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Whether you need to repair a branch on your ornamental tree or want to experiment growing the perfect variety of apple, using a grafting tool to make your cuts may help you get better results.

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This 8″ grafting tool from A. M. Leonard promises to give you more uniform cuts for more consistent grafts. The tool includes blades to make three different types of cuts: an omega cut, which looks somewhat like a jigsaw puzzle, a V-cut like what is pictured above, and a budding, or T-cut. You can use it on branches from 1/4″ to 1/2″ in diameter.

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Made in Italy, the tool is constructed from heavy duty poly and steel. It comes with three different blades and two anvils. You can purchase it for about $75 shipped.

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Grafting Tool [A.M. Leonard]
About Grafting [UMN Extension]
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With its vibrating action, the Seedmaster allows you sow seeds evenly and quickly. Whenever you turn the thumb wheel, it shakes a few seeds through the V-channel in the baffle.

The 9″ long Seedmaster comes with four different-sized baffles to choose from to match the size of the seeds you’re sowing. You can find the Seedmaster for less than $10 if you shop around.

Seedmaster [Luster Leaf Products]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
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Fiskar’s UpRoot Weed and Root Remover is like a Weed Hound with razor-sharp teeth. The stainless steel, serrated claws cut deeply into the soil to get at the roots of weeds like dandelions and thistles.

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Snow is melting, the weather is warmer, and there are probably only a few more snow storms left this winter. That can only mean it’s time to start thinking about getting your lawn and garden ready for spring. To get the best results, you need to know your soil — its pH and what nutrients it’s missing. Usually the best way to do this is send away soil samples, but Luster Leaf kits allow you to test the soil at home with no waiting.

Luster Leaf provides kits for testing the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels in the soil and the soil pH. To test pH, add soil and water to the fill lines of the test chamber, break open a capsule, and shake the container. Then you just compare the color to the chart printed on the side of the container.

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As I was paging through Popular Mechanics, a picture of the Worx TriVac popped out at me; before reading any of the ad copy, I wondered what that funny bypass tube on the bottom of the nozzle was. I learned later that it’s what allows you to switch the TriVac from a vacuum to a blower with a flip of the lever. That’s a cool concept if I ever saw one! Imagine not having to store extra parts or accidentally break tabs off changing from blower to vacuum and back again.

Not only can you change from vacuum to blower without changing a bunch of tubes like other blower/vacs, Worx claims you can adjust the blower airflow through a built-in regulator — they’re a little sketchy on the details, though. The 12A motor produces an air stream with a speed of over 210MPH, or enough suction to pick up 14 gallons of dry leaves in a minute, all while staying under 70 dB (about the volume of people having a normal conversation).

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Monday morning, my neighbor and I planned on renting a machine to aerate our lawns. At 9 a.m. we drove over to Home Depot and they had several Classen CA-18 machines like the one pictured above in stock. The sales guy noticed the aerator we were renting was low on gas, filled the tank up with the last bit of gas they had on hand, then fired it up to show us how to start it.

When we got the aerator back to my yard it fired right up, but any time we tried to give it some more gas, it either died or sputtered badly. After about 15 minutes of letting it idle, then slowly easing off the choke and giving it more gas, it was running at full throttle but we couldn’t ease off the throttle without it dying. At this point we knew something was wrong, but we decided not to turn back.

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Every rose doesn’t necessarily have to have its thorn — Clauss’s rose thorn stripper lets you remove the thorns before you let your loved ones get pricked fingers. They designed the thorn stripper’s V-shaped jaws to quickly remove the thorns and leaves without damaging the stems.

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Bosch’s new electric Rotak lawn mower has an interesting new feature: grass combs. These combs pull in grass at the edge or even a little outside of the deck so the blade can cut it. With the combs, Bosch claims you can cut around flower beds, walls, and paths in one operation, presumably allowing you to skip trimming afterwards.

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How hard is it to grow straight up? Evidently some tress just can’t figure it out. Oh, there may be some external factors like a larger tree or building shading the growing tree, or prevailing high winds to bend it, but sometimes they’re just stubborn and need a little corrective help.

Enter the Tree Trainer: It has straps that anchor above and below the aluminum brace, and tightening the strap exerts a constant correcting force against the crooked part of the trunk without resorting to stakes and wires.

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There are a lot of silly things sold today, but the motorized grill brush tops the list. It makes you wonder if the person who signed the check to manufacture them has ever grilled. Is it really that hard to move your arm back and forth, and do you really want to hunt around for batteries when the brush dies rather than clean your grill?

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