FertilizingLawns donít have to be meticulously managed to look good and be healthy. A healthy, dense lawn can reduce weed invasion and help with any runoff. When you fertilize use slow-releasing nitrogen types and limit fertilizing from one to three times per year at most. Water deeply and infrequently. Also, apply some limestone when the soil needs it, (pH should be around 6.2-6.5).
PesticidesTry to avoid using pesticides when possible! If necessary, take the proper steps and precautions. Mix correctly, reading labels carefully! Be prepared for any spills, (clean them up right away). Do not apply chemicals if windy, raining or above 85 degrees F. Dispose of leftovers properly, (not down drains or onto bare ground). Triple rinse empty containers and use rinse water for sprayer. Store on shelves in a locked cabinet away from heat and moisture.
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Conservation of Water
- Mulching a 4 to 6 inch layer around trees, shrubs and all gardens will help hold moisture, by reducing moisture loss from evaporation and discouraging much weed growth. Also, a great use for the lawn cuttings you accumulate while mowing the lawn!
- A good way to reduce lawn water usage in hot weather is to set your lawn mower blade height to 2 inches. The taller grass will reduce evaporation from the soil by shading it more.
Mowing CareMowing the lawn can be seen as an art and a science, not just a simple summer chore! Try these following tips:
- MOW HIGH-this promotes deep rooting of the grass. Warm climate grass cut from 1-2in. high. Cool climate grass cut from 2-3in. high.
- MOW OFTEN- never cut off more than 1/3 of the total grass height at a time.
- MOW IN DIFFERENT DIRECTION- each time, this prevents the lawn from growing into a pattern that discourages even cutting.
- MOW WITH SHARP BLADES- then you wonít shred grass tips resulting in poor appearances, browning and being less resistant to disease.
Sharpening Lawn Mower BladesTo insure a green healthy looking lawn this summer have your lawnmower blades sharpened. If your grass blades are turning brown, its because your blades are dull! When reinstalled ,make sure to properly balance the blade. If doing yourself, also remember to remove the spark-plug before touching the blade!
Winter StorageFall and chilly nights mean putting away the summer patio furniture and the gas grill. Remember to never store a gas grill indoors-even in a garage- with the propane attached. Rather cover the grill and store on a patio or terrace. The LP gas cylinder becomes a potential explosive should you have a fire-so keep outdoors for safety.
Checking Leaks in Propane TanksTo check your propane tank for any leaks, brush on a soapy solution-1 part water to 1 part liquid detergent- and then turn on the tank. Bubbles will appear if there are any leaks or loose connections on the tank. Tighten your connections, if necessary. If you canít get the tank to stop leaking, return it to the dealers immediately. Remember to keep the tank upright and a car window open!
Measuring Gas in TankOne way to check your propane tank gauge for accuracy is to wrap a wet towel around the tank. After waiting several minutes, remove the towel. Moisture condensate will accumulate only if there is gas inside the tank.
Grill CleanerTo remove stubborn grease and food buildup on your barbecue grill try scrubbing with a wire brush that has been dipped in a solution of baking soda. Then coat grill with salad oil to prevent meat from sticking to it. Time to barbecue!
CleanoutTake a few minutes on a nice autumn day, grab your ladder and cleanout those gutters of any leaves and sticks. You will save yourself from a messy water backup into your basement later this winter.
CaulkingCracks and joints in your homeís exterior always open up in the winter and therefore cause heat loss. When the temperature cools to around 40 degree F. this fall, the joints begin spreading out. Now is the time before its to cold to work outside and the caulking will still set to fill in those cracks and spaces.
Cover ChainsYou can cover the chains on your childrenís swing with plastic pipe insulation. The insulation makes the chains softer and easier to hold onto, and doesnít cut into the childrenís fingers.
HypothermiaHypothermia is a life-threatening condition in which the body temperature drops below the normal 98.6 degrees F. from exposure to the cold. Indoor air temperature doesnít have to fall below freezing to cause hypothermia. Therefore, make sure at risk family members, (e.g. Elderly, and babies), wear several layers of loose clothing and have plenty of bed covers at night.
Body ChillsA lightweight down ,fleece or wool vest can ward off body chill on days that appear warm. If you are going to be outside a lot of the daylight hours, be advised to carry an extra jacket to wear when the sunís warmth fades!
HintsWhen you must shovel by hand remember these few tips:
- Use a small rather than large shovel.
- Push snow aside to avoid lifting as much as possible.
- Start early before the snow gets icy.
- Work in stages and take frequent breaks.
Great CoversIts that time of the year to cover the pool, trailer or boat. If the wind is blowing off the cover on you, try using empty plastic gallon jugs as anchors. Just fill the jugs with sand, stones, water or dirt and hang them on the tarp. Use as many as you need! These work great especially in areas where spikes cannot be used, like on concrete.
Call Utility CompanyCall your local utility company asking about the location of any underground wires and pipes in your yard BEFORE you commence digging. They provide this service for FREE, usually. You can save yourself dangerous and costly surprises.
Frost Line RequirementsCheck with your local building department to determine the exact depth you need to build post holes and foundations in outdoor projects. You definitely want to dig the hole down to the FROST LINE,(the depth to which the soil freezes in your area). Builders go to the frost line because any structure whose base is not below the depth where the ground freezes will raise the structure unevenly and leave it out of plumb. SO FIND OUT THE FACTS!!
Mosquito DeterrentsIt helps to decrease the mosquito population if you make sure to empty any standing water on your property, such as old tires, pet dishes, wading pools. Mosquitoes usually lay their eggs in water, therefore you are making it harder for them to reproduce! Donít forget to cover up at night and use insect repellent!
Heaters/Pumps/BillsHave high summer energy bills? If you are running a pool pump and heater, you can try reducing the thermostat setting on the pool heater by 1 degree, this should reduce your energy usage by 10 %. Also, try using a transparent pool cover to capture the sunís heat naturally.
Patching the BlacktopBlacktop(asphalt) driveways require maintenance because the asphalt tends to lose oils from constant exposure to the sunlight, causing it to dry out and crack. Therefore, a yearly patching or sealing will add years to your driveway, and keep it looking great!
If you are living in a northern climate you might want to check out a heavy-duty sealer.
Clean Around The HousePower washers are a great tool for home maintenance. The water stream of 800 lbs. or more pressure clean just about everything! Use washer on house siding, eaves, soffits, porch ceilings, driveways, sidewalks, decks and retaining walls. Try a rental first, if youíre not sure whether you would like to own one!
CampingIt's time to head to the great outdoors again. Before leaving home, take a few minutes to set up your rented or owned tent to check for any defects or damage. If you have holes, patch with a 2 inch ripstop nylon tape. You might want to bring a candle or chapstick along with you, they can be rubbed on small leaks where a hole isn't visible yet. Happy camping!
Closing Up Summer ResidenceNow with the cool weather approaching its time to winterize the summer residence. To protect plumbing against freeze-ups, turn off the water at the main valve, then open all faucets and drain the system at the lowest point. Then flush all toilets, and put ethylene glycol antifreeze, (or winter windshield washer solution), into the remaining water-filled plumbing traps,( like the bathtub).
Sand Box CoverTake planks or slats of wood that will cover the top of the box. Use something like 1 x 6 to 2 x 2 or whatever you chose. I guess large dowels would even work. Allow 1/2 to 1 inch of space in between each board. Purchase nylon webbing or rope and staple to boards so the boards can be rolled up. Turn over and place on top of box and you have a lid. Of course the webbing will wear out over time but it is easy for smaller children to roll something opposed to lifting a lid. Seems safer also. The spacing allows you to roll the lid and allows air circulation.
You can also lace the webbing alternatively through the boards so it folds as opposed to rolling or even solid canvas, PVC/canvas or those cheap blue tarps.
Thanks to Bill Callender.