(BPT) - As temperatures drop, you're reminded that Old Man Winter will soon rear his ugly head. Before the first flurries fly, it's important to take some winterization steps to ensure your home is ready for whatever the season brings.
This five-point checklist will help safeguard your home against winter's woes for another year. For additional winterization ideas and detailed project plans, visit Real Cedar.com.
Inspect each window from the outside to see if any gaps or cracks are present. These small openings let in cold air and are also inviting to small critters looking for protection from the cold.
If you find some gaps, it’s important to seal them quickly. Apply caulk to the openings to prevent cold air from seeping in, helping to cut down on heating bills. Plus, you won’t have to worry about bugs making your home their hibernation haven. Note: never caulk above or below the window and door openings, as this may block moisture drainage.
Prep the deck
The amount of work you have to put into winterizing your deck depends on your decking material. For example, a durable, long-lasting material such as Western Red Cedar requires the least amount of maintenance. That said, all decks require some upkeep.
To preserve your deck’s luster, start by cleaning it with a warm, soapy solution and a soft-bristle brush. Do not power wash as this can damage the wood. It’s important that you remove all dirt and debris from the surface as well as in between the boards to improve ventilation.
Next, inspect the deck for mold. If present, wash the deck with a mild oxygen bleach solution and leave on the surface for 30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. Finally, remove anything that might leave marks on the deck’s surface such as furniture, planters and mats.
Protect planter boxes
The majority of planter boxes are made with Western Red Cedar. That’s because the wood is naturally resistant to rot, decay and insects; and therefore, doesn’t require treatment from potentially dangerous chemicals that can leach into soil and plants. But like all garden beds, real cedar planters need protection during the winter months.
Start by removing all soil and cleaning the boxes as you did the deck. Then, if possible, store emptied planters in a garage, shed or under the porch. If you don't have the space to store them this way, then cover them with a water-repellent tarp to protect from moisture buildup, but don’t seal the tarp. As with decks, it’s very important that you allow for proper ventilation.
Look for weak trees or those with dead branches, particularly those near your home. As snow accumulates, the weight may bring down a tree or branches, potentially damaging your house.
Eliminate this risk by removing any dead trees or dangerous branches now before the first snow. Be safe by using the proper equipment for tree trimming and removal, or, consider hiring a pro to do so. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and handling this issue now could prevent costly damage to your home down the road.
Clean the roof
Your roof is a large portion of your home, and it also holds a lot of snow over the winter. To prevent ice dams and other roof problems when freezing temperatures arrive, it's important to clean gutters and check your roof for problems now.
Start by taking all debris out of gutters to ensure free flow for water. Next, walk around your roof and inspect it for any damage. Repair loose shingles and make sure the chimney and vents look intact and secure. Your roof takes on a lot of weight from ice and snow during the winter months and you want it to be as strong as possible.
A few simple steps now can mean a cozy, safe winter for you and your entire family. Add these five steps to your winterization to-do list for this weekend and give yourself valuable peace of mind.
(BPT) - Summer is here and your lawn is a source of pride. However, it can also be a source of hard work, sweat and even frustration. So ask yourself this question: Would you be interested in maintaining your yard's beauty with fewer headaches?
If the answer is yes, then you’re in luck, because this article is all about helping you find ways to maintain a beautiful lawn without all the unnecessary effort. Apply these five tips today and you’ll have more time to enjoy your well-cared-for yard.
* Be smart about seeding. The dog days of summer are not the ideal time to reseed your lawn, so don’t waste the effort. Seed growth is more successful during cooler months, so if you didn’t seed in the early spring, wait until later in the season before doing so. You’ll get the same results without wasting the effort on an inefficient seeding.
* The perfect cut. Your lawn is the centerpiece of your yard, and nothing improves its overall appearance like the perfect cut, especially when that cut comes easy. Greenworks 60-Volt Mower is a lithium-ion battery-powered mower that eliminates the need to mix and pour gas, letting you put that time back into making your lawn look great. Finding the perfect cutting height is easy with its seven different blade positions, while Patented Smart Cut Technology maximizes run-time by keeping the blade speed at an optimal level based on the thickness of the turf.
* Water smart. Just as with seeding, successfully watering your lawn is all about timing. And, like seeding, dragging a sprinkler around your yard during the peak hours of the day will result in the water you expend being burned off before it does any good. To make the most of your watering sessions, water your lawn at dawn or dusk when temperatures are cooler. This increases the possibility that the water will stick around long enough for the grass to absorb it.
* Trimming made easy. A well-cut lawn is perfectly complemented by manicured bushes and shrubs, and tackling these tasks with the Greenworks 60-Volt Cordless String Trimmer and Hedge Trimmer is easy. Each tool utilizes push button start technology, eliminating the need for pull cords, while the battery-powered brushless motor offers an environmentally friendly, gas-alternative, and neither lacks for power or options. Tackle large projects with the string trimmer’s 16-inch cut path or use the hedge trimmer’s lightweight, rotating handle to reach every angle and you’ll get the perfect trim in no time.
* Add mulch to control weeds. The most beautiful planting beds lose their luster if their base is crowded with weeds. To eliminate this problem — and to save on the wear and tear of pulling the weeds yourself — add a 4-inch layer of mulch to the top of your beds. This mulch blocks out the sun, making it hard for weeds to grow. It also reduces your need to water these beds by slowing water’s evaporation rate.
Summer is here, and while your lawn care is ongoing, there's still plenty of time to make those chores more efficient to benefit yourself and your lawn. To learn more about the lawn care tools available from Greenworks, visit www.greenworkstools.com.
The same type of technology used in some of the United States Navy’s most powerful ships also powers handheld lawn equipment.
Battle Weeds, Leaves and Shrubbery with Tech
(Family Features) The same type of technology used in some of the United States Navy’s most powerful ships also powers handheld lawn equipment.
A lineup of string trimmers, leaf blowers and hedge trimmers from Cub Cadet use an innovative technology to power the units called CORE (Conductor-Optimized Rotary Energy). The sophisticated motor technology generates power equal to gas engines and maximizes pound-for-pound power efficiency, compared to its 25 cubic centimeter gas-powered engines.
The technology also features a unique Power-Lok system. This standalone drive unit offers lightweight, high-performance string trimmer, blower and hedge trimmer attachments. It saves storage space and money with one tool that does the job of three different units.
Printed circuit board technology and magnetic rotors generate concentrated, efficient power and torque that is on par with gas-powered units so the toughest outdoor challenges can be tackled without the fill-ups, fumes or pull-starts of gas engines.
By delivering high-torque performance with no dependence on battery voltage, CORE technology leverages a revolutionary motor design and a responsive load-sensing controller to deliver power and performance where and when it is needed. It also features zero gasoline emissions and much less noise than gas-powered equipment.
Because the motor consists of lighter weight materials and does not require a gas tank, it is lighter for users to operate.
With longer runtimes than other gasless tools, the technology offers all the power needed for various outdoor projects with nearly 45 minutes of power on one charge. The typical recharge time is 1 hour.
More information is available at CubCadet.com.SOURCE:
(BPT) - Warm weather welcomes flowerbeds, gardens burst with color and fragrance, and in many yards, roses are the stars of the show. They’re the most popular and prized flower in American gardens, one of the most-beloved flowers for weddings, and staples of Valentine’s and Mother’s Day bouquets. Americans love their roses — and so do a host of harmful pests, including Japanese beetles, aphids, mites among other insects, and let’s not forget about deer.
Pests can cause a great deal of damage to roses, especially considering many varieties have a reputation for being tenderly delicate. While some types of roses are hardier against disease, no rose alive can fight off an aphid infestation or fight foraging deer without some help from the gardener.
However, growing awareness of the environmental impact of some common pesticides may have many rose gardeners looking for more natural ways to protect their blooms this season.
Brand-name neonicotinoid pesticides, commonly used to keep pests off plants, are being banned in states across the country, including Maryland, Connecticut and Minnesota. North Carolina is currently considering a similar ban. This class of insecticides is believed to contribute to the devastation and decline of honeybee populations across the country. As more states prohibit the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, and some garden retailers remove neonics from store shelves, many gardeners may have to start looking for alternative, more environmentally friendly solutions to protect their prized roses.
Fortunately, rose aficionados have several natural ways to defend their gardens from pests. These measures can help protect rose gardens and the environment:
1. Choosing a good location for your roses is the first step. If you’ll be planting new rose bushes this season, look for a location that will help the roses thrive. The healthier the plant, the hardier it will be in resisting disease and pests. Roses should get six to eight hours of sun per day, and need at least three feet of space on all sides to flourish. Be sure to properly prepare the soil, mulch around the base of the plant, and regularly fertilize and water.
2. Next, keep a careful eye on your roses. Regularly inspect blooms, branches, stems, undersides of leaves and vines for signs of insect infestation, including the presence of eggs, grubs and adult insects. Watch for evidence of deer damage too; such as ragged bites a foot or more above the ground.
3. Keep pests and deer away with a natural, environmentally friendly, dual purpose repellent like Bobbex Rose Deer and Insect Repellent. The easy-to-apply, ready-to-use foliar spray discourages deer foraging through taste and smell aversion, while simultaneously repelling insects such as aphids, mites, Japanese beetles, leafhoppers, greenflies and sawflies. The product is compatible with nature, not classified as an insecticide and is harmless to all wildlife, pets, birds and people.
Bobbex Rose also provides needed moisture retention for the plant and can reduce the severity of black spot and powdery mildew, common problems for rose gardeners. Continued use will disrupt browsing habits of deer while protecting against an assault of insects in any weather. The product is actually good for plants since it contains elements high in nitrogen and phosphorus; it dries clear and won’t burn plants. Bobbex Rose will not wash off in rain, or irrigation. Visit www.bobbex.com to learn more.
4. Use nature to defend your roses; hang bird feeders to attract backyard birds that regularly dine on insects harmful to roses. You can also purchase lady bugs, which eat aphids, to release in your rose garden. Just be sure to research the best time and conditions for releasing lady bugs, or they will fly away before making any impact.
The fragrance and colors of roses are among the most delightful indulgences of the warm weather season. With a bit of attention, planning and effective natural assistance, it’s possible, even easy, to keep your roses radiantly resplendent while naturally protecting them and the environment.
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