Tag Archives: Home Care

Dodge Winter Lawn Damage

Dodge Winter Lawn Damage
Winter conditions can present a wide range of challenges to your lawn and landscape, but there are precautions you can take to protect your lawn, as well as your trees and shrubs, from seasonal harm.

Preventive steps from the lawncare experts at TruGreen can help your lawn survive the winter season’s harsh elements.

Snow Plow Damage

Install brightly-colored boundary markers along the edges of paved areas to help protect lawn and shrubs from snow plow and snow thrower blades. Lightweight wooden stakes, at least four feet tall with bright reflective tape and brightly covered fiberglass rods, serve as good markers. Avoid heavy metal, fence posts and other large objects, as they can pose a hazard to snow plow operators.

Cold Temperature Stress

More so than any other season, trees and shrubs are vulnerable to changing weather conditions during the winter. Wide temperature fluctuation and extremely low temperatures are the biggest factors of tree stress, meaning your trees are more susceptible to things like frost cracks, sunscald and winter burn.

Keep twigs and limbs from breaking under the weight of ice by carefully brushing away, whenever possible, any snow load from plants, which will reduce the weight on the limbs and decrease the damage. Placing a burlap cover around shrubs such as boxwood and yews will help reduce winter desiccation.

Proper fertilization can help keep your trees and shrubs healthy well into spring, and allow them to better tolerate winter. A service can help with tree and shrub services customized to meet your landscape’s every need, including applications to control overwintering insects, pests and mites.

Freezing Temperatures

Damage to plants, shrubs and trees as a result of sustained low temperatures can typically go undetected until spring or early summer, when plants fail to produce new growth. To help prevent damage, maintain a two- to three-inch layer of mulch to help protect the crown and roots from weather extremes.

Winter Dehydration

During the colder months of winter, plants cannot replace moisture lost from leaves and needles. This leads to “dehydration” – technically known as desiccation. To help avoid this problem, maintain proper watering late into the fall, or water during periods of winter thaw.

Ice Melt

Ice-melting agents, such as rock salt and products containing calcium and magnesium chloride, may accumulate in the soil and cause damage to plants. Use extreme care when applying ice-melting agents to prevent damage to your plants or concrete surfaces.

Source: TruGreen.com.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2017. All rights reserved.

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Home Maintenance Tips for Fall

Preparing Your Home for Autumn: Maintenance Tips for the End of Summer

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It’s almost time. Sigh. Summer is drawing to a close, like it or not.

Before the leaves fall and the wind turns chilly, it’s a good idea to do some seasonal maintenance on your home. Here are some things to add to your fall “honey-do” list.

Have your furnace inspected. It’s smart to have your heating system serviced before you actually need to use it. Experts say that as much as 75 percent of the calls they receive about homeowners without heat download-1are a result of not having the furnace serviced and cleaned. It will also keep your heating costs down and help keep the air in your home healthy.

Apply a fresh coat of paint.
Interior painting requires good ventilation, so the best time to tackle a paint spruce-up is the time of year when you can open up your windows.

Inspect your roof. You’ll want to check for shingles that are cracked, buckling, or missing. Check for caulking that needs to be replaced, or moss or lichen, which could indicate deterioration underneath. If you don’t trust your own assessment, work with a certified inspector.

Check for mold. The humidity of summer can cause mold to flourish. Check locations such as around leaky pipes, basements, or areas that don’t get good ventilation. You will want to remove the mold as soon as possible. It’s wise to have this done by a professional.

Replace weatherstripping on doors. There could be gaps that you can’t see and that can jack up your energy costs. It’s a simple fix that can be done with items found at your local hardware store.

Check the airflow. Focus on areas like vents, the hood over your stove, dryer vents, baseboard heaters and room fans. Not only is a buildup of dust a fire hazard, but you also want to keep the air flowing and the allergens at bay.

Get control of gutters and downspouts. Clogs in gutters and downspouts can cause the roof to leak, which can lead to a host of other problems. It’s downloada slippery slope from clogged gutters to water damage in your home!

Look over your siding. You’ll want to look for any areas on vinyl siding that are buckled or warped. If you have wood siding, look for curling, splitting or cracking. Should you find an issue, you’ll definitely want it taken care of before the weather gets cold!

Inspect your insulation.
The most important area to check is your attic. You should have the highest concentration of insulation here. See if there are any gaps that need to be filled. You don’t need to check the insulation in your walls unless you notice heating issues.

Make sure your detectors are working.
Ensure both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries. It’s smart to test them, also. Both are especially important once your furnace is in use.

Each season brings its own challenges and wear-and-tear on your home. With summer ending and autumn on the way, you can go into the new season secure that your home is in tip-top shape!

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

Tree Evaluation Part 2

Is It Time to Evaluate Your Trees? Pt. 2

By John Voket

In our last segment (Is It Time to Evaluate Your Trees? Pt.1), we introduced risk assessment measures homeowners might consider taking for the trees on their property. In this segment, we’ll dig into the methods and qualifications needed to carry out an assessment.

An arborist certified by the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) (TreeCareTips.org) can be beneficial when determining the safety of the trees on your property. The arborist, guided by ANSI A300 standards, will systematically evaluate your trees for risk in three levels.

Level 1: The arborist will view the tree(s) in question, whether in person or through photographs.

Level 2: The arborist will complete a 360-degree, ground-level observation of the tree or trees in question, examining the roots, trunk and crown for structural defects.

Level 3: The arborist will perform advanced diagnostic procedures, which may include extracting samples for lab analysis.

The arborist’s risk assessment method may vary between the following:

1. International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Tree Hazard Evaluation Method
2. ISA Tree Risk Assessment Best Management Practice (BMP) Method
3. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service Community Tree Risk Evaluation Method

The first method is impractical when assessing one or a few trees on a residential property—in a recent study, it was determined the method “runs the risk of being misused by commercial or consulting arborists who inspect individual trees in a residential setting.”

The same study revealed the third method, though adequate, may sacrifice detail, especially with regard to the tree’s condition and site history.

The second method, according to the study, is most appropriate for residential properties. It develops a list of multiple targets for a single tree, generating a “flexible, yet standardized means of coping with multifaceted assessment scenarios.” The disadvantage to this method, however, is the time needed to complete the assessment, the study found.

Consult with your arborist to determine which method will be suitable to assess the trees on your property. He or she may combine facets of two or three to carry out a comprehensive evaluation.

June to Become First-Ever National Healthy Homes Month

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Most Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors, exposing them to home health and safety hazards ranging from asthma triggers to potentially deadly pollutants like asbestos and lead-based paint. To reinforce the connection between a family’s health and their homes, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is declaring this June as the first-ever National Healthy Homes Month. Launched by HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH), this month is designed to educate families of potential health hazards in a home, and empower them to create the healthiest home possible for their family.

This year’s theme is “Everyone Deserves a Safe and Healthy Home,” recognizing that people spend most of their time inside, and introduces them to healthy homes concepts while providing tips for keeping homes healthy and safe.

“National Healthy Homes Month calls attention to the fact that health and home safety are attainable for all,” says Michelle Miller, Acting Director of HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes. “We are working closely with our federal partners, and many other organizations, to highlight the dangers of residential hazards to everyone, but especially children and other vulnerable populations in low income households.”

To help celebrate the month and to address today’s pressing home health issues, HUD and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) are co-hosting an annual National Healthy Homes Educational Conference from June 13-16, 2016 in San Antonio. The State of Big Ideas: Moving Environmental Health Outside the Box conference will gather 1,200 environmental health and healthy housing professionals for an in-depth look at some of the most important issues facing the nation such as water quality, healthy housing and communities, asthma, emergency preparedness and more.

Currently, millions of American homes have moderate-to-severe physical housing problems, including lead-based paint hazards, dilapidated structure; roofing problems; heating, plumbing, and electrical deficiencies; water leaks and intrusion; pests; damaged paint; and high radon gas levels.  These conditions are associated with a wide range of health issues, including unintentional injuries, respiratory illnesses like asthma and radon-induced lung cancer.

National Healthy Homes Month 2016 will focus national attention on ways to keep people of all ages safe and healthy in their homes.  To mark this month-long campaign, HUD Secretary Julián Castro, produced a video highlighting the direct link between a household’s health and the conditions within their homes.

Recently, HUD unveiled the Healthy Homes App, designed to raise awareness about potentially serious health and safety problems in the home and the steps consumers can take to protect themselves.

For more information on National Healthy Homes Month 2016, visit HUD’s website.  

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.