Preparing Your Lawn for Snow

Preparing Your Lawn for Snow

While your lawn might not be foremost on your mind with winter coming, snow and cold can do serious damage. By making preparations now, you can reduce the effects of moisture, cold and snow mold to help your grass come back full and lush next spring.

Control Your Leaves

Left undisturbed, fall leaves can create a thick mat of rotting material that blocks air and sunlight from the grass, keeping it from absorbing the nutrients it needs to survive the winter. Once it starts snowing, this layer holds in moisture that encourages the growth of snow mold.

Honda’s mulching mowers are designed to handle large amounts of lawn debris, even if it’s wet. If you mow frequently as the leaves fall, you’ll be able to turn those leaves into mulch, feeding the soil and reducing the money you need to spend on yard waste disposal. Expect to mow at least twice a week at the peak of the season. If the number of leaves gets out of hand, you should collect and dispose of them either by creating a mulch pile or by having them collected as yard waste.

Fertilize, but Not Too Much

By now, the time for fall fertilizing has passed in most of the country, but if you’re still a few weeks away from winter, now is a good time to get a soil sample tested so you can use the right mix on your soil. Nitrogen is emphasized in fall fertilizer mixes to encourage chlorophyll production and the resulting sugar stores needed to survive the winter, but too much can promote the growth of snow mold. This makes it critical to get the right balance to supplement your grass without opening it up to infection.

Cut Your Grass Short

The less grass you have, the less moisture it can hold. Ideally, the blades should be around an inch in height, but you may need to go a little higher to keep from cutting into crowns. Remember never to mow more than 1/3 of the grass blades at one time. Warm season grasses should stop growing after the first freeze, while cool-season grasses may grow just enough to need one more mow after the initial freeze.

Be Careful with Hibernating Grass

Both warm and cool season grasses should stop growing once temperatures are regularly below 40°F (4-5°C) and enter hibernation. Photosynthesis shuts down, the blades of grass turn brown and the plant starts using the sugar stores collected through the later summer and fall. In this state, the grass is very sensitive to damage, especially if it’s covered in frost. At this point, the grass shouldn’t be mowed; walking and any other contact with the ground should be kept to a minimum.

Spread Out Snow

When most of us use our snowblowers, we simply aim the chute to get the snow away from the area we’re clearing. This centers the snow on one area, creating a pile that is thermally insulated, slowing down the melting process. In turn, it keeps the ground underneath wetter longer, encouraging the growth of snow mold and the washing away of mud surrounding the grass. To keep this from happening, try to adjust the chute angle to drop the snow in a different spot with each pass, spreading it out over a wider area.

Take Care of Your Equipment, and Your Equipment Will Take Care of Your Lawn

If you have Honda power equipment or a Honda small engine, you can get everything you need for it at www.hondalawnparts.com. We’re a certified dealer for both arms of Honda’s outdoor equipment division, letting us ship OEM parts across the U.S. and Canada.

Technology: Honda’s Advantage in the Small Engine Market

honda small engines

Why are Honda engines so popular in professional and high-end consumer outdoor equipment? Since its inception, Honda has been first and foremost an engine company. From aircraft to motorcycles, their engine technology has led the way with innovations like their legendary V-TEC valve control system and top-mounted jet engines. Small engines receive the same treatment with Honda consistently introducing new technologies to the market, making their offerings the most reliable, easiest to use engines on the market. Here are just a few of the features that make them so popular.

Mini 4 Stroke

Lawn professionals have a love/hate relationship with two stroke engines: on one hand, they deliver a lot of power for their size and don’t have any oil inside that can leak into the combustion chamber, making them ideal for handheld equipment. On the other hand, they’re difficult to start, use a lot of fuel, need their fuel mixed with oil, and are extremely sensitive to stale gas. It’s also looking like the two stroke’s days are numbered due to their high exhaust emissions: it’s hard to argue for this design’s future when workers who clean up roadsides get far more exposure to pollutants from their chainsaws and string trimmers than the thousands of vehicles that pass them by during each shift.

To address these problems, Honda designed an oiling system works at any angle, allowing them to build a small four stroke engine that can be turned and tosses around just like a two stroke. Along with other improvements including an efficient overhead cam head design, their line of Mini 4 Stroke motors are able to deliver near-two stroke power without all the two stroke’s disadvantages. They aren’t just better for the environment and easier to use, their low fuel and oil consumption means operating costs are half that of comparable two strokes.

Oil Alert – GX, iGX, V-Twin

Air cooled engines depend on oil for both lubrication and cooling, which means it doesn’t take long for a lack of oil to cause serious damage. Honda’s Oil Alert system links the ignition system to a sensor in the sump, shutting off the engine if the oil level is too low and preserving the engine.

Integrated ECU – iGX

The iGX has an ECU that controls the throttle, choke and ignition timing. These functions can be controlled using “drive-by-wire” systems, eliminating mechanical cabling that can rust. This allows engine settings to be programmed to fit the equipment’s needs, while the governor can adjust automatically to current conditions to maintain power. This reduces maintenance while making the engine easier to use, so it’s a perfect fit for rental equipment.

Variable Timing Ignition – GX, iGX, V-Twin

Timing on most small engines is controlled by the movement of the flywheel past the ignition coil, but with this technology, timing can be adjusted to fit current conditions and engine speed. That means easier start-up, increased fuel efficiency and more peak power.

Integrated Cylinder and Head – V-Twin

Since the cylinder and head are cast as a single unit, there’s no head gasket or bolts to fail, and there’s better heat transfer between these two sections of the engine, increasing reliability, particularly in harsh environments.

Lifetime Belt-Driven Overhead Cam – GC, GS, Mini 4 Stroke

Cam chains are noisy and heavy, while belts can stretch and break. By moving the belt inside the engine where it can be lubricated, Honda engineers have been able to make a belt drive system that will last the life of the engine, combining the advantages of chain and belt drives.

Automatic Mechanical Decompression – All Engines

On most engines, when you pull on the starter handle, you have to get the engine to spin past the compression stroke to start it. Honda uses a mechanical system on their motors that keeps the exhaust valve from closing completely, letting the air inside the motor pass through freely instead of being compressed. Once the engine is running, the system disengages and the cam acts normally, sealing the chamber for maximum power. Since this system is used on all of Honda’s modern engines, electric start versions need less battery power and can use smaller, lighter starter motors.

Easy Access to Parts

Honda has the technology to make small engines reliable and easy to use, while www.hondalawnparts.com makes it easy to get the parts you need to keep them running. Our search engine doesn’t just find parts, it shows you Honda’s own parts diagrams and lists factory descriptions so you can identify exactly what you need. No matter where you live in the U.S. or Canada, we can ship those parts to your door.

Modifying Your Honda Engine for High Altitude Use

High Altitude Honda EngineIn most Honda engine manuals, there’s a section called “Carburetor Modification for High Altitude Operation.” This simply states that “specific modifications” need to be made for the motor to run correctly at higher elevations. What are these modifications, and why do they need to be made?

What Does Altitude Have to Do With My Honda’s Carburetor?

The higher you are, the less dense the air is. Local air density can vary depending on temperature and humidity, but, all things being equal, the air at an elevation of 10,000 feet is one-third as dense as the air at sea level. During the intake stroke, the piston moves down, filling the cylinder with air. If the air is less dense outside the motor, there will be less air inside the cylinder, even if the volume stays the same.

If there’s less air in the engine, there needs to be less fuel to get the right air/fuel ratio. The main jet and pilot jet determine how much fuel is added with each intake stroke, and it doesn’t vary even when the amount of air does. Honda sets up their carburetors from the factory for use at low altitudes, which makes the mixture much too rich at higher elevations.

How Do I Get My Engine to Work at High Altitudes?

The pilot jet, which provides fuel when the engine is idling, can be adjusted by screwing it into or out of the carburetor body. The main jet, which provides fuel when the engine is running at speed, needs to be replaced with a smaller jet.

What size of main jet do you need? Fortunately, Honda has already figured that out for you and offers carburetor jet kits designed for specific altitude ranges. For most engines, there are three jet options: one for sea level, one for elevations starting at 5,000 to 6,000 feet and one for elevations above 7,500 to 10,000 feet.

How Do I Change Jets?

If you’ve changed jets on a car or motorcycle carburetor, this process should be familiar. First, remove any gas from the carburetor. Depending on the model, this may be as simple as closing the fuel line and running the engine until the fuel in the carburetor is used up, or it may require draining the fuel system through a port on the bottom of the carburetor float bowl; consult your engine manual for instructions.

Once the carburetor is empty, unbolt it from the engine. The screws on top of the carburetor can be removed and the unit can be separated into two halves. On one-half, you’ll see the main jet, located in the center of the body, and the pilot jet, located near the side. Both jets are brass with a wide slot designed for a flathead screwdriver. Unscrew the main jet and screw in the jet included in the kit. Turn the pilot screw to the position specified in the service manual to match the jet kit you are using. Reassemble the carburetor and reinstall it on the engine.

Why Does My Engine Make Less Power at High Altitudes?

Internal combustion engines make power by detonating a mixture of fuel and air. Even with the correct jetting, there is less fuel and air in the engine at higher altitudes, which means less power can be made. On average, the motor will lose 1.5% of its output for every 1,000 feet above sea level.

I Use My Honda Engine Near One of the Altitude Limits. Which Jets Should I Use?

Using jets that are too small will cause the engine to run lean, leading to high combustion temperatures that will cause the engine to overheat. It’s safer for the engine to run rich using the larger (lower altitude) jet, although Honda designs these kits with some wiggle room: a 5,000 ft. kit should work at altitudes as low as 3,000 feet.

How Do I Tell if I Have the Wrong Jets?

Honda recommends that installers place a tag on or near the carburetor that notes the change in jet size. If you’ve bought a used engine that is running lean or rich and you suspect the jet has been changed, open up the carburetor and remove the jet. There should be a small number on the side that specifies the jet size; if it doesn’t match up with the jet kit for the altitude you operate at, it should be replaced.

Where Can I Get an Altitude Kit for My Honda Engine?

www.hondalawnparts.com is a certified Honda Small Engine Equipment dealer, so we carry everything you need for your engine from jets to complete carburetors. Our site uses factory parts descriptions, making it easy to determine which jet kit is right for your engine’s carburetor. We can ship what you need to any address in the U.S. and Canada.

Honda HS720AM Snow Thrower Operation Guide

Honda HS720AM Series Snow Throwers

The Honda HS720AM Snow Thrower is an excellent piece of yard maintenance equipment that, if used carefully and correctly, will provide years of service for its owner. The safety and efficiency of your machine are dependent on your direct oversight and care, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the details of its operation.

Safety Is Always First

Safety should always come first. It’s very important that you read carefully the safety warnings that are listed on the machine itself, as well as in your operator’s manual. Failure to follow these warnings can result in damage to the machine, as well as serious injury to yourself or people around you.
Continue reading

The Difference Between Aftermarket and Genuine Honda Parts

Aftermarket parts, being slightly less in cost than Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts, may at first seem very appealing. The internet is full of places that sell them, and hundreds of companies manufacture them. However, on closer examination, their allure is deceptive. Aftermarket parts are riddled with serious problems and drawbacks.  Continue reading