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Monarch protections across states aim to prevent federal rules KRISTIAN HERNÁNDEZ groves in both coastal
California and Mexico, and the widespread use of Each spring, millions herbicides and pesticides. of monarch butterflies Many of these stressors leave their overwintering are worsened by climate sites in the Sierra Madre change, according to mountains of central advocates. Mexico and begin their In the past two years, annual migration north some state transportation across the United States. departments, local The exodus and return governments and energy of the iconic orange and companies across 23 black butterfly is one of states have committed the grandest spectacles to preserving monarch of the natural world. But habitat in hopes of that sight is becoming protecting the species increasingly rare as the and preventing it from monarch’s population has shrunk by nearly 90% being added to the federal endangered species list. in the past two decades, Nearly three dozen according to federal organizations have agreed scientists. The monarch faces many to preserve some 815,000 threats, including the loss acres of monarch habitat along energy and highway of milkweed and other corridors since the flowering plants across its range, degradation initiative launched. and loss of overwintering The unusual Stateline.org (TNS)
conservation effort sprang from a 2020 agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Energy Resources Center at the University of Illinois, Chicago, which led a group of experts in developing a butterfly protection plan. Under the so-called Monarch Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances, or CCAA, public and private landowners voluntarily commit to certain conservation actions, including pest and vegetation management to protect the monarch and its habitat. The agreement also requires companies to reduce or remove threats related to the butterflies’ survival. In return, the feds guarantee the landowners will not
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be required to implement additional conservation measures even if the species is listed. “The effort is unprecedented in terms of its crosssector participation and geographic extent,” said Iris Caldwell, program manager of sustainable landscapes for the Energy Resources Center. “This is not only the first CCAA for the monarch butterfly. This is the first nationwide CCAA for any species.” The group’s goal is to conserve 2.3 million acres across the continental United States. “The monarch is such Kristian Hernández/The Pew Charitable Trusts/TNS an iconic species that A road sign marks the Monarch Highway corridor near it provides us a rallying Abbott, Texas. Energy and transportation companies, point that brings people together. That’s important as well as some state and local governments across 23 states, have voluntarily agreed to increase monarch MONARCHS: Page D3 habitat conservation.
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MONARCHS From Page D2
as we’re looking at widescale conservation of pollinators,” Caldwell said. “If we can create and conserve monarch habitats it will benefit so many other species.” But some conservationists are wary of the agreement. Jeffrey Glassberg, president and founder of the North American Butterfly Association, an advocacy group, said while conservation agreements can be effective tools for advancing environmental goals, the most important way to save these butterflies is through large-scale and intensive efforts to re-create prairies in the northern plains that will support their populations. “The main factors affecting Monarch populations appear to be the degradation of the
overwintering sites in Mexico, climate change, and the continued and increasing use of neonicotinoids [insecticides],” Glassberg wrote in an email. “This project will not help with any of those problems.” The eastern monarch population, which overwinters in Mexico and travels east of the Rocky Mountains, dropped about 88% from 1996 to 2020, from an estimated 383 million to just under 45
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27, 2022 | D3
preservation plans in the past six years, according to Stateline research. Most of these plans expand or establish efforts to increase pollinator plant habitats in state parks, state natural areas and wildlife management areas. The federal agreement expands on another previous effort to protect monarchs: the creation of a cross-state Monarch Highway to establish and maintain roadside habitats for the monarch. In 2016, state but that it first must million, according to the departments of prioritize other species Fish and Wildlife Service. transportation in Iowa, pending for the list. The western population, Kansas, Minnesota, The petition alone which overwinters in Missouri, Oklahoma and sparked major interest in California, has dropped Texas created the Monarch conservation across the more than 99% since the Highway. It starts at the country, in part because 1980s, from 4.5 million U.S.-Mexico border in a listing of the monarch to fewer than 2,000 Laredo, Texas, and follows monarchs, the agency said. would bring regulations the monarch’s migratory In 2014, conservationists on agriculture and other activities. Natural resource path along the Interstate petitioned the Fish and departments in Arkansas, 35 corridor north to Wildlife Service to place Duluth, Minnesota. Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, the butterfly on the In Texas, the endangered species list. In Missouri, Nebraska, New state Department of December 2020, the agency Jersey, North Dakota, Transportation has been Texas and Wisconsin ruled that monarchs deserve federal protections have adopted monarch promoting pollinator
habitats for nearly a century, according to Samuel Glinsky, vegetation specialist with the department. He said the state established a directive in the 1930s to mow most roadsides only twice a year to allow wildflowers to set seed. The department oversees more than 1 million acres of land across the state. “It’s important that we provided that suitable habitat on that land just because of how much land it is,” Glinsky said. “Pollinators such as the monarch butterfly pollinate a very large percentage of our food crops, so they are a very important resource to protect because their extinction could have a huge economic impact.” Texas signed on to the CCAA agreement, as did the departments of transportation in Georgia, Minnesota, Ohio,
MONARCHS: Page D6
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D4 | WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27, 2022
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Bring on spring, but don’t rush your garden
Metro Creative Connection
After the severe drought last summer and fall, the open winter and greatly fluctuating temperatures all winter, Master Gardener Sue Morris doesn't know what to expect from perennials, shrubs and trees this spring. However, she cautions gardeners not to be in a rush to get started on working in the garden outdoors. Not just yet.
bring on spring. I think we are all ready and we all deserve it. For as long as I can Don’t be in too big of a remember, I’ve heard hurry to start working in “late Easter, late spring.” your garden. A good rule of My neighbor Gene says thumb is to grab a handful that we have to have of soil and squeeze it. If snow on the backs of the the soil doesn’t crumble first robins we spot three but stays in a ball, stay out times before it is spring. of the garden. You will do Since this column needs more harm than good at to be written in advance, this stage. as of this morning we I’m not sure what to have now had snow three expect from perennials, times since I first spotted shrubs and trees this spring. After the severe robins in my yard. So, Master Gardener
drought we had last summer and fall, the open winter and greatly fluctuating temperatures all winter — who knows. We will find out soon. Since I have several perennial flower beds and some are a long way from a water source, they didn’t get watered last summer unless it rained. Most of the time was spent keeping the annuals in pots alive. The University has said in years past that after
a drought, we probably won’t see the effects it had on trees for several years — and by that time we will have forgotten about the drought and wonder why a tree is dying.
Wildlife can do some damage
Did any of your trees or shrubs suffer varmint damage this past winter? Since I lost my precious dog in January, it seems like it has been an open invitation to all critters to
my yard. I got up before dawn one morning and looked out and there was a raccoon, a possum and a skunk all eating under the bird feeders. It sounds like the beginning of a joke; it isn’t. I’ve seen multiple rabbits there, and the squirrels don’t show up until daylight. A while back there were seven wild turkeys grazing there as well. They came through several days in a row but
have since moved on. The herd of deer so far has stayed out of my yard and just hung out in the woods. I’m sure they have done damage out there. Not to mention the pocket gophers who are digging their way all along my driveway ditch. According to the University, there are three main types of wildlife damage you might observe:
GARDEN: Page D5
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Bite wounds also allow pathogens into the wood, From Page D4 introducing diseases like black rot. Loegering says that if 1. Rabbits, voles and the tooth marks look like squirrels can all strip bark. a scoop from a spoon, they In doing so, they may also are likely from a rabbit. If leave small tooth marks on the mark looks like it was the wood. scraped with the tines of a According to John fork, it is likely from a vole. Loegering, University 3. Cane or trunk removal of Minnesota Extension is much more devastating wildlife specialist, if the for small, newly planted, or slow-growing shrubs bark is stripped all the compared to mature way around a branch, shrubs or fast-growing that branch will probably plants like raspberries. not survive. There is not much to Prune off the damaged do about existing damage part of the branch, as the except to be patient and let healthy portion of the the plant regrow over time. branch below it is still According to Shane likely to produce new Bugeja, Extension Educator, leaves and shoots from applying sealants to the buds. wildlife wounds is unlikely 2. When a small to rejuvenate girdled mammal chews on a perennials. If a mammal branch or trunk, they has chewed into the wood, “girdle” it. Girdling the damage to the plant’s partially cuts off the vascular tissue has already transport of water and occurred regardless of the nutrients from the roots presence of a sealant. to the canopy. Girdled Support your plants branches are unlikely to by ensuring they have adequate soil nutrients. survive for very long.
However, fertilizers are only recommended if a soil or tissue test indicates a nutrient deficiency. If the plant is otherwise healthy and already getting all of the nutrients it needs, then additional fertilizer is unlikely to compensate for wildlife damage. Excess nitrogen can reduce fruit load in favor of vegetative growth and leach out of the soil into our precious Minnesota lakes and rivers. If the damage consists of partial removal of trunks or canes, focus your pruning efforts on removing the damaged wood. Reduce pruning efforts on healthy wood to compensate for the lost growth. Prune off damaged branches and canes below the lowest point of the damage. The worst case of wildlife damage would be a single-trunk plant like an apple or tart cherry tree, where the trunk has been stripped or girdled. Severe damage will likely either kill or severely limit the lifespan of the tree.
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To prevent damage from wildlife that might be attracted to winter bird feeders, use wire mesh (rabbit fencing, chicken wire, etc.) to create a physical barrier around each plant. Apply this in the summer or fall. You can choose to wait out the season to see if the tree continues to survive, or remove the tree and plant a new one. In the future, use wire mesh (rabbit fencing, chicken wire, etc.) to create a physical barrier around each plant. Apply this in the summer or fall. The mesh should be
narrow-gauge so that the holes are too small for a rabbit or vole head to fit through. The mesh must also be tall enough to rise one foot above the maximum snow depth. Rabbits can stand on snow and reach one foot above it. During the winter, if the snow becomes deep
enough to approach the top of the mesh, you can shovel it away. Keep an eye on your plants during the winter. Apply more mesh or fix existing structures as needed if you start to notice wildlife damage or droppings.
GARDEN: Page D6
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Transportation, found that 2% to 4% of the total migrating monarch From Page D3 population headed south towards Mexico die on Oklahoma, Vermont Texas roads. and Virginia. The Texas Over the past five department did not have years, researchers at the to change how it operates University of Minnesota as a result, except for have been studying the some monitoring and viability of habitats along collection of evidence roads across the state. that shows the habitats Roadsides offer potential it is maintaining are opportunities as habitat suitable for monarchs, for monarchs, but they Glinsky said. also come with risks, Roadside habitats alone are not the answer said Emilie Snell-Rood, University of Minnesota to saving the monarch, associate professor said Marianna Treviñoof ecology, evolution Wright, head of the National Butterfly Center and behavior, during a webinar hosted last in South Texas. month by the Monarch “It’s forcing the Joint Venture, an butterflies to run a advocacy group. gauntlet,” TreviñoResearchers found a Wright said. “Why would minor mortality rate you want to create a habitat next to a highway increase for caterpillars that ingested zinc, with speeding cars?” A 2020 study by Texas but for the most part monarchs seemed A&M, sponsored by the Texas Department of unharmed by heavy
GARDEN From Page D5
Houseplants continue to be popular
It seems like houseplants are gaining in popularity once again. For a while, there weren’t too many available in stores and nurseries. Succulents are becoming very popular. As are orchids. One thing to keep in mind is municipal water may be safely treated with fluoride and chlorine
States with monarch butterfly preservations Caldwell of the Energy metals, salt and other Resources Center said chemicals found at high levels by roads, according roadsides are an important part of the federal to Snell-Rood. Still, she said more studies need to agreement’s conservation efforts, but officials are be conducted to ensure trying to incorporate other roadside habitats are rights-of-way that could suitable for monarch provide less risky habitats. preservation.
to provide dental benefits and disinfect water. But some plants are sensitive to these additives. For example, peace lilies are sensitive to fluoride and may exhibit burned leaf tips. Softened water can also have a negative effect on plants like orchids. So use rainwater or reverse osmosis water for your houseplants. You can also use well water. Add a small amount (about half the recommended strength) of fertilizer to provide the nutrients plants need. The weather last summer might not have been favorable for my perennials but winter was very kind
Using a GIS mapping tool, the group identified some 21 million acres of electric transmission and pipeline corridors that could serve as butterfly travel corridors, she said. Northern Natural Gas owns a 14,500-mile pipeline that stretches from Texas to Minnesota in the middle of the eastern monarch migratory path. The company has committed to conserve some 112,000 acres of monarch habitat along the pipeline, according to spokesperson Mike Loeffler. He said the company was very interested in being a part of the CCAA because a listing of the monarch as an endangered species could affect operations. While at least 45 entities expressed interest in the CCAA agreement in 2020, only 33 have applied to join. As of March 25, 19 applications had been approved, and 14 were
pending, according to Caldwell. Caldwell said several organizations have chosen not to enroll or to delay enrollment in part because of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision not to immediately protect the species. “I think they perceived the Fish and Wildlife Service decision as giving them some additional time and kind of it took the pressure off to some extent for them to feel like they needed to enroll right away,” Caldwell said. “But it’s in this interim before a listing is finalized that we really have the opportunity to demonstrate the value of the voluntary conservation that’s happening,” she added, “and hopefully help inform or maybe avoid that listing.” ©2022 The Pew Charitable Trusts. Visit at stateline. org. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
to my orchids. I currently have 13 or 14 and 11 of them have been in full bloom for months. It seems in order for them to rebloom, they need cooler nighttime temperatures to bring on the bloom. Let’s all look forward to a great gardening and farming year. Master Gardener Sue Morris has been writing this column since 1991 for Kandiyohi County newspapers. Morris has been certified through the University of Minnesota as a gardening and horticulture expert since 1983. She lives in Kandiyohi Metro Creative Connection County. To consult with a Master Houseplants, and succulents in particular, are Gardener, call your county growing in popularity for new and experience Extension office. gardeners alike.
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How to give the yard a spring house cleaning up grass plants, delay power-raking until grass KINZLER is actively growing and mowed several times. Growing Together Many lawns never need power-raking, which is an operation intended to remove excess Did you hear about thatch. To assess thatch the two ferns that were content, cut a wedgeclose companions? They shaped plug from the became fronds forever. turf profile and measure April is when our yards the undecomposed layer and landscapes come to between grass blades and life after their winter soil. One-half to one inch hibernation. Spring is of thatch is considered always uplifting, but the a beneficial amount, disappearing snow often conserving moisture, reveals matted grass, shading the roots, and rabbit damage, and an suppressing weeds. assortment of other tasks ► Spring needing our attention. lawn fertilizing recommendations have Lawns changed over the years, ► Snow mold is based on turf research. widespread this spring. The old way of thinking The long winter and continuous snow cover on was to apply fertilizer ground that hadn’t frozen as early as possible to “get the grass to green deeply last fall favored the buildup of the fungus up.” Research showed much of the fertilizer that appears as gray or was wasted in spring rain pinkish webbing on the runoff before the grass surface of matted grass. was ready or able to use ► To remedy snow it. For a more effective mold, fluff up the approach, wait to fertilize affected lawn areas with the lawn until it’s green a leaf rake. Raking and actively growing, aerates and untangles with Memorial Day and matted grass, improving Labor Day being the the lawn almost two most beneficial and immediately. Snow mold easy-to-remember yearly usually doesn’t cause target dates. Fertilizing long-term problems, in May provides nutrition unless left unattended. for lawns recovering from ► Voles were active vole damage, last year’s in lawns once again, drought, and snow mold. creating their surface channels through the Perennial garden turf while working under ► Most perennials the protective snow survive winter best with cover. Raking the areas above-ground parts left to remove the chewed-up intact. Cut them back in grass is usually all that’s April after the coldest needed, and most lawn weather is likely past, areas regrow from vole and before new growth damage without further emerging at ground level repair measures. reaches an inch. ► Power-raking, ► Many native also called dethatching, pollinators survive can be destructive to a winter by nesting in the lawn if done too soon hollow stems of perennial in spring while the turf flowers, and they don’t is moist and tender. To emerge until weather is reduce the risk of tearing reliably warmer. Because DON
The above-ground portions of perennials can be cut back after the coldest temperatures are likely past. Michael Vosburg/The Forum
the stems we remove in April might still contain these beneficial pollinating insects, it’s best to pile the stems discreetly at the rear of the perennial garden, or another out-of-the-way place, until late May, when the insects will have emerged. ► Nearly all perennials thrive in soil that’s high in organic matter. Incorporate several inches of peatmoss or compost into the soil surface. ► Adding a layer of mulch over the soil of a perennial bed will conserve moisture, keep the soil cooler, and diminish weeds. Shredded wood mulch is more plant-friendly than rock mulch, which becomes hot in summer and weighs heavily on plant roots, compacting the soil.
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Why does pollen make you miserable? SPRING HOME & GARDEN
D8 | WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27, 2022
Here’s why it triggers allergies — and some tips CASSANDRE COYER The Charlotte Observer (TNS)
Temperatures are getting warmer, cherry blossoms are blooming — in short, spring is here, and with it, so is allergy season. Allergies in general — whether it be to food, pets or pollen — occur when the body’s immune system “sees a substance as harmful and overreacts to it,” according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. And that is exactly what happens when pollen enters the body through the nose, eyes or mouth. The immune system mistakenly identifies it as a threat and triggers some of the well-known allergy symptoms: sneezing, runny nose and congestion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pollen causes various allergic reactions, such as symptoms of hay fever, and affects roughly 60 million people in the United States each year, according to the CDC. For about a third of people in the U.S., pollen can also trigger “allergic conjunctivitis” which is an inflammation of the lining of the eye. Some
of the symptoms include “red, watery or itchy eyes,” according to the agency. “Most of the pollen that causes allergic reactions comes from trees, grasses and weeds,” according to AAFA. These plants make the tiny pollen grains that travel with the wind and enter through the eyes or nose. “Flowering plants that spread their pollen by insects — like roses and some trees, like cherry and pear trees — usually do not cause allergic rhinitis,” the AAFA said. What can you do to help your allergies? Here are some ways to prevent allergic reactions to pollen, according to the AAFA: ► Ideally, you should start taking an allergy treatment before the pollen season starts. ► It’s best to limit outdoor time and keep windows closed when pollen counts are high. ► When you’re outside, wear sunglasses and cover your hair. ► Take a daily shower before going to bed and wash bedding in “hot, soapy water” weekly. ► Change and wash clothes worn outside. The foundation also recommends tracking
Pollen causes various allergic reactions, such as symptoms of hay fever, and affects roughly 60 million people in the United States each year, according to the CDC. pollen counts — or how much pollen is in the air. When is allergy season over? Technically, it never really ends. Different allergy seasons stretch for much of the year, according to the Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit academic medical center.
“Tree pollen season is usually at the beginning of spring in March, April and the first half of May while the grass pollen season is typically mid-May through early-to-mid-July,” Allergistimmunologist David M. Lang told the nonprofit. “And the ragweed season is usually from mid-August until that first frost.”
But the length — and intensity — of the pollen season depends on your location and the weather. Climate change has also caused the seasons to get longer and caused higher pollen counts, AAFA reported. In 2022, some of the cities that cause the worst allergies include Scranton,
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D10 | WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27, 2022
Landscaping tips for instant curb appeal One of the best ways to achieve instant curb appeal, according to the experts, is to effectively layer shrubs, plants and flowers in your front yard. Doing so can create a cohesive visual experience that naturally guides visitors to the front door. Landscape designer Doug Scott describes plant layering in art terms: “Just like in a painting, you need to have a background, a middle ground and a foreground. Each layer serves a purpose, and there’s no more important place for them to be on full display than your home’s entrance.”
To help homeowners understand the purpose of plant layering and identify the best types of plants for each layer, Scott has joined forces with Exmark, a leading manufacturer of commercial mowers and equipment for landscape professionals and serious DIY-ers. Here they break it down for you: Background: The background layer should consist of taller evergreen shrubs to ensure that no matter what’s in front of them, you and your visitors will always have something green to look at. This layer provides a cohesive backdrop and a bit of living color in every season.
Middle ground: Here’s where to step it down a notch in height and add interesting shapes, colors or stripes that provide contrast against the darker green of the background layer. Herbaceous perennials, like lavender, are a good choice for this purpose. Foreground: Finally, the foreground layer should help transition the planting beds to your lawn space or sidewalk, and should therefore be lower than the back two layers. It’s also where you can keep things fresh and get your hands dirty throughout the year by changing out annuals with the seasons.
Or, if you want a lowermaintenance entrance, you can choose smaller perennials, evergreens or creeping ground covers. Use the foreground layer as an opportunity to add pops of color at ground level and draw attention to your home’s entrance. Scott lays out a few other important tips to keep in mind: ► Choose plants consistent with your home’s style. For instance, if you have a craftsman home, you should probably skip tropical plants. Or, if your home is more minimalist, avoid an overabundance of different plants.
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► Don’t obstruct views of your front door from the street with plants. Likewise, visitors shouldn’t have to maneuver around plants as they make their way down the sidewalk. Neither is convenient or welcoming, so you’ll either need to keep pruning plants to size, or choose plants that won’t overgrow their space without a ton of pruning. ► To make your entrance “the star” it should be, the plant material in the rest of your front yard shouldn’t be distracting. Rather let it frame the intended view. Scott offers more plant layering tips in “Making an Entrance,” a recent
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3 spring hacks to prep the inside of your home for warm weather
KINZLER From Page D7
► April is the preferred month to prune deciduous (leafy) shrubs. Evergreens can wait until May and June. Pruning of spring-flowering shrubs, like lilac and forsythia, can wait until after blooming if this spring’s flowers are desired. ► Rabbit damage was severe this winter and many landscape shrubs offered fine dining. Deciduous shrubs can be pruned down to a point below the rabbit injury and they usually regenerate fine, sometimes growing better than before. ► Evergreen shrubs, such as arborvitae, don’t have the ability to recover from rabbit or deer injury the way deciduous shrubs do. If branches are gnawed and foliage is stripped back to older inner branches, new
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With warmer weather on the way, it’s time to deal with the associated household hassles of the season. Here are three hacks that will help you create a healthy, comfortable home during the months ahead:
Beat the heat Michael Vosburg/The Forum
Snow mold and vole damage are often remedied by simply raking. maple, which bleed sap foliage rarely regenerates when pruned in spring, in that area. That’s so pruning can be delayed why past rabbit or deer until leaves are fully injury is often evident expanded to minimize for the remainder of an sap oozing. arborvitae’s life, and unfortunately there’s Don Kinzler, a lifelong little remedy once gardener, is the damage is done. horticulturist with North Dakota State University Trees Extension for Cass ► Most tree types County. Readers can are best pruned in April reach him at donald. before new leaves emerge. email@example.com. Exceptions are birch and
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Beyond having your HVAC unit serviced and changing your air filter regularly, you can beat the heat at home with a few smart strategies. One change you can make today that will also reduce your carbon footprint is to swap out your heat-emitting incandescent light bulbs for cool LEDs. Likewise, appliances that are not in use but plugged in could be generating unnecessary warmth, so unplug when you can.
Finally, use shades and blinds strategically to block out the sun and prevent a greenhouse effect indoors.
Banish flying bugs
Fruit flies, gnats and flies tend to proliferate indoors in the warmer months. Not only do these creatures come with a serious ick factor, they can harm your houseplants and even put your family’s health at risk by carrying germs from dirty surfaces to clean ones. A safe and easy way to defend against buzzing invaders is to plug Zevo Bug Traps into outlets around your home, especially in areas where these bugs enter your home and gather, like garages, entryways, covered porches, trash cans, drain pipes and kitchens.
Rather than relying on chemical insecticides, they use multi-spectrum light technology that bugs find irresistible. Once attracted, flying insects are trapped in a super-sticky adhesive backing. Each trap cartridge offers continuous defense for up to 45 days or until it’s full. When you’re done with a cartridge, simply throw it in the trash and slide a new one in, without ever having to touch the dead bugs. Pair these traps with Zevo home bug sprays, which are powered by essential oils, for whole home protection. To learn more about defending your home against insects, and for trapping tips, visit zevoinsect.com.
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How to pick the right trees for your property Metro Creative Connection
Trees benefit a landscape by serving both aesthetic and utilitarian functions. A home surrounded by healthy green trees can be a sight to behold, and those same trees can benefit surrounding plants and wildlife at the same time. As appealing as trees are, not all trees and landscapes make for the perfect match. The Arbor Day Foundation notes the importance of planning when designing a landscape. Planning ensures the trees homeowners ultimately choose for their properties will grow well in the soil and moisture present in their yards. Careful consideration of a handful of variables can help homeowners determine which trees will make the best fit for their properties. ► Height: Homeowners must consider the projected height of a tree before planting it. Avoid trees that will bump into anything when fully grown, as that can adversely affect surrounding greenery and pose a safety hazard. The ADF’s tree sizing guide can be accessed at www.arborday.org/ trees/rightTreeAndPlace/size.cfm and
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serves as an invaluable resource for homeowners who want to plant new trees around their properties. ► Canopy spread: Trees grow out as well as up, so it’s important to consider their potential width at maturity as well. The ADF sizing
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guide can help homeowners get an idea of how wide a tree is likely to be at maturity. Trees that spread out quite a bit don’t necessarily need to be avoided, but it’s important that they’re planted far enough apart so they don’t adversely affect surrounding
plants. In addition, wide trees that are planted too close together can make the landscape appear crowded, taking something away from its aesthetic appeal. ► Growth rate: Growth rate is an important variable because it can affect how quickly homeowners will see changes in their landscapes. Homeowners who want to plant for privacy can consider trees with quick growth rates or purchase more mature trees that are already near full growth. Those who are not in need of instant transformation can try trees with slower growth rates, which the ADF notes typically live longer than fast-growing species. ► Requirements: Different trees require different amounts of sun and moisture and different soil components to thrive. Homeowners can have their soil tested to determine which trees will thrive in it. Local garden centers can be a great resource for homeowners who want insight as to which trees will thrive in their local climates. Trees serve many functions on a property. Choosing the right trees for a landscape requires careful consideration of a host of variables.
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What to plant when privacy is a priority
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Free your home of buzzing invaders with easy-to-use bug traps
HACKS From Page D11
Thriving in warm wet environments, mold is something to watch out for at home, especially during spring and summer. Much more than an eyesore, mold is bad for your home’s infrastructure and bad for you.
Mold can cause a number of allergic reactions and can sometimes even be toxic. However, you can reduce the risk of mold forming by managing your home’s humidity. Use fans and other ventilation in bathrooms and the kitchen when showering, running the dishwasher and doing other tasks that invite humidity.
Test the humidity of various rooms in your home with a hygrometer and use a dehumidifier where needed. According to the EPA, the ideal indoor humidity is between 30 and 50%. Employing warm weather hacks at home can help you maintain clean, comfortable spaces, all season long. StatePoint
A backyard oasis can feel like an even more welcoming retreat when the area is private. Homeowners and their families often find that a backyard is most relaxing when they cannot hear or see their neighbors, and creating such an environment can be as simple as planting some privacy trees. Fencing is an option when homeowners are looking to make their backyards more private. But HomeAdvisor reports
that the average cost to install a privacy fence is just under $3,000, and those costs can be considerably higher depending on where homeowners live and how big a fence they need. Privacy trees can be considerably less expensive, and homeowners can spread out those costs by planting over time, an option that’s not possible when installing fencing. When planting privacy trees, homeowners can consider these varieties
that can do the job while also providing some aesthetic appeal. ► Emerald arborvitae: The Arbor Day Foundation notes that the emerald arborvitae is unique among arborvitaes because it maintains its green color even in the coldest months of the year. The emerald arborvitae can grow to between 10- and 15-feettall and spread as wide as four feet at maturity.
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Popular insect repellant plants
(c) Halfpoint / iStock via Getty Images Plus
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Homeowners choose plants for their properties based on a number of variables. Some may be into growing their own foods, while others desire their gardens to be an awe-inspiring range of bright colors and alluring scents. There’s no wrong reason to plant a fresh garden, but some plants offer extra benefits, such as repelling insects. Insects can be a nuisance and a threat to individuals’ overall health. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, insectborne diseases are viral and bacterial illnesses that develop from insect bites. Mosquitoes, sand flies and fleas are some examples of insects that can pass on disease. Fever, chills, headache, and muscle soreness are just a few of the more common symptoms linked to insect-borne diseases. The good news for avid gardeners is that certain plants can help repel insects and provide the additional benefits like fresh food and aesthetic appeal that so many people love. ► Basil: The aroma of fresh basil is enough to compel any gardener to make a place for it in their garden. But there’s more to fresh basil than its scent, as the Farmers Almanac notes it can be
PRIVACY From Page D13
The tree features a pyramid shape and is considered slow-growing at less than 12 inches of growth per year. The ADF reports that full sun and partial shade are best for this tree. ► Carolina cherry laurel: Carolina cherry laurels are popular choices for privacy seekers.
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used to repel mosquitoes and moths. ► Lavender: Fleas, flies, mosquitoes, and moths are not fans of this aromatic and colorful member of the mint family. Bees tend to be drawn to lavender, a durable plant that many garden centers recommend in areas prone to drought or hot summers without much precipitation. ► Mint: Mint is another plant that is instantly recognizable for its aroma. But mint lovers may not realize that it’s also great for keeping ants at bay. Mint also can be used to repel mosquitoes, but gardeners with no experience planting mint should plant it in pots. That’s because the Farmers Almanac notes mint is an especially aggressive spreader that can quickly take over a garden. Separating mint in pots can prevent it from bullying its way into other plants’ domains.
► Lemongrass: Lemongrass is a tropical grass that’s so fragrant it’s often used in perfumes. Lemongrass contains citronella, which many people associate with repelling mosquitoes. A potted lemongrass plant can repel these unwanted guests, keeping them away from decks, porches and/or patios all summer long. ► Chrysanthemums: The Farmers’ Almanac recommends using chrysanthemums, which repel a range of insects from bedbugs to fleas to ants, as border plants around a home. That’s because they contain the natural insecticide pyrethrin, which can serve as something of an insectrepelling boundary around a home. Insects are unwanted guests around a home each spring, summer and fall. Certain plants can help repel insects and serve as an eco-friendly alternative to insecticides.
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center notes the trees can grow very tall and boast a pyramidal shape. The Carolina cherry laurel requires sun and thrives in moist, well-drained soils. Parents with young children should know that the leaves of this family of plant contain hydrocyanic acid and should never be eaten. ► Boxwood: The ADF notes that boxwoods are renowned for their use in formal gardens. That
can make them an ideal option for homeowners seeking a traditional garden aesthetic in their backyards. Boxwood trees can grow up to 20 feet tall, but they can vary greatly in height. Homeowners purchasing them as privacy trees should speak with their local gardening center to ensure they’re getting boxwoods that will provide ample privacy. Though they still have aesthetic appeal, smaller boxwoods may only
Teaching children how to protect birds in your backyard
Part of being a good environmental steward is passing on this wisdom to the next generation. Here are three hands-on ways parents and grandparents can teach children to protect the birds in their very own backyard.
Experts recommend bird feeders be positioned either closer than three feet or farther than 30 feet from windows.
reach a foot tall. Boxwoods vary considerably in terms of their growth rate, so homeowners should inquire about this as well before purchasing and planting any trees. ► Privet: Privets are dense privacy hedges that grow very quickly, with the ADF reporting they can grow up to three feet per year. Privets may reach 12 feet in height and spread as wide as six feet at maturity. Privets tolerate
shearing well, which can make them ideal privacy options for those looking for a formal appearance. Privets require full sun for uniform growth. Privets are considered invasive in many areas of North America, so homeowners should consult their local garden center prior to planting. The right privacy trees can be just what homeowners need to turn their backyards into relaxing respites.
Birds in flight are prone to strike windows. Fortunately, there’s an Build a bird feeder easy home project you Build bird feeders and your children can using natural or recycled complete together that materials to teach two will help prevent this earth-friendly lessons in from happening. one: the importance of Applying decals that reducing waste and the reflect ultraviolet sunlight need to take care of to your home’s windows, local wildlife. particularly windows that Bird feeders can are highly reflective of be crafted from milk open sky, has been proven cartons, tin cans, mason to substantially reduce the jars or even natural likelihood of bird strikes. materials like pinecones. Those from As you decorate your WindowAlert feature bird feeders, talk to your patterns that give the kids about how birds appearance of slightly are not just beautiful, frosted translucent glass, but also a vital part of but glow like a stoplight the ecosystem and how for birds. you are offering these Kids can help select creatures a chance to from fun decal designs rest and refuel. Fill your like snowflakes, butterflies finished products with and maple leaves. The birdseed and choose a safe brand also makes a highspot to hang them. tech UV liquid that offers
even greater protection when applied between decals. To learn more, visit WindowAlert.com.
Keep a log
Now that you’ve invited birds to your yard and have taken steps to protect them, inspire young naturalists to keep a log of flying visitors. Kids can draw pictures of the birds they see and note their observations. Visit Audubon for Kids at audubon.org for a birding guide, activities, games and additional projects that can help kids learn to identify various bird species by sight and sound. “Environmental stewardship starts in your own backyard and people of all ages can get involved, including kids,” says Spencer Schock, founder of WindowAlert. “The good news is that turning your home into a refuge for birds is fun, easy and something parents, grandparents and kids can work on together.” StatePoint
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