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Protect Your Trees, Shrubs And Home Value

(NAPSI)—It’s going to take a while to dig out of the housing crisis. Some analysts predict falling home prices this year, while others predict modest gains in some cities.

“Your house is the biggest investment you’ll ever make, so it’s important to protect that investment inside and outside,” said Lance Walheim, “Landscaping for Dummies” co-author and lawn and garden expert for Bayer Advanced™.

According to a 2009 study by Texas Tech, for every $1 you spend to dramatically improve an average landscape, you’ll receive $1.35 in increased property value.

Painting, updating bathrooms, kitchens and lighting fixtures, and sprucing up cabinets and doors with new hardware will improve the interior of your home.

Here are some tips for protecting your landscaping investment and improving curb appeal:

• Make a snap judgment: Stand in the front of your yard and look at your house and property. What’s your first impression? If your home doesn’t impress you, then it’s not going to impress neighbors, home appraisers or potential buyers. It’s time to attack the problem areas.

• Prune your shrubs: Your shrubbery should be neat and natural looking. Make sure you leave about a foot between your shrubs and your house to prevent mildew, rot, ants and termites from attacking your home.

• Prune your trees: Remove branches that could fall and cause injury or property damage. You should also remove diseased or insect-infested wood and prune to enhance the natural look of your trees.

• Protect against destructive pests: Asian longhorned beetle, hemlock woolly adelgid, adult Japanese beetles, gypsy moths and tent caterpillars are some of the most common pests that will destroy your trees or shrubs if left unchecked. Bayer Advanced Tree & Shrub Protect & Feed II (www. BayerAdvanced.com) helps you protect your trees from destructive pests. Mix it with water and apply it around the roots of the tree. It protects for up to 12 months. Always read and follow label directions.

• Add some color: Add some pansies, violas, snapdragons and primroses around mailbox posts, driveway and walkway entrances and other sunny spots to make your landscape pop.

Finally, it’s a good idea to spot-check your landscape for any problems while you mow your grass. That’ll save you time and help keep minor issues from getting bigger.

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Create A Stylish Outdoor Space On A Budget

(NAPSI)—If your patio furniture, barbecue grill or favorite outdoor planter was left outside this winter, it probably took a beating. But think twice before you relegate your favorite lounge chair or lawn ornaments to the landfill. It’s easy to transform them and make them look better than new. All you need is a little imagination and a few cans of spray paint.

Create “designer” furniture. Designer patio sets, lawn chairs and other outdoor furniture can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars. But it’s easy and inexpensive to give the furniture you already own a face lift that mimics the look of trendy designer furniture with a few coats of spray paint.

Create a durable designer look that sparkles in the sun with Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Textured Metallic in Galaxy, a textured black with flecks of silver. The texture adds depth, elegance and unmatched protection to any project. Or create a rich Oil Rubbed Bronze finish, while protecting your furniture from the elements, with Rust-Oleum Universal spray paint. Choose an unexpected color, like Painter’s Touch 2X Satin Eden. You can also transform garage sale bargains, flea market finds or used furniture you find on sites like CraigsList or Freecycle with spray paint to get a designer look without the designer price tag.

Revive an old barbecue grill. If your grill was buried under three feet of snow, it could probably use a little TLC. Why not revive it with a spray paint specifically formulated for high heat applications? Rust-Oleum High Heat Ultra resists heat up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit so it’s great for grills, fire pits and wood-burning stoves. Plus, it’s available in traditional black, as well as stylish colors and finishes such as brown and aged copper, so your barbecue grill will look better than new.

Accessories can get a second life, too. No need to toss planters, lawn ornaments or other outdoor accessories because their finish has been weather damaged. Spray paint can give them a second life. Try spray painting planters with Rust-Oleum Stops Rust for a rooftop garden or patio in a variety of vegetable colors-Sunrise Red for tomatoes, Hunter Green for lettuce or green peppers, different shades of green for herbs. The possibilities to add a splash of color-or a little sophistication-to a patio, rooftop or backyard are endless.

For more inspiration, project ideas-or to share a project you’ve done-visit www.PaintIdeas.com. Or find Paint Ideas on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/Paintideas.

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Fight Flood Damage

(NAPSI)—Floods can happen anytime and homeowners should be prepared. Here are hints:

• Plan and practice a flood evacuation route.

• Be prepared to turn off gas, water and electrical power.

• Get a good pump. General-purpose pumps are for moving relatively clean water. Trash pumps are for water contaminated with sticks, leaves, stones and other waste materials.

Size and type are important in selecting the right pump. Most pumps are either electric or gasoline powered. In the case of a flood, an electric pump won’t do you much good, as the power will likely be out. A gas-powered pump runs on the same gas as a car or lawnmower.

“Other factors to consider include hose diameter, lift height, length, material and sprinkler or nozzle use,” explains Rock Reed, assistant vice president of Honda Power Equipment, marketer of a complete line of rugged, easy-to-use, portable pumps. To make selecting the right pump for the right application easier, Honda offers free pump calculation software and other information at www.hondapowerequipment.com.

 

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Spruce Up Your Home's Exterior

(NAPSI)—With winter gone and spring finally here, there’s no better time to spruce up your home. But while most families are reorganizing closets and making trips to Goodwill, they are neglecting the part of their home that guests see first—its exterior. And after this year’s harsh, long winter, the outside of your home probably needs more than a little T.L.C.

“This was one of the worst winters America has seen in decades, and unfortunately, snow, sleet and freezing rain can be damaging to the exterior of any home,” says Rust-Oleum brand manager Dirk Sappok. “Moisture can create the perfect conditions for the growth of mold and mildew. Dirt, grime and salt residue can also be damaging if left unchecked. But fortunately, there are products available that can make the outside of your home look brand new.”

Make Your Home’s Siding Shine

After getting hit with record-breaking snowfalls this winter, the exterior of most homes took a beating. Now that it’s getting warmer, it’s the perfect time to freshen up your home’s siding—and you don’t need to hire a professional or rent a power washer to make your home look like new. Try a cleaner like Jomax House Cleaner and Mildew Killer. It is guaranteed to kill mold and mildew and remove tough stains and stubborn dirt without scrubbing or power washing. Plus, it’s safe for use around plants and shrubs. Or for quick and easy routine cleaning, try Jomax House Wash. Just hook it up to a garden hose, spray, wait 5−10 minutes for dirt and stains to loosen, and rinse off—it’s really that easy!

Put Life Back Into Your Driveway

A cracked, weathered driveway doesn’t do much for a home’s curb appeal, and it’s often the first thing that guests see when they visit your home. Unfortunately, driveway resealing is a project that many homeowners neglect due to the mess and time it requires. But resealing a driveway doesn’t have to be a time-consuming and messy project. Thanks to breakthrough technology, homeowners can rejuvenate their driveways in one easy step with EPOXYSHIELD Blacktop Coating. Unlike other blacktop sealers that must be applied with a squeegee, EPOXYSHIELD Blacktop Coating can be rolled onto the surface just like paint. It’s drive ready in just four hours, leaving a jet-black finish, and it lasts longer than traditional driveway sealers.

Don’t Forget Your Walkways

It’s easy to revive worn sidewalks, porches and entryways without spending a small fortune on replacing them. Select a product like EPOXYSHIELD Concrete Resurfacer. It comes in a kit complete with all the tools you need to renew and restore aged, patched and cracked concrete surfaces. The best part is it can be rolled on, eliminating the mess of replacement or traditional application.

For additional spring spruce-up ideas and outdoor cleaning tips, visit www.rustoleum.com.

 

 

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Ten Tips For Family Fun In The Pool And Sun

(NAPSI)—For a hot time in warm weather, consider these 10 tips, time-savers, water-care ideas, and maintenance and safety suggestions for backyard living:

1. Safety first. Keep each child within arm’s length at all times; designate an adult as water watcher; ensure that the pool’s fence is always locked; and install both gate and pool alarms.

2. Dress up the landscape. Use shrubs for form, foliage-heavy plants for color and sturdy perennials for cheery blooms with little tending.

3. Add years to backyard furnishings. If mildew spots appear on outside chairs and tables, wash the fabric according to manufacturer directions and dry in the sun. Then mix together equal parts lemon juice and salt; spread on the stain. Dry in the sun again and rinse thoroughly.

4. Organize backyard toys and tools. Two simple storage rules for keeping backyard clutter down: Air out wet things by storing them in big mesh bags or open-weave crates. Toss all the little bits into a clear plastic shoe organizer hung on a fence or nearby wall.

5. Try a water workout. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just 21 minutes a day of exercising in a pool can cut your risk of chronic disease. Strength, endurance and balance are all benefits of using water as the resistance. A typical water exercise session of 40 to 50 minutes can burn up to 600 calories.

6. Create a backyard oasis. Instead of using typical bulk salt, for your saltwater pool consider Mineral Springs from BioGuard. It contains a special blend of minerals, pool equipment protectors, water enhancers and pH adjusters that all work to make silky, relaxing water.

7. Soak in a sensational spa. Place flameless LED candles around the edge of the spa. Take tunes into the spa with a floating speaker that connects wirelessly to an MP3 player. Add a soothing scent to the water with single-use aromatherapy packs.

8. Be more environmentally friendly. Always keep your pool water balanced with the right combination of chemicals. Overworked filters and motors waste energy and hike utility bills.

9. Help pets swim safely. Before you let a dog jump in, make sure he can get out without damaging the pool or hurting himself. Also check with the vet. Swimming in a pool should be appropriate for the breed. Monitor the water. A typical dog can be the equivalent of about 50 swimmers in the pool, meaning extra vigilance is needed to maintain the chemical balance.

10. Maintain a pristine pool. A good pool-care strategy involves circulation, filtration, cleaning, testing and chemistry. A BioGuard dealer can provide computerized water testing and recommend the best care schedule for your pool.

For more information and to locate a BioGuard dealer, visit www.bioguard.com or call (800) 932-5943.

 

 

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What Are Those Brown Spots In My Yard?

(NAPSI)—It’s summertime. You’ve just returned from your relaxing family vacation at the beach. You drive up to your house and then you’re shocked by what you see—brown spots in your beautiful green lawn.

Oh, you’re not losing your mind. The sprinkler system worked just fine. The kid who cuts your grass didn’t scalp it.

Your lawn has a disease. You’ve got fungus. And it can spread quickly if you don’t treat it.

“Lawn diseases are often caused by bad lawn care habits,” said Lance Walheim, co-author of “Lawn Care for Dummies” and lawn care expert for Bayer Advanced™. “Prevention is the key to save time, money and your lawn.”

Here are a few helpful tips:

• Make sure your lawn has proper drainage: If part of your lawn is constantly wet, you’ve got a breeding ground for fungus. Aerating is one of the best ways to improve drainage. But you might need to add soil and grade and replant grass in areas that are consistently wet.

• Water early: Be sure to water your lawn before 10 a.m. so that it dries off in the afternoon. Deep, infrequent watering gives your grass time to dry out.

• Prevent the problem: Bayer Advanced Fungus Control for Lawns (www.BayerAdvanced. com) cures and prevents common lawn diseases such as brown patch, dollar spot, rust and others. In fact, it prevents diseases for up to 30 days. The hose-end sprayer covers a 5,000-square-foot lawn fast with one application. For best results, apply when conditions are favorable for disease development. (Contact your local cooperative extension agent for information on turf diseases in your area.) Always read and follow label directions.

• Mow at the right height for your kind of grass: Mowing too low weakens grass. Don’t cut wet grass. Wait for your lawn to dry off from the morning dew or after a rainfall.

• Fertilization: You should check with your local cooperative extension service for the proper feeding schedule for your type of grass and climate.

Lawn diseases sneak up quickly, even during drought conditions. So keep an eye out for them when you’re out in your yard.

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Keep Your Lawn Mower Running Right

(NAPSI)—A trouble-free season of lawn care begins with a lawn mower that’s easy to start and keeps on running. The key to making that happen may be as simple as doing a mower tune-up.

Why Tune Up?

According to the engine experts at Briggs & Stratton Corporation, a tune-up:

• Helps a lawn mower start more easily and run smoother;

• Can extend mower life because of proper maintenance;

• Reduces engine emissions, which is easier on the environment;

• Delivers a small savings in the amount of gasoline used over the course of a season.

It’s Easy to Tune Up

There are just four simple steps to complete a lawn mower tune-up: Change the oil, air filter and spark plug, and add fuel preservative to the gas tank to keep the gasoline fresh longer. Gasoline goes stale in as little as 30 days and stale gas is one of the top reasons for poor starting.

Riding mowers may also re- quire changing the oil and fuel filters, which should take only a few additional minutes.

Help Tuning Up

Briggs & Stratton has tune-up kits with everything needed for a lawn mower engine tune-up, including exactly the right amount of oil, a new spark plug, air filter and fuel preservative. The kits are at dealers, home improvement stores and online at www.mowertuneup.com. A lawn mower tune-up is something just about anyone can do—and it does a lot for the environment.

After Tuning Up

Participating dealers also have an environmentally correct way to dispose of the used mower engine oil for free. It’s important to dispose of oil properly because a single quart of oil poured down a storm drain can contaminate a million gallons of water, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. If poured on the ground, oil contaminates the environment and eventually enters the groundwater as a pollutant.

Find a participating dealer at www.recyclemoweroil.com, then drop off the used lawn mower oil in any closed container. The site also offers a useful “how to” video on oil changing.

 

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Crabgrass: The Troublemaker In Your Yard

(NAPSI)—Crabgrass is one of the most hated weeds around because it’s such a troublemaker.

According to several university extension services, a single weed can produce more than 150,000 seeds that can spread more crabgrass around your lawn, as well as to your neighbors’ lawns.

Seeds germinate in the early spring once the soil temperature reaches about 60 degrees. There are many ways for the crabgrass to spread:

• The wind can spread seeds.

• Your lawn mower can kick up seeds when you cut crabgrass.

• Birds and other animals can carry crabgrass seeds as they move through your yard.

“Crabgrass doesn’t blend into your lawn,” said Lance Walheim, author of “Lawn Care for Dummies” and lawn care expert for Bayer Advanced™. “It stands out because it’s a big clump. Then, it gets bigger and bigger.”

Crabgrass chokes out the good grass. Clumps can grow together. You’ll end up with a big hole in your yard if you try pulling it out.

Attack The Problem Early

It’s easier to attack a crabgrass problem early. Bayer Advanced (www.BayerAdvanced.com) offers two kinds of crabgrass-killing products. All-In-One Lawn Weed & Crabgrass Killer kills more than 200 broadleaf weeds plus grassy weeds such as crabgrass. If you have large crabgrass, go for a specialized solution: Crabgrass Killer for Lawns kills even large crabgrass, on certain types of lawns, right to the root. Always read and follow label directions.

There are also a number of things you can do to help prevent crabgrass.

Preventive Measures

• Set your mower’s wheel height to the type of grass you have: A lush, thick lawn is more resistant to crabgrass.

• Fertilize once or twice a year: Strong turf chokes out crabgrass.

• Deep, infrequent watering: Stick a screwdriver eight inches into the soil. If it’s wet, you’ve watered correctly. Consult your local water department for lawn-watering guidelines.

Crabgrass seeds can remain dormant in your lawn for years, so never let a problem get out of hand. If you see crabgrass, go ahead and treat it. It’ll save you time and money later on.

 

 

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