Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Ever have chores that you keep pushing off because you think there has to be a better time to do it? We all have things we need to do that we keep pushing off. Here are the best and worst times to do all kinds of things around your home.
...Clean your gutters.
Best: Early spring and late fall after all the leaves have fallen. Cleaning out your gutters twice a year prevents build-up of debris which weighs down your gutters.
Worst: Early fall before the leave are done falling. It'll undo everything you just accomplished! Also avoid this chore when the ground is wet and slick. That makes it very dangerous to be on a ladder!
...Get your chimney inspected.
Best: Spring when the chimney business is slow. Since the companies are so slow during this time, they might offer some discounts. This timing will also allow you plenty of time to make any repairs before the cold returns.
Worst: Don't do this during the fall!
...Paint your house's exterior.
Best: On a dry day when the temperatures should be between 50 and 95 degrees and shouldn't drop down below freezing at night. Early summer is usually the best.
Worst: When it's about to rain, humid, or chilly. Avoid super windy days too. It makes being on a ladder a little scary!
...Buy a major appliance.
Best: September and October. These months are just before the new model releases, and the stores get eager to make room in their inventory meaning discounts for you. Also look for sales during the weekends before or after holidays.
Worst: November, December, and January. These months are right when all the new models come out, and you'll be paying full price.
Best: For the biggest savings, hit the store the same day the ad comes out. To avoid crowds, shop Monday or Tuesday between 10am and 3 pm if you can.
Worst: Weekends are going to draw the most people and have the biggest crowds. After 6 on weeknights will be busy too when everyone's trying to rush in after work.
...Clean your oven.
Best: When you don't need to be in your kitchen for a while. The oven's self-clean cycle can take three or more hours. Make sure to do it on a day when you can have your windows open, so you can air out those funky fumes.
Worst: Before bed or when you're not home. Oven grime could get smoky or even catch on fire.
...Plant a tree.
Best: Once the ground has thawed in the spring and before your tree has sprouted all its leaves. Or early fall.
Worst: Midsummer is the worst time to plant a tree. The heat and process of transplanting can stress the tree causing it to have less energy to settle its roots into its new home.
...Reseed your lawn.
Best: Fall if you live in a cool climate and spring or summer if you live somewhere warm. Grasses grown in cooler climates need cool soil and adequate rainfall to establish their roots. In warmer areas, grasses prefer temperatures in the 70s or higher to get started.
Worst: Midsummer for cool climates because heat poses a challenge for these grasses to grow. For warmer climates, the worst time to plant is in the early fall because the grass won't have enough time to establish roots before the temperatures drop.
Best: Six weeks before your area's first frost date for spring-blooming plants. For summer bloomers, plant them late in spring when the chance for frost is over.
Worst: Early in the spring when cold, wet soil can cause bulbs to rot.
Let's all get started on these chores and knock out that "honey-do" list!
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Summer is in full swing! We've had some pretty toasty days in our area over the past few weeks and as the dog days of summer approach, it's only going to get hotter and humid. As the temperatures rise, so does the need to keep your lawn well watered. But, instead of just sticking a sprinkler in the middle of your yard and hoping for the best, here's some tips on the right way to water your lawn.
1. Water Your Grass Only When It Needs It
If you don't water your lawn correctly, you could run the risk of under or overwatering your lawn, which could contribute to the development of fungus and disease. Some types of grass require more water than others, and environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and wind can dramatically affect how frequently you need to water your lawn. Fortunately, the most accurate way to determine whether your lawn needs water is also the easiest: just look at the grass:
·When grass needs water, it will begin to take on a blue-gray tint, and the older leaf blades on the plant will begin to curl up or wilt. When 30 to 50% of your lawn shows these symptoms, it's time to water.
·Footprints will remain on the grass for longer than usual, as the grass won't "bounce back."
2. Know When To Water
The time of day that you water is just as important as how much you water. Early in the morning is the ideal time to water for most lawns. There's less wind, less hot sun, and your lawn has a full day to dry. Watering at night invites mildew and fungus. In the hot afternoon, much of your water can be lost to wind and evaporation.
3. Water Evenly
Sprinklers are finicky. They don't always put water down equally. To make sure water is going where it's supposed to, place a few empty soup cans around your lawn, and run your sprinkler for about 20 minutes. If water collects evenly in the cans, you know your sprinkler is doing its job.
4. How Long Is Long Enough?
Your lawn needs about 1-2 inches of water per week. Each time you water, you should aim for the water to absorb about 6 inches into the dirt to make sure that the roots of the grass are well hydrated. How long that will take depends on the slope of your yard, weather conditions, and various other factors. The best way to tell is to water your lawn for about 20-30 minutes. After that time, turn off the water and stick an 8-inch screwdriver into the ground. If it goes in easily, you're done. If not, you need to water some more.
5. Know When to Stop Watering
You can water carefully and properly, but if the water isn't absorbed, your efforts are wasted. Watch out for water running off the grass and into your driveway or street. If that happens, turn off the sprinklers and let your lawn absorb the water for about 20-30 minutes before turning back on again. And this goes without saying, but aim your sprinklers to water just the lawn. That's the part that needs the moisture—not the sidewalk or street! Slight adjustments to your sprinklers can save a lot of water. Ideally, you shouldn't water your sidewalk, patio, street, or driveway at all.