From the moment a tree is selected for your home, care and maintenance begin. How you care for trees at home will affect their growth and health, especially in their early years. In fact, tree maintenance over the first few years affects the tree’s strength, shape, and lifespan. Follow these tips to ensure your tree gets a good start for a strong, healthy life.
Choosing Trees and Placement
When adding new trees, there are a few things to consider. First, you’ll want to have a clear idea of the tree’s purpose. Is it meant to provide aesthetics, shade, privacy, or serve as a windbreak?
Next, you should understand the limitations of the planting site. Know your hardiness zone. Estimate the maximum spread and height for a tree within the available space. Know the soil conditions and sun exposure. Get started with tree maintenance at home by putting careful thought into your choice of tree and its placement on your property.
Choose Healthy Trees to Get Started With Tree Maintenance
Because trees are transported in different ways, it is important to know what to look for with each variety. Grow trees at home more easily when they start out healthy and thriving.
With bare-root seedlings, look for roots that are fibrous and moist. Seedlings for deciduous trees should have roots that are roughly equal to the length of the stem.
Trees with roots that are wrapped in burlap should have a root ball that is firm to the touch, particularly near the trunk. Ensure the root ball is of sufficient size for the size of the tree.
For container-grown trees, pruned roots should be cleanly cut, with none wider than the width of a finger. There should be no large, circling roots in the container. The soil and roots in the container should be tightly joined.
When purchasing a mature tree, look for bark that is healthy and bright, leader or leaders that are well-developed, lack of mechanical or insect injury, ideal spacing in between the branches, and low branches.
Pruning is Part of Regular Tree Maintenance
Proper pruning is essential for a healthy tree. The correct time of year to prune depends on the reason for pruning. Light pruning can be done any time, as can the removal of dead branches and limbs. Winter pruning is common, resulting in a burst of new growth that is vigorous in the spring. This is best performed in late winter once the coldest days have passed.
To direct the growth of unwanted branches, or to dwarf a tree or branch’s development, pruning should take place in summer shortly after the growth of the season is complete. Defective limbs are easier to see and remove in summer.
Trees heal more slowly in autumn and potentially damaging fungi spread spores profusely at this time, so it’s best to limit pruning to the times outlined above.
Add Mulch Around Your Trees
For newly planted trees, mulch is helpful for soil insulation, water retention, weed prevention, and protection from damaging lawn equipment. Start by removing the grass within a three to ten feet diameter area, depending on the tree’s size. Pour bark pieces or wood chips within the circle at a depth of two to four inches. Do not allow the mulch to touch the tree’s trunk. Mulch is beneficial for new and well-established tree maintenance.
Bringing home a new baby means you’ll need to make some changes at home. While your newborn can’t get into any trouble just yet, he or she will be mobile before you know it. Babyproof your home as soon as possible with these tips.
Babyproofing Your Home for Bathtime
To keep newborns safe at bathtime, a contoured baby bathtub is a good investment. Check the temperature on your water heater. For safety, the water heater should be set no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Babies and toddlers should never be left in the bathtub alone.
Secure the Furniture to Babyproof Your Home
Before too long, your newborn will be an infant pulling up on furniture. Start babyproofing your home now with an anchoring kit or furniture safety straps to fasten wardrobes, dressers, and bookcases to a stud in the wall. Cover sharp furniture corners with padded corner protectors.
Be Careful with Televisions in Your Home
Televisions should be placed where they can’t fall on a child. Mount a flat-screen TV securely to the wall or keep your TV in a cabinet with doors that close that is anchored to the wall.
Store Toys Safely
When babyproofing, take a look at your toy storage. Your child’s toy box shouldn’t have a hinged lid. The hinges can pinch small fingers and the lid can slam shut and cause injury. Boxes with completely removable lids or baskets on a low shelf are the best options.
Babyproof Your Home: Electrical Safety
Covering electrical outlets is an important step in babyproofing your home. Many children figure out how to remove the covers that simply push into the outlet. Fortunately, several styles of outlet covers are on the market.
The box style cover is useful because you can still plug things into the outlet. Starting in 2008, the electrical code required tamper resistant outlets for new homes and renovations. These outlets don’t need covers because the openings have a spring-loaded barrier.
Babyproof by Moving or Locking up Chemicals in Your Home
Anything that shouldn’t be ingested should be locked up or moved out of the child’s reach. Lock under-sink cabinets filled with household cleaners and store all of your medications out of reach.
Do a Knee-Level Inspection for Other Areas to Babyproof
Get down on your knees and look for hazardous conditions to find out if babyproofing your home has been successful. If you find additional concerns, look for ways to make the area safer.
Cleaning and organizing your garage may feel like an overwhelming task, however, creating a mess-free, ordered space will help you make better use of your garage. Organize your garage easily with these four steps.
The Benefits of an Organized Space
Right now, you may not have a clear idea of exactly what is in your garage. If you’ve been unable to find an item that you thought was stored in the garage, you may have unnecessarily purchased a duplicate of the item. Also, when your garage is cluttered, you cannot use this space for vehicle storage or as a work area. It may take some time to organize your garage, but the project doesn’t have to be complicated. Follow these steps to better organize your space.
1. Set Aside a Full Weekend
Cleaning and organizing a garage is not something that you can tackle in a few extra minutes. To make real progress, allow at least one or two full days to get the job done. This project involves getting rid of unwanted items and organizing the items that you choose to keep. Because you may need to use some of your driveway space for at least a few hours, it’s good to organize your garage on a nice sunny day.
2. Remove Unwanted Items
To organize your garage, start by removing items that you no longer need or want. Use the rule to touch each item only once. As you encounter an item, decide if you will sell it, donate it, throw it out, or keep it. Create piles for each of these categories. For the items that you intend to keep, create sub-piles of things you can store together. There may be sub-piles for holiday décor, sports equipment, and gardening tools.
3. Haul Away the Junk
Before you can begin organizing the items you want to keep, the unwanted items must be removed. Take items to a nearby donation center or schedule a pickup. List some items for sale online or plan to host a garage sale soon. Hire a junk removal service to pick up your trash if your pile is too large for curbside pickup.
4. Set Up a System to Organize Your Garage
After you have freed up some space in your garage, assess the contents of the piles you’re keeping to determine the best organizational features to invest in. For example, open shelves, bins, drawers, and pegboards are a few storage options that will help to organize your garage. Each item should have a dedicated place of its own so that you can find it later when needed.
Organizing your garage allows you to better use this area of your home. Items will be easier to find and you’ll free up more usable space for storage.