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home appeal FALL/WINTER 2017

home / garden / renovation

Northwest Lancaster Co.

"Leaf" The Frustration Behind: Simplify Outdoor Cleanup Warm And Welcoming: Makeover Ideas For The Coming Cold Top Projects To Prep For Fall And Winter Fall Lawn Care Tips

Published by Engle Printing & Publishing Co., Inc.

“Leaf ” The Frustration Behind: Simplify Outdoor Cleanup

Apple pie, pumpkins and blooming chrysanthemums are symbols of autumn. But nothing signals the arrival of fall more than the millions of leaves that begin to cascade from the trees as the temperatures dip. In spite of their beauty, leaves might be a nuisance to homeowners tasked with removing the growing piles from their lawns. Those with large oak and maple trees in front of their homes understand the seemingly endless work of leaf removal. As the days begin to grow shorter and colder, these changes trigger a hormone release in trees, prompting them to drop their leaves. This chemical message causes the formation of abscission cells where the leaf stem meets the branch, say botanists at the Missouri Botanical Garden. So, rather than merely dropping off trees when the wind blows, the leaves actually fall off deliberately. Left untouched, fallen leaves can contribute to lawn problems such as poor aeration, mold growth and moisture issues. Leaves also can cause staining on



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driveways and walkways. Prompt removal can help prevent problems and can promote the health of lawns and other plants. To make faster and easier work of leaf removal, homeowners can keep the following tips in mind: · Mow over thin leaf coverage. If only a few leaves have fallen, homeowners can use a mulching mower to shred the leaves until they are small enough that they won’t suffocate the lawn. As long as the grass blades can be seen within the leaves, the lawn should be fine. The small pieces will decompose in the lawn, reintroducing nutrients and organic matter to the soil as a result. · Use an ergonomic leaf rake. Ergonomic rakes can prevent back and arm pain, much in the way that ergonomic shovels do when shoveling snow. · Invest in a quality leaf blower. Using a rake is good exercise, but homeowners with large properties might want to use a leaf blower. These machines can dislodge leaves from bushes and hard-to-reach crevices, and they work faster than rakes. · Use a tarp. Homeowners can rake or blow leaves onto a tarp and then drag the tarp to the curbside or to the back of a truck for proper disposal. Special leaf scoopers enable users to grab more leaves if they need to be picked up and transported. Otherwise, the covers from two garbage pails can be used to achieve a similar effect. · Work with the wind. Homeowners should rake in the direction the wind is blowing and downhill if the property slopes. This method is much easier, rather than working against Mother Nature. · Spread out the job. Homeowners should not attempt to remove all fallen leaves in a single day. A few cleaning days scheduled during the season will make lighter work of the job rather than trying to do it all at once. Homeowners can keep in mind that leaves will continue to fall throughout the season and they may need to spend a few additional days removing leaves from the yard.

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Love Those Leaves: Creative Ways To Recycle The Fallen Treasures

Fallen leaves form a dense insulator to protect trees’ roots and prevent competing plants from growing. Decomposing leaves also provide nutrients for the tree. However, wet leaves can be a safety hazard, and leaves left on the lawn through the winter can pose a threat to the grass. These are just a couple reasons that so much effort is placed on leaf cleanup in the fall. The following are some creative ways to recycle leaves: · Mulch: Shredded leaves make a great addition to fertilizer for garden beds and even the lawn. Leaves on the grass can be mulched into small pieces with a mulching mower so they don’t choke the blades of grass. Leaves also can be broken down with a string trimmer, a leaf blower that has a vacuum function or a commercial shredder/chipper. The shredded leaves can be added to a compost pile or used to fill space in container plants before adding regular potting soil. Leaves can also be placed on the soil around trees and shrubs to reduce weed problems and protect root systems from harsh temperature fluctuations. · Insulation: Leaves can be placed in a mound over delicate perennial plants and shrubs. The leaves will add more warmth to the soil and may help plants make it through harsh winters. The leaves should be removed slowly when spring arrives. · Stuffing: Whimsical scarecrows can be created as part of an autumn decoration scheme. Older clothes that are no longer used can be stuffed with leaves, which are easier to come by than straw, especially in the fall. The ends can be tied off with twine, and then the scarecrow will be ready for display. · Bedding and Food for Animals: Chicken owners can use fallen leaves as bedding in their chicken coops. Dry leaves also may create more comfortable and drier conditions for goats and other livestock. Goats may look to recently fallen leaves as a nutritious food source. · Decorations: Natural leaves can be used as decorations both inside and outside a home. Freshly fallen leaves can be strung together and wrapped around a grapevine wreath for a rustic door decoration. Leaves can be placed in clear vases and put on display for an inexpensive way to showcase some autumn color.


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pring and summer may be the seasons most often associated with landscaping and lawn care, but tending to lawns and gardens is a year-round job. If lawn and garden responsibilities dip considerably in winter, then fall is the last significant opportunity of the year for homeowners to address the landscaping around their homes. Fall lawn care differs from spring and summer lawn care, even if the warm temperatures of summer linger into autumn. Homeowners who want their lawns to thrive year-round can take advantage of the welcoming weather of fall to address any existing or potential issues. · Keep mowing, but adjust mowing technique. It’s important that homeowners continue to mow their lawns so long as grass is growing. But as fall transitions into winter, homeowners should lower the blades so the grass is cut shorter, allowing more sunlight to reach the grass in the months ahead. However, it is important to note that no blade of grass should ever trimmed by more than one-third. · Remove leaves as they fall. Much like apple-picking, raking leaves is synonymous with autumn. Some homeowners may wait to pick up a rake until all of the trees on their properties are bare. However, allowing fallen leaves to sit on the ground for extended periods of time can have an adverse effect on grass. Leaves left to sit on the lawn may ultimately suffocate the grass by

forming an impenetrable wall that deprives the lawn of sunlight and oxygen. The result is dead grass and possibly even fungal disease. Leaves may not need to be raked every day, but homeowners should periodically rake and remove leaves from the grass, even if there are plenty left to fall still hanging on the trees. · Repair bald spots. Summer exacts a toll on lawns in various ways, and even homeowners with green thumbs may end up with a lawn filled with bald spots come September. Autumn is a great time to repair these bald spots. Lawn repair mixes contain mulch, seed and fertilizer to repair bald spots, which can begin to recover in as little as seven days. Before applying such products, homeowners should remove dead grass and loosen the top few inches of soil. Additional manufacturer instructions should also be closely followed. · Aerate the turf. Aerating reduces soil compacting, facilitating the delivery of fertilizer and water to a lawn’s roots. While many homeowners, and particularly those who take pride in tending to their own lawns, can successfully aerate their own turf, it’s best to first have soil tested so homeowners know which amendments to add after the ground has been aerated. Gardening centers and home improvement stores sell soil testing kits that measure the pH of soil, but homeowners who want to test for nutrients or heavy metals in their soil may need to send their samples to a lab for further testing.

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COMING COLD Autumn is a time to winterize gardens, put away lawn furniture and prepare for the holiday season, but it also provides the perfect opportunity to begin home interior projects. People may decide to redecorate their homes to reflect each season. When temperatures change, it is time to transition from the light colors and breezy fabrics symbolic of summer to thicker, darker materials that evoke coziness. With some inspiration and a little know-how, any homeowner or apartment dweller can cozy up a space in time for fall and winter. 7 Add area rugs. While wood floors can look beautiful and work well with many design styles, wood can feel chilly underfoot. Thick area rugs add warmth to a room and can help it look more lived-in. Area rugs can also help a room appear more cohesive, coordinating with other colors in a space and providing a visual border. 7 Practice layering in rooms. An affordable and relatively easy way

to make a room seem more cozy is to layer fabrics and other accents. Layers can include throws and blankets. Placemats can be removed from the dining room table and used on accent tables or on an ottoman in the living room. Table runners also can add a splash of color to the top of bedroom dressers. 7 Play with texture. Look for fabrics that boast texture and can add a tactile feel to spaces. When used on throw pillows or small accents, faux fur can create a cozy cabin feel. Draperies made from nubby fabrics or those with grooves and ridges can add dimension to a room as well. Even a lampshade made of an unusual fabric, such as a waffle-patterned material, can add a little depth and warmth to a space. 7 Re-evaluate lighting. Lighting a space is more than just flipping on a switch. Finding the right balance of lighting fixtures can instantly transform the feel of a room. Homeowners can create more warmth and a cozy feel by switching out bulbs from cooler shades to warmer

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ones - those that give off yellow and pink hues rather than cool blues. Accent lighting helps establish a comfortable space for curling up and reading a good book. Spot lighting, such as fixtures that are trained on artwork or placed inside a curio or china cabinet, also can set a more welcoming mood. 7 Install a bookshelf and start a book collection. Piled and stacked books can add warmth to any space. Books evoke the hallowed halls of schools and quiet nooks in the library. Homeowners can fill shelves with books interspersed with additional design accents and instantly make a room feel more inviting. 7 Choose dark paint. Dark colors give rooms a more enclosed feel than lighter colors, and that can create a warm and cozy feeling. This works particularly well in larger spaces that feel vast and empty. If painting all the walls is daunting, homeowners can try a darker shade below a chair rail or just paint one accent wall. 7 Add architectural elements. Rich moldings to crown the ceilings or to frame doorways is another idea. If space is available for a nook, homeowners can create a window seat beneath a picture window or add a bench and cushions in a corner for a nice retreat. Colder weather can be an opportunity to reinvent some of the rooms in a home. With paint, texture, fabric, lighting, and more, rooms can be quickly transformed into cozy respites from the cold.

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Top Projects To Prep For Fall And Winter If boots, a warm hat and a tuned-up snow blower are the only items on a homeowner’s winter preparation list, that may be an indication that his or her home maintenance plan may need a makeover. The following simple projects can help homeowners prepare for colder temperatures while lowering energy bills, preventing more costly repairs and increasing the lifespan of a home: Heating and Ventilation: Examine the fireplace and chimney system to ensure that no soot or creosote has collected. Any cracks or voids could potentially cause a fire. Before homeowners turn on the furnace or boiler, they should replace the air filter and hire a professional to inspect the unit more thoroughly. These steps will improve the efficiency and life of a furnace and will help to ensure stable indoor air quality. In homes with forcedair systems, furniture should be moved away from the vents to improve air flow around the home. Windows and Doors: If not properly sealed, windows and doors can be a major culprit for heat loss. To keep the warm air inside, homeowners should inspect the weather-stripping around windows and doors for leaks, rot or decay. Repair or replace structural framing, and caulk inside and out, if necessary. Window air conditioners should be removed for the winter; if they cannot be removed, they can be sealed with caulking or tape and covered with an airtight, insulated jacket. Insulation: One of the easiest and most effective defenses against heat loss is proper insulation. Prevent cold drafts from entering and the loss of heated air through basement headers, which, when left exposed, can make a furnace work harder. Homeowners should look for a moisture-resistant product offering high thermal performance. They should also consider

products that require simple installation, such as mineral wool insulation. Proper insulation will help improve energy efficiency as soon as it is in place and provide savings over the lifetime of a home. Backyard Care: Homeowners can save their property from potential damage by trimming overgrown trees and shrubs to prevent ice-laden branches from thrashing against electrical wires and the home’s exterior. Homeowners should also drain and shut off any exterior faucets and

sprinkler systems to prevent freezing, and they should ensure rain or snow drains away from the house to avoid foundation problems. Roof and Gutters: Homeowners should inspect their roof for shingles that are warped, damaged or even missing to prevent a future leak. They should also check for spots where animals or insects may be able to gain entry into the home. Roofing cement and a caulking gun can be used to seal joints where water could penetrate, such as around the chimney, skylights or vent pipes. Sealing these areas and repairing leaks will make the home more efficient when winter hits its stride. Homeowners should also make sure that gutters and downspouts are securely fastened. Downspouts should extend at least five feet away from the home to prevent flooding. Clothing: Before packing away their summer wardrobe, individuals can conduct an inventory to determine if there are any items no longer in use. These items can be donated or used as rags when cleaning. Short-sleeved shirts can be kept accessible so they can be layered under sweatshirts and sweaters. The heat from layering will be trapped against the body and keep individuals cozier, reducing the reliance on HVAC systems to stay warm.

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Time To Switch Out Just like seasonal clothing, many people have items they ‘switch-out’ in their sheds for easier access. This is also a good time to purge your shed of items not worth the space they take up. Does that item pass the ‘shed worthy’ test? ‘Switching-out’ & re-organizing your shed in the fall is a lot more comfortable if done before the weather turns cold. For the winter, the snowblower, shovels, sleds & salt should be moved for easy access with the items used during the summer like the lawn mower, rakes, and other garden tools stored to the back of the shed. Often, sheds are a secondary storage area so the garage isn’t jammed packed. Keeping the lawn mower & bikes in the garage is more convenient during the summer for some households; then bring the snowblower from the shed to the garage for easy access well before the 1st snow.

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Northwest Lancaster Co. Home Appeal Fall/Winter 2017