money for charity. The biggest event of the year is the 12-Hour Endurance Race which this year takes place near Billinghurst in Sussex on 4 August.

    Push or ride, you decide

    The first ever race was for self-propelled, roller-driven mowers – and the spirit lives on in the Group 1 races. Basically, the mowers will go as fast as you can push them!

    Group 2 is for cylinder-type roller-driven mowers with a towed seat. The BLMRA reckon that Atco lawnmowers are among the most popular in this group.

    Groups 3 and 4 are the fastest. Group 3 is for ride-on wheel-driven mowers with no obvious bonnet, and Group 4 is for ride-on wheel-driven tractors with a bonnet. For more exact definitions and rules and information on how to get involved, visit the website, www.blmra.co.uk.

    Mowers might not be ready to give the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari a run for their money – yet – but lawnmower racing really does bring a whole new meaning to the term ‘grassroots’ sport!

  • July is the pinnacle of summer

    JULY is the pinnacle of summer. It’s when we’re anticipating our holidays and just want to enjoy being in our gardens. And why not? You did all that hard work (well, it wasn’t that hard I hope, but it should have really paid off) – you now deserve some deck chair time. So, other than mowing with a good sharp blade (and keeping the air filter clear – there’s a lot of dust around), the only thing to worry about – or not – is watering. And watering lawns just happens to be one of my hot topics…
    July dog
    If summer is being kind to us, one of the concerns we may be having is whether to water the lawn or not.  In fact, dependent on what our irrational weather has thrown at us, you may already be watering but here are some helping points regarding water.

    Water is the world’s most valuable resource and plenty of thought should be made before you decide to embark on what could be a lengthy and costly watering program.

    DO I NEED TO WATER THE LAWN? You’re going to feel concerned if your lawn is beginning to brown up in dry conditions. But if the lawn is basically in good condition (and assuming the rains return eventually… and they will!) then there is nothing to worry about. Grass always bounces back. In fact the turning brown is not a symptom of it being unwell but simply its own proven survival technique. But yes, there are plenty of reasons why you may want to minimise this seasonal behaviour. So…

    WHEN SHOULD I WATER? Many think about watering when the lawn is already brown.  It’s a simple fact that to get the lawn lush green again, it will take a lot of water; so it makes much more sense to water the lawn earlier, before it gets too dry. With the plant still growing, it can utilise the water more efficiently.

    HOW DO I WATER? For maximum efficiency there are some things to consider.

    Do you have a water supply sufficient to be able to put enough water down in the time frame you have?  Many never know their water pressure and when it comes to the time to water, soon realise that watering may be a mammoth time-consuming task.

    Do you have the correct tools to be able to water quickly and efficiently?  Do you plan to water by hand?  Is your sprinkler working correctly?  Do you have all the connectors you need?

    Have you worked out the best time to apply the water, to ensure the plant gets the best use out of it?  Evening (after 8pm) is the optimum time as the grass has all night to use the water more efficiently.  Mornings are ok, but you have to remember that soon, it will be warm and moisture can be drawn back to the surface.  And that’s not great for the roots.

    July garden

    So, water is expensive and the life source to all; choose to use it well and don’t waste it. If you can live with a little browning mid-summer, then do. It’s just your lawn having a ‘siesta’ as it’s done for millions of years – and when it’s ready it will soon green up again.

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