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APRIL 15, 2019

Spring Home & Auto

The Press

Get ready: early spring landscaping tips During the cold months of winter, many people stare longingly out of the window dreaming of spring and time spent outdoors. For those with green thumbs, images of tending to the garden and other aspects of their landscapes no doubt dominate such daydreams. Draw inspiration from those budding crocuses and daffodils pushing through the last remnants of snow and employ these tips to prepare for the upcoming gardening season. • One of the first steps is to apply a preemergent weed killer to get a head start knocking out weeds that can plague the lawn during the growing season. Killing weeds at the roots early on can mean far fewer hassles in spring and summer, and may prevent new generations of weeds from cropping up each year. • While it may be tempting to take a prematurely warm day as a sign that spring is in full force and purchase a bunch of annuals, it’s better to know the last of the possible frost dates (check “The Farmer’s Almanac”); otherwise, you may waste time and money planting flowers or vegetables only to have them zapped by another frosty day. • Amend the soil so that it is the right consistency just crumbling when lifting it. Soil that is too muddy after spring thaw can harden, making it difficult for plants to flourish later on. Speak with representatives at a local lawn and garden center about which types of amendments you can add to the soil in your particular area to enrich it. • Lawn and garden experts suggest filling in bare patches of lawn now by mixing a few shovelfuls of soil with grass seed. Then apply this patch to the bare areas, water, and continue to care for the area until the spot fills in. • Spend a day in the garage or shed tending to the lawn mower and other gardening equipment. Clean all tools and ensure that everything works, repairing parts as needed. • Give outdoor entertaining spaces

Draw inspiration from those budding crocuses and daffodils pushing through the last remnants of snow and employ these tips to prepare for the upcoming gardening season. a good scrubbing, clearing away dirt and grime that may have accumulated over the winter. Use a leaf blower to blow away any leftover leaves. • Check if the front porch, railings or decking need painting and/or staining. Tackle these projects when the weather is cooler so everything will be ready for those peak spring days.

• Think about any annuals you might want to plant in the landscape this year that will complement any existing shrubbery or perennials. Come up with a theme so that the entire yard is cohesive. Before homeowners know it, winter is gone and it is time to once again enjoy long days spent outdoors. Get a jump start on spring lawn prep as soon as you can.

Staying put or moving on Many home improvement television series showcase people deciding whether to improve upon their current homes to make them into the houses of their dreams or to put “for sale” signs in their lawns and move on to something new. The question of whether to move or stay put depends on various factors. Such factors may include emotional attachment to a home, the current economic climate and the cost of real estate. Current data points to a greater propensity for people to invest and improve upon their current properties rather than trading up. According to information collected by John Burns Real Estate Consulting, the percentage of homeowners moving up to their next home is the lowest in 25 years. Many are opting to make starter homes permanent by expanding them and repairing homes for the long haul. The National Association of Realtors said that, between 1987 and 2008, home buyers stayed in their homes an average of six years before selling. Since 2010, however, NAR says the average expected length of time people will stay in their homes before selling is now 15 years. Part of what’s fueling this permanency is that many home buyers were able to acquire rock-bottom mortgage interest rates shortly after the 2008 recession. As a result, they’re not inclined to walk away from those rates, even if doing so means getting more house. Also, a low inventory of available houses has stymied repeat buying for many people. Those factors and others have led many homeowners to invest in renovations instead. The experts say realistic budgeting and comparing renovation project costs against mortgages and interest rates can further help individuals decide whether to remain in their current homes or move out. Very often a smarter layout and more efficient floor plan can make meaningful differences in spaces. Renovations and redesigns can make sense and often are less expensive and disruptive than moving.

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The Press

APRIL 15, 2019


Spring Home & Auto

Quick and simple ways to make a front door pop Visitors’ impressions of a home are often dictated by the home’s entryway. Must as one may judge a book by its cover, the same can be said about the impression that a front door and entryway can create, regardless of how accurate that impression is. Making certain changes to an entryway can go a long way toward improving curb appeal. Entryways also can set the scene for a home’s interior. Whether one chooses to be classic or bold, modern or traditional, there are various ways to quickly transform a home’s entryway. • Bold front door color. Color can dramatically enhance an entryway. Painting an existing door or replacing it with a more vivid option can do the trick. The DIY Network says certain colors stand out as favorites. These include turquoise, yellow, red, indigo, orange and black. The door color should complement the other shades of the home, such as those on siding and trim. • Custom walkway. Guide guests right to the front door with an attractive (and safe) walkway. Stamped concrete or decorative paver blocks may fit the bill. This walkway can extend to the street or to the driveway. • Contain plants. Landscaping around

the entryway should be neat and well-tended. Overgrown plants or shrubbery may give off an air of neglect. Container plants and carefully curated shrubs can create a neat and inviting aura. • Highlight the address. Make sure the home can be found easily with bold and decorative house numbers. Consider two different address signs: one illuminated and easily viewed from the curb, and another closer to the front door. • Utilize high-end materials. The relatively small area of real estate by the front door enables homeowners to splurge on more opulent materials that can really add a feeling of luxury. These can include colorful tiles, ornate planters, decorative wooden doors, or elaborate knobs and lighting fixtures. • Add architectural details. Find out which architectural elements will meld with the style of the home and then incorporate them. Moldings, columns, shutters, and trim are areas to consider. The entryway to a home garners a lot of attention. Homeowners can enhance their spaces with entryways that really make a statement.

Entryways can set the scene for a home’s interior. Whether one chooses to be classic or bold, modern or traditional, there are various ways to quickly transform a home’s entryway.

Emerging deck trends: custom-built, entertainment spaces Custom-built decks can expand usable outdoor entertaining spaces. Decks can surround pools and create outdoor patio areas that make it easy to establish multitiered living spaces, improving the functionality of outdoor areas. Certain deck trends have emerged as industry experts’ top picks for the upcoming remodeling and renovation season. For those thinking of revamping an existing deck, or building an entirely new one, these trends are on point. • Established perimeters “Picture framing” is not a new trend, but one that has taken greater hold in recent years. The term refers to aesthetically appealing designs that con-

ceal the ends of deck boards for a clean finish. Some designs feature contrasting material colors on the ends for even more impact. This helps create refined perimeters for a polished look. • Roof-top decking Urban areas also can benefit from decking to create usable outdoor spaces. In fact, many new condominium and townhouse communities are incorporating roof-top decks into their designs, particularly in communities with water views or other impressive vistas. HGTV experts suggest roof-top decks feature light-colored materials and fixtures to help keep the area cool even in direct sunlight. • Distressed hardwood Builder and

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Developer, a management resource for professional homebuilders, says that the trend for using distressed hardwoods at home has migrated outside. Some decking manufacturers have recently introduced low-maintenance composite deck boards that mimic the look and feel of distressed, rustic hardwood flooring. This weathered appearance gives the look of age without the upkeep of real aged wood. • Wooden walkways Decking can be the more traditional design people envision with a patio table or outdoor furniture. But it also can consist of wooden walkways or a low-laying patio to accentuate the yard. • Mixed materials Homeowners may be inspired by commercial eateries, breweries

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APRIL 15, 2019

Spring Home & Auto

The Press

Potential culprits behind grass thinning issues Thick grass is often a hallmark of a healthy lawn. If grass begins to thin, homeowners may feel as though all the time and effort they spent tending to their lawns was for naught. Thinning grass can be caused by any number of things. And while it might take a little effort to address, thinning grass can be treated if homeowners correctly identify that cause of the problem. Leaf spot – The Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment at the University of Massachusetts Amherst notes that leaf spot diseases affect both cool- and warm-season turfgrasses. Various fungi can cause leaf spot. Symptoms and the timing of the appearance of leaf spot will vary depending on which fungi is causing the problem. For example, bipolaris sorokiniana, which affects grasses in warm, wet summer months, produces small spots that are dark purple to black. Dreschslera poae is another fungus that causes leaf spot, and it also produces dark purple to black spots. However, it tends to appear in the spring when the weather is cool and moist. Understanding the different fungi and when they typically strike can help homeowners identify what is causing their grass to thin. In such situations, professional landscapers can be invaluable resources as well. Stripe smut – The University of Maryland Extension notes that stripe smut pri-

While it might take a little effort to address, thinning grass can be treated if homeowners correctly identify that cause of the problem.

marily poses a threat to Kentucky bluegrass that is older than three years. Pale green streaks that run parallel to the veins in the leaves and leaf sheaths are symptomatic of stripe smut, which tends to be noticed in spring and fall, when weather is cool. As the disease progresses, stripes turn black or a silvery gray, causing the leaf blade to shred and curl. After the blades have shred, they turn brown and die. The grass thins because stripe smut makes it vulnerable to problems like drought. Ascochyta leaf blight – Lawns suffering from ascochyta leaf blight will become straw-colored. According to lawn care and pesticide experts, when a lawn is affected by ascochyta leaf blight, its healthy grass blades will be mixed in with diseased grass blades. Most prevalent in the spring, this disease can affect grass at any time during the growing season. That’s because the ascochyta fungi invade leaf blades through wounds, such as those that can result from mowing. Experts notes that dull lawn mowers can contribute to the disease, which might disappear on its own and can even return after it’s seemingly been cured. Various issues can cause grass blades to thin. Working with a landscape professional is a great way to combat such issues before they compromise the look of a lawn.

Did you know? Oxygen is essential for the roots of grass to breathe and grow strong enough to support healthy lawns. But according to the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, compacted soil can produce a decrease in oxygen content that can make it hard for roots to thrive. Soil compaction can result from a number of activities, including walking on grass or driving or parking vehicles on grass. When soil is compacted, it breaks into small particles that reduce the amount of pore space in the soil.

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That makes it hard for water, oxygen and nutrients to get through, threatening the strength of the roots and putting the grass in jeopardy. Aerating a lawn can help homeowners foster strong root growth and healthy grass. When to aerate may be contingent upon local climate, so homeowners who suspect the soil in their yards is compact should consult with a local landscaping professional to determine the best time to aerate their lawns.

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The Press

APRIL 15, 2019


Spring Home & Auto

Simple ways to prevent dog-related lawn damage Dogs love spending time outdoors. Dog owners with yards know that dogs benefit greatly from some exercise in the backyard. While that time might be great for dogs, it can take its toll on lawns. Dog urine and feces can adversely affect the look and health of a lush green lawn. Nitrogen is essential to healthy soil, but only at certain levels. When those levels are exceeded, the result can be lawn damage. According to The Spruce Pets, an advisory site that offers practical tips and training advices to pet owners, this is what happens when pets frequently urinate on grass. Urine is naturally high in nitrogen, so when pets urinate on lawns, the grass might turn yellow or brown due to the excess nitrogen content. Nitrogen also is present in lawn fertilizers, further exacerbating the problem for pet owners who fertilize their lawns. In addition to urine damage, dogs can trample frosted grass, contributing to problems that may not become evident until spring, and get into areas like gardens where they wreak additional havoc. Pet owners who want to let their dogs run free in the yard but don’t want damaged grass may be tempted to put their pooches in diapers or confine them to crates when letting them outside. But such an approach isn’t necessary. In fact, some simple strategies can be highly effective at preventing dog-related lawn damage. • Speak with a landscaper about planting new grass. Certain types of grass, such as Bermuda grass, can withstand dog damage better than others. Local climate will dictate which types of grass are likely to thrive in a given area, so speak with a professional landscaper about the viability of planting new grass. • Install fencing. Pet owners with expansive yards can install fencing that allows dogs to spend time exercising outdoors without granting them access to the entire property. Large dogs will need more room than small ones, but try to build fenced-in areas that allow dogs to run freely and get the exercise they need to stay

Dog owners with yards know that dogs benefit greatly from some exercise in the backyard. While that time might be great for dogs, it can take its toll on lawns. healthy. • Work with a dog trainer. Dog trainers might be able to work with dogs so they only urinate in certain areas of the yard, greatly reducing the damage they can cause to a lawn. Trainers also might help curb

digging and clawing behaviors that can damage lawns as well as gardens. • Consider hardscaping. Hardscaping might be most effective for pet owners with small properties. Hardscaping does not include grass and can add visual appeal

to a property while saving pet owners the headaches of dealing with dog-related lawn damage. Dogs need time outdoors, and homeowners can take various steps to protect their lawns from dog-related damage.

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APRIL 15, 2019

Spring Home & Auto

The Press

Keep tires road-worthy for safer driving Making driving more safe can come down to ensuring that the vehicle is in good working order starting from the ground up. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns that an average of 200 people die each year in tire-related crashes. In 2016, 733 people across the United States lost their lives in accidents in which tire malfunction was a contributing factor. Roughly 70 percent of single vehicle accidents are tire-related. Taking tire maintenance seriously can greatly reduce the chances of blowouts, accidents and fatalities. Maintain the right pressure Caring for tires not only improves safety, but also it extends the life of the tires, saving drivers money as a result. Michelin Tires says that simply checking the tires’ inflation pressure can make a significant difference in how long tires last. For example, a tire that is consistently 20 percent under-inflated may see its life expectancy reduced by 20 percent. Tires that are not properly inflated also can have a high rolling resistance. In such instance, the engine must expend more effort to move the vehicle thus eating up fuel. Pressure should be checked at ambient temperature before driving, states AAA.

The recommended inflation pressure can be found in the drivers manual or on the tire. Check tire tread Tires rely on good tread depth to maintain traction and shed water during wet conditions. AAA recommends checking tread with a visual inspection and with the

“quarter test.” Insert a quarter into a tread groove with the top of Washington’s head facing down. If the top of his head is not visible, the tires have at least 4/32’ of tread and are acceptable for continued use. If the top of Washington’s head shows, tires need to be replaced. Learn about tire aging Check the owner’s manual for specific recommendations concerning replacing the spare tire for the vehicle. Some manufacturers state after six years, while others say 10 years is the maximum service life for tires. While most tire centers will use newly manufactured tires when replacing tires, you can double check the age of any tire by looking at the sidewall for the tire identification number (TIN), offers NHTSA. The last four digits are the week and year of manufacture. Keep up on maintenance Wheel alignment, tire rotation and tire balancing are all key to minimizing wear and extending the life and safety of tires. Each vehicle has specific recommendations, and drivers should consult their manuals to find those specifics. Tire function is an important part of maintaining vehicle safety and performance.

Did you know? Self-driving cars might once have seemed like a futuristic concept that may never come to fruition, but the future is now. In 2018, Waymo, once known as the Google self-driving car project, launched its commercial self-driving car service in Phoenix. While not widely available and safety protocols, including the presence of human safety operators behind the wheel, are in place, Waymo has made it possible for people to pay for self-driving car rides. Fellow tech giants, including Apple and IBM, also are working on self-driving car services. And much like many things in the tech industry, the self-driving car market figures to evolve rapidly, making it seem as though the availability of self-driving cars became widespread overnight. However, today’s self-driving vehicles are the byproduct of years of research and sizable financial investments. For example, a little more than a decade ago, Darpa, the experimental laboratory of the Pentagon, hosted the Urban Challenge at an Air Force base in Southern California. At that event, which was one of a handful sponsored by the United States military, several driverless vehicles traversed real traffic conditions.

Three reasons to skip topping off at the filling station The familiar click of the nozzle when filling up at the gas station is recognizable to anyone with a few miles of driving under their belt. Once that nozzle clicks, just about every driver faces the decision of whether or not to squeeze a few extra cents’ worth of gas into their vehicles or remove the nozzle from their vehicles, place it back where it belongs and head off on their way. Such scenes play out every day across the globe, and it’s likely that the majority of drivers try to squeeze a few extra drops into their tank. While topping off can seem like a financially savvy way to delay your next

trip to the filling station, doing so may only cost drivers and the planet they call home. The following are four great reasons to skip topping off the next time you pull into a filling station. 1. Topping off costs you money. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, drivers who top off at the pump are likely paying for gas they’re not getting. that’s because gas station pumps have vapor recovery systems that feed gas vapors back into their tanks in an effort to decrease air pollution. So, any gas that drivers try to pump into their tanks after the nozzle has

clicked may only be drawn into the vapor line and fed back into the gas station’s tanks and not your vehicle’s fuel tank. 2. Topping off may damage your car. Topping off won’t just hurt your pocketbook; it can potentially damage your vehicle as well. Fuel tanks need extra room inside them so gas can expand while the car is being operated. Without room to expand, gas may evaporate into the vehicle’s vapor collection system, which can damage the system and produce greater gas emissions, thereby harming the planet. 3. Topping off can affect the air you

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22110 W. St. Rt. 51, Genoa â&#x20AC;¢ 419-855-8366




APRIL 15, 2019

Spring Home & Auto

The Press

Develop and stick to a vehicle maintenance schedule The oft-sudden expense of vehicle repairs can throw monthly budgets into disarray. Maintaining a routine service schedule is one way for drivers to keep repair costs down. The online automotive resources says many car owners do not adequately prepare for scheduled maintenance, and may not give maintenance a thought until it’s too late. The first step drivers take upon purchasing a new or preowned vehicle should be to familiarize themselves with the vehicle’s owner’s manual, which is filled with valuable information and likely includes maintenance interval recommendations. Next, drivers should learn about their vehicle, which is particularly relevant when buying a preowned vehicle. Getting to know how the car or truck rides, as well as any sounds it may make, can provide drivers with a solid foundation they can then use to keep their cars running strong. Routine service typically includes tire rotation, oil changes and topping off of fluids. So just how long between service appointments can a car go? Here are some generalized estimates. • Oil change Oil chemistry and engine technology have improved so much that most cars can go well beyond the once-recommended 3,000-mile interval between oil changes. Now many vehicle manufacturers recommend between 5,000 and 10,000 miles between changes, advises Edmunds. Drivers should err on the side of caution if they do a lot of stop-and-go driving and short trips. Other drivers may want to invest in vehicles that have oil change maintenance minders built in. A light or countdown will come on the dashboard, indicating when the oil has reached the end of its usefulness. • Tire rotation Rotating tires helps prolong the life of the tires and alleviates uneven tread and wear. During the rotation, each tire is removed and relocated to a different position to ensure that all the tires will wear evenly. Michelin Tires states that tires should be rotated around every six months, or between 6,000 and 8,000 miles. • Vehicle fluids Your best bet is to see what the manufacturer recommends in regard to fluids such as transmission fluid, differential oil, brake fluids, coolant, etc. Some transmissions need regular maintenance, while others can go 150,000 miles between changes, according to the vehicle information site The Drive. Coolant typically can last 100,000 miles. For these types of changes, it may be best to go to a mechanic or service center familiar with your make and model rather than a quick-lube center, as knowing when to drain and refill can be more complicated. Service schedules can be designed to adhere to manufacturers’ recommendations and drivers’ personal preferences.

YOUR HOME, YOUR nest egg.

Use the equity in your home to get a line of credit for home improvements, college tuition, a new vehicle, or to pay off high-interest debts. Call us to discover how your home’s nest egg can work for you.

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This product is for new lines of credit of $20,000 or more, or an increase of $20,000 or more on an existing line of credit. The APR is 5.50% and is based on the current Prime Rate as published in the Wall Street Journal for loans with a maximum loan to value of 80% and First Federal Bank holds the first mortgage. The APR is 6.50% and is based on the current Prime Rate as published in the Wall Street Journal, plus a margin of 1.00% for loans in which First Federal Bank does not have the first mortgage and the maximum loan to value is 80%. The rate is variable and may increase after loan closing. The floor rate is 0% and the ceiling rate is 15%. The customer must meet credit, income and equity guidelines to qualify. There is a 5-year draw period of interest only monthly payments. The minimum monthly interest payment is $100.00. The 5-year draw period is followed by a 10-year payback period of principal and interest payments which is billed monthly. During the draw period, you can access your funds by writing checks. There is no annual fee or non-usage fee. There is an early termination fee if a customer decides to close their line (not just pay it to zero) within the first 24 months. The fee is 2% of the balance at closing, with a maximum of $300. All fees to set-up the account are waived. Property insurance is required. Flood insurance may be required. Offer of credit is subject to credit approval. This offer expires on September 30, 2019.


The Press

APRIL 16, 2018


Spring Home & Auto

How to control crabgrass before it appears this summer Homeowners who enjoy tending to their lawns know that grass is vulnerable to a host of problems, many of which appear at a time of year when lawn enthusiasts want to showcase the fruits of their lawnand-garden labors. Crabgrass is a common problem that appears in summer. These plants produce thousands of seeds between midsummer and early fall. While the first frosts of latefall or early winter kill the crabgrass plants, the seeds produced by the plants remain dormant throughout winter and then begin to grow as the ground temperature warms up with the spring and summer thaw. As a result, controlling germination, which is the development of a plant from a seed or spore after a period of dormancy, is the key to preventing crabgrass from becoming an unsightly blemish that can harm your lawn in summer. A proactive approach to crabgrass can save homeowners the headaches of dealing with this unwanted guest taking over their grass. The following tips can help homeowners reduce the likelihood of their lawns being overcome by crabgrass as summer hits full swing. • Recognize that routine lawn maintenance may not be enough. Even lawns that receive sufficient TLC can fall victim to crabgrass. A proactive, crabgrassspecific approach to lawn maintenance is the most effective way to control the problem before it pops up. • Apply a pre-emergent herbicide. Preemergent herbicides kill crabgrass seedlings as they germinate. While these herbicides are highly effective, they must be applied at precisely the right time. The right time to apply them depends on weather patterns. For example, homeowners who live in regions that might have experienced warmer than usual winters will probably need to apply the herbicides earlier than usual. While the manufacturer instructions should always be followed when applying herbicides, it’s essential that homeowners take weather patterns into consideration as well. • Wait until the ground temperature

rises above 60 F. Applying herbicides when the ground temperature is below 60 F might render the products ineffective. Gauging soil temperature can be tricky, but monitoring shrubs and trees on the property is advised. Once shrubs begin to bloom and trees bud, herbicide can be applied. • Wait when treating newly seeded

lawns. Pre-emergent herbicides might kill new grass seedlings, so homeowners with newly seeded lawns should wait until they have mowed their lawns three times before applying a herbicide. • Emphasize uniform application. If a herbicide is not applied uniformly across the lawn, crabgrass can establish itself and ultimately spread to the rest of the lawn.

• Do not thatch or aerate after applying a herbicide. Thatching or aerating a lawn after applying a herbicide might break the product’s chemical barrier, thereby rendering it ineffective. Crabgrass can quickly spread on an untreated lawn. A proactive approach that prevents its growth can keep lawns looking great through summer.



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APRIL 15, 2019

Spring Home & Auto

The Press

Tips for staying safe with keyless entry systems Auto manufacturers have long embraced technology that can streamline the automotive experience for drivers. For example, several years ago keyless entry and ignition systems were introduced, initially on high-end vehicles before they became standard on many other models. Keyless entry systems require a fob, which sends a signal to the receiver inside the vehicle. The fob transmits a low-frequency code to the car’s internal computer system, which engages the locks and will allow the driver to push a button on the dashboard or console to start the vehicles. The fob can be stashed away in a pocket or purse and still send the signal, which makes it convenient for drivers. Drivers with arthritis or hand injuries also may find keyless systems an asset. Because fobs work on wireless systems, hackers potentially can intercept the fobto-car signal. That enables a thief to not only open the vehicle’s doors, but also to potentially drive away as well. Even though the fob/car security pairing is unique and can create billions of codes, researchers at Radboud University in the Netherlands and the University of Birmingham found that, by intercepting the wireless signal just twice, they could narrow down the possible combinations from billions to just 200,000. After that, a computer can figure out the code in just half an hour and unlock the car. Potentially, a thief can gather car

Drivers also should be aware of their surroundings as they approach their vehicles.

Keyless entry and ignition systems might be convenient, but they require caution and common sense. codes as drivers enter their vehicles during the day, then return later to steal a number of cars. Thieves who purchase signal amplifiers also pose a threat. These amplifiers magnify the reach of the fob signal so that a vehicle owner can be in his or her house with the fob, but the thief can walk up to the car

Spring has Sprung... And so have the pests!




surroundings as they approach their vehicles. Thieves may count on keyless entry systems to be able to hop into a vehicle once the owner gets within range and drive away. Vehicle technology thrives to make driving as convenient as possible, but some features also may make things more convenient for prospective thieves.

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and open it even if the fob is far enough away that it should not engage. One way to circumvent this is to buy a signal-blocking pouch that can hold the key fob. Also, an old-school steering wheel or gear shift lock is an effective way to provide another layer of protection. Drivers also should be aware of their

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APRIL 15, 2019

April 12-27

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APRIL 15, 2019

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Spring Home, Garden & Auto 2019  

Spring Home, Garden & Auto 2019

Spring Home, Garden & Auto 2019  

Spring Home, Garden & Auto 2019