Upper South

November, 2012
Regional Report

Web Finds

Mulching Trees and Shrubs
When used correctly, a mulch layer around trees and shrubs is one of the most important things you can do to have growing success as it protects roots and provides nutrients. Although a seemingly simple process, many people are confused about what to use and how to apply. The Morton Arboretum, near Chicago, has one of America's most important collections of trees, plus they conduct leading research on tree health and tree improvement. Their fact sheet Mulching Trees and Shrubs offers concise details on choosing a mulching material and how to apply it correctly. There are also links to other articles on tree care.

Tool or Gardening Product

Ryobi 40-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless String Trimmer
Some people may argue that string trimming is not gardening, nor is string trimming and the trimmer necessary. But I would argue that a well-trimmed garden does satisfy some of us, and, if the garden is large, then using a string trimmer is a wonderful advance in technology over a hand sickle. That said, string trimming is not my favorite chore, and a string trimmer is not my favorite garden tool. My garden is too large for corded trimmer, and I dislike the noise and environmental pollution of a gas-powered trimmer. Having someone else do the string trimming has also been less than satisfactory. That leaves using a battery-powered trimmer myself. The earliest models of battery-powered trimmers would only last long enough for small yards with the daintiest of grass and weeds, but advances in battery technology have created trimmers that are well worth considering. Recently, I have had the opportunity to use the Ryobi 40-volt lithium-ion cordless string trimmer/edger, and it succeeds where other options have failed. The high-capacity 40-volt lithium-ion battery means fade-free performance, maximum power, and maximum run time. Or at least as long I want to spend trimming at any one time; an option for bigger trimming jobs is to have a second, charged battery on hand. One of the most important features for me is the easily pivoting head that swings out to cleanly trim garden beds with a spade-cut edge. The Ryobi trimmer also has an adjustable string width and variable speed trigger. There is a 3-year warranty on the 9-pound Ryobi trimmer, plus it is part of a series of cordless 40-volt tools, including a chain saw, hedge trimmer, blower, and push lawn mower, any of which could easily find their way to my wish list.

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