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HOME • Turn old newspapers into crafting and cleaning supplies • A beginner’s guide to gardening under the Texas sun • Spring cleaning tips from local businesses March 22, 2013

THE COMMUNITY NEWS

A Special Section


2C March 22, 2013

Home&Garden

Why Southern Painting Remains Homeowners #1 Choice • Over 50,000 Homes Painted – One Home at a Time • Extensive Preparation • Wood Replacement • Special Finishes and Glazing • Neat, Clean and On Time • Bonded and Insured • Lead-Based Paint Certified • Proud members of Better Business Bureau • Over 24 Years in Business • Hundreds of Reference Letters

For your professional FREE estimate, call 817-732-0055. Be sure to request The 12 Most Important Questions You Should Ask before choosing just anyone to paint your home.

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Choosing the Right Color Before choosing the colors that you will be using – whether interior or exterior – here are some helpful hints on how to pick just the right color. 1. The amount of light falling on the surfaces will alter the interpretation of color. Even though the difference in perception is all a matter of opinion, the fact still remains that light can play a major role in what color looks like. 2. On the exterior, always consider the elevation and the brick and mortar color as well as the roof color. Drive around the neighborhood and look at colors that you like on other homes. 3. On the interior, your accessories will have a lot to do with how your color will appear. Dark colors will make a room seem a lot smaller. And light colors will obviously make a room look larger. Once again, how your color will appear depends upon the amount of light in the particular room. 4. Without exception, always get a sample quart of the paint you are going to use to test it. If it is for interior, do not put the sample paint color on the wall. Instead put it on a color board and move it around the room at different times of the day to see how the light affects the color.

Your Southern Painting Team


The Community News

Home&Garden

March 22, 2013

3C

Calendar of events

Spring is in the Air

Home- & garden-related events for the month of April ............. 4C

◗ Join the Arbor Day

IN THIS ISSUE...

Foundation in March and Receive 10 Free Trees

Uses for old newspapers Composting, crafting, etc. ...... 7C Jamie Bevis profiled Local woman runs business with the help of her family ............ 12C A beginner’s guide to gardening: Texas planting 101 What to grow in Texas ........... 17C What you’ll forget to spring clean Hint: it’s not the kitchen ....... 22C Pool safety tips Local pool companies know how to keep your kids safe .......... 26C

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Coleus makes a great first plant for a new gardener. See page 17C.

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The Arbor Day Foundation is making it easier for everyone to celebrate the arrival of spring through planting trees. Join the Arbor Day Foundation in March 2013 and receive 10 free white flowering dogwood trees. “White flowering dogwoods will add beauty to your home throughout the year,” said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Dogwoods are known for their showy spring flowers, scarlet autumn foliage and red berries that attract songbirds during winter.” The free trees are part of the nonprofit foundation’s Trees for America campaign.

The trees will be shipped postpaid at the right time for planting between March 1 and May 31, with enclosed planting instructions. The 6- to 12-inch trees are guaranteed to grow or they will be replaced free of charge. Arbor Day Foundation members also receive a subscription to Arbor Day, the Foundation’s bimonthly publication, and The Tree Book, which contains information about tree planting and care. To become a member of the Foundation and receive the free trees, send a $10 contribution to TEN FREE DOGWOOD TREES, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Avenue, Nebraska City, NE 68410, by March 30, 2013, or join online at arborday.org/march.

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Mark Your Calendar ◗ Check out these family-

friendly, nature-loving events in the upcoming months. THURSDAY, APRIL 11

Native Plant Society meeting The Cross Timbers Chapter of the Native Plant Society will host Teresa Moss, Executive Director of the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve, at 7 p.m. on April 11 at the Cherry Park Community Building, 313 Davis Street in Weatherford. The public is welcome and light refreshments will be served. For more information visit npsot.org/ CrossTimber or contact Eileen Porter 817-596-5567. SATURDAY, APRIL 13

Shaw-Kemp Open House There’s no shortage of bluebonnets in the Parker County countryside. The 33rd Annual Shaw-Kemp Open House will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, in Nebo Valley, located off Highway 51 on 220 Kemp Road. The annual open house brings 2,000 visitors to Nebo Valley, a recreated Texas old town with nine historic village buildings devised by Mary Kemp. The event is free. For more information, call 817-598-6837.

SPECIAL TO THE COMMUNITY NEWS

A buggy sits amidst bluebonnets in Nebo Valley, where the Shaw-Kemp Open House will be held on April 13.

FRIDAY, APRIL 26

Arbor Day The State of Texas celebrates Arbor Day on the last Friday of April. Search for a pecan tree, Texas’ state tree. SATURDAY, APRIL 27

Weatherford Blooms Home & Garden Fest The City of Weatherford Main Street Program will host the Weatherford Blooms Home & Garden Fest in Historic Downtown Weatherford from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 27. All four quadrants of the square will be blooming with home and garden vendors, antique tractors, entertainment, food and fun. This will be the third consecutive year that this free family-friendly event will be held downtown. Interested vendors should call Kim Thieme, special event coordinator for the City of Weatherford, at 817-598-4034. SATURDAY, JUNE 1

East Parker County Library Garden Party Watch The Community News for details.

SPECIAL TO THE COMMUNITY NEWS

Weatherford Blooms includes home and gerden vendors, antique tractors and plenty of inspirational ideas for a colorful and fresh garden.


The Community News

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March 22, 2013

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The Community News

March 22, 2013

SAVE AFTER READING

◗ From crafting to cleaning,

papers help around the home By Jennifer Retter The Community News

Don’t throw away this newspaper. Sure, you may not save it for years to look back on every last article, but the last place a paper should land is in the trash can. Check out all of the ways you can reuse newspapers.

Mason jar cutout candles To make a cutout candle, you’ll need a mason jar (Brookshire’s, pack of 12 for $10.39), an old newspaper, mod podge,a thick paintbrush or sponge, scissors, a tea light and ribbon. First, lay your mason jar down on the newspaper and mark how tall it is. Cut out a strip of paper and test wrap it around the jar. . Turn to USES, page 9C

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The Community News

Home&Garden

March 22, 2013

9C

USES from page 7C

JENNIFER RETTER/THE COMMUNITY NEWS

Wrap newspapers around a cylindrical object to create biodegradable seedling containers. Two volunteers used newspapers to clean windows when Oak Ridge Church of Christ completed its expansion in November of 2011. RANDY KECK/THE COMMUNITY NEWS

Trim down the ends to make sure the paper wraps neatly around the jar once A little extra length-wise is fine to make sure you don’t fall short. Next, cut out your favorite symbol. Trace and cut out an Aledo Bearcat, for example. Make sure to cut only within the paper. If you choose a symmetrical shape, like a heart, you can cut it out on both sides of the newspaper wrap to make the cutout visible from both sides of the candle. Then, wrap the newspaper around the mason jar and use mod podge to secure it to the jar. Apply the mod podge to the outside face of the paper, using inward strokes on the cutout and outward strokes on the edges. You will need to add multiple layers until the

paper sticks.

Seedling pots

Finally, add decorative ribbon to the top of the jar and drop a tea light inside. To light the candle, it’s best to use a lighter instead of a match. The match will catch fire straight up when you try to insert it into the mason jar.

To make a biodegradable seedling pot you can plant straight into the ground and never have to worry about again, you will need an old newspaper, some type of cylindrical object from the home (a water bottle or spice jar should do) and tape or glue. First, cut one full page into quarters. The size of the seedling pot will vary with what type of plant you’re working with, but in general, one quarter of a page is standard. Lay the cylindrical object on the paper, length-wise, and roll the paper around it. Leave an inch or so at one end of the roll. Fold the ends in and tape or blue the bottom shut. Fold over the top of the

Window cleaning For pesky window streaks, opt for newspapers instead of paper towels. The ink helps shine away grime on windows and you won’t run through paper towels so quickly. Apply window cleaner to the window surface as normal, then wipe the window clean with the newspaper.

cylinder to reinforce the opening. Then, simply add dirt and seeds and plant in the garden.

Paper mâché garden decorations Newspaper, the preferred medium of paper mâché, can be contorted into all types of garden-worthy decorations, and it’s a great craft for children. To make paper mâché, you will need old newspapers, paper mâché mix (Michael’s, $6.59), acrylic paints, and, depending on the project, wire framing or a balloon. First, craft a form for the project. If you’re making something circular, blow up a balloon. Turn to USES, page 10C


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Home&Garden

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Wrapping gifts in newspaper is a cheap and unique alternative to buying wrapping paper. | INSET: Newspaper roses require a long strip of newspaper and are an easy craft for kids.

USES from page 9C You can also ball up newspaper and take it together with masking tape to create the form. For example, if you want to make a mushroom for the garden, form newspapers into an oval top and tape, and a thick cylindrical base and tape. Follow the paper mâché mix instructions to create the mix. Cut or rip strips of newspaper and soak them in the

paper mâché mix, then lay the strips over the form. Allow to dry. When the project is completely dry, apply acrylic paint and assemble the pieces as needed. For the mushroom example, you would glue the mushroom top to the base after painting the two parts. Add to the garden for decoration.

Gift wrap For a cheap (free, really) alternative to buying overpriced wrapping paper, wrap your gifts in newspaper. Perhaps

use the lifestyle section to avoid giving away a gift wrapped in murder stories. Add a colorful bow for a stark contrast.

Flowers Newspaper flowers are a simple, quick craft for a rainy day. The time required per flower is roughly one minute, and all you need is an old newspaper and some glue. First, cut 4”-wide strips of newspaper. Glue the ends of the strips together. The longer the strip, the bigger the rose. The example in the photo used a strip

stretching roughly 4 feet. Fold the strip in half hotdog style, then unfold. Fold each side inward to meet the crease, then fold the whole strip in half hotdog style and crease. You should now have a four-layer strip. Crunch one end and begin to wrapping the strip around the bud of the flower. Every few full circles, twist the strip 180 degrees and continue wrapping in the same direction. Every once in awhile, place a dab of glue on the strip to keep the flower in place. When you reach the end of the


The Community News tuck the last few inches of the strip on the bottom of the flower and glue it in place. If you feel extra crafty, you can make the flowers come to life. Purchase glimmer mist (Jo-Ann Fabric, $7.99) in a flowery color and spray your creations. Glue on a green pipe cleaner and cut out newspaper “leaves” to glue onto the side. If your patience allows you to make tens of newspaper roses, make a wreath. You’ll need a cardboard of styrofoam wreath form, ribbon, hot glue and your newspaper roses. Wrap and hot glue the ribbon color of your choice around the form for a base. Apply hot glue to the newspaper roses and arrange them neatly onto the wreath. Allow to dry. Finally, add a ribbon straight across the top back of the wreath for hanging.

Compost Investing in a compost bin can improve the health of your garden by adding the nitrogen and carbon created from the composting process. To compost newspapers, you will need a compost bin and other compostable items, like food scraps and grass. Newspaper has a high carbon content, and it will break down slowly among other items with carbon.

Home&Garden National Geographic suggests layering nitrogen items atop carbon items in your compost bin. Therefore, you will want to rip up the newspaper for the bottom of the bin. For more information on composting, visit the epa.gov/recycle/composting for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s composting at home guide.

Tablecloths A given in many households with young children, old newspapers can double as tablecloths while working on messy projects or just a regular tablecloth to save your real tablecloths from messy kids.

Packing supplies Instead of using non-biodegradable foam peanuts when sending packages, stuff boxes with newspapers. Not only is it environmentally friendly and free, but it makes opening the package easier. How many times have you dropped foam peanuts all over the floor trying to unearth the prize inside the UPS box?

Shape keepers To keep the shape of hats or boots, stuff newspaper in. Similar to the thick paper used inside shoes a shoe stores,

If you still have newspapers left over, don’t forget to recycle! Recycle bins are located throughout the community. Excess copies of The Community News are delivered to Brownwood by Charlie McLain to benefit the Aldersgate Enrichment Center.

the packed newspaper will keep boots and hats from going droopy. Wrap papers in a plastic bag first to ensure ink doesn’t leak onto your valuables.

Fruit ripeners Tomatoes, avocados and bananas will ripen faster when wrapped in newspaper. Just don’t forget about them.

Weed blocking Lay newspapers down over soil and wet them to keep weeds at bay. Layer at

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least three papers and cover the entire area. The papers block sunlight from reaching weeds, which prevents them from growing. Cover the papers in dirt or mulch. Only use plain newspapers, not glossy pages or ads.

Recycle If you aren’t the reusing type, at least make sure to recycle your papers. Paper accounts for 40% of our trash, according to the EPA.


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Family-run business built on honesty

SPECIAL TO THE COMMUNITY NEWS

Fort Worth Tree and Pest Specialists family members and employees pose with the company van. Jamie Bevis is pictured in the center.

◗ Despite tragedy, family

soldiers on By Jennifer Retter The Community News

Jamie Bevis grew up around her parents’ tree and exterminating business, but didn’t know she herself would be taking the reins someday. Thompson Tree and Exterminating, operated by Bevis’ journalist-turned-arborist father, John Thompson, was a staple Aledo business since the late 1970s. Thompson drew in high-end clientele, serving big names like the Moncrief and Bass families and helping maintain

the Fort Worth Zoo. In high school, Bevis got her first taste of the business. “I started learning about it and I worked for them periodically,” Bevis said. “I didn’t really get into it until my mid-20s.” She attended Weatherford College and the University of Texas at Arlington, studying “enough business to know I didn’t like it,” she said with a laugh. “But, textbook is one thing,” Bevis said. “Real life is another.”

Transferring Hands In 2004, Bevis and her husband,

Randy, bought part of the company from her parents so they could retire. The new company, Fort Worth Tree and Pest, moved to their home perched atop a hill off Old Annetta Road. Randy was a certified arborist, and his honesty with customers paved the way for a favorable company reputation. “There’s a time to treat [trees and shrubs] and a time not to,” Bevis said. “Some companies will treat things when it’s past time. We never did that. Randy was very meticulous on how he did treatments. There was never a shortcut in his world.”

Bevis said Randy’s meticulous ways often aggravated her around the house. “I’d tell the kids, ‘It’s OK if it is taking awhile because daddy’s doing it right,’” Bevis said. When Randy suddenly passed away in August 2012, Bevis was left to carry on the business alone. Bevis’ parents, the Thompsons, stepped back in to help. Bevis’ father is both a certified arborist and certified pest applicator. Her mother handles much of the office work. Turn to BEVIS, page 13C


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March 22, 2013

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BEVIS from page 11C “I’ve been blessed I haven’t had to send out a single invoice since my husband passed away,” Bevis said. “My mom comes in and does it.” Randy and Jamie’s three children, Chris, Megan and Shelby, all help with the company, too. Chris, 26, does pest control for the company and the girls, ages 20 and 16, work for the company. Megan can tie her work experience into an etymology class she’s enrolled in at Tarleton State, where she must identify and mount different types of insects. Brice Kubosh and Taylor Mullens, local individuals who stood by Bevis’ side, also work for Fort Worth Tree and Pest. “They brighten my day, just the two of them being here,” Bevis said. “They’re good-hearted workers and they’ve been here through the thick and thin of it all.” Between coping with her husband’s death and running a business, Bevis stayed strong. She said she appreciated all the support of the community after Randy’s passing. “After Randy’s death, our family

received such an outpour of support from friends and businesses in the community,” Bevis said. “The endless supply of food, flowers, donations and love was so comforting. The cards, letters and commentaries in The Community News made us feel so proud of a man who was an amazing son, husband, father and son-in-law.” The support even extended to outof-town family, who saw the community’s support and love of the Bevis family firsthand. “Randy’s family that came down from Massachusetts were able to see an incredible community that he just didn’t call his home, but was also loved and so highly thought of,” Bevis said. “But it also gave us peace and comfort in knowing what awesome community we live in.” After her husband’s passing, Bevis left her position on the East Parker County Chamber board and scaled back her community involvement. Now, she’s getting involved again. “I’m getting back into it now and getting involved in the marketing end

of it, trying to drum up business,” Bevis said.

Bevis’ business: The double threat Since the business tackles both tree and pest issues, many customers benefit from both sides of the company. “There aren’t a lot of pest control businesses that do trees and shrubs, and their aren’t a lot of landscaping businesses that do pest control,” Bevis said. “It’s a unique company from that standpoint. One thing fed the other one.” Bevis said Fort Worth Tree and Pest has been around for long enough to know that tree and shrub carry varies dramatically. “Every year is different from the last year,” Bevis said. “Your winter and spring weather creates a totally different insect infestation. The elements play a huge role in what to treat and what not to treat.” For example, Bevis said normally trees would be sprayed at this time, but 30 mph winds delayed that.

Even though Bevis herself isn’t the one who travels out treating trees and pests, she keeps herself up to date on local issues. ‘People call all the time with problems,” Bevis said. “If someone calls me and says what they have, I’m intrigued. I look it up and learn about it because if one person calls about it, someone else will, too.” In the business, Bevis said, keeping herself educated on everything she can helps her educate the customers. “I like to keep educated, even though I don’t have a license, on whatever the current insect is that’s eating on the tree at the time so I can answer [customers’] questions,” Bevis said. “And in turn, I can educate our customers on what to look for and when to look for it.” For more information, visit fortworthtree-pest.com or call 817-4412276.

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16C March 22, 2013

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The Community News

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A beginnerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s guide to gardening

March 22, 2013

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18C March 22, 2013

Home&Garden

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Texas planting 101 By Jennifer Retter The Community News

First-time gardeners, dismiss your fear. Stuart Nursery manager Judy Cain works with all types of plants, from flowers to vegetables to trees, and she knows what works and what dies in Parker County. Here, she shares the elements that make up a perfectly easy first garden.

To start Cain’s most important tip for the new gardener is something most people simply overlook: the soil. Before you can grow anything spectacular from your soil, make sure it’s healthy. “Soil preparation is the single most important thing you can do before starting a garden,” Cain said. Parker County has alkaline soil, a clay-based soil that makes growing plants typically harder. Areas with acidic soil, usually in places with more rainfall, can handle a wider variety of plants. To make the soil more manageable, Cain suggests doing some basic treatments first. “Adding organic material to the soil is best,” Cain said. “You can also start a compost pile.” Compost piles add nutrients to the soil. Basic compostable items include food scraps, like fruit peels and rinds or peanut shells, paper, coffee and tea grounds, grass clippings, crushed egg shells, lint and leaves. Another tip to consider before diving in: Gardening is a commitment. Even a starter garden needs care. When looking at plant options, make sure you educate yourself on the watering needs of each plant. “A lot of people plant something new

and don’t go look at the for a week,” Cain said. “Plants, especially new ones, need to be tended to on a regular basis.” Feeling ready to choose your plants now?

What to grow Cain recommends starting with perennials, plants that grow back every year. To keep perennials strong year after year, fertilize the soil each spring. One easy perennial for beginners to grow is the salvia greggii. “There are many different kinds of salvia greggii,” Cain said. “You can get salvia greggii with red, pink or white flowers on it.” Cain said salvia greggii, a Texas native perennial, is not as particular to soil difference and can withstand drought. Salvia greggii is found throughout Texas and Mexico. “It’s pretty tolerant,” Cain said. “If you forget to water it, it’s forgiving.” Salvia greggii should be planted in the spring to bloom early, but mealy blue salvias bloom later. “Mealy blue salvias bloom nicely all summer,” Cain said. “They love the hot weather.” For gardeners who decide to start with annuals, which complete their life cycles in one season, Cain suggests wave petunias, which she calls a “real colorful annual” that “stands up to heat well.” Texas heat should be on the forefront of any Texas gardener’s mind. “Caliente and calliope geraniums, two new kids of geraniums to the plant market, were bred with qualities to stand up to heat and humidity,” Cain said. If yard space limits gardening opportunities, try your hand at planting in pots.

Geraniums Salvia greggii


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March 22, 2013

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“If you don’t have much room in the yard, look at succulents,” Cain said. “They can grow in the ground, but they’re easy to grow in pots, too.” Cain said succulents are fairly drought tolerant and can go one to two weeks without water. For a basic evergreen shrub, Cain suggests the dwarf yaupon holly, a versatile plant that grows to 3 feet wide and 3 feet tall in the sun or shade. Dwarf yaupon hollies can withstand drought once established. One of Cain’s all-time favorite flowers, purple cone flowers, are “easy to grow and very pretty.” The native version is a rosy pink, but hybrids come in orange and yellow. For beginning gardens who want to go all out the first time around, don’t shy away from roses. “If you’re going to try roses, go with Knock Out roses,” Cain said. “If you want an easy rose, this is it. Other types you have to spray, fertilize and trim often.” Knock Out roses have been specially bred to eliminate many of the problems associated with more traditional rose types.

Knock Out roses

“It’s a newer breed that’s easier to grow and has less of an insect problem than hybrid tea roses,” Cain said. “It comes in a single or double red or pink bloom, and the bush is covered in blooms from spring to fall.” Getting started late this year? Coleus, an annual, displays colorful foliage of red, green, orange and purple instead of blooming. Plant coleus in the sun or shade, in the ground or in a pot, when the weather warms up in May.

Purple cone flowers

Succulent

Geraniums Dwarf yaupon holly


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Growing food Looking into a vegetable garden instead? Cain suggests starting with the basics. “Tomatoes take a little learning, but you can get a good crop with some work,” Cain said. “Squash is good if you plant it early, in mid to late March.” To start even more basic, plant herbs. Cain said herbs are “always easy in garden or pots.” Low maintenance options include chives, lavender, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme. Cain said she receives many requests for blueberries, which can’t handle Parker County’s soil. “Blueberries like an acidic soil, so if you really want to plant them, you’ll need to work at making the soil right,” Cain said. “For an easier option, plant them in containers of peat moss.” Sadly, cherry trees absolutely will not work in the Texas heat, but Cain said other fruit-bearing trees are manageable. “If you want to do a tree, go with peach, plum or pear,” Cain said.

Planting a tree? Stick with peach (above), pear or plum. Citrus trees suffer in Texas winters, but can work as potted trees that can be trasferred indoors. Avoid cherry trees altogether.

What not to plant Master planters who work heavily with their soil to create a more acidic environment can plant tricky non-native options, but basic gardeners should avoid dogwood trees, azaleas, gardenias and hydrangeas. Cain said people who relocated from California or Florida ask her about citrus trees. She said while citrus trees are doable, it’s essential to move them inside in the winter. Lemon and lime trees have no problem with Texas heat, but cold winters will kill them. As a rule of thumb, Cain said fastergrowing trees don’t last as long. She recommends planters stay away from fruitless mulberry trees. “Fruitless mulberries are fast-growing shade trees with an expansive root system,” Cain said. “The roots come up to surface and the branches break in high winds.” For more information about gardening in Parker County, consult your local nursery or the Parker County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Visit http://www.pcmg-texas.org/ for more information.

Cain advises against planting blueberries in the ground. If possible, opt for planting in containers of peat moss.


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March 22, 2013

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What you’ll forget to spring clean By Jennifer Retter The Community News

The age-old spring cleaning routine brings dusting off counters and mopping floors to mind, but there’s a whole slew of springtime cleaning needs that may have slipped your mind. You may have cleaned the kitchen counters, but did you get your air conditioning unit cleaned, too? Here are four oft-forgotten things in need of spring cleaning that will save you time and money down the road.

Clothes Spring doesn’t just mean shoving your winter coats into the closet and calling it a day. On the contrary, improperly putting away winter garments can lead bigger problems down the road. Bob Checkeye of Adrian’s Cleaners recommends having garments cleaned at the end of every season to keep insects at bay. “In the spring, you need to

have your winter wools cleaned,” Checkeye said. “The same rule applies for all seasons. In the fall, get your summer clothes to the cleaners.” Checkeye said putting away uncleaned clothes with stains will attract insects, who can seek out the sugary smell of food stains and bury into your closet. Even if stains are small and unnoticeable, insects can seek them out. One way to keep insects away from winter wools is to use a moth-proof bag. If you don’t have a cedar-lined closet, Checkeye recommends storing winter garments in a cedar-scented moth-proof bag. Make sure the bag is sealed tight. As a general tip, when you visit the cleaners for your end-of-season check-in, don’t hesitate to point out stains, even if you can’t see them any longer. “Point out stains that you know about,” Checkeye said. “Even if it’s an invisible stain, like white wine


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March 22, 2013

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or Sprite, let the cleaner know.” Due to the high levels of heat used in dry cleaning, “invisible” stains will show through – and darker. Checkeye said letting your cleaner know of a stain in advance will help the cleaner decide which chemicals will best treat it. Paul Davis of Willow Park Cleaners said he oftens spring cleans curtains and comforters. Davis suggests spacing out items for dry cleaning and looking for coupons to keep cleaning within your budget. Davis said going through your items to see what you can donate is a great way to spring clean. Don’t waste the time cleaning your old clothes if you don’t want to wear them again. Instead, stop by the AdvoCats’ Clothes Closet to donate.

Garage It’s no longer the holiday season, which means the decorative lights cluttering your garage have to go. “This time of year, we see a lot of Christmas stuff: ornaments, trees, lights,” said Tony Gunter of 1187 Mini Storage. “When spring comes around, the Christmas seasonal stuff comes out.” Dumping your holiday cheer in a

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storage unit clears up room for the items you need now, whether its flower pots or pool supplies. But a storage unit doesn’t only benefit you during spring cleaning season. “In the winter, a lot of people store their flower pots and gardening equipment to open up space in their garage,” Gunter said. “A storage unit is like having an extra garage available for you so you can keep your home garage uncluttered.”

Air conditioning unit As the temperatures heat up, its essential to ensure that your air conditioning unit works properly. Tracy Morgan of Morgan Mechanical said air conditioning units should be cleaned in the spring and heating units

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in the fall. “If your unit isn’t cleaned, it will burn up or run hotter than it needs to,” Morgan said. “Think of an overheated car running in the hot summer. It’s the same concept.” A simple cleaning will keep your air conditioning unit well-greased, welloiled and ready to combat 100-plus degree Texas temperatures. Keeping a clean outdoor unit so the air conditioner runs efficiently saves money on your electric bill, too. In addition to air conditioning unit cleaning, Morgan also recommends that air filters be changed once per month.

Yard With spring flowers come spring

weeds. Naturescapes, with the expertise of certified arborist Billy Cook, assembled a springtime to-do list for keeping your yard in the best shape. For a summer-ready lawn, Naturescapes recommends aerating the soil to increase water infiltration and aid in root development. As for combatting weeds and fire ants, Naturescapes offers pesticides to address both problems. For those who own land with trees, look at administering tree fertilization in the spring months. Tree fertilization differs from typical plant fertilization, so consult an arborist if you are unsure what to use. Naturescapes also suggests taking care of any tree pruning needs before summer storms roll in. The last thing you want is an overgrown limb crashing

March 22, 2013

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through your roof during a tornado. Mike Farnham of Farnham Landscape recommends people apply a pre-emergent herbicide to their lawns to control weeds before they sprout, but to hold off on starting fertilization until mid-April. Farnham said now is also the time to prune back freeze damaged plants or trees. When in doubt, consult an expert on tree care. Pruning at the wrong time can cause damage to trees instead of helping them grow. Certain trees are more prone to developing diseases or suffering from pest infestation than others.


26C March 22, 2013

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Pool safety tips ◗ Local pool builders share

pools may not. If you have an older pool, an inspection can identify if you need a safer system. A SVRS can be installed or replaced.

how to keep your kids safe By Jennifer Retter The Community News

Kent Vincent, Vincent Pools

Clean your pool

Teach your children

Don’t leave anything in the pool that would attract kids, like floats or beach balls. You don’t want a kid to start reaching for something and then fall in, or get on a float when no one is around thinking they’re safe and fall in.

Make sure your kids never play in or near the water alone. Kids need to be taught the dangers of playing alone. Also, teach your kids not to run on the slick surface near the pool.

Hire a second set of eyes

Follow diving rules

A lot of people have been installing video surveillance systems. If you’re in the house cooking dinner and your young children are in the house, you can have the feed on the television. If one of your kids gets outside, you’ll be able to see it. For older kids who can be in the pool alone, it’s still helpful to have the surveillance just to make sure they’re playing safe.

If there’s a no diving sign, don’t dive. Residential pools are not required to have no diving signs, so use your judgment. Diving into too shallow of water can lead to severe neck injuries.

Appoint a water watcher A water watcher is someone who keeps an eye on the kids. If you have a big group of people at the pool, appoint someone to be the water watcher. The water watcher has one job: watch the kids. No texting, reading or getting distracted.

Glen Bullard, Fort Worth Custom Pools

Make a safety plan Many cities require certain safety spec on pools in order to receive a final inspection but many of the properties on which we work are rural and there is no governing bodies to say what and how you have to do things

Learn CPR All parents should learn CPR in the event of an emergency with their children.

Build a fence We strongly advise that pool owners install a fence even when not required and pay due diligence to making sure that the gates are self closing and locked when not in use.

A family pool can provide years of fun for a family, provided that safety precautions are followed with children in the house.

Install alarm systems Parents of small children, especially toddlers, are encouraged to install door alarms to all doors and windows leading into the pool area. Often times home alarm systems will include a setting to chime when a door or window is opened.

Invest in a safety cover Many of our clients utilize safety covers on their swimming pools. These covers are generally custom fit to the pool shape and prevent small children and even pets from accessing the water.

with small children to get the child into a swim class as soon as possible. It is never to soon to acclimate your child to an aquatic environment. Phil Veno, Complete Backyard

Update your system Double lock it

Teach your kids to swim

Secondary door locks are a great idea to help contain the curious child who is tall enough to reach the standard door locks. An installation height of at least 60” is recommended.

The BEST thing you can do for your child’s safety is to insure that they know how to swim. There are numerous programs that teach infants and small children accidental immersion survival tactics. We encourage all pool owners

You’ve heard the terrible stories of people getting their hair or bodies stuck in the drains at the bottom of pools and drowning. While new pools have SVRS (Safety Vacuum Release System) components, which automatically shut off the pump if someone is trapped, older

Keep a phone handy Make sure a phone is accessible near the pool area in case of an emergency. Other electronic devices, such as radios, need to stay far away from the pool to avoid electrocution.

Don’t swim in a pool with broken drains The passage of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act ensures new pools come with safer drainage systems (see Vincent’s tip above), but older pools do not. If an older pool has an old system, do not swim near it. If the old drain is cracked or broken, do not get in the pool. Debra Smith, Pulliam Pools


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March 22, 2013

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28C March 22, 2013

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The Community News Home and Garden Section dated March 22, 2013