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Archive | Home and Garden

Create a healthy ecosystem in your yard

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Ruud Morijn - Fotolia.com Invasive weeds, such as the Purple Loosestrife, can out-compete native species.

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Ruud Morijn – Fotolia.com
Invasive weeds, such as the Purple Loosestrife, can out-compete native species.

(StatePoint) This season, help promote a healthy ecosystem by learning to identify and control damaging plants and insects in your yard.

Information about common invasive species and backyard invaders is now being offered by Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE):

Invasive Plants

Invasive weeds can out-compete native species, changing the local ecosystem. Many varieties, first introduced as flora to plant in gardens, can be confused with similar, native varieties. Here are two common damaging ones to watch out for:

• Purple Loosestrife, native to Europe and Asia, is found in most states. One plant can produce more than two million seeds annually.

• Native to China, the Tree-of-Heaven was widely planted as an ornamental plant for many years and is often confused with other trees having similar leaves, such as black walnut, butternut, and most sumac.

Invasive Insects

Invasive insects can also have a severe negative impact on native species by out-competing them for food and resources. Many also cause and carry disease and prey on native species. Two common ones to look out for include:

• Emerald Ash Borer, native to Asia, is prominently found across the Northeast, Midwest, and Southeastern United States. The larvae do the most damage, killing ash trees by feeding on the inner bark.

• Zebra Mussel, native to lakes in southern Russia, is found in hundreds of waterways throughout the United States. The species commonly clog water intakes, damage boats, and can cause cuts and scrapes if they grow on rocks, swim rafts, and ladders.

Backyard Pests

Did you know native plants and insects can cause damage too?

• Ticks can transmit Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Left untreated, Lyme disease infects the joints, heart, and nervous system. After time spent outdoors, check for ticks, especially in and around your ears, inside your belly button, behind your knees, around your waist, on your scalp, and in your hair.

• Mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus. While most people may show few symptoms, 20 percent of people develop a fever along with headaches, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Follow the “three Ds” to protect yourself: Drain standing water; Stay indoors at Dusk and Dawn; Dress in long-sleeves and pants; and use DEET-based mosquito repellent.

• Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac can lurk in backyards. Almost 85 percent of people develop a rash when they come into contact with these weeds.

Control poisonous weeds long-term by carefully digging out the plants while wearing waterproof gloves or treating with a pesticide.

Defend your local ecosystem by identifying exotic plants in your garden or yard. Spot invasive weeds and insects in your area? Let your county extension office know, which may have a monitoring and management program in place.

For more lawn and garden tips, visit www.DebugTheMyths.com.

By being aware of invasive species and other pests in your area, you can help support native species and a healthy ecosystem in your own backyard and neighborhood.

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How to plant your garden from scratch

For true green thumb bragging rights, grow your garden from scratch. Just be sure you know the tricks of the trade.

For true green thumb bragging rights, grow your garden from scratch. Just be sure you know the tricks of the trade.

(StatePoint) Planting a garden from scratch can sound like a daunting task, especially for those who are new to the hobby. But with the right knowledge, you can plan a successful, fruitful green space and expect to have a great harvest.

One way to get a head start on your garden is to start your seedlings indoors and then transplant them later into an outdoor garden. This time-tested technique can save you hundreds of dollars annually, as young plants at a nursery can be pricey. Here are some tips and tricks to make the most of this method:

• Don’t start your indoor plants too soon. They can grow in about four weeks or less if you use a high-quality garden starter. Check seed packages to learn when to plant outdoors in your area, and then start them indoors one month earlier to your transplanting date outdoors.

• Consider using a seed-starting system that takes some of the gardening guesswork out of the equation. For example, the Aerogarden Seed Starting system allows you to start up to 66 seedlings indoors with no dirt or mess, nurturing seeds with optimal amounts of water and nutrients for reliable germination and healthy growth.

• Add new nutrients to the seedlings every two weeks and keep the water at full level. Feeding your plants more than the recommended amount will not make them grow faster. In fact, it could hurt the plants.

• Before transplanting, seedlings need to be hardened off. Skipping this step will almost certainly result in some or all of your plants dying. Hardening off seedlings eases their transition to the outdoors, where they will be exposed to the elements. The process involves gradually exposing plants to the outdoors, protecting them from full sunlight, temperature variations and wind.

• Don’t let sprouts get too big before transplanting them outdoors. Ideally they should be about 4-6 inches tall. If possible, wait to plant your seedlings on a cool, cloudy day. If your seedlings get too large before weather will allow transplanting outdoors, transplant them into small pots with high quality potting soil. Keep fully watered in a sunny space until weather permits transplanting outdoors.

• After transplanting seedlings outdoors, be sure to water them daily for the first two weeks, especially if the weather is dry and sunny.

• Save and reuse your seed starter tray for the next season. Once the spring plants have been transplanted outdoors, you will be free to get a head start on your summer crop.

More tips to start your own seedlings can be found at www.Aerogarden.com.

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Is your yard wildlife-friendly?

DIG-Is-your-yard-wildlife-friendly-Bluebirds

(StatePoint) Being a good neighbor means more than being friendly to the humans across the street, it also means being friendly to the animals in your yard. Making your yard a safe place for local wildlife should be a top lawn care priority.

With that in mind, here are some tips for creating a healthy habitat for local critters.

Be a Valuable Rest Stop

Stock your garden with small native species of trees, shrubs and flowers to give wildlife needed nourishment, as well as cover from predators.

A source of water can also be a great resource for visiting fauna. Whether it’s a pond or a bird bath, be sure this zone is well-maintained so you don’t inadvertently create a haven for unwanted species. In the warmer months when mosquitoes are most active, you should change the bird bath water even more often.

Promote Safety

A bird feeder in your backyard, full of water and seeds, will be the perfect invitation for beautiful migrating and local birds to stop by.

Just be sure your property is safe for birds. Unfortunately, birds don’t see clear glass. As a result, millions of birds die every year by striking glass. Don’t let your sliding glass doors or other windows become a death trap for birds.

To protect birds, apply special decals that reflect ultraviolet sunlight. For example, those from WindowAlert have the appearance of frosted glass, but glow like a stoplight for birds, so you don’t have to compromise your own view out your window. The brand also makes a high-tech liquid called WindowAlert UV Liquid, which should be applied between decals.

“Wildlife can beautify your garden and be a sign that your yard is healthy” says Spencer Schock, founder of WindowAlert. “But birds and other wildlife need food, shelter, and safety.”

Get out the binoculars! With a few small actions, you can make your yard or garden a wildlife refuge.

Posted in Diggin' Spring, FeaturedComments Off

Simple steps to seed starting success

Gardening expert Melinda Myers

Gardening expert Melinda Myers

By Melinda Myers

Get a jump on the growing season by starting your favorite or hard to find plants indoors from seeds. Starting hard to find plants, like many of the heirloom or newly introduced varieties, from seed may be the only way you will be able to add these to your garden. Plus, you’ll be extending the growing season and bringing the fun of gardening indoors.

All you need is a little space, a few supplies and, of course, seeds to get started. Check the back of your seed packets for planting directions. Most recommend when and how to start seeds indoors, as well as any other special care the seedlings will need.

Purchase, recycle or make your own containers from newspaper. Sanitize used pots by dipping them in a one part bleach and nine parts water solution and then rinsing them with clean water.

Fill the containers with a sterile well-drained potting mix or seed starting mix. Once the containers are filled, plant the seeds according to the seed packet directions.

Increase success and encourage even growth by growing seedlings under artificial lights.

Increase success and encourage even growth by growing seedlings under artificial lights.

For most seeds, plant them twice their diameter deep and gently water. Continue to water often enough to keep the soil slightly moist. Extend the time between watering and increase your seed starting success by covering the container with plastic. Or purchase a seed starting kit, like the self-watering Growease seed starter kits.

Move your containers to a sunny window as soon as the seedlings emerge from the soil. Turn plants often to encourage even growth. Or increase your success by growing seedlings under artificial lights. You can make your own light system or purchase tabletop, shelf units or easy to assemble light systems, like Stack-N-Grow (gardeners.com). Keep the lights four to six inches above the top of the seedlings for best results. As the seedlings grow, be sure to maintain this distance by simply raising the lights or lowering the containers.

Move overcrowded seedlings to larger containers once they have two sets of true leaves. The first leaves that appear are rather indistinct and are called seed leaves. The next set of leaves look more like the mature plant’s leaves and are called true leaves. Once the next set of true leaves forms, it is time to transplant overcrowded seedlings.

Use a fork or spoon to carefully lift out the seedling. Clusters of seedlings can be dug and carefully teased apart before planting in individual pots. Be careful not to pinch and damage the young tender stems.

Place seedlings in their own clean container filled with moist sterile potting mix. Plant the young plants at the same depth they were growing in the original container.

Thin seedlings started in individual containers as needed. If you planted several seeds in each small container remove all but the healthiest one. Prune the weaker seedlings to ground level, so the remaining seedling can develop into a strong transplant for the garden.

Continue to grow your plants in a sunny window or under artificial lights and water thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil slightly moist.

Soon it will be time to move your homegrown transplants into the garden.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips.

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Top 10 most often forgotten spring cleaning steps

SPR-Top-10-most-forgotten-spring-cleaning-steps

(BPT) – Spring is a great time to clear out the old, bring in the new and welcome a fresh start. From coast to coast, consumers are eager to usher in new home decor and air out spring attire; however, the areas of one’s home that are the hardest hit during the winter months – floors and carpets – are often overlooked.

If you’re thinking of skipping your carpet cleaning for a vacuum session, think again. According to the homecare experts at BISSELL, vacuums, even the best ones, simply can’t reach the deeply imbedded dirt within your carpet’s fibers. The carpet cleaning process is engineered to reach the dirt and allergens vacuums leave behind. Incidentally, although carpet cleaning does so much more than vacuuming, the actual process itself is about as easy as vacuuming.

“Deep cleaning is a must for washing the winter out during spring cleaning. After cleaning their carpets, people are often amazed by what they’ve pulled out of their carpets and how different their carpets look – it can be a very eye-opening, yet satisfying experience,” says Eric Hansen, chief chemist at BISSELL.

Get out the serious cleaning supplies, stretch your scrubbing muscles and tackle those hard-to-reach places you ignore most of the year so you can be the envy of all your houseguests. Be sure to review the top 10 spring cleaning steps that often fall to the wayside:

1. Safety first: Don’t forget to change batteries in all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; and inspect all light fixtures for damaged wires or faulty connections. Remove and wash light fixtures if necessary.

2. Wash the washing machine: Run an empty load, one cycle filled with 4 cups of bleach, the other with 4 cups of distilled white vinegar.

3. Dust refrigerator coils: Want to lower your energy bill and extend the life of your fridge? Always unplug your refrigerator before dusting the refrigerator’s coils.

4. Clean out your cabinets: Wipe down the inside and outside of medicine and linen cabinets. Throw away expired products, including medicine, makeup and hair products. Update your first aid kit.

5. Deep clean carpets and rugs: Vacuum, spot treat and deep clean your carpets and rugs. Liquid solutions such as the BISSELL Professional Deep Cleaning with Febreze Formula contains Scotchgard protection that can be used with any BISSELL deep cleaner. It works by placing a barrier on the surface of carpet fibers to not only deep clean and freshen, but also protect against future stains.

6. Sanitize children’s and pets’ toys: Toys can carry harmful bacteria on their surfaces. After cleaning toys with warm water and a mild detergent, sanitize plastic toys by soaking them in a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Donate or discard toys where needed.

7. Breathe easy: Clean your air vents and change your furnace filters if necessary.

8. Let in more light: Cleaning blinds can seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. Mix equal parts of warm water and distilled white vinegar in a bowl. Slip a sock on your hand and dip the sock into the water and vinegar mixture. Wipe down each individual slat and rinse sock after every few slats.

9. Dust from high to low: Dust the ceiling, corners of walls, ceiling fan and light fixtures. Use a lint roller to easily clean dust off your lampshade.

10. Wash your windows: After the direct sunlight has subsided, remove your window’s screens and dust with a soft-bristle brush. Spray on your favorite window cleaning solution and wipe down with a lint-free cloth.

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Call 811 before digging

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Installing a mailbox or fence, building a deck and landscaping are examples of digging projects that should only begin a few days after making a call to 811. Nearly half of American homeowners will not call 811 before digging, according to a recent national survey by Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the association dedicated to protecting underground utilities and the people who dig near them

Here’s how it works:

1. One free phone call to 811 makes it easy for your local one-call center to notify all appropriate utility companies of your intent to dig. Call a few days prior to digging to ensure enough time for the approximate location of utility lines to be marked with flags or paint.

2. When you call 811, a representative from your local one-call center will ask for the location and description of your digging project.

3. Your local one-call center will notify affected utility companies, which will then send professional locators to the proposed dig site to mark the approximate location of your lines.

4. Once all lines have been accurately marked, then roll up those sleeves and carefully dig around the marked areas.

For information about 811 or the one-call utility notification center in your area, visit www.call811.com.

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Spring cleanups start soon

 

By Judy Reed

As the weather warms up and residents begin to spring clean, some municipalities are offering drop off sites to help get rid of the clutter. Check out the list below to see when it’s offered in your area.

Algoma Township: Spring cleanup days are Wednesday, April 22, through Saturday, April 25. Dumpsters will be available at the township hall at 10531 Algoma Ave. Hours will be Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m to 3 p.m. No shovel offs or loose trash allowed. No liquids, no hazardous waste (no paint, oil, fuel, gasoline etc.) No brush or yard waste, no cement.

All tires must be cut in half, propane and fuel oil tanks must be cut in half. Fencing must be folded or rolled up. Barrels must have one end open or be full of holes. Will also collect E-Waste at the same location (cell phones, computers, TVs, stereos, speakers, etc.). Call the township for more info 866-1583. Or download their cleanup notice at http://www.algomatwp.org/CLEAN_UP_NOTICE_w_monitors.pdf.

City of Cedar Springs: The annual brush pickup will be Monday, April 27. Please have brush out by 6:00 a.m. and neatly stacked as close to the curb as possible. No brush larger than six inches, tree removals or stumps will be picked up. They will make one pass through town.

There is no longer a spring trash cleanup date. Check with your waste hauler for pickup.

Also note that the city will be flushing City hydrants on Friday, April 24. To avoid staining laundry, allow water to run until clear before washing white or light colored clothing.

Courtland Township: Spring cleanup dates are May 14, 15, from 10-6 both days and May 16, from 9-2 at The Courtland Twp. Hall, 7450 14-Mile Rd,  Rockford. Public must be able to unload; questionable large items are subject to rejection. Call the Township hall at 866-0622.

Nelson Township/Sand Lake: Spring cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, May 16, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 5th and Cherry Streets, near the water tower in Sand Lake. Identification required. Please present a tax bill or voter’s registration card and driver’s license. We accept appliances, sheet metal, auto parts and engines (liquid drained), aluminum and copper wire, fencing (flattened and folded), mattresses, furniture, carpeting, clothing, glass, etc. No garbage please. No hazardous or toxic waste. No yard clippings or brush. No shovel offs of shingles and drywall. For more information on what is permitted, contact the township at 636-5332 or check their winter/spring 2015  newsletter at www.nelsontownship.org.

One trailer/truck load per residence, no shovel-offs. Loose items must be boxed/bagged. Will also collect E-Waste at the same location. Please call the township for more info at 636-5332.

Sand Lake: See Nelson Township (above) for regular spring cleanup.

Solon Township: Spring cleanup dates have been set for two consecutive Saturdays, May 2 and May 9, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 15185 Algoma. One 5×8 trailer with 48-inch sides or one pickup box per household. All items should be boxed or bagged, 45 pounds maximum. Tires must be cut in four pieces, car or light truck only, limit four. Appliances such as washers, dryers, etc. will be accepted, but not appliances that used Freon  or other toxic chemicals. Call township for more info at 696-1718.

Spencer Township: Spring cleanup is Saturday, June 20, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dumpsters will be available at the township fire department, at the corner of Meddler and 18 Mile Road. Residents will be required to show proof residency. Tax bill, voter registration, or Spencer Township address on driver’s license. No shovel offs or loose trash accepted. Bag it, barrel it, or don’t bring it! All tires must be cut in half, propane and fuel oil tanks must be cut in half. Fencing must be folded or rolled up. Barrels must have one end open or be full of holes. Will accept freezers, air conditioners, washers dish washers, refrigerators, humidifiers, dryers, batteries at no charge. Mattresses and box springs accepted at $15 each.

No liquids, no hazardous waste (no paint, oil, fuel, gasoline etc.) No brush or yard waste, no cement, no shingles.

Recyclables must be taken to a recycle station at either Kent County Landfill on 10 Mile Rd, Rockford, or Pierson Landfill.

Call township for info at 984-0035.

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Pool Maintenance 101

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Simple tips to keep your pool clean

(Family Features) For many homeowners, there is nothing better than inviting friends over to cool off from the sun’s warm rays in the comfort of their own backyard pool.

But as every pool owner knows, keeping their pool clean and maintained for everyone to enjoy can take a bit of work. Here are some ways to keep your investment in its best shape all season long.

Keep up with shrubs

If your backyard pool sits near trees and bushes, be sure to keep them trimmed throughout the season. This will help avoid additional debris from flying into your pool, which can create extra cleaning work for you. If possible, consider replacing these plants with those that create less of a mess.

Clean the surface often

Get rid of unattractive stains at the waterline with a quality surface cleaner. For best results, use the cleaner with a pool brush and rub from the top of the waterline to a few inches below the mark.

Check levels regularly

Be sure to monitor your pool’s chlorine and pH levels at least twice a week. The best time to do this is in the evening and several hours after the last swimmer has left the pool. If a rain or wind storm has occurred, wait about eight hours before testing.

Reduce maintenance duties

Besides providing increased comfort to swimmers, more homeowners are choosing saltwater chlorinated pools for ease of use and reduced maintenance. If you’re looking to spend less time keeping your pool maintained, consider installing a saltwater chlorination system, which eliminates the need for buying, storing and handling chemical chlorine. Saltwater chlorinated pool owners also enjoy the benefits of less irritated skin and eyes, as well as a significant cost savings verses their chemical chlorine counterparts. To learn more about saltwater chlorinated pools, visit www.swimincomfort.com.

Run filtration system daily

Water in constant movement is less likely to collect debris, such as dust, body oils and bacteria. Be sure to run your filtration system as much as possible throughout the summer to keep water as clean and clear as possible.

Keep equipment tidy

Pool skimmers are used to pick up yard debris, insects and other undesirable items that can fall into the water. While skimming the pool is typically needed before every swim, you should also clean the skimmers on a weekly basis, or as needed.

A clean, maintained pool will help you get most from those carefree days of summer.

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Fresh Market: The Pumpkin—a Halloween tradition

HAL-FreshMarket-Pumpkin

By Vicky Babcock

Google “pumpkin” and you will find everything from riots in (Keene) New Hampshire to Ichabod Crane’s unfortunate encounter with the headless horseman, to pumpkin scones. We have pumpkin festivals, pumpkin carving contests, smashing pumpkins, pumpkin tossing, pumpkin baking and biggest pumpkin contests.

A true Native American, the pumpkin has been embraced by our cultures as both an important food source for people and livestock, and an excellent medium for carving. Something about these colorful canvasses really stirs the creative juices in artists of all ages! Throw in a candle and you have a lovely Jack-o-lantern. With its growing season complete from early to mid October, is it any wonder that this vibrantly colored fruit has become synonymous with Halloween? Yet pumpkins have a relatively short history with the holiday known as Halloween, which is believed to have evolved from the ancient festival of Samhain. It has its origins in European culture. Samhain was the Celtic harvest festival, a time to stock up supplies for the winter. The ancient Gaels believed the final day in October to be a time when the two worlds (the living and the dead) overlapped allowing the dead to return to Earth and cause havoc among the living. Offerings from the harvest were left outside their doors to appease the spirits in an effort to prevent them from bringing sickness and blight to the crops. Door to door begging, or “souling,” (a precursor to our modern day trick-or-treat) came much later and was associated with All Souls Day.

Our native pumpkin entered into the holiday when Irish immigrants brought the tradition of the Jack-o-lantern—originally a carved turnip or gourd—to the U.S. during the 1700s. Turnips had their drawbacks; they were relatively small and dense, with no pre-formed cavity in which to place a lit coal. With its broad base and large capacity, the pumpkin quickly became the preferred medium for the practice. Today, a large percentage of fresh bought pumpkins lends itself to this Halloween tradition, decorating our porches and giving young artists a chance to stretch their creative wings. Once used as a welcoming light for the spirits of our loved ones and to ward off any malevolent spirits, the Jack-o-Lantern has become a Halloween fantasy, a joyful pastime and a profitable market for farmers of the crop. Unfortunately, few of us these days consume pumpkin that does not come out of a can.

Unfortunate, because pumpkin, one of the winter squashes, is an excellent source of dietary nutrition. Pumpkins are rich in beta-carotene, an important antioxidant, which the body uses to convert to vitamin A. Foods rich in beta-carotene have been linked to lower risk of certain cancers and offer protection against heart disease as well as an aid in the degenerative aspects of aging. Pumpkin is high in potassium and dietary fiber as well, necessary nutrients for the heart and digestive tract respectively. A cup of cooked pumpkin contains about 49 calories, a dieter’s dream!

So, as you carve your pumpkins this year, consider using the cut outs (minus the rind) in soups, stews or rice dishes. Or try some pumpkin chili. Any way you slice it, it comes out deliciously nutritious.

Like pumpkins—and despite its ancestry—Halloween is a true American treat. With the mix of cultures that make up today’s Halloween, what greater place to celebrate than the Great Melting Pot of the world? Have a safe and happy Halloween. And happy “souling.”

 

Pumpkin Chili

1 ½ pounds lean ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, diced

2 large carrots, washed and diced (ends removed)

2 cups fresh pumpkin, peeled and diced

1 jar salsa—medium heat

1 15-oz can diced tomatoes

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

Chili powder (to taste)

In a large skillet, brown beef. Drain most of the oils and remove beef to a Dutch oven. In saucepan in remaining oil, cook and stir onion, garlic, carrots and pumpkin for about two minutes, until onion is tender. Drain the rest of the oil and add to the beef. Add remaining ingredients except for the chili powder. Cook and stir until boiling. Reduce heat and add chili powder to taste. This will gain some heat as it cooks, so start lightly. Cook over med to low heat about 30 minutes or until pumpkin is tender and flavors have mixed. Add additional chili powder about 15 minutes into the cooking process if you wish.

Serve with grated cheese, crushed corn chips (I like Frito’s™ Chili Cheese) and sour cream if desired. Other additions include chopped fresh onions or chopped bell peppers. This is even better the next day.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

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Fall clean-up tips for your lawn and garden tools

AWE-Lawn-care-tools

(BPT) – As the temperature drops, your lawn and garden will start settling into a dormant state. As you prep your landscaping and garden for a winter’s slumber, it’s a good idea to review the tools you used all summer. Taking care of this task now will ensure they’re in good shape come spring when it’s time to use them again. From sharpening edges of blades to making certain the tool is still doing the job it was designed to do, put all your lawn and garden tools through a thorough fall cleaning. Here are some tips:

* Lawn mowers – Check your owner’s manual for information about sharpening the mower deck blades and what to do with any unused gasoline before putting the mower into storage. It’s a good idea to keep the mower in a dry location where moisture won’t collect and potentially rust the blades.

* Hand trimmers – Hand clippers, tree trimmers and saws all take a beating during the summer. Check these tools to make certain the handles are still secure, the cutting blades are sharp and the locking mechanisms all work. If anything isn’t up to par, replace the tool so you have it ready for the first sign of spring.

* Chainsaws – These heavy machines get put through their paces, and they can be taxing on people, too, after extended use. If you’re ready to upgrade your chainsaw, the Husqvarna low-weight 436Li is quiet, easy to operate and has the same power as gas machines. The 536LiXP and the T536LiXP models are also available, and they come with low maintenance and high-performance delivery. All battery-operated chainsaws come with two rechargeable batteries that can be interchanged with any Husqvarna hand tools you might already have in your collection. The batteries have a 40-minute charge time, helping to keep the tools lightweight and quiet.

* Weed trimmers – These tools are invaluable for keeping the grasses and weeds trimmed around trees and garden edging. In the fall, be sure to replace the string so you’ll have a fresh spool come spring. Also check the air filter on the tool. If it is dirty, replace the filter to allow your machine to perform at its best.

* Hoses – When it’s time to store your hoses for the winter, check all the connections to make certain nothing leaks; replace the connectors if you notice water spraying or dribbling from a connection. And if the hose itself is leaking, put it on your list to be replaced. Make certain you’ve drained all the water out before putting the hoses away for winter. If you have a hose cart, roll up the hose neatly without any kinks. Otherwise, you can just roll the hose into a neat pile of loops for storage in a dry place.

With all of your lawn and garden tools safely stored for the winter months, you’ll know they’ll be ready the minute you need them in the spring.

 

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