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Your Guide To Summer Lawn Care

summer lawn care

By Katie Kuchta

There are certain things to do in the late spring that will help lawns look their best throughout the summertime. This peak growing season is a key time to stay on top of lawns as they can quickly get out of hand. Here are things to do this time of year that will help keep your lawn in top condition.

Control Weeds Early

By this time you may have noticed that your lawn tends to have certain seasons for weeds. Dandelions usually appear first with hardier weeds showing up later on in the summer. Use an herbicide in late spring to help control the weeds in your lawn and get ahead of the never ending battle with weed control. Be sure to tackle weeds when they first appear as they will be easier to pull before they are fully matured. Consider putting on a light application at first with a second application if weeds persist.

Don’t Cut Too Much

A good rule of thumb for mowing the lawn is to only take off 1/3 of the current grass height. Mowing too much in the spring can cause the soil to dry out as there isn’t enough grass to shade it and keep it damp. Grass will have a hard time growing in well if cut too short as it will develop deeper roots to get to the hydrated soil. Check your lawn grass type to know exactly how high to mow the grass depending on each varieties recommendations.

Water in the Early Summer Morning

Lawns have a hard time keeping up with the summer heat depending on your location. Make sure to water your lawn on a regular basis and check the soil often to see if more watering is needed. A longer soak that is done less often is actually better for the grass rather than short spurts of daily watering. Check with your local water authority during the summer to make sure that you are conserving water when needed. Water is most effective when done in the early morning before 10am. This will allow the water to have enough time to penetrate the soil before the heat has a chance to evaporate it. Avoid watering in the afternoon or night as it could be less effective and cause fungi to grow.

Forget the Bag

You may have noticed neighbors who mow their lawn without bagging the clippings and it is actually a great idea. Not only does it save time and money to dispose the clippings, but it also helps fertilize the soil and encourage better lawn growth. Make sure to cut the grass at the right height for your grass type and let those clippings fall where they may to strengthen your lawn.

Beat Beetles

Many beetles like to lay eggs in grass during the early to midsummer months. Make sure to fight such beetles like June Bugs and Japanese Beetles by mid to late summer when the eggs hatch. Treat your lawn with grub control and consider checking with your local agricultural extension office for the best time to put down grub control in order to catch the eggs before they hatch.

A beautiful lawn is a great way to extend your patio season to your outdoor areas. Depending on the season, lawns can need a lot of attention and care to keep them in top condition. Be sure to control weeds and resist the urge to cut too much in the spring. Once summer arrives, water your lawn in the early morning, don’t bag the clippings, and treat for grubs in order to keep a lush lawn throughout the entire season.

summer lawn care

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Which Direction Should You Run Your Wood Flooring?

By Rebecca Bradshaw

Gleaming wood floors in rich, natural tones enhance the beauty of any home. Choosing just the right hardwoods or laminated wood flooring to bring out the best in a room can be an art, as is the proper installation of the material. One of the most frequently asked questions from homeowners about installation is which direction should wood flooring run?  Should it be laid across the width of a room, or flow lengthwise from an entryway? What about transitioning flooring from room to room? Here are a few guidelines on how to choose the best direction to run your wood flooring.

Visual Impact:

Choosing which direction to run wood flooring can be a matter of personal taste. However, to get the most pleasing or dramatic visual impact, planking should be laid to lead the eye towards a room’s focal point, such as a fireplace or other architectural details. Light sources should also be considered; how light falls between the boards can either lengthen or shorten the perceived size of a room. Boards that run from the entrance outwards can make a space appear longer or larger, while flooring laid from side wall to side wall will shorten visual impact, but can make a room feel cozier. Flooring in long narrow rooms or hallways should run outward from the doorway so as not to create a choppy appearance.

Structural Considerations:

Experts agree that wood floors should be laid perpendicular to floor joists—across, rather than in between the joists. Perpendicular installation will make floors structurally sound and prevent boards from separating, buckling, or sagging. The type of flooring material used is also a factor when it comes to installation; engineered wood flooring and natural hardwoods should be mounted above a subfloor, while laminates are installed using the floating method—planks are glued or snapped together rather than being nailed to a subfloor. A professional installer can lay any of these materials in the direction that works best for a space.

Transitioning from Room to Room:

Laying wood flooring in multiple rooms takes some pre-planning and should be carefully thought out before installation begins. Open concept rooms can appear to flow smoothly into one large area if wood flooring is installed from the long end of the space to the other. Oddly shaped rooms or those that open off narrow hallways may not lend themselves to flooring laid along one continuous line of sight; a thin wood strip can be installed to define the threshold where flooring changes direction. To avoid transitions or to create an impactful visual statement, consider having wood floors laid in a diagonal or herringbone pattern throughout your house.

Overall, which direction to run your wood flooring is up to your personal preference and design aesthetic. In either case, natural hardwoods, engineered wood, and laminates are available in several high-quality options and in a wide range of colors and grains that are sure to enhance any home!

Sources: SF Gates Homeguides, My-Floor.com, Houzz, Joe Knows

 

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10 Ways to Be More Energy Efficient at Home

We all want to save money while helping the environment, and one simple way to do that is to scrutinize your energy usage at home. Here are 10 easy, low-cost tips for making your house operate more efficiently.

1. Insulate the water heater.

Older natural gas storage water heaters can lose a lot of heat through their walls. Wrapping a heater in an insulating jacket can prevent excess heat loss and energy waste, but should be left to a professional installer so as not to accidentally cover the top, bottom, thermostat or burner compartment.

2. Seal leaks with weatherstripping.

Air sealing, specifically weatherstripping, eliminates drafts to save energy while improving air quality and comfort. Weatherstripping reduces air leakage by creating a tight seal between movable components such as doors and windows. Before application, detect air leaks and assess the ventilation. Find air leaks through a blower door test from a qualified technician, or by inspecting inside and outside the home.

3. Insulate water pipes. 

Insulate hot water pipes to reduce heat loss and keep the water from cooling off before it reaches the tap. Adding insulation also will prevent cold water pipes from freezing.

4. Replace or clean the furnace filter. 

Change the heating system’s furnace air filter on a regular basis to keep air flowing without overworking equipment. This also keeps out dust and dirt that can lead to expensive repairs or early system failure. A clean furnace filter can lower natural gas consumption by up to 2 percent.

5. Use less hot water.

Reducing hot water use is an easy, affordable way to see significant savings on energy and water bills. Run the automatic dishwasher only when full, and wash and rinse full loads of laundry in cold water. Install low-flow showerheads, and don’t forget to check for and repair plumbing leaks.

6. Use ceiling fans. 

Save on heating costs by using an ENERGY STAR® certified ceiling fan, which helps warm air circulate better and allows for setting the furnace temperature lower.

7. Install a programmable or smart thermostat. 

Programmable and smart thermostats can lower heating expenses and fit any lifestyle. Set the thermostat at 68 F, and then program it to decrease the temperature 8 degrees when no one is home and overnight. Smart thermostats are similar to programmable thermostats, but they also perform more advanced functions. A smart thermostat allows you to monitor and control the temperature in your home remotely from your smartphone or other web-enabled device.

8. Look for ENERGY STAR. 

If purchasing a new appliance, make it an ENERGY STAR rated appliance. For instance, an ENERGY STAR certified refrigerator uses less energy than a regular 75-watt light bulb.

9. Lower the water heater thermostat. 

Set your water heater thermostat to 120 F to save energy and money. For most homeowners, storage water heaters set above 120 F are simply using more energy without providing any additional benefits. One set to even 140 F can waste $36 to $61 annually in standby heat loss, and more than $400 in demand loss. Be sure to turn down the water heater when going on vacation to avoid energy waste.

10. Be smart with the fireplace.

Open-hearth fireplaces draw heated air from inside the home, sending it up the chimney. When using the fireplace, install a snug-fitting set of glass doors and crack open a nearby window. Doing so reduces the amount of heated interior air drawn into the fireplace and improves efficiency by up to 20 percent.

 

Source: Peoples Gas

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

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