How to stop your dog destroying the garden
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It’s a real shame when your freshly cut lawn, or beautiful flower garden is subject to the wrath of your (sometimes) crazy dog. Holes, petal-less flowers and plenty of muddy patches are just a few of the signs that your pooch needs garden-etiquette training. Our Crewcut operators see it all, and have come up with some fool-proof ways to keep your garden in top shape whilst having a dog there.

Keep your dog company in the garden

If your dog is out in the garden for an extended period of time, they’re likely to get bored. When this happens, the dog might turn his paws to the ground and get some digging underway. Being with them means they have someone to play with - and also means they’ll be on better behaviour.

Fence off the problem areas

This is key if you have a little garden patch or flowers. The one way to deter your dog from going into these ares and ‘causing a muck’ would be to have a visual aid showing these areas are ‘doggy no-nos’. A little chicken wire fence or a properly installed mini picket-fence should keep them out of these areas. 

Take your dog for longer walks or runs

Dogs are physical creatures. They need plenty of exercise, every day. When the playful pooch feels it’s not getting out all it’s energy, it might turn to other measures that aren’t too friendly to your backyard. Even if it just involves throwing the ball, they will use up more of their energy which means you’ll use less energy keeping your lawn tidy.

Are they stimulated enough?

Just like children, dogs too need plenty of toys to keep them stimulated. Give them toys they can use both inside and outside, but be sure not to leave then out too long or the toys will get dirty and slimy (from curious snails).

There are plenty of other ways to keep your canine from destroying the backyard. Have you read "How to keep cats out of your garden?" What are some of the other ways you keep your dog well behaved in the garden?

Grow your own Avocados
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Who doesn’t love a good avocado these days. Smeared on a bagel with a drizzle of olive oil and crumbles of feta. Mmmmmm. But who loves paying $5 for one? Not us.
So why don’t you try growing your own avocado tree and never run out of one of the most popular green delicacies? Many of our franchisees enjoy running their own avocado orchards when they’re not behind the mower. (YouTube link here) 

So here we have created your easy, how-to-guide for growing your own avo tree.

  1. When you next eat an avocado, keep a hold of the big seed inside. Wash it and then pierce it with 3 toothpicks evenly around the seed. 
  2. Fill a glass with water. Next place the avocado on top of the glass so that half of the seed is in water, and the other half above water (this is where those toothpicks work well).
  3. Now place this glass in a warm area that’s out of direct sunlight.
  4. The next stage is waiting. Generally roots and a stem start showing in about 2-6 weeks. When the stem reaches 6-7 inches long, cut it back to 3 inches.
  5. When the steam gains leaves again and the roots are fairly thick, you should be able to plant in rich soil, with half the seed exposed. 
  6. Make sure to continue watering, but don’t let it drown! Keep it in some sunlight and the plant should be forever happy.
  7. When the stem grows to 12 inches, cut it back to half this height as this will encourage new shoots to grow. 

When the avocado sapling is a bit big for the pot, it will be able to go into the ground. Place it in good sunlight - avocados love sunbathing as an adult just like us.  You won’t need to dig too deep a hole as the avocado plant is shallow-rooted. 

All things aside, it does take a few years to see any of those green delights. If you grow from a seed, it can take anywhere from 5-13 years before the plant is able to produce avocados. It might seem like a long haul, but once they reach 5 years old, they can produce around 200-300 avocados….that’s about $1000-$1500 in today’s market! 

And if you don’t end up wanting the avocados after all? They make a great side-of-the-road sale, especially in summer!

Avocados are definitely in fashion, and they will be for a long time to come. So get the shovel out and start making your own avocado plantation! 

Mulching Tips
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Mulching is essentially any type of material that covers soil and prevents weeds, frostbite and loss of moisture. It’s something not every home owner knows about but is beneficial to the health of your garden and plants. It can come in the form of bark, grass clippings, newspaper or shredded leaves. We have gone into a bit more detail to explain how mulching can benefit your garden. 

Grass clippings - this type of mulching is great for suppressing weeds. However as grass has a high water content, it can decompose fairly quickly. This is a simple addition your Crewcut operator could offer you after cutting your lawn. 

Newspaper - this type of mulching is becoming increasingly popular. Layered newspaper sheets are effective for moisture retention and are also good at suppressing weeds. Spread 4-8 sheets of newspaper around the plants you want to mulch near, and moisten the sheets so they don’t blow away. 

Bark - this type of mulching is best used around trees, garden beds and shrubs. They don’t however mix well with soil so they can be hard to shift around when you want to create space for new plants. Bark is the most long lasting of all the mulches, which is why it is commonly used. 

Shredded leaves - this is natures most favourite mulch as they can be used anywhere in the garden. It’s a big advert for earth worms which will really help with your soil. 

One of the questions we get is: "Should you mulch during the winter?" To which the simple answer is - Yes! Mulching helps to protect the plants from frostbite and from completely freezing which can damage the plant’s roots. It’s important to get in the mulching before the spring season when there’s a surge of rapid growth. 

You only need to place down a few inches as mulch will eventually decompose and will need to be replaced. Our friendly operators would be more than happy to help out here. Next time your operator is in, ask if they would be able to add this to your regular garden service. Trust us, your plants will thank you for it.

Keeping Cats Out Of Your Garden
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We’ll let the cat out of the bag, nobody wants their beautiful garden turning into a neighbourhood litter box. Cat urine is extremely harmful to plants, and aside from this, it smells pretty bad too. Unfortunately male cats do this to claim their territory and to let female cats know they’re in the area. You could shoo them off every 10 minutes, but there are far less exhausting methods to keep those cats in their own gardens. Some ideas include:

Motion activated sprinklers

This kind of sprinkler is only activated when a cat comes nearby. The unexpected burst of water is enough to make the cat run for the hills and not return. It’s in no way harmful to the cat, just a bit unpleasant. 

Chicken wire fencing

If you’re growing a bit of a veggie patch, the best way to keep those paws out is with chicken wire fencing. The texture of this will keep cats away as it’s quite uncomfortable to sit on. 

Pine cones

Cats don’t like the feeling of pine cones, so try spreading these around some of those toilet hot spots. 

Citrus and coffee grounds

An easy way is using strong scents. Cats don't like these smells. But be sure not to put the citrus and coffee grounds ON your plants, just around the area. 

A cat’s ‘present’ in your garden isn’t generally appreciated, so try these handy tips to keep your garden feline-free. 

The NOT so marvellous mushroom
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Are you battling with Mushrooms or Fungi in your garden with all the wet weather?

If you don't want them and have a problem with removal - Epsom salts are all you need!
The Epsom salts will balance the pH of your soil to help get rid of them. 

Method

  1. Grab a 5 litre watering can and fill with water.
  2. Put 60g of Epsom salts and stir in.
  3. Pour over the affected area.

Epsom salt is safe to use and won’t burn your grass. It is a great fertiliser as it contains magnesium which helps plants absorb nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur which are the main ingredients to a green lush lawn!

You can expect a few to pop up in your garden over the winter period - so remembering this handy tip will keep them at bay.

Watering your garden the right way
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Lush green pastures are the dream, but getting to this stage can often be a nightmare. Aside from spending lots of money on inefficient equipment, there’s a problem of when to do it and how? Crewcut has listed for you 3 common watering forms with pros, cons and tips!

Hand watering

Pros: you can control how much water you spread over the garden.

Cons: hose can be annoying and often doesn’t reach large areas.

Tips:

  • Use a special diffuser or nozzle to help control the flow and get even distribution.
  • When water stops absorbing, move to another dryer location.
  • Wait about an hour, then drop a long screwdriver into the ground (about 6-10 inches) to see if the soil is moist. If not, repeat watering. 

Sprinklers

Pros: they cover large areas and require minimal effort.

Cons: sometimes can be wasteful with water and can oversaturate areas.

Tips:

  • Set the timer to water earlier in the morning to reduce evaporation.
  • If water is overflowing, split the watering times into perhaps two to three sessions.
  • If it’s raining often, turn off the system

Drip irrigation

Pros: good for individual plants or a small yard and are water efficient by reduced run-off and evaporation.

Cons: can be a bit more tricky to install and maintain.

Tips:

  • Periodically check your emitters for clogs and make sure each emitter is dripping the right amount of water
  • Flush your irrigation lines at least twice a year or when you change the schedule.
  • Generally, the smaller the plant, the less water emitters it needs. As it grows, give it a bit more water.

So make the most of the sun while it’s out, but don’t leave your grass high and dry. If you need any more help or advice make sure to give Crewcut a call.