10 Time Saving Tools in the Garden

Posted by Chris Sabbarese on Fri, May, 14, 2021 @ 21:05 PM

Ask anyone who enjoys spending time in the garden and they will tell you there is never enough time to get everything done. There are always activities like weeding, mulching, planting, pruning or harvesting going on as well as everyday life. As social distancing restrictions begin to fade and people are venturing out, the garden and landscape keeps growing. It's more important than ever to maximize the time we do have by using the most efficient tools for getting your garden tasks done quicker and efficiently, to achieve more of your gardening goals. We've put together a list of 10 time saving tools as well as video to show how 5 minutes a day can help keep your garden and yard looking great all season long.

Get Dandelions Root and All ComfortGEL® Weeder [CT 3354]

Spring arrives with a tidal wave of taproot weeds, like dandelions and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Trying to remove them with a hoe or surface weeder will leave the root in-tact which means they will grow back and you’ll be weeding again later in the season. The ComfortGEL stainless steel weeder helps to remove the complete weed root and all, easily with its forked tip and a serrated edge.

Corona weeding tool digging up dandelion weed

Turn the Soil Without Tilling SoilRIPPER™ [LG 3624]

After a long winter, planter beds could use a breath of fresh air before planting new annuals and perennials. Aerating your soil helps break it up which provides better drainage and gets oxygen below the surface for healthy root development. The SoilRIPPER heavy-duty steel tines with its sturdy footplate, easily penetrates the soil by leveraging your weight and no back-breaking work turning it. Just rotate the tool with its ComfortGEL grips, reposition it and keep going. Not only will you be done in no time, there’s no added bending or deep digging required.

Corona Tools SoilRIPPER aerating garden soil

Carry snips for anytime your in the garden Stainless Steel Long Straight Snips [AG 4930SS]

Having a lightweight pair of snips handy in your garden tool belt or back pocket is a big time saver. No running back to the garage when you need something to harvest some gorgeous blooms or quickly harvest some herbs for dinner. Spending just a few minutes on tasks like deadheading spent blooms will help keep your yard tidy and neat throughout the year.

Corona Tools snips deadheading a geranium

Sharp and comfortable hand pruners Forged Aluminum Bypass Pruners [BP 6310]

A good pair of bypass pruners is essential for maximizing your time in the garden. Choose one that fits your hand and won't weigh you down when there is plenty of pruning work ahead. Making lots of pruning cuts can wear out your hand and you’ll be calling it a day before you’re done. Pick the perfect sized pruner for large or small hands (or lefty), to stay in the pruning zone and get the job done in no time.

Corona Tools forged aluminum hand pruner propagating geranium cuttings

Stay sharp for easy and efficient cutting Sharpening Tool – [AC 8300]

Maintaining the cutting edge of your tools is often an overlooked time-saving practice in the garden. Keeping your pruning and digging tools sharp with a Corona tool sharpener will help retain the tool's cutting performance. Whether pruning back tree limbs or digging large holes in the planting beds, sharpening takes just a few seconds so you can power through garden tasks.

Corona tools sharpening a bypass hand pruner

Extend your reach with extendable handle loppers for larger limbs DualLINK™ Extendable Bypass Lopper - [SL 4364]

If you’re cutting larger limbs or branches, up to 1 1/2" in a pair of bypass loppers are a must. DualLINK’s compound lopper provides a mechanical cutting advantage that lets you power through cuts in seconds. The extendable handles are a big time saver when that limb is just out of reach. No need to run back to the garage for a ladder. Once you have made all your cuts, clean up the yard fast by cutting the debris into smaller sections for the green bin.

Corona tools lopper handles extending

A pruning saw is an absolute MUST RazorTOOTH Saw® 

When pruning limbs and branches 1 inches or larger in diameter quickly and easily in no time. The pull stroke technology requires less physical effort, exserting force only on the pull. Its advance blade design and angle of the teeth keeps the cutting channel free of saw dust making cuts twice as fast. RazorTOOTH Saws are lightweight and compact making them perfect for carrying with you out in the garden so you're always ready to tackle larger pruning jobs. Once you cut the limbs, a saw helps with clean up so you are done in no time.\

Corona Tools Razortooth saw pruning deadwood on a rose bush

Wheelbarrows for the heavy lifting and get your tools where you need them EasyLifter® Wheelbarrow [WB 2806]

If you have a lot of work to do in the garden, the wheelbarrow can be your best friend. Pile in mulch and transport to all areas of the garden. Haul in mounds of soil for raised planters. Or help move heavy plants or pots. It will save your back and the fulcrum on the front takes all the weight of the load so you can easily dump it.

Corona tools EasyLifter wheelbarrow dumping mulch in the garden

Comfort on the go Kneelo Knee Pads 

Many garden tasks require getting down on the ground which is no picnic as we age. A good kneeler can help but when you are moving about throughout the garden, it’s much more efficient when they move with you. The Burgon & Ball Kneelos not only cushion your knees, they are so comfortable you will forget you have them on. Available in a variety of colors, you’ll finish in no time and it makes getting up easier.

Corona Tools kneelo knee pads in the garden

Easy to spot tools Fluorescent Cutting Tools and Gloves

There is nothing more frustrating and time consuming than looking for your tools while you are out working in the garden. That’s where a pair of fluorescent pink or yellow snips, hand pruners and garden gloves come in very handy. You can easily spot them among green leaves and save you a lot of time looking for them.

Corona Tools fluorescent gloves and hand pruners on a potting bench

5 minutes a day make maintenance a piece of cake! 

Maintaining your garden doesn’t have to be chore. Just doing a five minute maintenance outdoors after work, on weekends, in between games or an afternoon break from all-day Zoom sessions, can make a huge difference. It will save you time from having to do bigger and harder tasks later in the season. Having an extra hour of daylight, and the right tools will help get the job done fast and efficiently so you can have time to enjoy your garden, season after season.

Need more advice when it comes to pruning and proper tool care? Check out Corona's free Principles of Pruning guide packed with lots of helpful tips and information. 


Topics: gardening, Landscaping, garden tools, hand pruners

Adaptive Gardening: Enjoying Your Garden for a Lifetime

Posted by Chris Sabbarese on Mon, Dec, 30, 2019 @ 14:12 PM

There's at least one thing all home and property owners have in common. None of us are getting any younger. In fact, a 1/3rd of gardeners we interviewed for a study, revealed they have some physical ailment that prevents them from doing gardening activities. Recently, I had the privilege of discussing how gardeners can still go about enjoying their garden at any age, in a GILN podcast interview with Toni Gattone, author of The Lifelong Gardener: Garden with Ease and Joy At Any Age. She explained how to approach working outdoors as you age, adapting the layout of your garden to suit your lifestyle, using tools that can help get the job done and provided some excellent tips and how-tos to enjoy your space as you age. If you ever get tired or sore from working outdoors, keep reading and get more by listening to this great episode.

Your Mind and Body

If life has taught me anything, it's that I cannot do the same things I did when I was younger. While I still enjoy working outdoors, it takes longer to recover in between. A sore back from bending. Removing tree branches. Weeding and raking up leaves. Pruning back roses. It all needs to be done but with each passing season, it gets a little harder to do. In her interview, Toni stressed it's important to recognize you can't do it all but having a great positive attitude goes a long way. Gardening itself help reduce stress and anxiety. It's also important to stay connected and engaging with others, in person. While social media has its benefits, it has actually made us feel more disconnected than ever before. To help stay socially active, she suggests joining a garden club, getting a plot at a community garden, or become a master gardener. And just as important and having a sounds mind, it's equally important to keep moving. Gardening activities help us bend and stretch our range of motion.

Warm it Up and Switch it Up

Like any physical activity, it's important to do some warm-up exercises before you get started. Everything from stretching to dancing to your favorite rock and roll music. This is a step I tend to forget before gardening. The idea of jamming to my favorite play list sounds like a great way to get the body moving. After warming up, Toni says it's important to switch it up and use different muscles. If you have raking to do, go for 20 minutes and switch to another gardening activity like pruning or weeding. The main thing is to avoid long periods of repetitive motion.


What is Adaptive Gardening

Adaptive gardening is a term that may sound a bit confusing but it's really the ability to garden and taking into account one's physical capabilities. In Toni's book, she references tools to help get the job done, even if a person has sore knees, a bad back, limited dexterity or all the above. The main point that she makes is that adaptive garden means you don't have to throw in the "trowel" and give up working in the garden and landscape. One key point she makes in the interview, is regardless of your age and physical limitations, even a new gardener can apply some of these same principles that help with gardening as they age. Planning ahead in your garden design so you can manage and enjoy it for a lifetime make good sense for new home buyers.


Adaptive Gardening Rules to Live By

Save time, save money, save energy and save space, with the most important being saving your energy. Anticipate the tools you will need and save trips back and forth to the tool shed. One thing I would add to that after years of speaking to gardeners, I often hear even experienced gardeners using the wrong tool in an effort to save a trip back to the shed. In reality, using the wrong tool can exert more energy trying to get the job done. Save time and money planting perennials and flowering shrubs rather than annuals that need to be replaced every year. Putting the right plant in the right spot can also save time and money. Toni also recommends getting help when you need it by inviting others over that can get the project done. A nice lunch and garden party, helps encourage family and friends to come over and help.

Coping with Adaptive Gardening

The first step in the process is accepting your physical limitations. This will help you reach a level where you can do the activities with easy and joy. That means finding easier ways to get things done. As Toni points out, done is better than perfect! Garden smarter and you'll save time so you can enjoy it more. This will also help to work quicker and more efficiently, with more comfort and safety. Combined it gives you more time to enjoy your garden and landscape instead of always working in it.

81MbDs42u0LImage courtesy of Toni Gattone

Traits of a Accessible Garden Design

Those flagstone paths with emerald moss growing between the stone is very aesthetically pleasing however they can also present tripping hazards for the mature unsteady gardener. She recommends replacing these kinds of paths with wide, even surfaces like interlocking pavers or concrete. Many gardeners grow in raised beds on top of the soil. She recommends raising the garden beds to be waist-high to prevent excessive bending. Another accessible option is growing vertically with a vertical planter. There are many options now that attach to a wall, and a growing tower or even containers that rest on an outdoor railing work well too.

322268107Image courtesy of Toni Gattone

Tools for Adaptive Gardening

If you are going to work out in the garden and landscape, having the right tools is essential. Toni shared that the most important thing to keep in mind is comfort. When buying a tool like a hand pruner, go to the store and try it out to see which one feels best. Safety is another important consideration. Replace older rusty tools that don't work or won't close properly. You can also be creative or invent something that works for you. I especially like Toni's PVC pipe seed planting tool. It eliminates bending to plant seeds and places them right where they need to go! This is a great idea for planting for gardeners of all ages.

Corona FlexDIal bypass hand pruner

Inspiration to Get Out There at Any Age

It was quite an experience learning about adaptive gardening from Toni. She has an infectious enthusiasm about her and that comes across not only in this podcast, but in her book as well. I received a copy ahead of the interview and the well thought-out concepts for enjoying your garden at any age is one of the best garden books I've read. It focuses on ways to enjoy your garden without the basics of how to garden. There are stories of other gardeners throughout the book that are inspirational. It's great to know, as we age, we're not alone! It's a fantastic read and you can find it at Amazon or check out the other links in the podcast notes.

gattone-book-coverImage courtesy of Toni Gattone

Hear the Interview on the Green Industry Leaders Network Podcast

Whether you are an advanced gardener and homeowner or just beginning your gardening journey, Toni Gattone shares some great insights from her latest book on this episode. It's a great discussion that can change how you look at your landscape design. You can listen to the our complete interview and helpful information, 24/7 on the Green Industry Leaders Network podcast.



Topics: gardening, Landscaping, garden tools, adaptive gardening

Tools for Fall Garden and Yard Cleanup

Posted by Chris Sabbarese on Wed, Nov, 20, 2019 @ 18:11 PM

While temperatures have begun to cool here in Corona, CA many parts of the county are already seeing their first frost and snow in some northern states. Before winter sets in, it's a good time to rake up leaves from the lawn and spread as leaf mulch in planter beds, clear out spent vegetable plants, add them to the compost bin for enriched soil in the spring, remove tree limbs that are damaged or could be potential hazards during winter storms, clean, and sharpen tools to be ready for late-winter pruning, and plant bulb flowers. Considering it's daylight savings and that mother natures enjoys throwing us a curve ball with extreme weather now and then, the following essential tools will help get the job done quickly. Read on to find out which tools we recommend and share your essentials for fall cleanup.

Wheelbarrow and HipTrug

Depending on the size of your planting beds on your property and a wheelbarrow can be a huge timesaver. A 6 or 10 cubic foot, wheelbarrow is perfect for hauling spent plants to the compost bin. 

WB_fall gardening

The new Burgon & Ball Hip-Trug clips on easily and is an ingenious way to collect any remaining fruits and veggies you come across, keeping your hands free to pull out spent plants and keep moving.


Ensilage Fork

Spreading a thick lay of mulch in the the garden and planting beds is one best things you can do this time of year. A wide ensilage fork with narrow-spaced tines, will help transfer the debris from the mulch pile to the wheelbarrow, fast and efficiently. You can move large amounts of material at once saving you time instead of burning daylight during the shortened fall days. A fork can also be used to turn your compost so that come spring, you will have rich compost ready for garden beds.


Extended Handle Garden Tools

Clean up spent vegetable plants, weeds and spread mulch with easy in your raised planter beds. These extended tools are the perfect length to reach plants in the center of the planter and smooth out the soil. For temperate climates, consider planting cover crops when you're done which help prevents soil erosion, controls spread of weeds, while enriching and improving the soil for spring planting. If you're an area that freezes, lay down a thick layer of leaves or cardboard to help control weeds and protect the soil.


Extra Large Rake

Tree leaves are nature's gift to your garden and landscape. While some homeowners look at them as a chore to collect, bag and put out the curb, however like mulch, leaves do wonders for your planters. Both as and thick layer of leaf mulch, and providing a home for natural wildlife that need shelter in the winter months. Take the chore out of this fall task with a wide rake such as the BigLOAD. You will get the job done twice as fast.


Hand Saw

This without a doubt, if you're a property owner with trees, a saw is an absolute must have tool. While fall is not the ideal time for pruning, however it's a great time once the leaves have fallen to see any damaged, dead or diseased tree limbs. Left on the tree, these limbs could become potential hazards during winter storms. Especially if they are near any structures that could result in extensive property damage.


Tool Sharpener

A tool sharpener might very well be, a property owner's best friend in the garden. During this time of year, colder climate gardeners would rather be working outside, but it's a great opportunity to do some tool maintenance and cleaning indoors. Clean off remaining dirt and debris form the cutting and digging tools. Then grab your handy tool sharpener to give them a quick sharpening. The small carbide file takes a few seconds so tools ready to go to work when it's time for late winter pruning.


Garden Trowel and Kneelos

Once you've gotten your yard in shape and ready for winter, fall is an excellent time to get some spring bulbs planted. A trowel, with a built in depth gauge helps ensure you're planting them at the right depth. The sharpened tip helps drive the tool into the the soil while the ComforGEL grip helps absorb the shock to hands. Its comfortable grip helps prevent aching hands and blisters the day after.


Just as important, don't forget a pair of comfortable Kneelo knee pads or kneelers to protect your knees while you're digging in the soil.


Hear the Interview on the Green Industry Leaders Network Podcast

Whether you are a homeowner or a landscape contractor, Cynthia Bee shares some great insights on the JVWC program called Localscapes, on this episode. It's a great discussion that can change how you look at your landscape design. You can listen to the our complete interview and helpful information, 24/7 on the Green Industry Leaders Network podcast.


Topics: gardening, Landscaping, fall

Upgrading to Sustainable Landscapes

Posted by Chris Sabbarese on Mon, Sep, 30, 2019 @ 14:09 PM

Ask homeowners what they think a sustainable landscape is and you'll like get many differing opinions. Most likely, it will include a sparsely-planted landscape that is primarily rocks or gravel. In reality, a sustainable landscape is quite beautiful with flowering plants, trees, grasses and shrubs. Not only do they use less water, they can require less maintenance, invite beneficial pollinators like butterflies and birds, while still being visually aesthetic for the entire neighborhood. Regardless what zone you live in, a sustainable landscape is an upgrade without compromise. Want to know more? We caught up with Cynthia Bee of Jordan Valley Water Conservancy who shares her insights on how to take the leap towards sustainability in this interview and GILN podcast episode.

Dispelling the Myth - It isn't ZERO-scape

During a recent visit to Salt Lake City, UT for a garden conference, one of the most interesting educational sessions was "Selling Sustainable Landscapes". Fellow GardenComm member and Outreach Coordinator, Cynthia Bee of the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy, helps to educate home owners on what sustainable landscapes really look like. The term Xeriscape has been gaining in popularity in western states who deal with drought on an regular basis. However some homeowners, think it's called ZERO-scape and means they will have no landscape. It's unfortunate that a sound principle design has resulted in many perceiving a landscape such as this.

localscapes-101-11-1024courtesy of Localscapes

In reality, a sustainable landscape can be lush, green, beautiful and functional. It's a fundamental shift for a homeowner to view landscape differently. Instead of making grass the predominant feature, it can be a smaller functional focal point. We've been ingrained to use lawn to achieve a beautiful landscape however Cynthia points out there are alternatives which JVWC promotes in their Localscapes program. Instead of looking sparse with no curb appeal, it can be dramatic and quite often considered an upgrade over a traditional landscape.

seedum-resizedcourtesy of Localscapes

Benefits of Upgrading to Sustainable Landscape

There are some obvious benefits to a sustainable landscape. First and foremost is saving water which is better for the environment and will save on your monthly water bill. Now if you live in an area where there is ample rain fall, a sustainable landscape can require less to maintain when done correctly. Cynthia shared an example of a homeowner who upgraded to a sustainable landscape that reduced the time to cut and maintain it, from 45 minutes to just 7 minutes! It also can provide a great habitat for wildlife including butterflies and birds. Other benefits include weed control. When you control the water, you can control the spread of weeds!



Getting from Traditional to Sustainable Landscapes

Cynthia outlined that many homeowners don't even realize they have a problem so it's difficult to sell them a solution they don't think they need. When you talk about conserving water, many homeowners think they are already conserving water inside their home, without thinking of the water being wasted in the landscape. Water use in a landscape can be up to 70% of their overall usage. Being able to show them they can still have the things that are important to them and changing what is less important, can have a huge impact. It's getting them to see landscape differently, and when they do, they will seek out new creative and sustainable elements.


Hear the Interview on the Green Industry Leaders Network Podcast

Whether you are a homeowner or a landscape contractor, Cynthia Bee shares some great insights on the JVWC program called Localscapes, on this episode. It's a great discussion that can change how you look at your landscape design. You can listen to the our complete interview and helpful information, 24/7 on the Green Industry Leaders Network podcast.

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Topics: gardening, Landscaping, planting, trees, shrubs, sustainable

What to Know About Fall Planting

Posted by Chris Sabbarese on Wed, Aug, 28, 2019 @ 16:08 PM

Many gardeners think about planting in spring when the weather starts to warm up. However when it comes to weather and temperatures, fall and spring are very similar. There are some big advantages to planting shrubs and trees in fall so we've talked to expert, Stacey Hirvella with Proven Winners, to share some fall planting tips and other do's and don'ts this time of year. Planting in fall is ideal since cooler temperatures will help with root growth and plant development, soil retains more moisture and a thick lay of mulch will help protect new plants from freezing temperatures throughout winter. Read on to learn more about fall planting and garden activities and why you should put your pruners and fertilizer away this time of year.

Why Fall is Ideal for Planting

Many people think plant in the fall is out since winter is right around the corner. They think a newly planted shrub or tree will not survive. But when properly planted in fall, the shortened days will trigger dormancy. This allows a plant to put energy into root growth and development. Instead of trying to push out new leaves and flowers. Because the temperatures are also cooler, it's not only optimal for root growth, there is less water evaporation. Rainy weather also minimizes the need to water. You can also find some amazing deals on plants in local garden centers as it gets closer to freezing weather.

Fall planting with corona shovel

When Should You Be Planting

There is no magical date on the calendar to tell gardeners, it's time to start planting. Depending on your zone, Stacey indicated you can safely plant up until about 6 weeks before the ground freezes in cold climates. In hot climates that rarely see freezing temperatures, plant when night time temperatures are in the 50s. It's also a good time to plant bulb flowers in fall to help force their blooms in the spring. She also mentions that Halloween is a great time to buy bulbs since there are some steep discounts and closeouts on remaining inventory. So there is plenty to do in the garden this time of year!



Fall Planting and Gardening Do's and Don'ts

Apply Mulch - a thick layer of shredded mulch to extend the window of optimal root growth and conserve water, especially important or plants with shallow roots.
Watch for water – keep an eye on moisture in the soil roots moist are moist and don’t let the ground freeze dry
Use Fall Leaves - they act as a great mulch and provide a habitat for garden wildlife

 corona fork mulch

Plants susceptible to winter damage – butterfly bush, bluebeard, evergreens
Push hardiness zone experiments - planting too close to freeze date or plants not suited for the zone 
Fertilize - many gardeners way too much in general but fertilizing this time of year, could encourage the plant to push out growth and leaves if there is an unseasonal temperature spike, which will freeze and cause damage to the plant. Save it for spring when plants are putting on growth.
Prune - except for any damaged limbs or branches

Hear the Interview on the Green Industry Leaders Network Podcast

As a regular podcast guest, Stacey Hirvella is an experienced and knowledgeable horticulturist with tons of great insights. Look for an upcoming #plantchat episode on What to Know About Fall Planting on 9/6/19. You can listen to the our complete interview and helpful information, 24/7 on the Green Industry Leaders Network podcast. You'll be prepared for the upcoming fall planting season and planting like a pro with these great tips.

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Topics: gardening, Landscaping, planting, trees, fall, shrubs

Smart Irrigation Saving You Water and Money in the Garden

Posted by Chris Sabbarese on Tue, Jul, 30, 2019 @ 13:07 PM

Smart Irrigation Month of Corona ToolsIn case you missed it, July is Smart Irrigation Month which promotes using water efficiently and making every drop count. I made an effort to be more sustainable in my garden this year by installing a drip irrigation system. My goal was to maintain a vegetable garden in our hot and dry zone 9B, while saving water and keeping the plants well hydrated. To do this, I retrofitted my wasteful spray sprinklers with a Jain Irrigation drip kit. Not only are my raised planters thriving, converting to drip has actually reduced my monthly water usage. It couldn't have been easier to do, and it should pay for itself by the end of the 2021 growing season. Sustainable and smart irrigation at its best! Want to know how I did it? Keep reading for all the details and ideas to introduce smart irrigation in your garden.

Making the Switch to Drip

Converting my garden to a drip system is something I've wanted to do for quite a few years. What always prevented me from getting the job done was figuring out all the parts I needed. How much of this and how many of those...I just never had time to map it all out and make a list. Then one afternoon I was recording a podcast on drip irrigation and Michael Derewenko of Jain Irrigation, who was sharing the details about their drip irrigation kits. It sounded like everything I needed in one easy solution.

A Look at Irrigation Drip Kits

The kits are designed to connect to the regular hose bib, but I since I already had an irrigation system in place, I decided to remove the sprinkler heads and add riser to connect the drip irrigation line. That enabled me to use the smart controller to schedule the watering times and days to water. I'd call that even smarter irrigation! It did require a trip to the hardware store for a couple adapter pieces but those were easy to find and install.

Jain Drip Kit on Corona Tools

I capped off all but two of the sprinkler heads and retrofitted those with a 1/2 in - 3/4 adapter, then added a 3/4 in riser. This is what I attached the pressure regulator to. It's an important piece for any drip irrigation system so your fittings and emitters don't go flying when the water flow is turned on! If you don't have sprinkler lines to retrofit, the kit comes with everything you need to hook it up to a standard garden hose bib.

Sprinkler retrofit on Corona Tools

From there, attach the main drip line to the connector, then to the pressure regulator. At this point, you can start running the main drip line to reach the center of your raised beds. There are many different configuration options you can use for maximum efficiency. One major bonus that there are no tools required except something to cut the drip line to the correct length. Corona snips to the rescue! Then connect the tubing to the elbow or T connectors and screw to tighten. Super easy, fast, and no leaks. It's a genius connector system!

Corona Tools Snips

A couple things to note on installing these lines. The tubing is fairly rigid and wants to coil up to its original state. The kits include stakes to hold the line in place but if you have loose, friable soil, the tubing tends to want to coil up and pulls out the stakes. I found if you let the main line sit in the warm sun before installing, it will be more pliable and the stakes were able to hold it in place.

One of the other surprises about the kits were the clips that closed off the water flow at the end of the line. They basically hold a kink at the end of the line which I was sure would leak if I tried to use them. But to my surprise, no leaks, no wasted water. Simple yet effective (and smart) irrigation!

Drip line end fitting on Corona Tools

After getting the main lines installed, the next step was to run the emitter lines or drip tubing off the main and around the plants. There are a couple of different types of tubing provided in the kit. A drip line with an emitter or a reinforced line with evenly spaced holes that allows the water to drip out slowly around the plant roots. This is a more efficient way to deliver water, slowly and directly to the roots. It's also important to note, if you put a line in a spot and decide to move it later, the kit is complete with goof plugs to plug up any holes in the main drip line! Especially helpful when your just getting the hang of things.

I initially used the emitters that deliver a controlled spray of water to a larger section of the planter. I chose this method as I had planted seeds in rows, and wasn't exactly certain where the rows were. It kept the soil moist, and once the plants started coming up, I could go back, put in the drip lines with the holes near the roots. Then cover them with some organic mulch to keep the soil moist, even on hot days.

Installed drip lines on Corona Tools

How Much Water Does it Take?

After getting the drip lines in place, I needed to set the smart controller water them. I started with 2 days a week, Wednesdays and Sundays. On those days each station waters 3 times in 5 minute intervals, with 30 minutes in between. I set the timer to begin watering at 5AM, giving the water time to seep, deep into the soil before the heat of the day. It seemed to be sufficient during the cooler spring weather, however when the summer temperatures hit, the plants were wilting in the heat.

Having plants in full sun with days in 100F+ the soil was drying out, so I decided to give set the controller to come on the other 5 days at 5AM for just 2 minutes. Even in these hot, dry conditions, the plants are thriving and producing plenty of fresh food. The best part is, everything is automatic and has still decreased my water usage. As the weather gets cooler, I can start cutting back on these extra watering days.

Raised beds in Corona Tools

Everything You Need and Then Some

What a great way to celebrate Smart Irrigation month, with a garden that is more water efficient and can survive in hot weather like Corona, CA! These drip kits were just what I needed to finally have a nice garden that can take the heat, without driving up my water bill. I also appreciated that there was leftover of tubing and extra emitters that came with the kit.

I was able to install drip lines in all my potted containers that are difficult to keep hydrated. I gave my lemon tree some citrus fertilizer and a fresh layer of mulch. Since then it's put on tons of new growth and fruit. I'll also be retrofitting a rose bed on the other side of the house with drip irrigation and much of what I need is leftover from the drip kit.

lemon tree drip line on Corona Tools

Investing in a drip irrigation kit was a great way to stop procrastinating, giving me everything I needed and then some. While being more sustainable in the garden and landscape. Add in controlled watering times and not only is it smart irrigation, you don't have to spend time watering. However you celebrate Smart Irrigation Month, just remember that every drop you save helps the environment and your wallet!


Topics: gardening, Landscaping, tools, Jains Irrigation, Drip Irrigation, Smart Irrigation Month

5 Essential Garden Tools for the New Homeowner

Posted by Chris Sabbarese on Fri, Jun, 28, 2019 @ 14:06 PM

Sold HomeWe recently had a young couple move in next door to us. They moved from a one bedroom apartment, into a home with an established front and back yard they need to maintain. Of course, me being the tool geek I am, I started talking to them about what tools they need to take care of their property. Having trees, shrubs, lawn and flowers, I came up with a list of essential tools that would help them maintain their new property. Top of my list for our new neighbors; a pair of loppers, hand pruners, folding saw, rake and shovel. Why these tools? Keep reading to find out and share you suggestions in the comments.

Maintaining the Established Yard

So you buy a home with a landscaped front and back yard. With some nice trees, a lawn, plenty of shrubs and flowers that eventually will need pruning and maintenance. With my new neighbor just getting started with a new home and a new baby on the way, buying power tools can be expensive.  Also noisy tools can startle a baby or wake them up from their nap. And let's face it, no one ever wants to make that mistake! I'd also highly recommend saving the power lawn mower for a time when mom takes the baby out for a walk or runs to the store.

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The Essential Tools

With my young neighbors in mind I put together this list of helpful hand tools that can get the job done for them. They are admittedly new to the caring for the yard, and it's not something they necessarily find joy in doing. So the tools I selected, were designed to help make the tasks easier and getting the job done quickly.

DualLINK™ Bypass Lopper - these loppers provide assistance with making cuts. It has a compound lever that amplifies the amount of force, requiring less effort to get through a cut. Think of a lifting a heavy weight tied to a with a series of pulleys. One pulley puts 100% of the weight on you. Add more pulleys and the task becomes much easier. That's what DualLINK provides. They also have ComfortGEL® grips and a ShockGaurd™ bumper system so you won't feel sore the next day.

SL 4264-in use_

FlexDIAL® Bypass Pruner - I chose this hand pruner for a couple reasons. The adjustable dial allows them to both use the tool and get a custom fit for their hand size. He can use them on the widest setting to prune back branches and stems up to 3/4 in. And she can use them with a lower setting to go out, and cut some roses to bring in the house. When the baby gets older and wants to go help in the garden, setting FlexDIAL to 1 can be a great tool they can use too. Supervised of course!

BP 4214-In Use_2

RazorTOOTH Saw® - 8 in Folding Saw - This is one of the most helpful tools for any household. It makes quick work of larger limbs and branches, with a well-designed blade, that helps keep the cutting channel free of saw dust and pulp. Just a few pull strokes is all it takes to complete a cut. They also come in handy for going camping, out on the trails and for cutting off the bottom of the Christmas tree before you bring it inside.


Spring Brace Rake - Since my neighbor will be cutting his own lawn, a rake is essential to help rake up the grass clippings that don't make it in the catcher. The magnolia leaves that fall in the summer here can also clutter the lawn quickly in between mowings so this will help keep things tidy.

Corona Spring Brace Rake

#2 Round Point Shovel - Inevitably, once you're in a new home for a while, you're going to want to make some personal changes to make your landscape reflect your personality and tastes. That's when you start looking at the shrub that was planted long before you moved in and think it's time to be replaced with something else. Having a shovel to dig up, plant or remove a plant, is work most every new homeowner will want to do.

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What More Could You Use?

So far my neighbor has appreciated my suggestion and I've seen them out using some of their new tools already. I told him that if he ever has a need for something else, I know a guy who might have the right tool for the job. For those who have recently moved into a new home, tell us in the comments what you found to be your essential tools for maintaining your landscape and garden!



Topics: gardening, Landscaping, plants, tools, shrubs

Overcoming the Plant Fear Factor

Posted by Chris Sabbarese on Fri, May, 31, 2019 @ 21:05 PM

We often talk about the therapeutic aspects of gardening, working in the soil and reducing stress in our day to day lives. It's such a great activity with numerous benefits. So why doesn't everyone  want to have a garden? We'll tell that to someone who's hortiphobic, a fear of growing plants, and they are likely to break out in a cold sweat and stress just thinking about it. It's almost like having a pet that you need to feed and care for. And if you forget to water it, it will die. Who needs that kind of stress? If that's you, you're not alone. Many Americans fear growing anything whether it's one plant, or an entire garden. This post is designed to take the fear factor out of plants, so you can move closer to a stress-free lifestyle that takes advantage of all that gardening can provide. Read on to learn how you can overcome your fear of growing plants.

What Makes Someone Hortiphobic?

Okay, you're convinced that caring and nurturing a plant of any kind, is not for you. It's possible that you suffered a traumatic plant-related event in your life, and Botanophobia set in. Maybe an episode of severe poison ivy, or you got stung in the nose by a bee while smelling a flower. Or suffer guilt over killing that poinsettia you received the holidays. All very real and potentially traumatic experiences. If you fall into any of these categories, there's still hope!

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Moving Past the Fear

If you identify yourself as a person with a black thumb, rest assured, there is a plant out there for you. Even if you have a killed a plant or two before. It could just mean it was the wrong plant for you. Or the environment wasn't ideal. Or you kept an outdoor plant, indoors. Whatever the case, failure is an option. All it means is it wasn't a good fit and it's an opportunity to try something new. If you like indoor plants, but that orchid you picked up at the garden center, perished after being in your home, that's okay. Try another plant that does well in those same conditions. It may be time to try a succulent or cactus. Point is, there is something out there for everyone at every level of gardening experience. Check out our recent podcast Trends in Indoor Plants, for some great ideas on where to start.


Fear of Plant Commitment

What if you are the person who is always on the go? You like to travel or work and home life is especially active? You don't have time to care for plants. Yes, there are plants for you too. There are plants that can survive on very little water or light, so you can be gone for weeks and not worry about them dying. And If you have issues with a long term commitment, try some annuals in a container on the porch or deck. When they die back in the fall or winter, that's the nature of annuals, so no long term commitments are required and you will still have been successful!



If you're still on the fence about trying to grow even one plant, it's worth considering what's in it for you. Yes, you need to provide a some water and general care for plants to do well. However there are studies that have shown a direct correlation to gardening and reducing stress levels. Plants have a therapeutic quality that is calming. Working in soil has been shown to boost our mood, due to a harmless bacteria, mycobacterium vaccae, helping to better cope with anxiety and depression. They can ratchet up the curb appeal of your home. As well as spruce up your indoor living spaces for sharing the perfect #plantsofinstagram and #shelfie post.  And guys, let's face it, women appreciate a guy who can nurture and care for something.

BandB on Corona Tools

Conquer Your Fear

So if you are among those who fear plants or swear you have a black thumb and kill everything, you're not alone. Even the most studied horticulturists out there, have killed a plant or two in their day. Toss out those sad, dusty fake plants in the corner, and start with an easy live plant that won't hold outright neglect against you. You'll begin to experience the joy of seeing that first flower or when a new leaf emerges. This is a sure sign that you are doing something right. It will boost your plant confidence, make your house feel a more like a home, as you start channeling all the stress going on in your life into your plants. 



Topics: gardening, Landscaping, shrubs

Importance of Using the Right Type of Hand Pruner

Posted by Chris Sabbarese on Tue, Apr, 30, 2019 @ 20:04 PM

One of the most interesting things we see quite often from gardeners and landscapers, is the confusion about which tool to use for the job. There seems to be a misconception, from beginners to advanced, that one tool is good enough for all jobs. This post sets the record straight when to use bypass pruners and when to anvil pruners. At the most basic level, bypass are ideal for pruning and cutting fresh, live green stems. This will make the cleanest cuts, allowing the plant to properly heal and promote new growth. For hard, deadwood, an anvil pruner cuts through this dense material easily, without risk to the plant or tree, or your hand pruner. Read on to find out the why's and why not's for using these tool interchangeably. It will help protect your plants, your tools and yourself.

Corona bypass hand pruner blog post

Bypass Pruners - Cutting Live Stems and Branches

A bypass pruner has a cutting blade that passes the non-cutting hook, much like a pair of scissors. The blade is beveled and sharped on one side with other being flat and unsharpened to pass the hook. When properly sharped, they make the cleanest cuts on live branches and stems, without any damage to the remaining stem. This is important as it helps the plant to heal from the cut, and encourages new growth. 

Corona FlexDIal bypass hand pruner

Anvil Pruners - Cutting Hard, Dead Wood

Unlike the bypass pruner, an anvil pruner has a blade that is sharped on both sides. This closes down on a flat anvil, which typically has a narrow channel for the cutting blade, as not to damage its sharpened edge. What makes this great for cutting hard, deadwood is, there is no risk of crushing any stems. In fact removing the old dead wood, help the plant direct energy towards new growth.

Corona Anvil hand pruner

The Why Not's for Using the Wrong Tools

This is where confusion and misconception happens is that many gardeners think this one pruner will handle their all their small pruning jobs. However, using an anvil hand pruner on a live stem or branch, will likely crush it. In most cases, it will make the cut, however the remaining branch gets crushed and damaged. The plant must recover from it and will be more susceptible to diseases and pests which could ultimately kill the plant.

Using a bypass pruner on hard, deadwood can be plain disastrous. Since the wood is harder to cut, a gardener is likely to twist and torque their hand, causing the blade to cross over the opposite side of the hook. Not only will this kill your hand, once the cut is made, the blade will come down on the hook, rather than bypass it. This will cause the blade to become damaged or chipped. The worst case, it could cause the blade to snap and potentially become a sharp projectile. Not only are you out a good hand pruner, since this is effectively misusing the tool, it may void the warranty and risk serious bodily injury to yourself.

Do You REALLY Need Both?

It's best to assess what the job is and bring the correct tool for the task. You wouldn't use a screwdriver to drive in a nail. So if your if job is mostly cutting live stems and branches, a bypass pruner is the way go to. If you are cutting out deadwood or even harder, denser plants and trees like mesquite, invest in a decent anvil pruner. Spending a little extra budget will ultimate save you from replacing your good bypass pruners down the road. Or replacing a plant that didn't survive due to a poor cut. Most importantly, a visit to the emergency room when a blade snaps and injures you.

Need more advice when it comes to pruning and proper tool care? Check out Corona's free Principles of Pruning guide packed with lots of helpful tips and information. 


Topics: gardening, Landscaping, garden tools, hand pruners

Get the Most from Your Garden this Season

Posted by Chris Sabbarese on Thu, Mar, 07, 2019 @ 13:03 PM

Ask any gardener what they want most from their garden, and you're likely to hear, more produce, abundant blooms and perfectly shaped trees, shrubs and hedges. One of the best ways to help ensure that gardening nirvana is pruning. Experts know that well-pruned plants and trees will yield more fruit, bigger and better blooms and healthier plants. And with spring just around the corner, it's time to get the work done. You can do it quickly and efficiently with these 4 essential pruning tools; bypass pruners for fresh green stems, anvil pruners for removing and cutting out dead wood, bypass loppers for the bigger limbs and a folding hand saw to remove the bigger stuff. Done right, your trees and plants will reward you with a successful bounty, season after season. Not sure where to start? Keep reading for some great ideas and resources that can help.

Where to Start 

Pruning is an essential part of maintaining good tree and plant health, so don't shy away from it. Note that not all shrubs should be pruned at this time of year. Done at the wrong time of year, pruning could limit growth and flowers in the summer months. The best place to start is by downloading, Corona's  Principles of Pruning is a free guide that is packed with many of the basic how-to's for pruning confidently.

Timing Your Pruning is Key

Making the right cuts, at the right time with the right tool will help ensure a better crop of fruit, blooms and foliage. Joe Lamp'l of Growing a Greener World on PBS, shares some sage advice on Biggest Pruning Mistakes and How to Avoid Them in his Joe Gardener video series, presented by Corona Tools. For the hydrangea enthusiast, check out our two part podcast, Demystifying Hydrangeas with Proven Winners.

Corona Tools on Joe Gardener

Recommended Pruning Tools for the Job

FlexDIAL_on_Corona_ToolsPruning Live Stems & Branches
Prune live rose canes, trees, woody shrubs and vines with a bypass pruner. FlexDIAL® lets you adjust how wide the pruner opens, up to 3/4 in., to maximize cutting power and reduce hand fatigue when there is much work to be done. It provides gardeners with a custom fit for small to extra large hand sizes.


RatchetCUT on Corona ToolsPruning Deadwood
Dead tree branches, rose canes and thick vines can seriously damage a good pair of bypass pruners. Look for an anvil-style pruner like the RatchetCUT™ that helps power through tough deadwood. It makes a series of smaller, full-leverage cuts which is easier on your hands. It will save your favorite pair of bypass pruners and added hand stress when making a large cut.

DualLInk on Corona ToolsLive Limbs & Branches 1 - 2 in
A bypass lopper can be the ideal choice when cutting larger limbs and branches. Remember, while a lopper like the DualLINK™ Forged Bypass Lopper may be rated for cutting up to 2 inches, the larger the limb, the more upper body strength you'll need to successfully make the cut. If it's difficult to make a cut, look to a Corona hand saw to zip through the cut.


razortooth on corona toolsBranches & Limbs Greater Than 2 in
One of the easiest ways to tackle larger limbs and branches is a pruning saw. These are a must have for every gardener. Many are compact like the RazorTOOTH Saw® - 7 in Folding Saw that fit nicely in your tool pouch and can be tossed in a backpack when you're out on the trails. Some have an available replaceable blade option, making them a sound investment.

Spring Cleaning and Maintenance in Your Yard

While proper pruning helps ensure healthier plants and trees, it's also the ideal time to do spring clean up and maintenance in your yard. Take time to inspect your irrigation and drip systems for leaks which can result in wasted water, but also poorly irrigated plants and crops or brown spots in the lawn. Check out this podcast episode for 6 steps for saving up to 85% of landscape water use.

One of the most important maintenance tasks you can do is spreading a thick layer of mulch that will help suppress weeds, while helping the soil retain moisture throughout the hot, dry months. Want more great suggestions for effective spring cleaning projects that will get the most from your garden? Check out Greenpal's Spring Clean Up Guide.  



Topics: gardening, Landscaping, late-winter pruning

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