Monday, November 12, 2012

Small Business Saturday

Shop Small®

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is another day, one dedicated to the businesses that boost the economy and invigorate neighborhoods across the country.

It’s Small Business Saturday®, and this year, it’s happening on November 24.

Shop Small this November 24TH, and let’s make this the biggest day of the year for small business.

To learn more, visit or

Friday, July 6, 2012

Beat the Heat With Your Lawn

How is your lawn doing?  When its this hot everything is out under strain.   From fish to farmers the heat affects everything.  The guys over at have tons of  suggestions on what you can do to help your lawn look its best during this heat wave.

Bill and Jeff have established what they call "The Plan" to help your lawn reach it fullest potential all year round.   Their newsletters outline what plans are best for your lawn on a weather specific basis.  Their advice is based on our climate here in the St. Louis region and their advice caters to what type of grass you have growing in your "sward".   If you follow their plan to the letter your lawn will look like the outfield at Busch Stadium in no time.  

The Turf Guys recommend watering your grass early in the morning in what they call a "dew wash" (watering every part of  your grass for two minutes to clean the dew off before you water).  Dew spreads a fungal mycelium that helps spread disease on your lawn.    Below is a picture of what the fungus can do to your lawn.

The other tip that Bill and Jeff provide is if you have a lower temperature grass, like a fescue, then it might be OK to let your grass go dormant during these ultra hot summer days.  Dormancy is part of the natural cycle of grass and watering infrequently could disturb that cycle. Your grass will perk up once this temperature finally breaks.  However if you have been watering all year do not stop now, it could really harm your grass.  They also recommend watering in the morning as opposed to the evening which promotes the spread of fungus. 

The Turf Guys also warn that the temperatures at night are the real issue at this time of year.   If temperatures rise above 80 over night that is when the most damage can be done to your grass as it will actually cook.   According to the Bill and Jeff in 2010 this happened and it killed massive amounts of lawns all over the area.  There is no way to combat this but it is something to watch for. 

These guys really know their stuff when it comes to lawns.  If you give them a look you will not be disappointed.  As always come see us here at Arco Lawn for any and all of your lawncare equipment needs. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Is it always greener?

Spring has sprung here in St. Louis and grass is growing everywhere.   But the question on most Midwestern homeowners’ minds is how I get my yard as green as it can be? What tips and tricks can help you get the most out of your yard? 

The easiest way to solve the problem is to look at what prevents your yard from reaching its full potential?  Grass reacts to the sun much like your skin does.  If it is cut too short it will burn at the roots and soil causing the grass to yellow or end up looking like the lawn below.  The easiest tip to help beautifying your lawn quickly is to leave the grass a bit longer.   

                Cutting your grass on your Toro mower’s highest setting encourages strong root systems and actually cuts down on watering. While watering is an important ingredient to a healthy lawn as long as you water thoroughly two or three times per week the grass will actually grow deeper roots. A total of one inch of water per week is recommended.  A deeper root system develops in to a much healthier lawn.  Another tip is to avoid fertilizers heavy in nitrogen.  They will cause the grass to grow quickly but do not strengthen your root system.  We recommend Milogranite as it is one of the best values among organic fertilizers. 

                If nothing else try leaving your mower on its highest setting.  It will make a world of difference in your lawn and cause those neighbors to be green with envy. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Snow is coming!!

Look to the city for the upcoming snow news. This from the latest in St. Louis snow news:

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri transportation officials are getting ready for winter.

The state Transportation Department says crews are repairing equipment, building up supplies and testing their procedures for handling winter emergencies. From (KMOV)

If the city is ramping up for snow already shouldn’t we be as well? Snow might be a "maybe" here in STL, but it has already hit the North East with full force! See the article from The Daily Beast,

With snow coming in full swing, snow blowers are FLYING off of the shelves. Toro distribution center has already SOLD OUT of more than half of its models that were made for the year and will not be making anymore. If you are interested in a good snow removal machine, check out the Power Clear 418.


This machine has been a power house here in St. Louis and is at a great price point.

Do you already have your snow removal equipment, but it may need a bit of tune up? There are many ways to address your machine to get it in tip top shape. Here is a short list of things to check:

* Having trouble with your snow blower removing snow without tilting the machine up slightly? Check your scraper bar on the bottom of the machine to ensure that it is not worn out. Also, the rubber paddles on the single stage snow blower wear out and may need replacing.

* Having trouble starting your machine after it has sat all year long? Check to see if you have old fuel in the machine from last year. If so, you may need to drain the old fuel and start with fresh. If this does not work it is possible that the carburetor in the machine may have a buildup of varnish or that your carburetor inlet seat is damaged from sitting. Either way, a fuel system repair may be inevitable. If this is the case, purchase a carburetor repair kit, or take it in to your local dealer and they can get it up and running for you.

Looking for an easy way to eliminate ice on the walkways? We suggest using an Ice melt product rather than just a sodium chloride. Something with a tri-mix is preferable in order to do the best job with the least amount of lawn damage or tracking into the house. ICE MELT or STORMBUSTER are two great products for this, which can be purchased now at Arco Lawn Equipment.

As always, thanks for reading and if you need to purchase snow blower parts check out this great listing on Ebay for Toro kits! Other great values and parts available on our website.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Small Engine Smarts: The Five Basic Systems, Part 2

Image by David Reber's Hammer Photography

Previously, we took a look at the fuel system and the compression system. Now let's go over the three remaining of the five basic systems:

System 3: Ignition
System 4: Lubrication and Cooling
System 5: Governor (Speed Control)

The ignition system is how your small engine starts. It can be a manual start, meaning you have to pull on a rewind or starter rope in order to turn the engine over the first time and start it running. Or it can be an electric start, which means that it has been equipped with an electric starter motor and a key, and all you have to do is turn that key to crank the engine up. Machines with electric start engines will generally have a higher price point than those without. 

The initial tug on the starting system, whether provided manually or electrically, causes the flywheel to turn. The flywheel has magnets mounted on it, and as the flywheel spins past the ignition armature, an electrical flow will occur and produce a spark at the tip of the spark plug. The spark, which is timed with the motion of the piston and the valves (part of the compression system, remember?), will then ignite the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. Once you give the engine that initial spark, its own momentum will keep it spinning and running.

Common Parts of the Ignition System
  • Spark plug
  • Spark plug wire
  • Ignition armature
  • Flywheel
  • Flywheel magnets

Lubrication and Cooling
You've certainly noticed that your engine gets hot when it runs. Though some of that heat escapes through the exhaust gases and radiant heat, much of the heat remains in the engine. And overheated engine is an engine that won't keep running long, and that's why lubrication and cooling are so important. 
Oil is the lubricant which keeps engines cooler by reducing friction between the various engine parts. Friction is a major source of heat, so the less friction produced while an engine is running, the less heat. (Note: this does not mean that you should dump in more oil than recommended for your small engine! Excess oil does not mean less friction. Follow the guidelines in your owner's manual.) 
Air is the other cooling component in an engine; you'll notice, on the outside of the engine block, ridged cooling fins which increase the surface area of the engine so that more engine is exposed to more cool air. Keeping the cooling fins clean is an important part of maintaining your engine. 

Common Parts of the Lubrication and Cooling System:
  • Oil reservoir
  • Dipstick
  • Oil dipper or paddle
  • Oil filter
  • Bypass valve
  • Cooling fins
  • Flywheel fins
  • Blower housing
  • Air guides

Governor (Speed Control)
The governor system allows you to use your power equipment under different loads while keeping the engine running at the same optimal speed. For a mower, the load would be how high and thick the grass to be cut is. The higher and thicker the grass, the more of a load the engine is under to move the machine and spin the blades through it. The governor automatically notes changes in the load as your machine encounters them, and adjusts the throttle so that the engine runs optimally without you have to make manual adjustments while you work. 

Common Parts of the Governor System:
  • Engine speed control
  • Throttle lever
  • Governor spring
  • Speed control cable
  • Throttle linkage
  • Governor lever
  • Governor cup
  • Governor shaft
  • Flyweights
  • Camshaft
  • Timing gear

Arco Lawn Equipment provides how-to articles, advice, and all information on this website for informational purposes only, and cannot be held liable for damage to self or equipment incurred. Please read your owner's manual, follow all safety instructions, wear proper safety apparel, and never allow children or pets to play in or around lawn equipment. Consult a professional small engine technician if you are unsure about any of the steps involved in power equipment maintenance, use, or repair.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Small Engine Smarts: Regular Maintenance Schedule

One truth that every small engine technician knows - and many homeowners don't realize - is that the regular, scheduled maintenance of your machine can eliminate costly breakdowns down the road. Of course, our human nature and tendency to procrastinate often leave us in the latter situation: stuck with a half-mown yard and a smoking lawn mower in the middle of June. 
It's the same problem we have with getting regular physical check-ups when we're feeling good... but just as you don't want a major disease to be the thing that finally gets you to the doctor, wouldn't you much prefer to invest a little money, at your convenience, into preventative maintenance now instead of wait until disaster strikes your lawn mower or weed trimmer? 

The Briggs and Stratton Small Engine Care and Repair Manual suggests this regular maintenance schedule for machines with small engines:

After the first five hours of use
  • Change the oil and filter
After each use
  • Check the oil
  • Remove debris around the muffler
Every 25 hours or every season
  • Change the oil
  • Service the air cleaner assembly
  • Clean the fuel tank and line
  • Clean the carburetor float bowl (if your machine is so equipped)
  • Inspect the rewind (starter) rope for wear
  • Clean the cooling fins on the engine block
  • Remove debris from the blower housing
  • Check engine compression
  • Inspect governor springs and linkages
  • Inspect ignition armature and wires
  • Inspect the muffler
  • Check the valve tappet clearances
  • Replace the spark plug
  • Adjust the carburetor
  • Check the engine mounting nuts/bolts
Every 100 hours or every season
  • Clean the cooling system (clean more often if using under dusty conditions)
  • Change the oil filter, if equipped
  • Decarbonize the cylinder head
Arco Lawn Equipment provides how-to articles, advice, and all information on this website for informational purposes only, and cannot be held liable for damage to self or equipment incurred. Please read your owner's manual, follow all safety instructions, wear proper safety apparel, and never allow children or pets to play in or around lawn equipment. Consult a professional small engine technician if you are unsure about any of the steps involved in power equipment maintenance, use, or repair.  

    Saturday, May 21, 2011

    Overview: Types of Grass

    Spring is a common time for fertilizing and reseeding your lawn; if you're going to be seeding or sodding, get an idea of what type of grass will work best in your yard first. 

    Bermudagrass: One of the most commonly grown grasses, able to thrive across many zones, Bermudagrass is a warm-weather grass that is drought-tolerant. It has a long green season. Though it will tolerate drought, it will be greenest and lushest with a regular watering routine. Use a sprinkler or install an irrigation system on a timer to make routine watering easy and efficient. 

    Buffalograss: Grown mainly in the Central Prairie states, this grass doesn't require mowing but isn't quite the look most suburban homeowners are going for. It does prefer sun. Turns honey-colored during colder months. 

    Fescue: Will grow across all U.S. zones and is both drought and shade tolerant. A good choice if you're working with a yard that has large areas of both sun and shade. 

    Kentucky Bluegrass: Though it prefers cooler climates, Kentucky Bluegrass can be grown across the Midwest. It likes full sun, but will definitely need regular watering. 

    Perennial Ryegrass: Grows across all U.S. zones. It needs sun and isn't a fan of extreme temperatures and will do best with regular watering. 

    St. Augustine
    St. Augustinegrass: This coarse turf grass will handle almost any warm-weather demand you can give it, from full sun to humidity. It's not a fan of frost, so you might see early browning.

    Tall Fescue: A cool-season grass, Tall Fescue is drought-tolerant and will grow well in full sun or in partial shade.

    Zoysiagrass: Another common grass; Zoysia is a warm-season grass which grows well in hot Midwest summers. It turns brown in winter, greens again in spring.