Through our wide experience within both the groundcare and arboriculture sectors, SGM has accumulated a range of resources to assist users in both the purchasing and the operation of groundcare, garden and arborist equipment.

Buying Guides

With our buying guides we aim to provide an impartial view of various equipment on the market, with information and demonstrations collected from a range of external sources combined with our own specialist knowledge to assist buyers in choosing the right equipment to meet their requirements.

Operator Guides

Our operator guides are designed to assist our customers in correctly assembling, operating and adjusting equipment/machinery they have bought or hired. The guides include best practice advice and demonstrations from industry experts and suppliers.

Finance Guides

Our finance guides provide money saving tips for the various markets in which we operate as well as useful information for choosing between finance options. SGM is also able to provide a full range of finance products along with its machinery sales to ensure all our customers benefit from a finding solution that best suits their specific requirements.


Turf Maintenance Planner: May

Throughout the month of May, the weather will be improving and the grass will be growing so you should notice your work load beginning to increase. Cricket, tennis and bowls are getting into full swing as the signs of summer are emerging, whilst the football and rugby union groundstaff will be focusing on those all important renovations. It's a busy time all round.

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Turf Maintenance Planner: April

This time of year is often the busiest for the majority of groundsmen and greenkeepers. Temperatures have begun to take off and the grass is making the most of it - as are the weeds, pests and diseases!

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Turf Maintenance Planner: March

Footballers playing on a natural grass surfaceThe beginnning of spring is a busy time for all groundstaff, whether it is summer sports gearing up for a new season, or winter sports planning those important end of season renovations. 

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Turf Maintenance Planner: February

Frosted over football pitch There's going to be another challenging month ahead for all groundsmen and greenkeepers, with some more difficult decisions to be made. Hopefully the end of the month will see the start of spring and some increasing temperatures. 

Our monthly maintenance planner will provide you with advice and guidance on the sort of work you should be contemplating each month. 

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Turf Maintenance Planner: January

Golfers play on frosted golf course during a cold spellJanuary always tends to be a difficult month for groundsmen and greenkeepers, especially with the widespread frosts that are forecast for the next few weeks. Our monthly planner will provide you with general advice on the sort of work you should be contemplating at this time of year.

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December Turf Maintenance Diary

A groundsmen using a John Deere ride-on mower to cut grassYou may think December will be a quiet time for groundsmen and greenkeepers but there's loads to be done and lots of potential challenges with floods and damaged pitches...

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October turf maintenance diary

A greenkeeper using a ride-on rotary mower to put stripes on a golf courseAutumn has arrived. The mild weather looks set to continue into October, but it is advised that summer sports groundsmen and greenkeepers get their renovations done as a matter of urgency, if they haven't been done already. 

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September turf maintenance diary...

A greenkeeper maintaining a golf green using a ride-on mowerBelow you will find SGM's turf maintenance diary for September. This diary will provide you with a list of tasks that can be carried out this month and provide you with advice on golf course, bowling green, and football pitch turf maintenance.

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July sports turf maintenance diary...

SGM's monthly turf maintenance diaries aim to offer advice and guidance on the sort of work you should be completing to keep your playing surfaces in the best condition. Please see our latest diary below:

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Cutting Grass on Slopes

Cutting grass on slopesCutting grass on slopes and bankings can be a dangerous procedure if correct precautions are not taken. It is important to understand the main causes of accidents on slopes and basic precautionary measures to prevent such accidents...

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February Sports Turf Maintenance Diary...

February Sports Turf Maintenance Diary...For many sports clubs, the winter months are the toughest time for surfaces and the grounds staff who look after them. The unsettled weather can affect the outcome of matches and more importantly, have a direct impact on the playing surface in terms of grass cover, wear and performance...

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Lawn mower buying guide...

The grass cutting season is just around the corner which means you may be looking for a new lawn mower. However, with so many options now available, you may be stuck for choice. SGM's latest lawn mower buying guide will give you a better understanding of the types of mower available and an idea of what you should consider when buying a new mower...

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Maintaining your mower...

A man checking over his own lawnmowerRegular routine maintenance is an important part of looking after your lawnmower. It can also have a big impact on the overall lifespan of your machine...

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December cricket turf maintenance diary...

Many clubs have benefitted from the very consistent weather we have experienced over the last few weeks. These milder temperatures have promoted good growing conditions but as the wet and windy weather sweeps in from the Atlantic, the recent mild temperatures have increased the risk of disease with Fusarium, red thread and fairy rings notably being common problems...

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December golf course maintenance diary...

The winter period tends to be one of the busiest and demanding times of the year for greenkeepers, not only having to contend with the day to day running of the course, but managing to complete planned winter works during a shortened working day and the prospect of poor weather dictating what work can be done...

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December football turf maintenance diary...

December is the darkest month of the year, with the grass only receiving a potential of around eight hours of light each day. The real challenge during December is trying to keep as much grass cover on the playing surface as possible, and prevent pitches being used when they are saturated...

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November football turf maintenance diary...

November can often be a challenging month, contending with an ever changing weather front. Playing surfaces are more prone to damange in the winter months when ground conditions tend to remain in a wet state. Also, the onset of frosty weather can affect maintenance regimes...

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October cricket turf maintenance diary...

It is vitally important to get your end of season renovations completed by the end of month to give your square a chance to recover through the winter. As temperatures start to fall through October, the longer you leave your renovations, the less likely you are to obtain germination...

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October golf course maintenance diary...

Autumn renovations are a vital activity in providing a good playing surface for next season. Failure to complete autumn renovations or undertake vital repairs will only result in further deterioration of playing surfaces...

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October football turf maintenance diary...

With the season now well underway, most groundsmen will now have a better understanding of how their pitch is performing. Essential tasks in preparing pitches for play involve mowing, marking out, divoting, brushing and carrying out aeration... 

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September cricket turf maintenance diary...

As the season winds down, those who still have some cricket left to play will be busy preparing end of season pitches, whilst others such as schools and universities will be turning their attentions to more important issues such as renovations, machinery hire and materials...

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September Golf Maintenance Diary

With the main growing season coming to a close, many course managers/greenkeepers will be undertaking end of season renovations on tees and greens. This usually sees a programme of works that encompasses scarification, aeration, topdressing, overseeding and fertilising...

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September bowling green turf maintenance diary...

With the bowls season coming to a close, you will be completing your final month of regular maintenance regimes, brushing, cutting and preparing the greens for matches. Grass growth will start to slow down once soil and air temperatures drop below double figures. Your main concern for September will be organising your end of season renovation work; the extent and nature of the work will be entirely down to the condition of the green and what work you can afford to carry out...

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August cricket turf maintenance diary...

August is one of the busiest months of the year as schools, colleges and universities close for their summer holidays and renovations start to take shape. As you move through the month, regular mowing and scarifying of the square will need to be continued whilst preparing pitches. Make sure your machinery is up to the task with regular service...

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August golf course maintenance diary...

A John Deere Fairway mower with outfront cylinders is used to cut a golf courseThe tasks that can be completed this month will remain very similar to those of last month, with the main focus still on presentation and the playing qualities of the course. In August, most clubs should be up to speed with their daily maintenance regimes; greens, tees, fairways and bunker hazards should be at their best, both from a visual and performance perspective...

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August bowling green maintenance diary...

The recent hot spell of weather has certainly taken its toll on bowling greens with many suffering from the lack of water, with areas of the green turning brown and becoming hydrophobic. August is the time to plan and organise your autumn renovation programme. The level of work required will initially be governed by the condition of your green, how much thatch you have and the extent of the wear on the surface...

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July cricket turf maintenance diary...

Renovations and pitch preperations should be fully underway by now. As the month progresses, repairs and renovations to used pitches should also be undertaken, paying particular attention to foot holes, as they may require more extensive work. It is important that the surface is safe for players to perform at their best... 

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July golf course maintenance diary...

As with June, the main tasks in July will revolve around presentations and the playing qualities of the course. In July, most clubs should be up to speed with their daily maintenance regimes. Presentation of the course will be at the forefront of the greenkeepers mind, ensuring the whole course is looking its best and everywhere is tidy and set for play...

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July football turf maintenance diary...

The month of July will be based around increased mowing regimes and promoting a healthy sward. With temperatures rising consistently into double figures, the grass plant will become vigorous, stimulating a lot of grass growth. This will result in the need to mow, water and feed more frequently...

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June cricket turf maintenance diary...

Groundsman using a cylinder mower to cut a cricket squareAs you move through the month, regular verti-cutting, scarifying and mowing of the square will need to be continued whilst preparing pitches. Repairs and renovations should also be undertaken. It is also important not to neglect the outfield; it too has a major effect on a game if unattended. Read on for more...

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June golf course maintenance diary...

With a lack of consistency in grass growth last month because of influctuating temperatures, many greenkeepers will be hoping for some warmer weather this June. This month will consist of catching up with daily maintenance regimes...

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June bowling green turf maintenance diary...

Many greens are still showing the stresses of such an erratic dry spring, with the sward being thin and sparse with some disease scarring. The following guide will provide you with details of how to ensure you're bowling green is repaired and maintained to the highest standard possible this June...

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June football turf maintenance diary...

End of season renovations are an essential maintenance regime for football pitches. This guide will provide you with a list of tasks you can carry out this month to ensure your pitch is kept in the best condition possible...

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May bowling green turf maintenance diary...

This month, the grass will really begin to grow but cold snaps and dry spells may still occur. The guide below will outline the tasks you can complete this month to ensure your greens are maintained to the highest standard possible...

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May football turf maintenance diary...

As we enter into the month of May, football pitch renovations will be at the forefront of Groundsmen's minds. Most clubs will have nearly finished their playing season, albeit some friendly games or cup matches may remain...

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April cricket turf maintenance diary...

April is probably the busiest period in a grounds mans calendar. With pitch preperations and outfields to maintain, time management is vital. Planning your workload to meet your objectives will help in this task. 

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April golf course maintenance diary...

Spring renovations will now be underway at golf courses across the country but the level of renovations will be determined by the condition of the greens and how well they have coped following the winter period. Read on for more details about turf maintenace tasks you can carry out on the golf course this April...

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April bowling green turf maintenance diary...

With the weather in March changing almost every few days, plans for some much needed growth before the start of the season will probably have been pushed back. However, temperatures are set to rise again this month so hopefully this means there will be a quick recovery. This advice post will give details of the tasks that can be carried out this April to aid recovery and speed up the process. Read on for more...

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April football turf maintenance diary...

After a cold and wet winter, the soil and air temperatures are now beginning to rise so it will not take long to watch the grass recovering. April is also the ideal time to start planning end of season renovations, making it important to invest time into your pitch. The following guide will provide you with a list of turf maintenance tasks that can be carried out this month to ensure your pitch is in the best condition possible...

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March cricket turf maintenance diary...

As we move out of winter and into spring, the worst of the winter weather is hopefully now behind us. This month, we will be looking at increasing our mowing, applying a spring and summer fertiliser and starting pre-season rolling. Read on for more information...

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March golf course maintenance diary...

March is often regarded as the start of spring with average temperatures in the UK around 5 degrees celcius. However, there is often a change of weather throughout March. Some days will feel like spring but others will feel more like winter so beware of the 'false spring' and avoid pushing growth too early...

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March bowling green turf maintenance diary...

A criss cross pattern design on a bowling greenHere you will find SGM's bowling green turf maintenance diary for March. March tends to be the month when the majority of spring renovations are carried out to prepare the greens for the forthcoming playing season. The guide below will list the essential turf maintenance tasks that can be carried out this month...

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March football turf maintenance diary...

Here you will find SGM's football turf maintenance diary for March. This diary will not only provide you with tips, it will also act as a guide and give details of any tasks that can be carried out this month...

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January golf course maintenance diary...

Here you will find SGM's golf course maintenance diary for January. This diary will not only provide you with tips, it will also act as a guide and give details of any tasks that can be carried out this month...

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December turf maintenance diary

Here you will find SGM's turf maintenance diary for December. This diary will provide you with a list of tasks that can be carried out this month and provide you with advice on golf course, bowling green and football pitch turf maitenance...

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November turf maintenance diary

Here you will find SGM's turf maintenance diary for November. This diary will provide you with a list of tasks that can be carried out this month and provide you with advice on golf course, bowling green, and football pitch turf maintenance...

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October turf maintenance diary

Centre circle of a football pitchHere you will find SGM's turf maintenance diary for October. This diary will provide you with a list of tasks that can be carried out this month and provide you with advice on golf course, bowling green, and football pitch turf maintenance...

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Benefits of hiring machinery

After dealing with a challenging economic climate for the past few years, SGM understand that customers are looking to save money wherever possible. The hiring of machinery is becoming ever more popular as customers see this as the best value for money. This article from SGM will provide you with the benefits of hiring machinery, and allow you to see why so many people are deciding to choose this option...

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September turf maintenance diary

Here you will find SGM's turf maintenance diary for September. This diary will provide you with a list of tasks that can be carried out this month and provide you with advice on golf course, bowling green, and football pitch turf maintenance...

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Preparing your lawn for autumn and winter...

After a long summer, it is important that you start to think ahead and plan to prepare your lawn for the coming autumn and winter. This advice post from SGM will advise you of how to make these preparations, and provide detail of what jobs you can do in advance to help your lawn...

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Understanding aeration

If you are looking to achieve a perfect looking lawn, it is important that you remember the basic lawn care tasks, including mowing correctly, watering, and aerating your lawn. This advice post from SGM will provide you with further details about why, how and when you should aerate your lawn...

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August turf maintenance diary

With August just a few days away, SGM would like to provide our customers with our August Turf Maintenance Diary. This will provide you with some helpful advice and let you see what tasks can be carried out throughout the month of August.

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Summer tennis diary

Wimbeldon is one of Britain’s biggest sporting events, and there is no doubt that it inspires many people to go outside and play tennis. Wimbeldon 2014 has just finished after two weeks, and thanks to the groundstaff, the grass courts have looked immaculate throughout the tournament. This advice post is ideal for those who maintain tennis courts, and are looking for some helpful tips to keep them in the best condition this month...

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July turf maintenance diary

This advice post from SGM will provide you with information on the turf maintenance tasks that can be carried out this month on bowling greens, golf courses and football pitches...

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Why buy an electric lawn mower?

Nowadays, there are so many different variations of lawn mowers available to buy, but are electric lawn mowers really the best type? This advice post will outline the main advantages of having an electric lawn mower...

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Strimmer or Brushcutter, which do you need?

Despite strimmers and brushcutters looking like similar pieces of machinery, they are in fact, two very different products. This advice post will explain details of both machines, in order to help you decide which one will be better for you...

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June turf maintenance diary

SGM's turf maintenance diaries are updated at the beginning of each month and include advice about tasks that can be carried out that month. Our diaries are based on advice for bowling greens, golf courses, and football pitches. The checklist below outlines the main tasks for turf maintenance in July...

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Lawn mower safety

When using a lawn mower, your safety should be the main priority. This advice article will provide you with a few of the main points to consider when it comes to operating your lawn mower, in order to keep yourself and those around you safe...

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How to mow your lawn correctly this summer

The weather is finally starting to improve, with the rain disappearing and the sun beginning to come out. Now is the ideal time for you to get out in the garden and mow your lawn. The advice post below will provide you with some helpful tips on how to mow your lawn correctly and have it looking great this summer...

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May turf maintenance diary

Throughout the month of May, you should notice your work load beginning to increase. The weather will be improving and the grass will be growing, so you'll have plenty of jobs to do. The checklist below outlines the main turf maintenance tasks for May...

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Fertilising your lawn - why is it important?

Fertilising your lawn is a great way of keeping it in good shape. Your lawn has the ability to cope with regular wear and tear, but it will eventually need some help, if you want it to remain healthy. This article will outline the main reasons for fertilising your lawn this spring...

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Watering the Lawn - FAQ

Looking for some advice on watering your lawn? Then look no further. This article will cover some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to watering your lawn, hopefully giving you a better understanding...

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April turf maintenance diary

After a cold and wet winter, there is no doubt that your turf may have been slightly affected. However, if you have taken regular care of it, it should start growing strongly again when the temperature begins to rise. The guide below is here to provide you with a description of what turf maintenance tasks you can carry out this month...

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How to choose the right lawn mower for you

With the grass cutting season just around the corner, you may be interested in buying a new lawn mower. However, with so many different options nowadays, you may be stuck for choice. This article is here to act as a guide and will explain the three different types of mower available in order to help you find the right one...

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March turf maintenance diary

Turf maintenance work begins to pick up again during the month of March. However, the weather can play a big part in determining just how much work you get done. The guide below will provide you with an idea of what you should be doing this month if you are maintaining a bowling green, golf course or football pitch... 

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January turf maintenance diary

During January, there is very little that can be done in regards to turf maintenance. However, this guide is here to help you with the small tasks you can complete this month in order to get prepared for the spring. 

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Looking after your lawn this winter

With the winter fast approaching, it is important that you prepare your lawn and continue to care for it throughout the cold months ahead. Winter does tend to be a quiet time for your lawn and you should try to give it as much rest as possible, but there will be some things you'll need to do in order to keep it healthy. Below are a few tips to help you keep your lawn in the best condition this winter...

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Choosing the perfect gift for a keen gardener

Gardening gift ideasThe summer season is now well underway and that can only mean one thing, the keen gardeners amongst us will be out in force. However, for them to be able to maintain their gardens, they need the correct tools. They might not always have what they need in order to do the job, so why not surprise them with a gift. 

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Lawn renovation - turf or seed?

Should you opt for turf or seeds for your lawn? Regardless of whether you are starting a new lawn from scratch or adding to an existing one, you will still face the same tough question. That question being should you opt for turf for your lawn or grow it from seed. Of course there are both advantages and disadvantages to these two options.

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Commercial wood chippers FAQ

wood chipper faqThis post will cover some frequently asked questions when it comes to commercial wood chippers and shredders. Hopefully after reading this some of your questions will be answered and you'll be closer to knowing which type of chipper is for you.

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Best practices when using towed wood chippers

wood chipper best practice guideTowable wood chippers are a great convenience for operators who are continually moving between sites and locations. They allow the use of powerful machines without the burden of needing a large flat decked truck to transport them around. This advice article goes through the best practices for when using a towed wood chipper.

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Hedge Trimmer FAQs - frequently asked questions

Hedge trimming tipsThis advice post goes over some frequently asked questions when it comes to hedge trimmers and the practice of hedge trimming in general. With the answers given here, you should be able to choose the most appropriate trimmer for your needs.

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Safety check list for rotary lawn mowers

Lawn mower safety check listSafety is a priority when it comes to maintaining a lawn mower, as it should be with any machinery large or small. The check list here should keep your equipment in a secure and stable state. Making sure that your rotary mower is safe is just as important as keeping an eye on it's performance. As an overlooked safety flaw can lead to total breakdown or put the operator at risk.

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How to get a striped finish on your lawn

lawn stripesAt SGM we often get enquiries from customers wondering how to achieve a striped effect on their lawns. The problem is that many of these customers are using hover mowers or rotary mowers without a roller and will never stripe lawns.

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March Turf Care Diaries

march turf care 2013This is normally the month for a “false spring” where the temperature rises toward the middle of the month before a sudden cold spell normally occurs at the end of the month. You should aid the grass when possible but don’t force it. Read on for more advice...

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Time to get your lawnmower ready for spring

get your lawnmower ready for springWe're approaching the end of February and Spring is just around the corner, which means it will soon be time to bring your lawnmower out of storage and get it ready for the upcoming mowing season. As your lawnmower will not have been used for a few months it is important to check that it is in good working condition before the first cut of spring.

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How regularly maintaining key components can increase your mower's life span

lawnmower partsKeeping your lawn mower’s individual parts well maintained can have a serious impact on the lifespan of the machine overall. Having a single component that is not working optimally can cause serious wear on a mower over time. For this reason it is important to maintain and monitor the health of several key components of your lawn mower. This practice will save you money in the long run and will also improve the performance of your mower.

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Understanding the impact of dull cutting blades

dull lawn mower bladesThe cutting blade on a lawnmower directly impacts the quality of finish and the health of your grass. Many users do not pay attention to the condition of their mower on a regular basis. This can cause problems not only for the health of your lawn but the health of your mower as well.

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Getting your lawn prepared before spring

spring lawn care guideSpring is the season where life comes back into lawns and the outdoors in general. This is when ground care workers, landscapers, turf management experts and domestic gardeners restart most of their work. However there are some preparations that can be made before spring to help give your lawn a head start. Doing so will ensure that you get the best results possible for the remainder of the year.

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Essential lawn mower checks before the first cut

how to get your lawn mower ready for springBefore you start cutting your grass in spring it is advisable to give your lawn mower a complete checking over. This will make sure that it is in good health, will perform well and last for the duration of the season. This advice post will go over some essential checks you should make before the first cut of the year.

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How to minimise snow damage in your garden

snow damage to gardens over winterWhilst snow can provide a protective cover for your garden in the winter defending your lawn and plants from cold and frost, a heavy layer of snow can also cause a lot of damage. We cannot control the weather but some simple tasks can be undertaken to minimise the damage caused by snow in your garden

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Treating your lawn after a cold winter

lawn careWinter is a period that can be damaging to lawns and adversely affect gardens in general. This means that those interested in lawn care have a bit of work to be done as spring approaches. Spring is a time of new growth but it’s also a time of recovery for lawns. It is good to have a program for regeneration planned out so that your lawn is in best health for the growing season.

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Why hiring a chipper makes sense

reasons to hire a wood chipperThere are many reasons why hiring a chipper this year makes sense for most users. Like all industry’s the professional forestry and arboriculture one is feeling the pinch and everyone needs to find ways to grow whilst saving money and reducing any ongoing risk.

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Wood chipper safety guide for operators

how to keep safe whilst using a wood chipperThis guide will go over the essential safety considerations that you need to remember when operating a wood chipper. Wood chippers are heavy duty machines and can cause serious injury if not operated safely and professionally. Make sure you always stay as safe as possible when operating any outdoor machinery.

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Christmas gift ideas for the keen gardener

Time is running our for Christmas shopping but at SGM we might just have the perfect gift for anyone who enjoys gardening and the outdoors.

Check out our top five Christmas gift ideas here - make sure you order before 18th December to ensure you'll receive your goods in time for Christmas.

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Using snow ploughs to clear dense areas of snow

snow plowsSnow ploughs (also referred to as snow blades) are useful vehicle attachments for clearing heavy snow during the winter months. They come in many different shapes/sizes and can be attached to tractors, compact tractors, all terrain vehicles and other large vehicles.

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Downpours, floods & budget cuts - how do parks teams recover from 2012's turbulence?

park floodSummer 2012 looks to have been the wettest for a century and Britain’s sports grounds, parks and open spaces have undergone some extreme conditions. With the added pressure of budget cuts, those responsible for maintaining these green spaces have been particularly hard done by. Now, as we head towards 2013, how do council parks teams recover from the double blow of the recession and the poor weather? At SGM Contracts we believe a complete review of their machinery fleets would be a step in the right direction.

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Have you prepared a breakdown kit for your car this winter?

winter breakdown kitsWe all know that the winter season can be very severe and challenging. This is especially true for when cars break down. Added onto the troubles of a mechanical breakdown are low temperatures, icy conditions and hazardous roads. This makes it all the more important to be prepared when driving in winter.

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Preparing in advance for the coming winter season

winter preparationsAre you prepared for the upcoming winter months? A lot of people do not like to think about the cold times ahead, but they are coming! Preparing early is the best way to be ready for the potential hazardous weather to come. In years past people have been left high and dry without the right equipment or supplies. You should make sure you’re not one of them this winter.

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Conduct your own winter servicing

winter servicing kitsIt is around this time of year that some businesses start to look into servicing their machinery. Some golf courses and businesses with their own engineers conduct their own servicing; due to the size of their fleet. They can save time and maintain on site control by servicing their own machines.

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Different types of snow shovel and their uses

types of snow shovelsTo many people a shovel might seem like a fairly standardised item. However there are actually a few different types of shovels that can serve different purposes. It is good to make sure that you are using the best suited shovel to the job. Doing so will make sure you get the best results when clearing snow or other substances.

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Strimming best practices

strimmingThe strimmer is a great tool to keep your garden in check and under control. It allows you to easily keep growth under control and stop raggedy weeds from populating your garden. However there are certain considerations that you should make before operating a strimmer. Some of these considerations are for safety and others are for ease of use. This article will provide some useful tips which will help you get the most out of your garden strimmer

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Autumn leaf clearance - mulch, mow or compost

mowing leavesAutumn brings the back-breaking job of raking leaves, but there are other options for dealing with fallen leaves on your lawn.

The best method for dealing with fallen tree leaves is to mulch them. Mow over leaves with a mulching mower if you have one. A regular mower will work too, but the shredded leaves will be coarser than if they are chopped with a mulching blade.  Allow the leaf pieces to fall back to the turf, where they will break down and return nutrients to the soil.

If leaves get too thick over the lawn, they will prevent sunlight from reaching the grass, so the best method is to mow frequently. Grass will die if it goes too long without sunlight.

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Facts about thatch in lawns

lawn thatch adviceThatch is a build up of dead or decaying organic material that lies on the surface of the soil. If it is present over a long period of time and dries out it can become fibrous and tough.

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Autumn gardening tips

autumn gardening tipsWith summer drawing to a close it is time to start planning for the autumn. The skills and procedures a gardener needs to go through for the winter are quite different to that of the summer months. This article will give some simple tips and reminders to help you along your way with autumn gardening.

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How to change a lawn mower blade

How to change a lawn mower bladeWe are now more than midway through the grass cutting season and if you haven’t done so already it’s time to think about having your rotary lawn mower blade replaced or sharpened. A sharp lawn mower blade is essential to achieving an even cut when mowing grass. You will know your lawn mower blade needs sharpened or replaced when grass cutting begins to suffer; the blade will cause unsightly, irregular patterns on the grass and your mower engine may sound like it is working harder than normal to cut the grass. The size of lawn or area to be cut and the frequency of cuts will usually determine the amount of times per season you need to change your lawnmower blade.

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How to avoid cowboy landscapers

how to avoid landscaping scamsMany people look to save money when investing in a big project like garden landscaping. It is a natural human desire to want to get the best deal possible and save money. However sometimes the cheapest is not always the best, in fact in some cases it can cost you more in the long term.

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How to treat weed grass patches in a lawn

weed grass treatmentFor many lawn care experts weed grasses are a cause of aggravation and stress. Weed grasses can pollute an otherwise healthy lawn; additionally if they are not treated they will grow and spread.

In some cases if a weed grass populates too much of a lawn then it may become unsalvagable. In these cases the use of a rotavator may be needed to actually lay down new turf or reseed the area. Thankfully however, most lawns can be saved if they are treated in a reasonable amount of time.

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Gardening and moss control

mossControlling moss in your garden is not something that is directly related to your gardening skill level. However it can be said that an expert or enthusiastic gardener will likely tolerate zero moss. On the other hand a casual or novice gardener may feel that ‘if it’s green, what’s the problem?’

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What you should know about water in your soil

lawn care tipsYou may just think water is water, but in lawn care terms that is not the case. You should be aware of the different ways that water affects your lawn. This will allow you to best care for your lawn and achieve the most aesthetically pleasing results.

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Cylinder vs. Rotary vs. Flail - or is there another solution?

Ransomes-flail-mowerFollowing continuing government spending cuts many local authorities have implemented reduced cutting regimes to lower costs.  This has led to a shift away from traditional cylinder machines towards rotary and flail mowers, which are better able to cope with longer grass. However, some may argue that, even with the increase in quality of cut afforded by flail mowers in recent versions, local authorities will face public criticism over even the slightest reduction in standards.

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July turf maintenance diaries

july turf maintenance diariesSGM’s monthly turf maintenance diaries offer a simple checklist of standard seasonal tasks that should be undertaken on any particular month for specific surfaces and sports. Our diaries include seasonal advice for golf course, bowling green and football pitch turf maintenance.

 

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June turf maintenance diaries

Raking bunkersSGM’s monthly turf maintenance diaries offer a simple checklist of standard seasonal tasks that should be undertaken on any particular month for specific surfaces and sports. Our diaries include seasonal advice for golf course, bowling green and football pitch turf maintenance.

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Fertilise when Roots are Growing!

fertiliser spreaderLeading scientists recommend applying fertilisers in the Spring and in Autumn (for cool season grasses) and throughout the Summer (for warm season grasses), since this is when the grass plant is actively growing.

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Chainsaw Review

HusqvarnaIn a recent article in Horticulture Week, Sally Drury reviewed two new models of chainsaw models: Husqvarna's 560XP and the new MS241 C-M from Stihl.

Both models boast increased levels of technology to improve performance for forestry workers, tree-care professionals, landscapers and home-users.

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Aerating Lawns

Aerating lawnsAeration is the most effective way of relieving soil compaction and reducing thatch, conditions which restrict the movement of air, water and nutrients in soil – all of which are essential elements for a healthy lawn.

Here, we provide a brief introduction to lawn aeration, the benefits, and tips for performing aeration.

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Solutions for Cutting Long Heavy Grass

muthing flailIn a bid to create cost savings in the provision of grounds maintenance services, many councils and contractors have reduced their number of cuts over the growing season. Some councils used to cut no less than 18 times a year using conventional triple cylinder mowers and leaving few grass clippings, or even with an out-front rotary mower, where clippings also are not a problem. But now, with increasing cost cutting requirements, cuts are being reduced to as little as 12 per year, leaving as much as 20 days between cuts.

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March Turf Maintenance Diaries

March DiariesSGM’s monthly turf maintenance diaries offer a simple checklist of standard seasonal tasks that should be undertaken on any particular month for specific surfaces and sports. Our diaries include seasonal advice for golf course, bowling green and football pitch turf maintenance.

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Market Report - Ride-on Mowers

Toro LT3340'Whether you are the manager of a large team maintaining a borough, a lone groundsman tending a school, the head of a small band of gardeners on an estate or working a garden round from a van and trailer, it is likely that you will be looking to make your budgets stretch that little bit further, get more for your money and more from your machinery when it comes to replacement.'

The following market report on ride-on mowers, published in Horticulture Week on 3rd February 2012, provides useful advice on getting the maximum benefit from your mower when budgets are tight.

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HSE guidance on hand-arm vibration exposure monitoring

HSEHand-arm vibration remains a significant health issue for local councils and public service providers. There remains a duty to look after the health of those employees using equipment which can have a detrimental effect on their health and this is especially relevant to those in services such as building, highways and grounds maintenance.

APSE has provided a copy of HAVs exposure monitoring guidance from HSE which addresses several key issues:

  • Guidance on HAVs
  • Complimentary duty holders practices for managing HAVs
  • Vibration risk assessments recommended.

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February Turf Maintenace Diaries

Bunker RenovationSGM’s monthly turf maintenance diaries offer a simple checklist of standard seasonal tasks that should be undertaken on any particular month for specific surfaces and sports. Our diaries include seasonal advice for golf course, bowling green and football pitch turf maintenance.

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SGM Product Review: Edelrid Roka-e Cambium Saver

A single black and green cambium saver

The following review, from SGM’s Arboriculture Business Manager, Andy Hancock, appraises the Edelrid Roka-e Cambium Saver, an innovatively designed piece of arboriculture equipment.

Although this is not a new product it’s definitely worth a look even if it is on your lottery winner’s wish list – it’s a bit expensive (SRP from £75.00 + VAT) but it’s a very nicely made bit of kit with some nice touches.

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SGM Product Review: John Deere Aercore 800

Aeration and scarification are important operations in the provision and maintenance of healthy turf. The following product review, devised by SGM’s Commercial Manager, Joe Coyle, evaluates the efficiency and effectiveness of the John Deere Aercore 800 for turf maintenance operations.

John Deere Aercore 800 pedestrian aerator being used on a golf course

 

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Lawn Mowing Tips, Advice and Information

Done regularly, and with the right equipment, mowing need not be time-consuming, but it is an essential part of keeping your lawn in peak condition. Here, we offer a quick gardening guide to the best practices for effective lawn mowing.

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National Tree Safety Group Guidance Launched January 2012

National Tree Safety GroupAfter extensive research, consultation and planning, the National Tree Safety Group (NTSG) delivers its guidance on common sense management for tree safety.

This guidance has been produced over a period of five years following the commissioning of new research into trees, their benefits, people’s attitudes to risk, extensive consultation on early drafts and considerable effort by the NTSG Drafting Group in drawing together all the various stakeholder views, concerns and priorities expressed by the full NTSG membership.

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Grass Cutting on Slopes

grass cutting on slopesCutting grass on slopes and bankings can be a dangerous procedure if correct precautions are not taken. It is important to understand the main causes of accidents on slopes and basic precautionary measures to prevent such accidents.

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Garden Labour Saving - Leaf Blowers

A red SANLI leaf blowerCleaning up fallen leaves in the garden can be time-consuming cold work. But with the right tool, this task can be made a whole lot easier. For many home gardeners their leaf blower is their most useful garden tool, making autumn maintenance – quite literally – a breeze.

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Golf Club Finance - Raising Finance in Winter

Golfer in winterDespite recent balmy autumn weather, winter is fast approaching and with this comes a period of year where even the most financially strong Golf Clubs and Courses see revenues and incomes drop whilst costs continue or in some cases increase.

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Choosing the right lawn mower - domestic use

Lineup of domestic lawn mowersChoosing the right lawn mower can be the difference between having a visually stunning lawn and a lawn that appears inadequately maintained. But with so many alternatives available it can be difficult to know where to begin looking.

Before looking at the ranges and types of lawn mowers available it is useful to identify your requirements that need to be matched.

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Cylinder Mowers - Commercial Uses

Cylinder MowerCylinder mowers are known for giving the finest cut and are often used to provide the perfect finish that can be seen on tennis courts, bowling greens and golf greens.

As their name suggests, cylinder mowers have a large spinning cylinder with a number of blades that spiral around it. As the cylinder rotates the grass blades are forced between the cylinder blades and the fixed straight cutting blade; this gives a ‘scissor like’ cutting action and, provided that your mower blades are in good condition and aligned correctly, the cut will be of very good quality. 

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