Yard Equipment

Rossymeister

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What brand of yard equipment are you all using? Any good reliable brands out there that would perhaps last at least 10 years?
 

vicv

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I have all echo. My weed trimmer is 8 years old keeping 3 acres clear. It's still like new. Same with chainsaw and hedge trimmer. That being said if I could do it again with modern technology, I'd go with iGo batter operated stuff. No winterizing. No avoiding ethanol gas. Just put a battery in and use it. They're so good now. I got a smaller iGo 14" chainsaw and it's fantastic.
 

Poppy

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My 9 HP Honda ride-on lawnmower, smokes when I start it up, and within a minute or two, it stops smoking. Then after 15-20 minutes of running it at relatively high throttle, it starts smoking again. It weighs about 375 pounds, and was made with a steel frame. It is about 50 years old.

My 7 HP briggs powered Simplicity Snow blower was built like a tank, and when I sold my second house, I gave it to a friend. It was built in 1969, and is starting to show some rot. It has lived outdoors since 1986. It is now 52 years old, and is still reliable.

My 10 HP Tecumseh powered Yard Machine snow blower probably weighs half of the simplicity, but was built in 1999, so it is 22 years old. The first time I used the hand crank to turn the nozzle to aim the snow, the mechanism broke. I replaced it, and that one broke. So now I grab the shoot, and turn it/aim it, by hand. Last year I noticed that some of the snow shield rotted, and broke away. I have to repair that this year before I put it to use. But I have to say that it meets your 10 year reliability test.

Older equipment may have been made with heavier gauges of steel.

I imagine that anything that is powered by a known reliable engine should last for ten years under average homeowner use. Of course with proper maintenance.

If you want something super reliable, then look to the tools that the professionals use, such as Stihl, Husqvarna, or Honda.

EDIT: Different engines from the same manufacturer may be made to different standards too. Some have cast iron sleeves, (for endurance) and others, not.
 

bykfixer

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In my area there is a place called Honda House that sells all kinds of Honda equipment. My local Home Depot does too.

I bought a Honda pushmower for my dad's house at HD and in the first year parts like the handle, self propelled belt etc began to fail. The motor might outlive the grandkids but the chassis is junk.
One from Honda House costs 50% more but is built out of much better parts and pieces.

My 10 year old Echo trimmer fought me year after year. Hard to start, ran like crap. Last year I bought a Stihl that starts first pull and runs great. I like Echo equipment but the one I bought was a bad year for Echo trimmers.

I use salt water to keep grass from growing along the fence and other areas where a brown stripe isn't seen easily.
 

Poppy

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Wow! Interesting that you should mention that. I had read that the Home Depot has such buying power that they can make demands on the manufacturers to meet a certain price point. I believe that weber grills have cast iron grills, or enamel coated grills on the HD models, to meet the price point, but otherwise they are stainless.

That is disappointing that Honda has succumbed to the buying power of the giants.
 

Poppy

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20 years ago I bought a Black and Decker leaf blower / vac. It was so useful, that I bought one for my neighbor across the street. My next door neighbor also had one. I tried the vacuum attachment and it sucked, in both senses of the word.

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One could blow the leaves into a pile, but it took hours, to suck that pile up into the bag, and then to pour that bag into trash cans, or paper bags. I tried it once, and quit. My neighbors, however were happy that it would mulch the leaves and compact them so that one could get 4 bags of leaves into one. For me, it wasn't worth the effort.

One day, I noted that my daughter threw the vacuum suction part of the blower away, without asking. At first I was angry, but then, -On Second Thought- I threw the bagging system away too.

Instead, I bought a few extra garbage cans, with the requirement that they were square, so that I could lie them on their side, and I could sweep/rake the leaves right into the can. One can get the can pretty much half full in just a couple of sweeps. Later I found @ Lowes, a 32 gallon dust pan/trash can. It has a wider mouth, with a dust pan like edge on it. That works really well. I'll lie a square trash can on it's side, maybe two of them side by side, and rake leaves into them. Then stand them up, and rake leaves into the dust pan/ trash can, and empty it into the half full square cans, to top them off. The system is very fast, especially compared to vacuuming them up.

I had three large trees that dumped a huge amount of leaves, so I had to resort to also using some paper bags. Fortunately I had a cardboard box that fit very neatly inside one of the paper bags. I cut the ends off, and placed it into the paper bag, which made the bag, a semi-rigid container. Once the bag is full, I can pull the cardboard out of it, and re-use it on the next bag.

Lowes and the Home Depot sells, something similar.

Leaf and Lawn Chute.

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bykfixer

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I bought a Toro blower/vac combo that has a 10' stiff hose to clean the gutters from the ground. I put on a raincoat and beach hat and clean my gutters without climbing a ladder a few times a year.
I use the vac without a bag to suck up and distribute leaves that collect along edging like around a tree that sort of thing as it does a good job of sucking up a few at a time and spraying them mulched up onto the yard or in a flower bed.

Speaking of mulching, I work with an construction environmental compliance expert who is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to establishing vegetation. He schooled me on "soluable" vs non soluable fertilizers. What that means is grass doesn't eat. The roots drink water and any nutrients that are molecularly attached to water molecules are what feeds the lawn. So the more soluable the fertilizer the more reaches the plant. Same with most trees, shrubs and bushes.

He said a 50/50 mix of leaves and grass clippings is a really good, 100% soluable fertilizer. So I started a compost pile a few years back in order to feed a lawn that was struggling. There was no topsoil over my baren front yard under oak trees. I spread a thick layer of the 50/50 compost so that around 75% of all areas were covered. I ran a mower over it and it disappeared largely. Then watered the lawn. A year later I had a nice lawn under the trees.

Finding the right grass for under big trees was just the beginning. Creeping red fescue or one called chewnings fescue worked but it struggled to spread. Both are a cool weather grass so in summer then will go dormant if it doesn't rain for a month or so. A good soaking with the water hose once a month keeps it green but they do their thing in spring and especially fall. Trees can suck up 500 gallons of water per day so in fall when they stop producing leaves the lawn no longer competes for water as much.

Feeding it two or three times a year is what did it. The 50/50 mix not only fed it but after about 2 years I had topsoil between the blades of grass and the harsh soil underneath. And little to none of the nutrients ends up in a nearby stream because it all soaks into the soil. Win-win.

So in the fall I run the Toro mulcher mower over the yard smothered by oak leaves and repeat with the bagger attached. I vaccum up the biggest portion of leaves that has been reduced to a nice mulch and keep about two bags to mix with grass in the summer. The rest goes in a recycling bin and piled in front of the house for city collection where they sell them to a pumpkin farmer. What portions of the leaves that aren't vacuumed up fertilize the lawn.

With a correct Ph balance and nutrients weeds are not a big problem either. We have an invasive species of lespediza called japanese clover. Good grief, that stuff is tough to get rid of. If it goes to seed the "seed bank" can last up to 10 years. It spreads by seed and root and spreads quickly. It also produces its own form of nitrogen that poisons it's competition. So in March I use Spetrecide to murder the new growth each year. Before I learned the ins and outs of japanese clover I had a pretty bad crop so it's still a fight, but it gets easier each year.

Spectrecide is pretty gentle on grass if you use it correctly and works pretty well if applied correctly. I use liquid from a half gallon sprayer. I just spray in a sweeping motion walking backward to avoid the coating being removed by my shoe. To spray the entire lawn requires a few full ups but when full it only weighs about 4 pounds so to me it's worth the extra fill ups. And they're about $7 at Home Depot so when it fails after a few years it's not expensive to replace. I bought 4 for the price of a good 2 gallon sprayer.

I also noticed comercial bags of shade grass mix vary during the year. In summer they have a lot of tall fescue and annual rye (which dies in May in my zone), then in fall has more rye than tall fescue. But in cold weather time to bag has mostly the stuff I want with less rye and tall fescue. Chewnings and fine fescue are low growers so that means less time spent mowing.

One year my neighbor thought he was doing me a favor and spread a bunch of K-31 (tall fescue) on my front yard. About 10% took so I had all these random blades of grass growing 2' tall every week. Ugh. The creeping red has all but choked those plants out thank goodness.
 
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bykfixer

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Used the 10' extension gutter cleaner attachment hooked to the Toro rectangle nozzle blower. Being it hasn't rained lately it took longer to get the cord out and set things up than clean the gutters.

The same blower made quick work of sending a yard covered with leaves to the street. What used to take several hours with a rake took about 1.5 hours. Then a rake was used to consolodate the edges of the leaf pile. Then a Ryobi cordless blower blew the crumbs left by the rake.

All told it took about 2.5 hours to clean the gutters, clean the yard and put everything away.
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Poppy

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My ride on mower has a grass catcher attachment. When the grass is relatively high, and especially if it is wet, it might jam up the chute to the rear baskets. I know that PAM, or WD40 works with a snowblower, or using car wax/polish to make it more slippery.

Is there a similar trick to use for a lawnmower?
 

Chauncey Gardiner

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My ride on mower has a grass catcher attachment. When the grass is relatively high, and especially if it is wet, it might jam up the chute to the rear baskets. I know that PAM, or WD40 works with a snowblower, or using car wax/polish to make it more slippery.

Is there a similar trick to use for a lawnmower?
I've started to use this -

Image 12-8-21 at 5.38 PM.jpg

So far so good.
 

Poppy

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Thanks chance,

My dad had tubes of lanolin, that we sometimes used as a cream on our hands. It was thick and somewhat greasy. Do you spray this on and wipe it off?

Have you tried other sprays, like teflon lubricants before this? And is this better?

I haven't tried anything, but I do have some spray on lubricants, such as PBblaster, WD40, Teflon, and maybe still some powdered graphite. I guess I have some vaseline. Have you tried any of those?

I have tried to polish the inside of the tube with car polish, that helped, maybe I have to do it again.

Now, I run the engine at a higher rpm, and the transmission a little slower. That helped a lot.

It isn't a BIG problem, but I'll go with your recommendation.
 

bykfixer

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My neighbor has a zero turn Gravely. What amazes me is how well it mulches. It does not have a chute.
He blows his leaves into a big d shape and runs them over leaving very very little pieces of leaves. At 50 feet away you can't even see them.

It drinks gasoline like a top fuel dragster but dawg gone it does a nice job leaving the lawn looking like carpet. No visible clippings ever.

I think he said it was 12 grand.
 

Hooked on Fenix

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We have a Stihl gas chainsaw. For smaller cuts, a 18 volt Ridgid Sawzall is used. Also have a Milwaukee Fuel sawzall and skillsaw, and a 18 volt Ryobi chainsaw. Not sure of our weed wackers and riding lawnmowers, but they use gas. Leaf blower is electric. Have a couple Champion gas generators for those frequent ”public safety” power shut offs. California has a pending law banning sales of all gas powered lawn and yard tools, including generators. While electric tools are getting better, people doing yard work for a living are going to be leaving the state when they realize they’ll have to charge on average 30 batteries each night instead of sleeping. That won’t help the state in clearing dead brush before fire season. Don’t know what we’ll do in a blackout with gas generators banned and all those batteries putting more load on the grid increasing the frequency of rolling blackouts. If you take a look at most electric solar ready “generators”, they can handle the load of a 15 amp circuit for about 20 minutes before the battery is drained. Continuously, they can run about 60 watts and are made to charge off no higher than 100 watt solar panel. Doesn’t do squat for running a refrigerator or corded powered yard tools. I’m a fan of a lot of electric tools, and have a lot of tool batteries, but unless your house is off grid solar, it’s going to suck to live in California even more soon. Maintain those gas powered tools. You may not be able to get replacements soon.
 
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