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A special supplement to

The Daily Republic and ADvisor April 2018



April 2018

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Spring is a season of rejuvenation. As the cold days of winter drift away, spring blooms begin to sprout and grass regains its lush green look. Green is certainly a color that’s synonymous with spring. Gardening enthusiasts can find a way to make spring even more green by embracing several eco-friendly gardening practices as they bring their lawns and gardens back to life in the months to come. ► Create a compost pile. Composting is an eco-friendly way to enrich lawns and gardens. Composting helps to conserve water because compost promotes moisture retention in soil, reducing homeowners’ need to water their lawns and gardens while also helping them to

save money on their water bills. Composting also helps homeowners avoid the need to use potentially harmful chemical fertilizers because compost is a natural, slow release fertilizer. In addition, according to Canada’s Green Action Centre, compostable materials make up 40 percent of residential waste. So composting can dramatically reduce the amount of waste homeowners ultimately send to landfills. ► Replace gas-powered mowers with reel lawn mowers. Reel mowers may seem like relics from simpler times, but today’s reel mowers, while just as eco-friendly as their predecessors, are unlike those of yesteryear.

GO GREEN: Page 13

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April 2018

Early-blooming spring flowers The arrival of spring is a welcome occurrence for many people. Budding flowers are among the harbingers of spring. Spring flowers can revitalize winter-weary people just when they need it most — and provide reassurance that brighter, warmer and longer hours of sunlight are just around the corner. Cold-tolerant flowers are hardy enough to start blooming before the last frosts have dissipated. Other flowers will begin to fill in as days warm a little bit more, according to Better Homes and Gardens. Home gardeners looking to warm up their gardens with early blooms can use these flowers in their early-season containers, window boxes and planting beds.

► Pansy: Pansies prefer cool weather, which can make them one of the best flowers to plant in early spring and late fall. Pansies come in a variety of colors, so there’s bound to be an offering that will blend with any homeowners’ landscape design. ► Creeping phlox: Also known “moss phlox,” creeping phlox is a short ground cover that is a herbaceous perennial. Phlox produces small, fragrant flowers in dense clusters, which can attract wildlife, such as butterflies, to their mats across the soil surface. ► Snowdrops: Snowdrops can peek out even when there is snow still on the ground — sometimes as early as January and February.

BLOOM: Page 6

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CHASE THE WINTER BLAHS WITH A WHIMSICAL FAIRY GARDEN By Maren Smith For The Daily Republic In the midst of a seemingly incessant winter, spring cannot come soon enough. People are anxious for the snow to melt, the temperature to rise, and the opportunity to plant their gardens. But for those too eager to wait for the weather to change, the James Valley Nursery provides a different gardening experience: fairy gardens. “As people began to get tired of winter and needed a taste of spring and growth, we decided to have fairy garden parties this spring,” said James Valley Nursery manager Andy Jerke. A fairy garden is a miniature garden composed of small structures, living

plants, and anything else that can be found in the garden. There is often a character as well, a figurine to be the fairy tending the garden. The key is that everything is small enough to fit into a container or pot in order to complete the “fairy look.” The activity was designed for people of all ages to continue their love of gardening and landscaping throughout the fall and winter while also being a creative outlet for the imagination. James Valley Nursery in Mitchell began offering fairy garden classes last fall. They have had four or five parties since then, each lasting about an hour. Party attendance ranged anywhere from five to 20 people.


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From Page 4

But their name is actually a reference to their appearance, as snowdrops have three white petals that hang down like drops dripping off the stem. ► Violets: These flowers are closely related to pansies and, as a result, prefer cool seasons. Violets are generally slightly smaller than pansy blooms, but they can be just as beautiful. But as with pansies, violets will start to fade when the heat arrives. ► Crocus: Crocus plants are relatively small, only reaching three to six inches in height. However, their grass-like leaves are some of the first sprouts that can be seen among bulb and corm plantings. Preferring full to

partial sun, these gold, purple, lavender, white, or yellow flowers can be enjoyed during the earliest days of spring. ► Daffodil: Daffodil bulbs produce cheerful, yellow flowers in early spring. They’re one of the most recognizable flowers thanks to their familiar shape and fragrant aroma. ► Lenten rose: Hellebores, also called the Lenten rose or Christmas rose, can tolerate light frosts. These blooms get their name from the time of year when they bloom, which is typically around the Christian Lenten season. Despite their name, these delicate flowers are not actually related to roses, however. Early-blooming flowers give winterweary gardeners hope that spring has arrived. MetroCreative



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April 2018


SIMPLE WAYS TO AVOID INJURY WHILE GARDENING During the winter, many people anxiously await the arrival of warm weather so they can get back outdoors. Gardening is one outdoor activity that attracts many a devotee. Although gardening can be a worthwhile and enjoyable hobby for people of all ages, like other activities, gardening carries certain safety risks, even though few people may give much thought to the risk of getting hurt when gardening. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that gardeners suffer thousands of injuries every year. Many of these injuries involve lawn and garden equipment or accesso-

ries used while tending to plants. From lawn mowers to pruners to manual garden tools, gardeners may handle various pieces of equipment that can make them susceptible to injury if they’re not careful. To reduce their risk for injury, gardeners can follow these important safety precautions. ► Plant gardens in raised garden beds and containers to reduce the need to stoop down to tend to plants. Raised beds are easier on gardeners’ backs and knees. ► Wear long-sleeved shirts and durable pants to protect arms and legs from branches, thorns and insects.

► Remove tripping hazards, such as roots, lumber, rocks, and loose gravel, from the yard at the start of gardening season. ► Wear gloves to prevent blisters from forming and to protect hands from any chemical products used in the garden. Gloves also can keep hands clean, ensuring bacteria and fungi do not find their way into open cuts or scrapes. ► Vary activities and take periodic breaks so prolonged repetitive motions do not contribute to soreness or injury. ► Follow instructions for tools, and always use the right tool for the job. MetroCreative

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Rain barrels provide an eco-friendly opportunity to repurpose rain water while helping homeowners conserve water and save money. But homeowners must exercise caution when using rain barrels in their lawns and gardens. Water collected by rain water should never be used for drinking, cooking or bathing. Pet owners should know that water collected by rain barrels also should not be used to bathe pets. Rain barrel lids should also be tightly secured to prevent mosquito infestations. Secure rain

barrels to also protect children and pets from falling in. Overflow valves should always direct water away from structures to prevent water damage to homes or sheds. In addition, to reduce risk of falls and injury, homeowners should be certain that water is not directed toward sidewalks, driveways or other areas where foot traffic is common. Before the arrival of winter, homeowners should disconnect their rain barrels from downspouts to prevent the formation of ice. MetroCreative

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Throughout the year these parties grew in popularity, thanks to the community. “It was totally driven by word of mouth and Facebook posts,” Jerke said. “People got their friends together and enjoyed making fairy garden for their homes.” It costs $25 per participant. James Valley Nursery provides each person with a container, soil, plants and characters. Marshmallows and cider were also provided by JVN to create a comfortable and whimsical atmosphere for guests. As spring approached and

the winter weather dragged on, JVN decided to continue their popular parties. “The response has been overwhelming,” Jerke said. “However, now we are booked for this spring season as we are out of room due to the spring plants being grown by our staff.” JVN is also welcoming to community opinion. “We are very open to new ideas of what types of parties people would like to see,” Jerke said. “Our staff is knowledgeable enough to help create a party with most any type of ‘green’ or gardening idea.” They are keen on creating gardening activities that the community will be just as excited for as they were for the fairy gardens.

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Local garden club has six-plus decades of experience By Maren Smith For The Daily Republic Garden enthusiasts in the community of Mitchell have met to share their love of plants and gardening for over 65 years. The Mitchell Area Garden Club (MAGC) has been in existence since 1952. The club was recently renamed by its members as the Mitchell Area Garden Club to include neighboring communities. The goal of MAGC is “‘to assist one another by sharing our knowledge of gardening and floral arranging,’” said club president Linda Mortimore. Currently consisting of 33 members, the club meets at 12:30 p.m. on the second

Tuesday of each month from September to May. Their meetings are regularly held in the meeting room of the Mitchell Public Library. At meetings, the business portion includes reports, roll call and upcoming events. One member then presents a floral design they created. Another member introduces an activity they are interested in during a 20-minute program. “We have had speakers talk to us about succulents, planting in pots, and yoga before gardening,” Mortimer said. “This year we are having speakers on bird counting/ watching and beekeeping.”

MAGC: Page 16


April 2018








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April 2018

HOW TO CONTROL COMMON SPRING PESTS Just when winter thaws out and people are anxious to enjoy the blooming flowers and luscious lawns of spring, pesky pests can appear and impact comfort levels and safety. Many pests resume their levels of activity as spring draws closer and temperatures warm up. The presence of these insects and rodents may cause problems in and around a home, which makes it essential to recognize them and avoid issues. The following are some of the more common spring pests and how to remedy infestations. Pavement ants Pavement ants are some of the most common pests residents encounter inside and outside of their homes. These ants are light brown to black with appendages that are lighter than the rest of their bodies. Small in stature, pavement ants have parallel lines on their heads and tho-

rax, according to pest extermination company Orkin. Although pavement ants nest outdoors, they can enter homes through small crevices in search of food scraps. Their large colonies may not disappear until treatment is introduced. Keep foods in tightly sealed containers, clear counters and floors of crumbs, and address water sources, such as leaks. Pesticides may be needed in extreme conditions. Fleas Fleas are tiny, jumping, biting pests that must find a host upon which to live. As ectoparasites, they feed on blood while living on the body of living hosts. Pets can bring fleas inside the yard and home in warm weather. According to the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, flea larvae develop

PESTS: Page 18

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GO GREEN From Page 3

According to the Planet Natural Research Center, an online resource for organic gardeners, gas-powered engines emit more than 10 times the hydrocarbons per amount of gas burned than auto engines. But reel mowers are fuel-free and less expensive than gas-powered mowers. Planet Natural also notes that reel mowers snip grass like scissors, leaving finer trimmings that can serve as nourishing, weed-deterring mulch for yards. ► Water at the right times of day. Homeowners who water their lawns and gardens at the right time of day can help the planet and reduce their energy bills. As spring gradually gives way to summer, temperatures typically rise. Watering during the coolest times of the day means less water will be lost to evaporation, ensuring water-needy soil will get all it needs to help lawns and

gardens thrive. Early morning watering before the sun reaches its midday peak and/ or evening watering as the sun is setting are typically great times to water lawns and gardens, rather than when temperatures are at their hottest. ► Use a rain barrel. Rain barrels provide another great way to conserve water while tending to lawns and gardens. Rain barrels collect and store rain water from roofs and downspouts, keeping water from washing into sewage systems where it can’t be put to good use. Water collected in rain barrels can be used in various ways. Many homeowners can use water from rain barrels to water their lawns, gardens and houseplants, saving money on their water bills along the way. Spring gardening season provides a great opportunity for lawn and garden enthusiasts to embrace a variety of eco-friendly practices that can save them money and protect the planet. MetroCreative

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DON’T RE-ROOF UNTIL YOU DO THESE 5 THINGS (BPT) — With spring officially arriving, home improvement season is swinging into full gear. Fair warning to homeowners looking to hire a professional, 2018 is predicted to be a record-breaker. A recent study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University projects home improvement spending will approach $340 billion this year — the strongest gain for remodeling in more than a decade. Among the costliest of projects is roofing, a large expense with serious implications if put off or improperly done. When you add 2018’s remodeling demand with the much-talked-about skilled labor shortage, on top of the recovery from last year’s hurricane season, homeowners could be tempted to jump right into major home work, all without doing their homework first. As this could prove costly, consider the following

before anyone sets foot on your roof: 1. Check contractor qualifications Choose a local, reputable contractor. These contractors should have the best knowledge of local building codes, state codes and required certifications and licenses. Ask the contractor to see their certificate of insurance before stepping onto the roof. Consider going the extra mile and choosing a contractor certified by the manufacturer of the shingle the contractor installs. Improper installation is considered one of the major reasons roofs fail prematurely, so finding a contractor with knowledge and experience in the correct application of a particular product is of the utmost importance. 2. Determine layover or tear off Many times, contractors will push for a removal of all existing shingles, or a tear off,

over adding another layer of shingles on top of an existing roof, a layover. Although a complete tear off is more expensive due to increased labor costs, there are some advantages. “When you tear off, you get a chance to look at the roof deck and repair any deteriorating wood or substrate,” said Rick Taylor, longtime roofing contractor and a trainer for shingle manufacturer TAMKO Building Products Inc. Typically, doing a layover is more economical, although homeowners need to discuss relevant factors with their contractor, including local building code requirements and implications for the manufacturer’s warranty. 3. Research the warranty It is important to understand the warranty specific to the roof product you have installed. Educate yourself on requirements for installation, including whether a shingle

layover is applicable (as mentioned above). “Some shingle manufacturers won’t warranty the roof unless it is a complete tear off,” Taylor said. “TAMKO is one that actually does have the option to warranty a laminated shingle applied over one other layer of 3-tab shingles.” Other warranty concerns to consider include proper installation, the required steps to register your roof after installation and the time period allowed for transferring that warranty to future owners of the home. 4. Assess ventilation needs Inadequate roof ventilation is another major culprit behind premature roof aging. There are a variety of options for roof ventilation; however, it is generally recommended to incorporate proper ventilation into the original re-roof, rather than add it later. The recommended ventilation depends on the size

and architecture of the home, but when done correctly, the air inside the attic should be near the same temperature as the ambient temperature of the air outside it. 5. Check the weather It may seem obvious, but a simple check of the weather before starting a roofing project could prevent a big headache later. Avoid starting a project with wet plywood or underlayment, or when the forecast indicates a strong chance of rain. Also, many manufacturers of asphalt shingles, the most popular form of roofing in the U.S., do not recommend installation in below-freezing temperatures or in excessively high temperatures. Careful consideration of these steps during your next home exterior project could save you from costly and lengthy rework years later. — Source: Brandpoint

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MAGC From Page 10

During the months of summer, the group will coordinate road trips to gardening destinations, such as greenhouses, garden tours, flower shows, and apple orchards. The MACG is also heavily involved in a number of community service projects. Members will be conduct-

ing a flower planting class at Lifequest; they also teach a “Growing Gardeners” class for kids through the Park and Rec summer activities. “In the fall, we collect cedar boughs and other dried material and decorate the flower pots on the light poles on Mitchell’s main street with festive winter décor,” said Mortimer. “Our big project in 2017 was purchasing the Blue Star Memorial Marker that

was installed in the Veterans Park, honoring all American Veterans, past present and future,” she added. “We purchased and planted the flowers and shrubs in the flower beds there. We will be cleaning the beds and adding a few annuals for instant color.” A major project for the club is the selection of Yard of the Month. “We are all on the lookout for beautiful yards both inside and outside of Mitchell

that homeowners (or renters) have worked hard themselves to beautify their outdoor space,” said Mortimer. Members of the MACG are assigned to the east side of town, west side of town and out of town, seeking candidates. They look at the entire yard as a whole, considering trees, lawn, flower beds, design and color, and vegetable gardens. Three yards are selected for each month in the summer.

April 2018

The club welcomes any recommendations from the community or surrounding areas for Yard of the Month. Suggestions can be made by contacting Mortimer or emailing The Mitchell Area Garden Club encourages new members and visitors to attend monthly meetings. Mortimer said, “We look forward to new members, new ideas and new friendships.”

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IDEAS TO HELP YOU REAP BIG REWARDS FROM YOUR GARDEN flowers that grow and fill in quickly and thrive in extremes. The Megawatt Begonia brings magnetic color even in shaded spaces. It’s also a low-maintenance option if you’re new to gardening. Likewise, the Echinacea Sombrero Sangrita is a perennial flower that returns each year with stunning red blossoms. For foodies who want to show off Every chef knows the secret to tasty cooking is great ingredients. For many gardeners, the truly magical combination is finding that edible veggie that looks as good as it tastes. Take 2 Combos combine two sweet pepper plants with a touch of heat and beautiful orange and yellow fruit. There’s also a combo of a slicer and cherry tomato perfect for small spaces and for snacking and cooking. Speaking of peppers, a new, attractive variety is Candy Cane Red Pepper. It has green fruit striping that ripens to red and offers up crisp, sweet flavors, much like a candy cane! A refuge for bees, butterflies and beyond There are dozens of reasons people choose to garden: fresh food, interior and exterior decoration, relax-

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birds feast upon ► SuperBlue Lavender — A deeply colorful and fragrant bee magnet Gardening helps you relax and decompress. What’s more, there is a huge amount of satisfaction involved in seeing your vegetables and flowers grow. Follow these trends and watch your plants blossom and beautify your home and yard. After all, we could all use a little more color in our lives. — Source: Brandpoint

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PESTS From Page 12

more quickly at higher temperatures. At normal room temperatures, the entire life cycle of a flea is about 18 days. Several flea control products are available to control fleas on cats and dogs. There also may be powders and sprays to alleviate flea infestations in the home. Vacuuming is also very effective in killing larvae in the carpet and at picking up adults. Wasps An errant wasp, hornet or yellow jacket may have survived winter and ridden out the colder temperatures within a home. Once the weather warms, queens will begin to look for places to lay eggs and establish colonies. Treating areas where wasps are seen entering and leaving the home is key. Seal holes as soon as possible. Although wasps help con-

April 2018

trol other insect populations, their painful stings and potentially aggressive nature can make them challenging to have around a home. If a nest is found, hire a professional to remove it. Spiders Many spiders are not harmful enough to humans and pets to be much of a problem. In fact, spiders can be helpful to have around to control the populations of other insects. Still, many homeowners would prefer these web-slinging friends remain outdoors. Therefore, sealing cracks in a home’s foundation and repairing small openings around windows and doors can help keep spiders out. Also, alleviating moisture issues in basements, garages or attics may keep out other bugs that would be prey to spiders. Homeowners can take the steps necessary to cut down on pests in and around their homes. — MetroCreative


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April 2018


HOUSE HUNTING? USE THIS HANDY CHECKLIST BEFORE YOU MAKE THE OFFER House hunting can feel like an adventurous new chapter in your life. If you’re lucky enough to find the property that checks off all the “must have” boxes — appearance, size, price, location — it’s easy to fall in love. Not so fast. Before making an offer on any property, it’s smart to take a deeper look at the overall structure and its systems, just to make sure warning signs of major and costly problems are not hiding in plain sight. If the house holds more issues than your budget (and drive to renovate) can handle, it might be best to walk away. Of course, once the offer is accepted, it’s always a smart idea to hire a third-party home inspector to take an in-depth look at the property. In the meantime, one last pass-through with this

checklist in hand can give you peace of mind about taking the next step. Exterior: Walk around all four sides of the house, scanning it from ground to rooftop. Note the condition of the doors and window frames, and look for cracked or peeling paint or signs of loose siding. Higher up, eye the chimney, making sure it appears straight and is in good condition, while the gutters and drainpipes should be in place and functional. Roof: Ideally, the roof would be 10 years old or less, so scan the roof for the classic warning signs of aging and neglect. Things like curled and missing shingles, dark stains, moss growth and signs of sagging can signal serious issues. (A home inspector can confirm if full replacement is needed, or if a few simple

repairs would stabilize things for another decade or so. Yard: Take note of the landscaping. Is there a slope angled away from the house, or is there a potential for a flooded basement after a major rainfall? Mature trees provide lots of shade, but watch for overhanging branches, as these can break off in a storm and do major damage to the roof. Finally, take note of the condition of the driveway and sidewalks. Foundation: The sight of a few hairline cracks in the cement is no cause for panic. Do look for telltale signs of serious issues, such as widening cracks, water stains and bulges. It doesn’t hurt to bring a level to make sure the walls are straight. Plumbing: In addition to checking basement and under-sink pipes for signs of

leaks, scan the ceilings for water stains. Open all the faucets to check the water pressure as well as the time it takes for hot water to reach the tap. HVAC system: Know the age of the heating and cooling systems, and check these for tags and other signs of routine maintenance. If the system is older than a decade, that can spell costly repairs and a replacement in a brief time frame. When it comes to older systems, energy efficiency is another consideration, according to Tom Tasker, product manager with Coleman Echelon Variable Capacity residential systems. “Newer HVAC systems are remarkably more efficient when compared to those from even a decade ago, which means they keep your house comfortable for as little as

half the cost,” says Tasker. For example, Coleman’s Echelon products are rated up to 20 SEER, which stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. Compare these to the 10 SEER systems of 25 years ago, and that can give you an idea of what to expect in potential energy costs, he says. Appliances: Note the age and condition of things like the refrigerator, oven and range, washer and dryer, and hot water heater. As with the HVAC, older appliances tend to consume more energy and you’ll face a shorter timeline for needed repairs and replacements. Buying a house is a big decision, but knowing what you’re buying can go a long way in assuring you that you’ve found the right place! — Source: Brandpoint


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April 2018

10 REASONS TO PLANT A TREE THIS SPRING Did you know planting a tree is one of the easiest and most powerful things you can do to have a positive impact on the environment? It’s true. Trees clean the air, prevent rainwater runoff, help you save energy and even combat global warming. And they’re a snap to plant! No horticultural degree required. With Arbor Day just around the corner in April, there’s no better time to give Mother Nature a little TLC by planting a tree. From the single homeowner in Nebraska planting a maple in her backyard to the 250 Comcast employees volunteering in communities devastated by hurricanes, fires and emerald ash borer infestation by planting hundreds of trees on Comcast Cares Day (the nation’s largest sin-

gle-day corporate volunteer event), people nationwide are getting their tree on this spring. Here are 10 reasons why you should join them. ► Trees fight climate change. Wish you could do more than recycling and reducing your carbon footprint to combat climate change? Trees have you covered. Through photosynthesis, trees absorb harmful carbon dioxide, removing and storing the carbon and releasing oxygen back into the air. ► Trees clean the air and help you breathe. Trees don’t just absorb CO2. They also absorb odors and pollutants like nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone. It’s estimated that one tree can absorb nearly 10 pounds of polluted air each year and

release 260 pounds of oxygen. ► Trees prevent soil erosion and rainwater runoff. During heavy rains, water runoff finds its way to streams, lakes and wetlands, creating the potential for flooding. It also picks up and carries pollutants along the way. The EPA and the Center for Watershed Protection are recognizing the importance of trees in managing runoff. Leaf canopies help buffer the falling rain and their roots hold the soil in place, encouraging the water to seep into the ground rather than run off. ► Planting trees is easy. Gardening can be intimidating for newbies because there are so many variables.

TREES: Page 22

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Which plants and flowers should you put next to each other and which should you separate? Which bloom in the summer and which bloom in the fall? When you’re dealing with trees, there’s none of that. Just choose a spot in your yard and you’re good to go. Here’s a video showing you all you need to know about planting your young trees: com/watch?v=d5FiqoypXfo. ► You’ll save money. Trees conserve energy in summer and winter, providing shade from the hot summer sun and shelter from cold winter winds. With trees standing between you and the elements, you’ll spend less on your energy bill to heat and cool your home. ► Trees increase your home’s value. Studies of comparable homes with and

without trees show that, if you have trees in your yard, your home’s value increases by up to 15 percent. It’s all about curb appeal, and trees make your home and yard more beautiful. ► You’ll attract birds (and critters). Trees provide nesting sites, food and shelter for your bird friends. Hang a feeder in one of the branches and enjoy the birdsong all year long. Squirrels love to make their homes in trees, too, and watching their antics is a great way to spend a lazy summer afternoon. ► Trees are good for your mental and physical health. A view of trees in urban areas has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety and even the crime rate. Treefilled gardens on hospital grounds speed healing in hospital patients. ► You’ll be giving your descendants a gift. Trees can live hundreds of years,

April 2018

so when you plant one, you’re giving a gift to your children and grandchildren. It’s a symbol of your commitment to the environment and the beauty of the world around you that will live on far beyond your own lifetime. ► Free trees! Join the nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation for $10 and they’ll send you 10 trees selected for the region of the country where you live, at the right time to plant them. You’ll also get planting instructions and other information. The trees are guaranteed to grow or the Foundation will replace them. Visit www.arborday. org to join. An ancient Chinese proverb states: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” To find out more about planting trees, visit the Arbor Day Foundation at Source: Brandpoint

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April 2018

Home & Garden Spring 2018  

The spring 2018 edition about Home and Gardening projects and tips by the Daily Republic

Home & Garden Spring 2018  

The spring 2018 edition about Home and Gardening projects and tips by the Daily Republic