Friday, August 28, 2015

Should I Aerate and Overseed My Lawn?

Lawn Aerating and Overseeding
By: Bruce Allentuck, Allentuck Landscaping Co. 

Aeration and overseeding are two of the most beneficial things you can do to maintain and improve a healthy lawn and solve two of the most common lawn problems.

Soil and Thatch

Aeration solves two problems that afflict lawns in our area; compact soil and thatch.  Our soils are clay based and are naturally compacted. Try pushing your finger through a concrete block. That is what it feels like for a tender root trying to grow through our soils. Aeration breaks up the soil structure and creates spaces for the roots to grow faster, deeper and stronger.

Thinning Lawn

Your lawn goes through a lot of stress; pet waste, excessive foot traffic, environmental factors, heat, shade and a lack of water. All of these things make it break down and can result in thinning and bare areas. Overseeding fills the bare areas of your lawn and thickens the existing turf. The process of overseeding basically introduces new plants to the lawn so that it can be thicker and hardier.

Long Term Benefits

Thatch is a build-up of dead grass materials that lies below the living lawn. If left unchecked, thatch becomes a breeding ground for harmful diseases and insects. Aerating punches holes through the thatch and allows air to circulate. The more air that circulates, the faster the dead grass build-up breaks down.

The stronger and healthier a lawn is, the better it can out-compete weeds such us crabgrass, nutsedge, dandelions and others. By creating a healthy and lush lawn, the weeds have less space to grow and cannot readily get needed resources such as water and nutrients. Through aerating and overseeding, you are giving your lawn its best chance to thrive and be healthy.

For more landscaping tips visit: 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Independent We Stand Visits STIHL Dealers on Their Sixth Road Trip

Chris and Sue Bridger, Munn Lawn & Tractor
Last month, the Independent We Stand team completed their sixth road trip, known as the “Main Street Make Us Better” tour. The team traveled over 2,000 miles, bringing awareness to the Independent We Stand movement. They interviewed business owners– from Detroit to Boston- about the impacts that small locally-owned businesses can have on local economies. Over the course of five days, the team interviewed over 40 independent business owners, including four STIHL dealers. Many of these dealers spoke on why the ‘buy local’ movement is so important; while, others spoke on how they got involved in their business. Regardless of the topic there was no shortage of passion among these small business owners.

The team started their trip in Auburn Hills, Michigan where they met Sue and Chris Bridger of Munn Lawn and Tractor. The Bridgers had recently purchased the business from Chris’ friend and former employer. Sue talked about what consumers can expect by shopping at their store as opposed to a national competitor. She says, “People need to understand we have everything- from the beginning- to the end- from the sale- to service, to the warranty, to the parts.”

Joe Lally, North Royalton Power Equipment
After leaving Michigan, the team headed east. Joseph Lally welcomed them at his dealership in North Royalton, Ohio. When Lally talked about his business and his customers, his dedication to his community showed. He raves about his customers who have supported him through the years. He says “We have a great core group of customers and they've established a good relationship with our employees.” Lally adds, “Most of our new customers are referrals, which is always a nice compliment.” At the next stop on their journey, the team met Gerry Weaver, owner of JB Zimmerman who says “Chain stores have come and gone, but the one factor that stood through all the ups and downs has been the mom and pop shops.”
Gerry and Wes Weaver, JB Zimmerman

With seven children and a 9,500 square foot business to run, Gerry and Linda Weaver still find the time to help out those in their community. The Weaver family contributes to local schools, and fire and rescue departments– to name a few. Gerry explains that in a close-knit community like New Holland, it’s important to give back to your neighbors.

The team’s final interview, before heading to Boston, ended in Mystic, Connecticut with Scott Neddeau, manager of Cash True Value. In the 35 years Scott has worked for Cash True Value, he has seen many of the same faces, and now has second generation customers. When asked about why consumers should support locally-owned business, Neddeau points out that it “keeps the money and jobs in town.” Neddeau adds, “It is important to have groups like
From left to right: Bill Brunelle, Independent We Stand,
Scott Neddeau, Cash True Value,
Rick Canzellarini, STIHL Inc.
Tara Mazzarella, Independent We Stand
Independent We Stand to help educate consumers on shopping locally.” 

While in Mystic, the Independent We Stand team also spoke with Rick Canzellarini, the regional marketing manager for STIHL Northeast - Cash True Value’s distribution center for STIHL products. Canzellarini believes in “re-educating America on the importance of buying locally,” from stores like Cash True Value and other locally-owned STIHL dealers. He goes on to state, “buying locally is what’s going to rebuild the economy.”
For a recap of the entire trip click here.
Independent We Stand is dedicated to helping independent businesses, across the country, engage their communities and encourage customers to buy local. For more information about the movement you can visit them at

Friday, August 14, 2015

The STIHL Anti-Vibration System in Chainsaws

You start your chainsaw and go to work.  Its comfortable, with great control, and you make short work of that cord of firewood.  But have you ever wondered why it's comfortable?  You can thank the anti-vibration system. An anti-vibration system is a standard part of chainsaws today. But that hasn’t always been true. 

 Back in the old days, handles were attached directly to the engine, which meant every vibration was felt by the user.  This became significant when the first one-man saw, the legendary STIHL Contra, launched in 1959. The Contra revolutionized the forestry industry, allowing a single operator to feel trees, but it also meant the more operators were being subjected to vibration.

Patented system

At STIHL we always challenge ourselves to find a better way.  In 1964, a patent for an anti-vibration system for chainsaws was filed. The main features of this system were rubber elements to separate the handle from the engine.
STIHL Contra anti-vibration elements
This made it possible to cut the level of handle vibration in half. In 1965, series production started on a Contra equipped with the new feature now known as the anti-vibration (AV) system. While this was obviously an upgrade on the Contra, by 1967 the AV feature was standard on the MS 041. The rear handle was mounted on a cast magnesium component surrounding the carburetor and the air filter. This design, known as a frame-mounted anti-vibration system, was also used in later products.
Dr RĂ¼diger Stihl had this to say about the AV system.  “The anti-vibration system is a good example of my father’s inventiveness. He cared deeply about society and was always concerned about the well-being of others. His aim was to improve products in such a way as to make it easier for users to work with them. The anti-vibration system helped make the hard forestry work more comfortable.”

Steel springs and rubber buffers
STIHL MS 362 with professional anti-vibration system

In the early 1970s, to stay ahead of more stringent limits, we went back to the drawing board to come up with a more robust method to further reduce handle vibrations. For the MS 042, we developed the stable handle housing with built-in fuel tank that is used to this day. Still made of magnesium back in 1976, the first polymer version was featured on the MS 024 in 1982. In the late 1990s, further advances were made.  Although rubber buffers were sturdy, their material properties limited the amount of vibration that they alone could absorb.  So STIHL introduced steel springs. As a result, today’s STIHL chainsaws are all equipped with steel-spring elements combined with a complex shock-absorption system consisting of rubber and hard-foam buffers.

Making chainsaw use more comfortable

So the next time you are using your STIHL, take a look at your saw’s anti-vibration elements.  They are just another example of the innovation, engineering and dedication to the customer that is at the heart of all we do. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

OPEI Advisory on Ethanol and Small Engines

Reminder: Look Before You Pump!

It’s more important than ever to pay attention when fueling your lawn mower, chain saw, string trimmer, and any other small engine product or outdoor power equipment (OPE).

More fuel choices at the pump can be confusing. Most fuel sold today at gas stations for automobiles and outdoor power equipment contains up to 10 percent ethanol (E10). However, in the past year, more gas stations are selling ethanol fuel blends greater than 10 percent – such as E15 and E85.

Gas for your car or truck isn’t necessarily good for outdoor power equipment. You cannot go to a gas station and assume that the gas from the pump that works for your car or truck, is safe and legal to use in your lawn mower, string trimmer, chainsaw, snow thrower, or any other small engine product.

Fuels with ethanol blends higher than 10% ethanol (E10) can be harmful to OPE. As a matter of fact, it is illegal to use fuel with more than 10% ethanol in outdoor power equipment. Also, boats, motorcycles and utility type vehicles should use E10 or less.

Damage and destruction can be caused by higher ethanol levels in OPE. Ethanol contains corrosive alcohol. It can cause fuel to separate and de-stabilize. If your equipment is damaged by fuel with more than 10% ethanol, manufacturers typically will not honor a warranty claim. You may be forced to make expensive repairs or replace your equipment.

Pay attention at the pump when buying fuel. In the past, consumers were physically kept from selecting the wrong fuel. For instance, with diesel you often used a different pump. But blender pumps, which dispense various ethanol fuel blends, are becoming more widely available. Customers should be vigilant and look before they pump. Make sure you use E10 or less fuel in your outdoor power and small engine equipment.

For more information, visit

Information provided by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute.