If you have the right tool there’s no garden job you can’t tackle, no matter how big or small. We ask the experts for some seasonal advice
From battery-powered hand tools to ride-on mowers, nothing makes short work of garden task better than a power tool. But which jobs need which tools, and how do you know you are choosing a reliable and green product?
First think about the jobs you need to tackle in each season.
At this time of the year when mowing your lawn, raising the mower blade to its highest setting. This will avoid too much stress to the grass in dry conditions. Current thinking is to leave the leaf cuttings in the grass sward to act as a mulch and conserve moisture. Green up the grass if necessary, using a high nitrate liquid feed when rain is expected.
See also: How to Create Your Perfect Garden: Part One – A Perfect Lawn
Apples, plums and other tree fruit will be maturing, so keep up with the picking. Plant strawberry runners, for cropping in 2021.
Prune wisteria side-shoots back to five leaves from the main stem. The flowering shoots of rambling roses can also be shortened by a third when flowering is over. Hedges can have a final trim before the winter.
For every garden job there’s a power tool to help –
- Tillers and Rotovators to get your soil ready for sowing
- Hedge trimmers, pole pruners and chainsaws to tackle garden hedges, trees and bushes
- Multi-mate / multi-tools – a wide range from handy compacts perfect for box hedging and pruning to larger multi-tools with several attachments to tackle most garden jobs such as tree cutting. Multi-tools allow gardeners to tackle many jobs with one power head and a range of attachments. Available in petrol and battery power they offer flexibility and performance covering many gardening jobs in one.
- Strimmers/Brushcutters – the perfect tools to tackle wild lawn areas, nettles, undergrowth and lawn edges
- Lawnmowers/Ride-Ons – from walk-behind push and self-propelled mowers to lawn riders and tractors you can cut the lawn, collect, mulch or side discharge
- Pressure Washers – clean your patio, deck, terrace, drives and pathways
- Blowers – machines to collect and tidy leaves and other garden debris to keep pathways and lawn areas clear.
Battery powered garden tools have revolutionised gardening in recent years with the help of advances in Lithium battery technology. They are available in varying wattage and amperage power specifications to cover a range of usage from smaller gardens to much larger areas and heavy-duty professional use.
Many gardeners are now moving away from petrol models and choosing battery products which are lightweight, efficient, environmentally friendly and easier to use.
But hand tools are one thing – what if your garden is so big you need a ride-on mower? Lawn Riders are suitable for lawns from 0.75 – 1 acre in size, and for larger lawns there are Garden Tractors of increasing size suitable for gardens from 2 acres through to 5 acres.
Lawn Riders are a great economic alternative and a step up from a walk-behind mower. They are compact, fitting through a standard garden gate as well as being easy to manoeuvre.
For larger areas of an acre or more a garden tractor is a must. There is the option to choose from collecting models with the grass collector fitted to the back of the machine, or a dedicated side-discharge mower, perfect for longer grass. These mowers often feature a mid-mounted cutter deck, with either a twin or triple blade cutter depending on the desired width of cut.
Front-cut mowers offer great cutting and mulching performance and have a tight turning circle, making them the perfect choice for larger more complex lawns. The unique 50:50 articulated steering seen on STIGA Park models demonstrates this agility and precision. With the cutting deck situated at the front of the mower to give an unimpeded view of the cutting path, these mowers are fast and convenient, and can even fertilise the lawn as you cut!
See also: How to Create Your Perfect Garden, Part Three – Eating Outdoors
WEEE regulations cover electrical or electronic equipment that has come to the end of its ‘user life’. Each year in the UK we generate 2 million tonnes of electrical waste. Items that are discarded contain a variety of materials, including metal, glass, plastics, ceramics and precious metals, and without specialised waste processes this complex mix of materials can create several health risks.
Under WEEE regulations when you buy a new electrical product you should be able to return your old one for disposal in a legal and environmentally friendly way. Talk to your retailer about their WEEE compliance scheme and enquire with your local authority to get details of electrical product recycling. ■
This feature on the best garden tools for every job was originally published in Property & Home with Martin Roberts, Winter 2020 issue – read more here.