Friday, May 13, 2011

Here's a sharp idea! Get your garden tools in shape for the season - May 14th

Keeping your lawn mower blade sharpened is good for your lawn and good for the planet. According to experts at the Virginia Cooperative Extension, "The quickest way to improve lawn quality AND turf health is to clip it with a sharp blade, and a sharp blade will also improve fuel-use efficiency and extend engine life."

Sharpened blades are especially important during mid to late Spring, when cool-season grasses in the area form tough seedheads. Tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass and the fine-leaf fescues are all producing flowers and seed during this time of year in response to temperature, day length, and moisture. These tough seedhead stalks are designed for support and are much tougher to mow.

Clipping grass with a dull mower usually results in turf that initially has a ‘whitish’ cast (from the shredded leaf and seedhead tips) that ultimately becomes a ‘brown or tan’ cast as the damaged tissues slowly age and die. So, one way to immediately improve quality for most is to simply sharpen the blades. How often should one sharpen the blades? On average, most homeowners in Virginia should plan on sharpening their blades at least 3 times during the growing season.

With that in mind, I wanted to pass along this message I saw on a local gardening message board:

Back By Popular Demand - Saturday Morning John Vecciarrelli Will Offer Sharpening Services Next to Takoma DC Branch Library - 6900 Block of 5th St. N.W.

John Vecciarrelli's father Tony made his living sharpening knives, lawnmower blades, handmower blades and other tools all around the city. When John retired a few years ago, he began driving his dad's workshop in an old green step van to events around town, offering the same sharpening services.

Responding to requests from folks who couldn't come to last month's visit, this Saturday, May 14, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., John will again be parked on the 6900 block of 5th Street NW, between Cedar and Butternut, next to the Takoma DC branch library. If your mower hasn't been sharpened in years, or you've never known the joys of digging with a sharpened spade or trowel, you may want to come on over.

For more information, contact Dodie Butler, 202-643-6343.

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