Month: May 2022

Pine Straw Landscaping Ideas

Large pine trees shed some needles a year — enough to cover the forest floor using a heavy layer. In some areas, the needles are accumulated, cleaned and baled to bundles of pine straw. On a little farm, nearly all of the operation is finished by hand using a pitchfork. Bigger operations use a tractor to produce the bales. Pine straw used in the landscape creates several advantages, including being a commodity of a renewable resource.

Mulching

Pine straw offers clean, attractive mulch for flower beds, vegetable gardens and other areas of the landscape. The straw modulates the soil temperatures by keeping the soil cool during the summer and warm during the winter. In addition, it enhances the texture of the soil by loosening heavy dirt. This variety of mulch slowly breaks down, adding nutrients to the soil. Pine straw inhibits the growth of invasive weeds when spread in a layer 3 inches thick.

Decoration

Pine straw adds attractiveness to the lawn with its intriguing, long-lasting color and texture. Spread out the straw to the drip line of trees to make a no-mow zone which makes the trees stick out. Line walkways and other non-paved regions of travel to provide the landscape a woodland park look. Placing the pine straw in the line of traveling stops the visitor by kicking up mud in the landscape.

Vegetable Gardening

Pine straw functions as a weed deterrent from the vegetable garden. Apply it to the soil in a 4- to 6-inch layer. Spread it down the aisles between the rows, keeping the straw 1 to 2 inches away from the plant’s most important stem. This kind of mulch stops grass invasions to the garden. To produce a specified border around the vegetable garden, expand the pine straw 12 inches from the outer edge of the lawn.

Erosion Control

Pine straw supplies a unique advantage to your sloped area in the landscape. The needles interlock with one another to make a mat that does not wash away as wood or bark chips do. The capability to preserve moisture in the soil helps hold the soil in place during rainstorms. The needles are heavy enough that they do not ignore even if dry, so they stay put to anchor the dirt under them.

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How to Prepare a Butterfly Garden

Throwing a few blossoms in the ground which are known to attract butterflies won’t likely produce the butterfly garden you’re hoping for. Purposeful preparation that includes plant and site selection is imperative to create a habitat which satisfies all of a butterfly’s requirement. These needs include food for your hungry caterpillar and butterfly, as well as a peaceful, warm area for the butterfly to catch some rays. With proper preparation, the labor and love you give your garden will end up being a butterfly haven, sure to be the highlight of your landscape.

Pick an area for your own butterfly garden which gets at least six hours daily of direct sunlight exposure and is protected from wind.

Work with the soil 8 to 12 inches deep with a tiller or spade and add 3 to 4 inches of organic matter like compost or leaf mold.

Design a layout that comprises landscape rocks for sunbathing on chillier days, like a straightforward sunny path through the butterfly garden. Place one or two shallow containers to gather rain and water out of irrigation for the butterflies to drink.

Select plants that provide nectar for the butterflies and food for the caterpillars. Plant flowers that bloom during different times of the year and plants of differing heights, increase habits and colors.

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The way to Prune a Tomato Vine

While tomatoes may sprawl inside cages, you are going to get stronger plants and bigger fruit once you prune the plants to guide their growth. Learning some tomato plant terminology before you go out to the garden helps you prune properly and prune just the plants that benefit from the attention. Indeterminate tomatoes, for instance, are those that grow all season with no predetermined height — some reaching over 10 feet tall — while determinate plants generally stop growing at 3 to 4 feet. On the plant itself, it helps to know that the leaf axil is the joint between the leaf and principal stem, and a sucker is actually the shoot that forms there.

Pinch off suckers from ground level to the second set of suckers below the initial truss of flowers or developing fruit on indeterminate and determinate tomato plants. Pinch small ones between your index finger and thumb or snap off bigger ones early in the day once the plant is filled with moisture. Suckers develop fruit and flowers, but those in the bottom are too shaded to produce high-quality fruit and lead to a plant with crowded growth that’s more vulnerable to disease from poor air flow and also from moisture splashing on leaves close to the ground when you water the plants.

Tie indeterminate vines into your trellis or stake with brief lengths of twine as they grow, allowing up to 3 principal stalks to develop from the last one or two suckers prior to the first set of flowers. Train these suckers into additional main stems, tying them up to separate bets as they grow.

Inspect the plant on a weekly basis from the base of the vine up, cut-off suckers from all the main stems to avoid more stems from developing. The more stems a plant has, the more of its own energy and also the sugar that the plant produces goes to foliage production, rather than fruit production.

Pinch off the growing tip of each main stem once the vine reaches the surface of the stake or in late summer to stop additional fruit from creating that won’t have time to reach maturity.

Analyze both determinate and indeterminate plants as they grow for signs of disease and pest infestation. Leaves influenced by fungal disease display black or dark brown circular spots and yellowing. Leaves and comes with sticky honeydew residue that turns to soft black sooty mould, yellowing and twisted leaves and stunted stems are infested with aphids. People with signs of honeydew and leaves that appear dried and yellow or silver in patches are infested with whiteflies.

Eliminate all infested or diseased foliage and stems on either type of plant with hand pruners. Sterilize pruning tools between plants with full-strength household antiseptic cleaner to prevent spreading disease or infestation from plant to plant.

Clear all pruned and fallen leaf from across the plants to avoid the spread of disease and eliminate a location where insects may overwinter to infest next year’s plants.

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The way to Troubleshoot a Touch Lamp

A touch lamp operates apparently by magic; simply touch any piece of steel on the lamp, and the lamp comes on. It turns any incandescent light bulb into a multi purpose wax by regulating the amount of power supplied to the bulb. With each touch, the brightness of this light bulb increases until the final touch turns the lamp off. When touching the metal no more functions on the lamp, troubleshoot a few of the problems that might get the touch lamp to neglect.

Inspect your signature lamp’s lamp cord for damage. Your pets may have chewed through the cord, or other cord damage could have occurred which could cause the lamp to fail. You’ll need to replace the cord if it’s damaged.

Unplug the touch lamp from the outlet. Plug another lamp or a radio into the outlet to guarantee the socket forces another appliance. In case the new lamp or appliance fails to function, the socket might have failed or the circuit breaker tripped.

Plug the touch lamp into a working outlet. If the lamp fails to light, then unplug the lamp and get rid of the light bulb.

Check the wax to get a damaged filament. If the light bulb filament is broken, replace the light bulb. Use an ultraviolet light bulb to check the lamp’s operation after plugging it back in. A compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) or LED (light-emitting diode) wax only functions in touch lights if it’s tagged as dimmable.

Unplug the touch lamp and get rid of the light bulb if it still does not work. Look within the socket for a small brass tab. Use your fingers, needle-nose a tiny flat-head screwdriver to lift the tab marginally. Whether this tab doesn’t come in contact with the bottom of the light bulb, the lamp will not work. Replace a light bulb, plug the touch lamp into the outlet and assess its function. If the lamp fails to come on, then you’ll need to check the socket wiring.

Remove the light bulb and unplug the lamp. Unscrew the finial and lift the lamp shade off the canopy.

Find the metal heels in the bottom of the harp on each side of the socket. Slide the sleeves up the harp as you squeeze the sides of the harp together. This discharges the harp from the harp saddle under the socket.

Catch the outside sleeve on the socket with your hand. Pull the sleeve from the socket base. You might need to wiggle the sleeve as you pull, so that it discharges from the foundation.

Check the lamp wires to guarantee they connect to the two terminal screws on the socket. Loosen the terminal wires, wrap the lamp wires around the terminals and tighten the screws if the wires were loose or disconnected.

Reassemble the signature lamp and put in the lighting bulb. Plug the lamp into a socket and check its operation.

Replace the touch controller within the lamp base if the touch lamp still fails to light. Unplug the lamp and remove the bottom from the lamp base to expose the touch controller. Wrap a little bit of red electrical tape around the lamp wire connected to the touch control’s red or gray wire. Wrap a small piece of black electrical tape around the lamp’s wire connected to the dark touch controller wire.

Eliminate the three wire straps holding the lamp wires along with the wires from the touch controller. The extra wire connector connects the white touch controller wire to the two impartial lamp wires.

Unscrew the locknut holding the yellowish touch controller wire to the threaded nipple within the lamp base. Dispose of the original touch controller.

Connect the yellow wire from the new touch controller to the nipple. Use the locknut you eliminated previously to secure it to the lamp.

Reconnect the two neutral lamp wires to the brand new the touch controller white wire using the wire connector you eliminated from the original neutral wires. Use one of the original wire connectors to connect the black touch controller wire to the lamp wire wrapped in black electric tape. Use the remaining wire connector to connect the red or gray touch control wire to the lamp wire wrapped in red electrical tape.

Replace the lamp base. Plug the touch lamp into an outlet. Check the lamp’s operation. The new control must permit the touch lamp to function properly.

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The way to Adjust a Dethatcher

Dethatching your lawn can help the grass grow fuller and greener. Thatch is a layer of decomposing grass clippings, stems and roots that covers the soil of your lawn. After the thatch layer becomes too thick, it retains the grass from getting the proper sunlight or nourishment it requires. Dethatching power rakes, either electrical or gas, make the job simpler. They generally have different height amounts to grab just the right quantity of thatch from the lawn. You must adjust the height before you begin.

Place the power rake dethatcher on a flat, solid surface, like a driveway or sidewalk.

Kneel down and look at the tine position. Ideally, the tines must be just above the floor or barely brushing it once on the driveway or sidewalk.

Adjust the height of the tines, moving the adjustment knob or lever a small amount every time as you observe the height of your tines under the machine. Each machine has another way to adjust the tine height. Some possess a lever or knob on top of the machine with several height options, but others have knobs on the wheels that increase or lower the bottom of the machine. Some have adjustable plates; with them, use a screwdriver to loosen the screws holding the tine plates in place on each side of the machine, then move the plates up or down slightly. Tighten the screws once the tines are barely above the ground.

Turn or crank the device and push it in a straight line across your lawn. Turn off the machine. Rake the line with a flexible garden rake to remove the thatch you loosened and be certain that the machine is eliminating the correct quantity of thatch. Turn it off or unplug it and move it back to your sidewalk or driveway to readjust the height if needed. Move the tines up slightly if it removed too much thatch or cut into the grass, or move down them slightly if the tines did not stretch enough thatch.

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Alternatives to Pavers

Pavers aren’t your only option for creating trails in your garden or elsewhere. You can use other materials to make paths and walkways. Some alternatives to pavers have advantages, like being made from recycled materials or providing better drainage than pavers. By investigating options to pavers, you can expand your landscaping options.

Gravel

Gravel allows better drainage than solid paving stones, and it is one of the cheapest paver options. If you would like to maintain the gravel from changing when you walk it, opt for unsorted, sharp-edged gravel that’s tagged “1/4-inch minus.” Pieces of that gravel type fit snugly together. Edging installed as well as a gravel path keeps the gravel set, and tamping the finished path produces a walkway more secure than it’d be not tamped.

Poured Concrete

Poured concrete provides a constant pathway, but it can be tricky to remove if you change your mind about using concrete. You can stamp and/or color concrete to allow it to resemble flagstone. Utilizing certain sorts of pavers, however, may be less costly than using poured concrete.

Mosaic

Your footpaths may be works of art that utilize a recycled material like broken shingles or old bits of pavers. Placing those pieces to wet concrete to create a mosaic design may add beauty to your walkway and seating area. Mosaics may be labor-intensive to install, however they accent particular areas of a garden or lawn. Get the most out of a mosaic pattern with it in a place where people already can look downward, like a seating area or near the start or end of a pathway.

Earth

The easiest way to create a path is to wear down the website, which leads to a circular route. This kind of bare-earth walkway occurs naturally along a route that receives a great deal of traffic. Tamp a future course’s ground with a hand tamper to form a flat surface. You might want to weed the path regularly to stop it from being overgrown. Install competition at least 6 inches deep into the ground on each side of the trail to keep grass runners from spreading to your earthen pathway.

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Hydrangea Care Guide

Hydrangeas (Hydrangea spp.) , with their massive ball-shaped flower clusters, add antique elegance to your yard. Blooming from midsummer to fall, hydrangeas grow 3 to 6 ft tall. There are 23 species of hydrangea, although only five are grown in the United States, together with bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) also called French or florist’s hydrangea, the most common. Hydrangeas generally grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 to 9, although it depends on the species and cultivar. To look after this tree, comprehending its soil and water needs, pruning conditions and disease and pest susceptibility is essential.

Planting

Hydrangea shrubs could be planted in either fall or early spring. When choosing a planting site, look for a place in the garden that offers full morning sun with some cooler day shade. Avoid hot and dry areas. The soil ought to be rich, moist and well-draining. Compost may be added to improve soil quality. If your soil is heavy, plant hydrangeas on a mound to improve drainage. If you are planting numerous hydrangeas, leave three to 10 feet between plants, taking into account the size of the mature shrub.

Water, Fertilizer and pH

Once implanted, hydrangeas will require some ongoing care to make sure their healthy development and greatest bloom production. A good source of water is vital for hydrangeas, especially during the first couple of years after planting. In spring, then add 2 to 4 inches of mulch around the plant to help hydrangeas retain water. During periods of rainfall, water hydrangeas regularly — about 1 inch per week — to maintain soil consistently moist. Keeping soil mineral levels is also crucial, as some varieties, such as bigleaf hydrangeas, reap the benefits of many fertilizer applications throughout the growing season. Soil pH also determines the flower color of the majority of hydrangeas. If you want blue blooms,utilize a low-phosphorus fertilizer; for pink flowers, higher amounts of phosphorus are required.

Pruning

Prune hydrangeas to eliminate damaged or old branches and frost-damaged leaves, to deadhead faded blooms and also to reshape the shrub, which will encourage new development, improve the plant’s shape and increase flower production. Pruning guidelines vary for different types of hydrangeas. First, decide whether new flowers develop on branches from the last year, or “old wood,” or about branches from the present year, that’s, “new wood.” In case a hydrangea forms new buds on old wood, prune from the summer after flowers fade. For hydrangeas thriving on new wood, these plants should be pruned in late winter or early spring.

Disease and Pest Management

Hydrangeas are usually hardy crops, but they can suffer from problems with mold, powdery mildew, rust, blight and leaf spot, as well as bugs, such as aphids, scale insects and spider mites. Diseases, such as powdery mildew and leaf spot, are seldom fatal, but they harm leaves. Fungal problems usually result from humid conditions or if hydrangeas are not receiving enough sun. Recommended control procedures include application of sulfur, neem oil or potassium bicarbonate. Insect pests, like aphids, are best managed using insecticidal soap sprays, while routine watering during hot charms will keep spite mites at bay.

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