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Bermuda grass is typically the kind used on the rolling hills of golf courses or those perfectly green lawns that makes most Georgians envious. With proper care and maintenance, this sturdy grass flourishes, even in the heat and inconsistent moisture (I guess we can say that this year has been anything but inconsistent) that is typical of Georgia summers. One of the most important steps in caring for a Bermuda grass lawn is aeration.

During the year, the soil of Georgia lawns, which are often heavy with clay deposits, become packed down by mowers, pets, and human traffic and baked hard by the intense summer heat. This gives the soil a brick-like quality and makes it difficult to have that perfect green lawn that we all want. The solution to this problem is aerating.

You may have noticed some of your neighbors rolling machines over their lawns that leave little dirt plugs everywhere. This is aerating. A good aeration machine will have hollow tines that pull out small cores of soil throughout the lawn. This will loosen up the soil, making room for grass roots to spread out and take hold and allowing easier access for water and fertilizer to soak into the soil and nourish your lawn.

The best time to aerate your is now, especially if you live in and around Atlanta. In early to mid summer Bermuda grass is actively growing and will greatly benefit from the added advantage that a well aerated lawn provides. In early summer the ground is softer, which means an aeration machine will easily perforate the lawn for maximum effectiveness. Aeration should be done about once a year. Without it the soil can quickly become too packed for even the toughest variations of grass to grow with any kind of real success.

After aerating, the lawn should be treated with a high quality fertilizer and watered well. If the lawn is in need of additional grass seeds, after aeration is the perfect time to do so. This will ensure that the grass has the best possible chance to take full advantage of the aeration. There will be little dirt plugs over the lawn after aeration. These can be cleared away by raking them into a pile for compost, or letting them first dry for a day or two, and then dragging a section of chain-link fence over the lawn to break them up. They can also simply be left to decompose and return to the lawn on their own which takes about 2 to 4 weeks.

Most homeowners will rent push aerators to use on their property. These are heavy machines that aren’t complicated to operate once you learn some of the basics. Other folks choose to contract with a reputable commercial landscape company to have the aerating done.

Perhaps if you do contract with one of those Atlanta Landscapers, you’ll see them use the Exmark Stand On Aerator that they bought from Howard Brothers!

This is a guest post by Sarah McIntosh, Project Coordinator, Independent We Stand

July 4th is right around the corner, and what better way to celebrate America’s independence than by supporting the independent businesses that make up the backbone of our country’s economy. Whether you need the freshest produce for your backyard cookout or the perfect assortment of red, white, and blue decorations for your home, there’s a locally owned business that has exactly what you’re looking for.

By shopping at local businesses, your money will directly help improve your community.  For every square foot that a local firm occupies, the local economy gains $179, whereas national chain stores contribute only $105 per square foot.* This is because small business owners are members of the local community, rather than distant corporations.  Small business owners also contribute to the community in other ways, like supporting youth sports teams and hosting free events.  You may even see your favorite small business owner walking in your town’s Fourth of July parade!

This Fourth of July, as we remember the entrepreneurship and innovation that our country was founded on, why not celebrate the small businesses that continue to represent entrepreneurship and independence in our society?  Stop by your favorite local business, or find a new one with Independent We Stand’s local business search or free mobile app, to turn this Independence Day into Independent’s Day!

Independent We Stand is a movement of locally owned businesses and people across the country dedicated to educating their communities about the importance of ‘buying local’.  STIHL Inc. sponsors this movement to support their independent dealers across the United States and to reinvigorate the economy from the ground up. Chrysler Group LLC has signed on as a co-sponsor of Independent We Stand in support of its network of independent BusinessLink dealers. Also joining the movement as a sponsor is Devoe Paint, America’s paint brand since 1754, which is only sold through independent dealers.

Independent We Stand offers a free business listing and a wealth of advertising materials to its members.  If you want to list your business and educate your customers about the importance of buying local, join today – it’s free!


* Source: Civic Economics – 2004 Andersonville Study of Retail Economics

Chris Chester Howard Brothers Walker and Exmark Navigator

I recently had an opportunity to talk to Chris Chester, at our Alpharetta location, about the outfront mowers made by Walker and Exmark. These are very niche specific mowers, but they provide an outstanding cutting experience and in specific cases are the only mower category for the job.

We’ve been a Walker and Exmark dealer for well over 10 years. Walker was the first to develop many of the features that are used in most zero turn mowers today, but they are best known for their grass handling system mowers. We’re proud to be a Walker Dealer in Atlanta and North Georgia.

Exmark developed the Navigator a few years back to meet its customers needs for out front mowing.

I asked Chris to discuss a few of the more popular mowers that we sell at Howard Brothers. We have these mowers at all 4 of our locations in Alpharetta, Doraville, Duluth and Oakwood. Let us know if you have any questions.

Chris Chester Howard Brothers Walker and Exmark Navigator

Chris Chester Howard Brothers Walker and Exmark Navigator

Chainsaw Safety Reminder

With all the storms that came through this evening in Atlanta and North Georgia, there are trees down everywhere. I passed by a huge tree in a church parking lot that was down in Peachtree Corners this evening. That being said, we know that chainsaws are gonna be pulled out of storage and put to work. Now is a good time to pause and remember safe operating practices for chainsaws.

Chainsaw Safety Reminder

Chainsaw Safety Reminder

Review all standard safety features on your saw. Below are just a few of the things to consider… but not an exhaustive list.

  1. Make sure the chain break works. This will cause the chain to stop immediately if kickback occurs.
  2. Make sure that your chainsaw is properly oiled. Bar oil keeps the chainsaw from overheating. It also ensures that the chain does not bind causing stress on the saw and therefore sudden jerking transferred to your hands and arms.
  3. Wear proper safety clothing when operating a chainsaw. Gloves, Goggles, Ear Protection, Footwear that will not slip, hard hat and leg protection such as chaps.
  4. Do not operate a chainsaw if the the chain is not sharp. This seems obvious, but forcing a saw to do more than it should do under regular use is dangerous to the user.
  5. You should read the user manual of your particular saw to cover any other safety features of your saw.

Check out the videos that STIHL USA have created about basic chainsaw operating procedures and safety measures.

If you need any help with your chainsaw, or need to purchase a new one, please let us know how we can help. When it comes to a chainsaw, you most definitely need someone who you can trust. We can get you the right size saw for your specific needs. We have safety equipment that we can recommend. We can service your old saw and sharpen chains if needed.

Stay safe.

YETI Coolers Howard Brothers Nora Collins

Wow. We were told that Father’s day would be a huge selling opportunity for the YETI Coolers, but being the first year that we’ve sold YETI Coolers here in Atlanta, we had no idea how crazy it would be.

Phone calls, web inquiries, folks walking in seeking out the coolers… It has been fun.

I was able to convince one of our cashiers in Oakwood to allow me to video her. She was a little nervous, but she did a great job.

It’s been fun to watch our employees become enthusiasts of the YETI coolers.

I really could not resist putting together this blooper video. This type of video shows who we are more than any other video that I can create. We try to be fun and relational with our customers and with each other.

Remember… It’s Bear Proof.

Give Nora a round of applause for stepping up to the challenge. Being in front of the camera can be intimidating, but she did a fantastic job.

Remember, we sell YETI Coolers in Oakwood and Duluth Georgia. Give us a call or come on in.

YETI Coolers Howard Brothers Nora Collins


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You’ve got just a little over a week to find a gift for dad. Perhaps dad needs a new Case Pocket Knife.

Case Knives Gifts for Dad - Father's Day 2013

Case Knives Gifts for Dad – Father’s Day 2013

Check out the knives that are included in the sale. Click here to download a PDF of the 4 page ad that was run in the newspaper… does anyone read newspapers anymore? Or you can click the Image below.

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These knives and prices are while supplies last only. We received a big shipment of these knives at our Oakwood store, but you may be lucky and find them at our Duluth or Doraville stores.

Don’t wait too long. Get in and get dad a Case Knife that he can use everyday of the year for many years to come.