April is Lawn & Garden Month, or National Garden Month as the National Gardening Association calls it. People are starting to break out their lawn equipment, trimmers, chain saws, and lawn mowers from winter storage. Many of us have big aspirations for fantastic gardens that will be the envy of the neighborhood.
There’s a lot of information out there on what you should do. So we figured to touch on some common mistakes to avoid that will make your spring and summer green thumb a little greener.
Understand Your Local Climate
Just because the weather is nice doesn’t mean it’s the right time to go all out. Different areas of the country have different weather and temperature patterns that you should use as guidance for when and what to plant. If in doubt, check the Department of Agriculture web site. They have a lot of information relative to local climates and what will work. And definitely use your local Extension Office as a resource.
Watch The Water
A rookie mistake could be as simple as overwatering, which can kill a plant. Stick your finger in the soil and only water if it feels dry. Add an inch of water and let it soak into the soil. It’s better to saturate the plant less often than to only water a little bit, too often.
Using The Wrong Fuel - Look Before You Pump
Finally, it matters what kind of gasoline you used in your gas-powered lawn mower and small engines. You need to watch out and make sure you don’t accidentally put E15 into these small engines. Lawn mowers and other gas-powered small engines are not approved to be used on E15 gasoline. This is because higher concentrations of ethanol in the gasoline have not yet been proven to be safe for use. So you risk real damage and voided warranties if you make that mistake.
Small engine manufacturers are taking this risk seriously enough that they’ve collaborated with popular retailers like Walmart and Home Depot to fund the Look Before You Pump campaign. The campaign was actually started way back in October 2013 and features stickers and signage in retail locations reminding purchasers of small engine equipment to use only E10 blends and below.
Companies like this don’t undertake the expense and hassle of this kind of promotion unless they realize that there’s a real problem. If one of their machines dies because someone used E15 fuel, the manufacturer is likely to be blamed (“this is a piece of junk”), not the fuel.
So pay attention to the gas you’re using in your lawn equipment this summer. Use only E10 or below.
You may be interested in these other posts:
- Small Engine Problems Caused by Ethanol: Mix-I-Go Small Engine
- Preparing your Lawn Mower for Spring
- Six Easy Tips for Better Lawnmower Maintenance
- Spring lawn mower maintenance: A brief checklist
This post was published on April 26, 2016 and was updated on May 12, 2016.