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Home Living : March 13th 2012
MB HLW - HOME LIVING: WEST, Tuesday, March 13, 2012 3 MOWING TIPS CAN'T BEAT MULCHING EVERY time you remove grass clippings you're depriving the lawn of nutrients that it has extracted from the soil. That's why mulching is such a good idea. For those who don't mulch regularly, your lawn could benefit from fertilising. Even the most pristine lawn can be targeted by weeds. The presence of weeds can be a sign that grass roots can't penetrate the soil. Check where weeds are growing. If the soil is compacted or hard, you'll need to remove or spray weeds and then aerate the lawn. MOWING TIPS Don't water newly mown grass for at least 24 hours Water in the early morning rather than late afternoon Keep mower blades sharp Use a grass catcher during the cooler months Alternate the direction in which you mow each time LAWN MAINTENANCE METHODICAL MOWING PRESERVING GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME Correct mowing methods go a long way to keeping lawns healthy all year around. LAWN maintenance is an im- portant task for home gardeners and correct mowing methods go a long way to keeping them healthy all year around. Victa says adverse weather conditions, like the recent big wet, can play havoc with lawn maintenance. So remember never to cut wet or dewy grass, keep the lawn mower blades sharp and use a grass catcher during the cooler months. Mowers that mulch are most beneficial for your lawn be- cause they recycle grass clip- pings back into the lawn, pro- viding valuable nutrients for sustained growth. What's more, the blades on mulching mowers are designed to break down the cut grass into very small pieces then distribute them evenly over the lawn where they quickly break down without leaving a trace. As a guide, you should mow once a week or, at the very least, once a fortnight during summer and once every three or four weeks in winter. At other times, you'll probably vary between these extremes, depending on how fast your lawn is growing. The most popular types of rotary-action lawnmowers today are cut-and-catch models and mulch-or-catch models. Mulch-or-catch models are ideal on larger lawns where it be- comes less practical to remove the clippings. Be sure to choose a mower that is powerful enough to handle the job. During cooler months, grass grows much slower, so it's a good idea to raise your cutting height a little. AIRCONDITIONING KEEPING YOUR HOUSE COOL WHEN buying an aircon- ditioner, getting it right means keeping your house cool at low cost. It's important to choose an efficient model and one that suits your needs. Australian Bureau of Stat- istics figures show about three-quarters of Australian homes use air- conditioners or evaporative coolers. Ausgrid's energy ef- ficiency expert Paul Myors says aircon- ditioners that are either too big or too small can have a big impact on energy bills. As a rough guide, multi- ply the num- ber of square metres you want to cool by 125W and compare this with the air- conditioner's output. Airconditioning specialists take into account your floor space, window area and insulation levels. The most popular models are wall- mounted reverse cycle units, which can cost up to 70c an hour to run. ''It's good to know that each extra star will give you about 10 per cent lower running costs,'' he says. 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