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Preparing the Snowblower for Winter

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Monnick Supply in Marlborough and Framingham, MANow is a great time to take your snowblower to a local dealer for any needed maintenance or repairs. Once the snow falls, their shops will be extremely busy, and they will most likely have long delays.

If you want to see what we recommend, see below to ensure your snowblower is ready for winter.

Use Fresh, Good-Quality Fuel

Use fresh fuel (less than 30 days old). Gasoline gets “stale” over time and fresh fuel ignites more easily. Stale gas can leave harmful deposits in your product’s fuel system. Ethanol-free gasoline is even better for your small engines.

Today’s gasoline does not have the same chemical makeup as years ago. Testing has shown that significant deterioration can begin in as little as 30 days. The first sign of old gas is it makes starting more difficult. This is because the most volatile components of the fuel are the first to deteriorate and are the ones that help an engine start easily.

We recommend you use a national brand to ensure you are beginning with good- quality fuel. Use fuel with an octane rating of 87, or as close to 87 as you can. Higher octane fuels offer no benefit for your residential products, and some high octane additive packages are not good for small engines. Only purchase what you expect to use within 30 days, or add stabilizer. If you add a fuel stabilizer the day you buy the gasoline, you can expect the fuel to stay fresh for 4-6 months. Fuel stabilizer and ethanol-free fuel is available at Monnick Supply.

It’s also a good idea to wait until the cool fall weather season arrives before purchasing gasoline for your machine. Gasoline is reblended to suit the season, and although the difference isn’t as great as it once was, winter-grade fuel will make cold weather starts easier.

Check Your Spark Plug

Starting will be easier if the spark plug is in good condition. If in doubt, replace it. A new spark plug will be able to better ignite the fuel-air mixture within the engine. You should also make sure the spark plug wire securely attaches to the spark plug.

Check Your Oil

If you have a 4-cycle model (fuel and oil are separate) and didn’t change the oil last spring, now is the time. Even if you only run the machine a few hours a year, the oil should be changed. Oil in a small engine does not break down very fast; however, it does become contaminated. Moisture from the air and small amounts of combustion byproducts (exhaust) will build up in the oil within a very short time. This contamination will result in increased wear and can even eat away at internal parts over time. Following the recommended schedule for your machine can help prevent expensive repairs.

Check Your Owner’s Manual

Review the starting procedures outlined in the operator’s manual, including the proper operation of the safety features on your unit.

Perform an Annual Inspection

Before each season, the rotor blades should be inspected for wear. When a rotor blade edge has worn down to the wear indicator hole, both rotor blades and the scraper should be replaced. Inspect the drive belt for fraying, cracking or signs of stretching. Replace the drive belt if any of these conditions occur. It is recommended to have an extra belt on hand in the event the belt breaks while operating. Check for any loose fasteners and tighten as necessary. Missing fasteners should be replaced immediately.

For more information on getting snowblowers ready for winter, contact Monnick Supply.

TORO

How to Prepare You Lawn Mower for Winter Storage

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Monnick Supply in Marlborough and Framingham, MAFall is here and it is time to prepare your lawn mower for winter storage so that in the spring it will run properly again. Here are some tips on how to maintain a lawn mower and prepare it for winter storage. Nothing is more frustrating when you want to mow your lawn for the first time in the spring and it just won’t start.

You do not want to store the tank empty. You want to put the ethanol free fuel in it for storage. After you have run it dry of regular gas, put the ethanol free gas in it and run that for a few minutes then put it away with the ethanol free fuel still in it.

Change the air filter on your lawn mower at the end of the season, as well as once or twice during the long mowing season. Empty the oil tank and refill after cleaning up your mower and sharpening the blades. Be sure to dispose of the old oil properly.

Cleaning your mower will go a long way to prolong the life of your mower as well, preventing rust buildup, ensuring blades are kept sharp and keeping free of grease and dirty buildup.

Use steel wool pads to rub away any rust spots that appear over the growing season.

Beneath the mower, clean the underside of the carriage as well as the blades. Use a hose to power wash off any dried mud and grass clippings. Some additional scraping may be necessary, especially on the underside, but regular maintenance of this type after each mowing should keep this to a minimum. Be sure to use soap and water and a scrubbing brush to cleanse any oily, greasy spots on the mower.

Sharpening the mower blades is important too. Schedule an appointment at to have this done professionally. Give your mower blade a coating of WD-40 or other penetrating oil spray.

Once you are done, refill the oil tank. Use fresh oil.

For information on outdoor power equipment repair or for ethanol free fuel, contact Monnick Supply.

Biggest, Baddest Backpack Blower

Joseph Coupal - Friday, October 12, 2018

The biggest, most powerful blower in the STIHL range.

The new STIHL BR 700 steps things up a notch in the STIHL blower range. This high output professional blower is STIHLs most powerful model to date. Able to clear piles of wet leaves, and reduce bottom line costs with its fuel efficient engine, it is the ideal tool to get control over tough landscaping tasks and large property maintenance.

Professionals will love the adaptive design features, including an adjustable telescopic tube to accommodate users of different heights, and different applications, as well as the control handle that adjusts easily without tools to provide the most comfortable position. For further convenience, this backpack leaf blower comes with a semi-automatic choke for smooth and easy starts. Designed with an optimal power-to-weight ratio the BR 700 combines power and portability so you can get the job done whenever, wherever.

For more information on STIHL BR 700 backpack blower, contact Monnick Supply.

Get Yard Power Tools Ready for Fall Clean Up

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, October 02, 2018
Monnick Supply Power Tools - Marlborough, Framingham, MA

Fall is here. It’s not quite time for fall clean-up, but it’s right around the corner. Now is the perfect time to take stock in your power tools. What do you have, what do you need and what needs maintenance or parts? Make sure leaf blowers start, that your tools are clean and blades are sharpened or replaced, that wheelbarrow tires are fully inflated and your gas tanks are full.

But, don’t forget, when you are buying fuel for gas-driven small engines that manufacturers recommend using ethanol free gas. If you must buy gas with ethanol, use gas with 10% or less ethanol two-cycle engines and other gas powered small engines.

Most gas is mixed with ethanol which makes gas corrosive. It can destroy the rubber gaskets and seals in small engines which is why we recommend ethanol free gasoline. When getting gas for small engines remember that Toro and Stihl do not recommend using fuel with more than 10% ethanol content.

Small engine paper air filters should be replaced, but sponge filters can be washed with soap and water and then moistened by working in a few drops of motor oil.

Before filling the gas tank and adding fresh oil of any yard power tool, check the inner housing for buildup of caked-on dirt and grass clippings. Even a relatively thin coating can restrict the movement of air and grass clippings, making mulching lawn mowers less effective.

For more information on small engine parts and service for fall clean up, contact Monnick Supply.

It’s Not Too Late to Seed Your Lawn

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Monnick Supply, Marlborough, Framingham, MA

It is not too late to apply grass seed to your lawn and have successful results. Early in the fall is always best, but there is still time to develop a thicker, greener lawn. It certainly is more desirable to apply grass seed now then waiting for next spring when weeds and cold weather can really hamper your efforts.

Even though night time temperatures can be less than 60 degrees, the soil temperature is probably 5 to 10 degrees higher. Newly planted grass seed likes warm soil. The grass roots reach down deep to establish the plant before winter weather sets in. Proper soil preparation is key to growing a successful lawn. Please do not just throw grass seed over your existing lawn. Instead, rake areas to be seeded vigorously to loosen the soil or rent a seeding machine for best results. Be sure not to bury newly planted grass seed more than ¼” in depth. A few times a year I hear from homeowners who planted their grass seed too deeply and little grew. Once seed is applied, turn your rake over and gently swish it back and forth to barely cover the seed. By this time of year, we may even experience our first frost, but lawns will still grow with sunny days ahead. The first frost is very welcome; it will kill any existing crabgrass. First the crabgrass leaves turn purple and then brown a week later when completely dead. These areas can benefit from newly planted grass seed to fill in bare spots. Remember, your lawn can only be as good as the grass seed you sow, always buy Jonathan Green grass seed!

What about your soil pH? We have discussed this a number of times over the years, do you know your pH, and have you tested it? Soil test kits are available at many stores. Shame on you if you haven’t tested your pH, this is critical to growing a healthy lawn. Cool-season grasses like soil pH values between 6.2 to 7.0 for optimum growth. Mostly likely your soil pH is low and would benefit from an application of Mag-I-Cal. Calcium helps to develop cell walls and prepare grass plants for winter, while reducing disease potential.

Fall is such a great time to grow lawns and some of you may have already fertilized in early fall, either when seeding or not, an application of Winter Survival is great at this time. Many times this second application will keep your lawn green throughout the rest of the year if it does not get too cold in December. Winter Survival is not too high in Nitrogen. You will find the Nitrogen is the first number listed on the bag. Too much Nitrogen can lead to snow mold disease problems later in winter and spring.

Weed control in lawns at this time of year is generally limited to broadleaf weeds. Provided weeds are actively growing and soil temperatures are above 55 degrees, you can successfully control many types of broadleaf weeds. Some of these weeds may be masked by the better looking lawn areas, scan you lawn to see where they are growing. If you only have a few weeds here and there perhaps spot spraying is best. If you have a lot weeds a broadcast application of Green-Up Weed & Feed would be best. Why not give your lawn its last feeding for the season and clean out as many weeds as you can before next year? Keep mowing your lawn as long as it needs it into late fall. Be sure your mower blades are sharp and in good working order. Leave clippings on the lawn provided they are not wet or developing clumps which may kill existing grass. You’re all done, time to go watch a football game.

For more information on Fall lawn care, contact Monnick Supply in Marlborough and Framingham, MA.

Leaf Blowers and Shredder Vacs from STIHL Are Perfect for Fall Clean-Up

Joseph Coupal - Monday, September 17, 2018

This video features six different STIHL Leaf Blower and Shredder Vac models.

No matter the task, STIHL has something for any job. Use the STIHL Blowers & Shredder Vacs Selector tool to help narrow your choices for STIHL Blowers & Shredder Vacs.

For more information, contact Monnick Supply in Marlborough and Framingham, MA.

Battery Powered Leaf Blower by STIHL Will Get the Job Done

Joseph Coupal - Monday, September 10, 2018

Discover what you can accomplish with a single battery charge and the STIHL Blower with the AK 20 battery. Turns out you can clear a sidewalk seven football fields long. What can you do on a Single Charge?

Learn more about the STIHL Battery Powered Power Tools.

Available at Monnick Supply.

Leaf Blower Repair and Maintenance

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Monnick Supply, Marlborough, Framingham, MA

Fall is right around the corner. Pretty soon the yard, driveway, sidewalks and walkways will start to get their fair share of leaves and fall debris. A leaf blower is the perfect way to do your fall clean-up without using elbow grease. But most leaf blowers have a hard time starting up when you want them to. At Monnick Supply leaf blower repair is a specialty.

Back-pack leaf blowers and electric or gas-powered leaf blowers make life easier year round. Who wants to sweep or rake when a leaf blower can move leaves and other debris far more easily? But, when your leaf blower doesn’t start, the broom or rake can really take the enjoyment out of the gorgeous fall weather.

If you are having trouble staring your leaf blower bring it in for small engine repair and maintenance. Sometimes new gaskets, new air filters, fuel stabilizer, or new spark plugs are needed. No matter what the problem is, we will do our best to fix the leaf blower and make it run smoothly and reliably again. If you just want a new leaf blower, we sell them too-gas, electric or battery powered.

Monnick Supply in Marlborough and Framingham, MA specializes in sales and service of all power tools. Contact us for more information.

Prepare your Snowblower for Winter

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Monnick Supply, Marlborough, Framingham, MA

The last thing anyone wants after the first major snowstorm of the year is to take the snowblower out of the garage and discover that it doesn’t work.

Having simple annual snow blower maintenance performed can save you from the aggravation of this scenario.

In general, these tasks should be done either at the end of the season in preparation for the following year or in the autumn before winter starts.

Much of the basic maintenance for a snowblower is the same as that needed by automobiles and includes the following:

  • Changing the oil (drain the old oil before adding new oil)
  • Installing a new spark plug
  • Replacing oil, fuel, and air filters
  • Inspecting the belts for wear and replacing them as necessary
  • Checking the tires for proper pressure and punctures
  • Filling the tank with fresh gasoline (siphon off old gasoline first)
  • Lubricating the snowblower drive and chassis can also improve efficiency and increase the life of the snowblower. Different snowblowers require different lubricating agents.

One part that can wear down over time is the rubber on the auger. If a finger fits between the rubber and the snowblower’s housing, replacement rubber is needed to optimize performance.

The scraper bar (the bar that scrapes the snow into the blower) can also experience some wear and should be carefully examined each year. A worn scraper bar can cause damage to the snowblower’s chassis and this generally requires professional repair or even replacement of the unit.

Even if the above maintenance is done at the end of a snow season, you may wish to purchase new gasoline at the beginning of each winter. In Massachusetts, with wide climate variations, gasoline is reformulated every few months for maximum effectiveness in for the current season. This means that gas bought in spring is not the same as gas that is bought in the fall, and the fall formula is better suited for winter use.

Adding methanol to the gasoline once a year can also be useful to prevent condensation in the gas tank and icing of the carburetor. This can be done at any time and is not technically part of an annual maintenance checklist, but adding the methanol when you fill the tank for the first time can ensure it’s done at least once per year.

For more information, or to make an appointment for snowblower maintenance, contact Monnick Supply.

How to Get Rid of Crabgrass in the Summer

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Monnick Supply, Marlborough, Framingham, MA

Kill crab grass and be one step closer to having a perfect lawn.

Crabgrass is a tough opponent, but with a lawn spreader, a pump sprayer and a few turf products you can get rid of crabgrass in the spring and control it throughout the summer.

OK, your lawn has been growing for a couple of months and you notice light green blades thickening up your Kentucky Blue. Before you think your lawn is having an exceptional season, think again: It’s likely to be young crabgrass.

Pulling, at this early stage, is a surprisingly effective way to get rid of crabgrass. But if the weed has pushed up three or four rows of leaves, inspect it carefully before you snatch it. If you spot a slender, green seed head that is still closed and folded up against the leaves of the plant, go ahead and pull it, too.

However, after the seed head tines have spread out like a fork, leave it alone. Otherwise you’ll scatter scads of seeds right over that nice big hole you’ve just created by removing the mature weed. You might as well be trying to cultivate new crabgrass!

Come fall, seed bare and patchy areas. With good lawn care practices, you’ll soon crowd out those fallen crabgrass seeds.

Spraying

Lightly mist masses of immature crabgrass with a postemergence herbicide. Usually it’s too embedded to pull without yanking lots of your desirable grass with it.

Spray postemergence herbicide directly on crabgrass after it has sprouted. Pulling is equally effective, but if the roots are deeply embedded in your lawn, it may be tough to pull them out without pulling grass chunks too. It’s not worth spraying a postemergence product on crabgrass that has gone to seed. It takes about two weeks for the herbicide to work, which is about how long it takes the plant to finish its seeding process. If it has gone to seed, you’re better off waiting for next spring and applying a preemergence product then.

Post-emergence herbicides are most effective when the soil is moist and the plants are dry. Read the label for specific instructions. Typically you apply it with a hand pump sprayer. It’s best to apply it on a hot day when there’s low wind. If temperatures are too low, the product may be ineffective. Unless the crabgrass is young, you’ll probably have to reapply the product a few days later (according to the label) to kill the plant.

After postemergence application(s), keep an eye on the treated area. In extremely dry conditions, water two days after the application to aid absorption. If your grass near the treated area is turning brown, you probably were a little heavy handed.

Soak the damaged area with water to dilute the chemical and avoid further damage. Also be on the lookout for new crabgrass sprouts. These will require another herbicide treatment, or if there aren’t too many, simply pull them. Be sure to seed these areas in the fall.

Don’t waste your money on a postemergence herbicide in the fall as a route on how to kill crabgrass, when the temperatures are falling. The herbicide won’t be effective and the plant will soon die anyway.

Fight Crabgrass With a Healthy Lawn

The best way to stop crabgrass is to shade it out with a thick, healthy lawn. A thick lawn provides a dark canopy of grass blades over the seeds, so they won’t sprout. Follow these good grass-care practices.

Watering: A thorough watering once a week will encourage the grass’s root system to go deeper, making the whole lawn more hardy and heat tolerant. Avoid short, frequent waterings. These “sips” will promote a shallow, weaker root system in your lawn.

Mow: As a rule, grass should be mowed to a height of 2 to 3 in. Mowing it shorter than 2 in. will reduce the grass’s vitality and give weeds a chance to move in. Be sure to keep your lawn mower blades sharp so they won’t tear the grass. Leave grass clippings on the lawn as a natural fertilizer.

Reduce compaction: Weeds thrive in areas where compacted soil deprives the grass roots of the air and water circulation they need. If your yard is prone to compaction, rent and run an aerator over it every other year, especially if your soil contains a lot of clay.

Fertilize right: Avoid lawn fertilizer that say “quick green-up” on the label. These have excessive nitrogen ingredients that will actually weaken your lawn over time, making it more susceptible to weeds. Instead, select a fertilizer product with half of its nitrogen in a slow-release form. For a 1,000-sq.-ft. lawn, use less than 3 lbs. of nitrogen annually.

Reseed: Weed-damaged or thin areas should be seeded (sometimes called “overseeded”) in the fall, when the days are warm, the nights are cool and you have dew in the mornings.

Apply a double dose near hot spots

Some spots need special attention

Lawn near driveways, sidewalks and curbs or on south-facing banks absorbs a lot of heat during the summer months, which makes it more susceptible to crabgrass. Limit crabgrass growth in these areas by doing a targeted double treatment. After you’ve treated your entire lawn, go back and make another pass, as one option on how to kill crabgrass, about 6 to 8 ft. wide, along these areas (and make sure to sweep it off hard surfaces afterward). This will help keep crabgrass from taking hold along these heat absorbers.

Kill it all and start over!

How to Get Rid of Crabgrass

Expose bare soil

Kill off patches of lawn with nonselective herbicide in the fall if more than half the area is weeds. When it’s safe to replant (check the herbicide label), soak the patch with water and rake off dead grass and thatch to bare the soil.

While we all admire those who relentlessly defend their turf against crabgrass, there comes a time when the best strategy is to give up. That time is when your lawn only has 30 to 40 percent desirable grass left in a given area and the rest is lost to crabgrass and other weeds, and all options on how to kill crabgrass have been exhausted.

Begin by killing all the vegetation. On a low-wind day, apply a nonselective herbicide that is approved for lawn use, like Round-Up or Kleen-Up. Follow the label directions exactly. Depending on the product, weeds and grass will die and dry up in five to 14 days following application. Then renovation can proceed.

Thoroughly soak the area to give your new grass its best chance for a good start. Check your watering depth by pushing a spade into the ground and pulling it back to get a deep view of the soil. If the soil is moist to a depth of 6 to 8 in., you’re ready. For patchy bare areas and turf-free areas up to about 8 ft. square, use the spade technique for seeding. It’s effective, although it would be slow and tedious on areas that are much larger. Scuff up the dead vegetation with a rake and, using a spade, make 1/4-in.-deep furrows about 2 in. apart. Broadcast your grass seed, then flip a rake upside down and knock the seeds into the furrows. These furrows ensure that the seeds will make good contact with soil; they provide some moisture-retaining shelter as well. Then be sure to keep the seeds and soil moist. Continue to baby your new grass until after its first mowing. Do not apply crabgrass preventer to freshly planted areas.

Consider Chemical-Free Control Methods

Pre-emergent herbicides are the most effective and economical way to control crabgrass. But if you’d rather not use herbicides, you can try hand-weeding individual crabgrass plants in late spring before they get too big. They pull easily in soft ground after a rain. 

Learn more on how to eliminate weeds in your yard, contact Monnick Supply in Marlborough and Framingham, MA.

Source: familyhandyman.com


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Call (508) 318-4788


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Monnick Supply $$
135 Maple St.
Marlborough MA 01752
United States
(508) 318-4788
Mon-Fri 7am - 6pm
Sat 7am - 5:30pm
Sun 12pm - 4pm
Monnick Supply $$
759 Waverly St.
Framingham MA 01702
United States
(508) 386-9876
Mon-Fri 7am - 6pm
Sat 8am - 5:30pm
Sun 10am - 4pm