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Flowering Shrubs Easy-To-Grow Flowers Hydrangeas Protect Your Lawn Weed Control Controllng Crabgrass Easier Mowing Insect Protection
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Increase Your Home's Value With Flowering Shrubs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(NAPSI)-There's good news for homeowners whose thumb is only a little green: It may be easier and less expensive than you think to add value to your home.

The secret? Plant more shrubs and bushes in your landscaping.

A recent study by Michigan State University found that high-quality landscaping often increases a home's value by 5 to 11 percent. A separate study by Clemson University estimated this increase to be 6 to 7 percent.

According to research by the American Society of Landscape Architects, when selling your home, you can recover from 100 to 200 percent of every dollar you invest in your landscaping.

Improving your landscaping with shrubs can save you money as well. Replacing part of your lawn with a mass planting of shrubs can reduce costs for lawn mowing and lawn care, such as the cost of fertilizer and gas. Plus, landscaping can reduce your air-conditioning costs by as much as 50 percent, according to the American Public Power Association.

Landscaping is also one home improvement that may actually appreciate over time. As the plants grow larger, they should improve their looks, which can then improve the curb appeal of your home.

Shrubs often provide colorful flowers for years, rather than just one season, making them sound long-term investments for your landscape. Many of the newest flowering shrubs available today are hardy, bloom each year without special care or pampering, and sport interesting colors such as pink or purple, which can add even more value to your landscaping.

Consider the new Lo & Behold "Blue Chip" buddleia, a miniature butterfly bush with loads of bright blue flowers. Lo & Behold "Blue Chip" bloom continuously, so you won't need to prune this plant as you do older varieties of buddleia. Like all butterfly bushes, it also attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

Another new shrub, the Invincibelle Spirit Hydrangea, is the very first pink-flowered form of the 'Annabelle' hydrangea. Like all 'Annabelle' hydrangeas, it's superhardy, adaptable and easy to grow. It also blooms on new wood, so it will flower even after an early spring pruning, giving you pink color all season.

A close cousin to the Invincibelle Spirit is the new Incrediball Hydrangea. Some have described this hydrangea as an "'Annabelle' on steroids." Its huge, basketball-sized flowers are the biggest ever seen on a hydrangea, creating a burst of white in your landscape or garden.

For repeat color and a wonderful scent, there is the new Bloomerang Purple, a reblooming lilac. Bloomerang is the most compact, heaviest-blooming dwarf lilac ever grown. It produces a bumper crop of fragrant lavender flowers in spring and then continues to bloom again from mid-summer until frost.

Common sense says that the brighter and bigger the color of your shrubs and other ornamental woody plants, the better the chance of catching a potential homebuyer's attention. And in a difficult housing market, increased curb appeal might be the edge you need to sell your home.

All these shrubs are available at better garden centers. To find one, visit www.provenwinners.com/findaretailer.

 

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Winning Daylily Packs Powerful Performance Into Pretty Proportioned Plant

(NAPSI)-Hemerocallis, the scientific name for daylily, combines two Greek words meaning "beauty for a day," but don't be misled. The phrase refers to each individual bloom and doesn't reflect the long-term, luscious color many new varieties display from early spring until late in the season. These versatile, easy-to-grow flowers provide ground cover, add focal points of visual interest, and fill your garden with drifts of color.

The All-American Daylily Selection Council's 2010 All-American Winner is "Toy Cameo," which is also a winner in the Landscape Category. The benchmarks for excellence are based on the data collected from more than 6,000 varieties, and the winners are the rare cultivars that score highest across five USDA hardiness zones.

"Toy Cameo" packs powerful performance into a petite, perfectly proportioned plant. Its compact habit, graceful foliage, well-groomed appearance and repeat blooming habit makes it a top choice in its color category for a low ground cover, border plantings and patio containers. The peppy, peachy-pink petals surround a chartreuse-green throat and harmonize well with tropical sunset colors in the landscape. The 3½-inch blossoms are perched atop 15- to 20-inch bloom scapes, surrounded by tidy, vigorous, deciduous foliage.

The initial blooming period is mid to late season, with repeat blooming providing late-season color. "Toy Cameo" increases rapidly, is rust resistant, thrives in USDA zones 4−9, and blooms an average of 45 to 80 days a year. "Toy Cameo" joins the ranks of 17 other All-American Daylily winners that have proven themselves in this unsurpassed test program, as well as in gardens across the nation. While growing daylilies is easy, here are a few tips that can help improve their performance:

1. Before planting, incorporate organic matter into loose soil. Daylilies require a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight daily for best performance. Daylilies will thrive in any good garden soil as long as it is well drained.

2. Plant in a hole 1½ times the size of the root-ball and place the crown (where the roots and fan meet) of the plant at one inch below ground level. Space the plants 12 inches apart. Cover the roots and pack the soil firmly around the plant base.

3. Water thoroughly and keep watered well for the first 30 days. Give extra water if you experience especially warm weather; otherwise, daylilies should be happy with the same amount of water the rest of your garden receives.

4. In USDA zones 6 or cooler, protect your daylilies from hard freezes with one to two inches of mulch.

Other All-American Winners include Dream Souffle, Summer Valentine, Buttered Popcorn, Chorus Line and Frankly Scarlet. For more information on these and other winners, visit the All-American Daylily website at www.allamericandaylilies.com. Download article content

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The Top 10 Reasons To Love Hydrangeas

(NAPSI)-There's nothing wrong with the old-fashioned "snowball" hydrangeas at grandma's house. But today's hydrangeas have gotten a makeover, offering homeowners more choices than ever before. Count down the top 10 reasons to plant them in your landscape.

10. One for any climate. Panicle hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) are the toughest, surviving even a Minnesota winter. The flowers form in a large cone shape (called a panicle) and prefer full sun.

Smooth hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens) are the second hardiest, growing well in cool climates. Flowers form in a snowball shape. The best-known variety, "Annabelle," was discovered growing near Anna, Illinois. It prefers partial shade.

Oakleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia), native to the southeast United States, grow in partial shade, showing off attractive shaggy bark, large panicles and oakleaf-shape leaves that sport burgundy or red fall color. Grow a dwarf variety if you have a small yard. Oakleaves tolerate drier conditions than other types.

Mophead hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) display the showiest flower heads and grow best with morning sun, afternoon shade and plenty of moisture. These are the ones people think of when they hear the word "hydrangea."

9. Rebloomers. The Forever & EverŪ series of hydrangeas (all mopheads) promises continuous blooms. Technically, they're "remontant," which simply means they bloom on new and old wood. Add a controlled-release, balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer to the soil in spring for a bloom boost. Since new stems grow throughout the summer, keep spent flowers clipped to promote new flowers.

8. Beautiful bouquets. Wait until the flower heads become slightly dry before cutting hydrangeas for bouquets. For fresh bouquets, make an angled cut and place stems into water laced with a floral preservative. Air-dry hydrangeas by hanging them upside down or just arrange them without water in a large vase.

7. Foliage. The star attractions on some hydrangea varieties are their colorful leaves, such as chartreuse-yellow "Lemon Daddy" or variegated green-and-white First Editions Light-O-Day.

6. Pink or blue. Hydrangeas come in an impressive array of shades including pure white, chartreuse green, blues, purples and pinks. A mophead hydrangea turns blue only if there's aluminum present, found naturally in acidic soils. If your soil is alkaline, add aluminum sulfate to turn blooms blue or just enjoy the pink color.

5. Bicolor or double petals. The cute Forever & EverŪ Peppermint looks like someone took a brush and painted a stripe down the center of each petal. Forever & EverŪ Double Pink produces twice the number of petals on each tiny flower.

4. Lacecaps. Take a mophead hydrangea, flatten its top and you've got a showy lacecap. Forever & EverŪ Summer Lace is the newest of the reblooming lacecaps on the market.

3. Monsters or dwarfs. Want soccer ball−sized flowers? Check out Incrediball, a smooth hydrangea variety. Want a small potted hydrangea for your patio? Many of the mopheads grow less than three feet tall, well suited for a large container.

2. Sun or shade. Hydrangeas need some sun to bloom well, but they don't want to bake in the afternoon; place mopheads in partial shade or a spot where they get afternoon shade. If you've only got full sun, grow panicle hydrangeas. The farther north you live, the more sun the plants need to bloom profusely.

And the No. 1 reason to love hydrangeas?

1. All of the above!

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Keeping Your Lawn Disease-Free

(NAPSI)-Controlling diseases can be one of the more challenging aspects of lawn care. Left alone, diseases like brown patch, dollar spot or rust can quickly turn a beautiful lawn into a splotchy mess.

"Lawn diseases are tough to diagnose because they can look like insect damage or even fertilizer burn," says Lance Walheim, Bayer Advanced™ Garden Expert and co-author of "Lawn Care for Dummies." "So the first step is to know what's causing the trouble and then attack it early. That'll save you time, money and headaches."

Lawn diseases are often caused by bad lawn-care habits. Here are some simple steps to prevent common lawn diseases:

• Proper drainage and watering methods: Most lawn diseases thrive in moist or humid conditions, so you need to make sure your lawn has proper drainage and is being watered correctly. If part of your lawn is constantly wet, you've got a breeding ground for fungus, so be sure to aerate to improve drainage. Another tip: Be sure to water your lawn early in the morning so that it dries off in the afternoon. Deep, infrequent waterings give your grass time to dry out as well.

• Read the fertilizer label: Some diseases like heavily fertilized lawns. Others like underfertilized lawns. You can help prevent lawn diseases if you follow the recommended fertilization schedule for your type of grass.

• There's a correct way to mow: Keep your lawn mower's blades razor sharp. Dull blades tear the grass. That injures it and provides a breeding ground for fungus spores. Don't cut wet grass. Wait for your lawn to dry off from the morning dew or after a rainfall.

• Use a preventive fungus control product: Bayer Advanced Fungus Control for Lawns cures and prevents common lawn diseases such as brown patch, dollar spot, rust and others for up to 30 days. The new hose-end sprayer is convenient to use, takes less time to apply and lets you cover a 5,000-square-foot lawn with one application. Always read and follow all label directions. Visit BayerAdvanced.com for more information and helpful how-to videos or call (877) BAYERAG.

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Your Personal Lawn Wellness Program To Prevent Weeds

(NAPSI)-The American Society of Landscape Architects says an attractive and functional landscape can increase property values from 5 percent to 20 percent. But the time and money you spend creating a well-designed landscape can be wasted if you have weeds in your lawn.

Weeds are ugly, embarrassing and harm the value of your home. They spread across your lawn and over to your neighbor's yard, which doesn't exactly help your reputation at the next neighborhood meeting.

"Weeds can cause serious damage to your lawn if they're not controlled," says Lance Walheim, Bayer Advanced™ Garden Expert and co-author of "Lawn Care for Dummies." "Clover, Dandelion, Henbit, Plantain, Knotweed, Spotted Spurge and other broadleaf weeds are some of the most troublesome for homeowners."

If you search the Internet, you'll find a wide variety of weed-control products, including some that literally torch weeds with fire. But it's easier and cheaper to prevent weeds, instead of letting them get out of hand.

Weed Prevention Tips:

• Fertilize: Warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda and St. Augustine, require fertilizer beginning in late spring. Cool-season grasses, such as tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass, require fertilizer in spring or fall.

• Deep watering is best: Your lawn requires a good soaking of water to a depth of 6-8 inches. You can use a screwdriver to probe the soil to determine if the water is reaching the recommended depth.

• Mow your grass weekly: Regular mowing makes your lawn healthier and easier to cut. Set the mower at the recommended height for your grass type. Also keep the mower blade sharp for a clean cut and to reduce lawn disease.

• Use brand-new Bayer Advanced Season Long Weed Control for Lawns: Of course, there are plenty of weed-control products available in your garden center. But Bayer Advanced Season Long Weed Control for Lawns is a revolutionary new weed control solution available only from Bayer Advanced. It contains a proven blend of three weed killers to kill many existing weeds PLUS a residual herbicide to keep many weeds from coming back for up to six months. Traditional lawn weed killers require multiple applications, which is frustrating, time consuming and costly for homeowners.

Always read and follow all label directions. Visit BayerAdvanced.com for more gardening tips and how-to videos or call (877) BAYERAG.

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Save Time And Money Controlling Crabgrass

(NAPSI)-Crabgrass is one of the most common lawn weeds and it causes the most headaches for homeowners.

"Crabgrass can turn a lush, green lawn into a neighborhood eyesore," says Lance Walheim, Bayer Advanced™ Lawn Care Expert and co-author of "Lawn Care for Dummies." "This weed is on a mission to make your lawn look ugly. Just one crabgrass weed can produce more than 150,000 seeds that can spread."

Full, hot sun makes crabgrass thrive. It chokes out the good grass and forms large depressions in your lawn. When left uncontrolled, clumps of crabgrass can grow together into larger clumps that are even harder to control.

"You can't expect a 100-percent weed-free lawn," Walheim adds. "But you can have the best lawn in your neighborhood without spending a lot of time or money."

Money- and Time-Saving Tips To Control Crabgrass and Other Weeds:

• Preventive measures: Set your mower's wheel height based on the type of grass you have. That will encourage a lush, thick lawn that is more resistant to crabgrass. Water deeply (6-8 inches) when your lawn looks thirsty, or based on local water department recommendations. Fertilize based on the type of grass you have so that the good turf chokes out the bad weeds.

• Multitask: Save time by keeping an eye out for crabgrass while you mow your yard. If you find a few, young plants, they're easily pulled by hand.

• Save money while treating for all weeds: Many weed killers only kill one type of weed--either grassy or broadleaf. Instead of spending money on two products, Bayer Advanced All-in-One Lawn Weed & Crabgrass Killer Ready-To-Spray is an economical solution for treating both types of problem weeds. It kills over 200 types of common broadleaf weeds like dandelions and clover plus grassy weeds like crabgrass in one application. It features an easy-to-use water-saving applicator. Just hook to your garden hose and spray. Always read and follow all label directions.

• Share your knowledge to benefit your neighborhood: Weeds can spread from your neighbor's yard to your lawn. Be sure to share the secrets of your success with your neighbors. If everyone's lawn looks great, that helps increase the curb appeal of your neighborhood and helps your home value. That helps put even more money in your pocket.

For more lawn-care information and how-to videos, visit BayerAdvanced.com or call (877) BAYERAG.

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Mowing Made easier

(NAPSI)-Advances in lawn mower technology have made the weekly task of cutting the grass a lot easier than it used to be.

In an experiment to create the ultimate lawn mower, engineers teamed up with homeowners to design a mower that responded to the shortcomings of existing mowers while adding features that make it easier to use. After three years of research and design, a new lawn mower--the Snapper NXT--was the result.

The mower has dozens of unique features, starting with the No. 1 item on consumers' wish list-easy starting. The Snapper NXT has a push-button starting system-roll it out, push the button and mow. The system was engineered by engine maker Briggs & Stratton Corp. The forward speed of existing walk mowers was also a concern for homeowners. People of different ages and heights walk at different speeds, making one speed fits all uncomfortable for some people. Snapper engineers added a patented system to the lawn mower that automatically matches the pace of the user. Walk slow, the mower moves forward slowly; pick up the pace, and the mower speeds up.

"You might think there aren't many things you can do to make mowing easier and more enjoyable, but we found many ways to do both in response to our consumer research," says Troy Blewett, a member of the Snapper brand team. "Our development group used a new way of learning from homeowners directly and applied that knowledge during the design process," he added.

Among the other helpful features on the Snapper NXT is the ability to raise and lower the mower deck to adjust the cutting height with a single lever. Most mowers require adjusting each wheel separately, which takes more time and leaves room for error. Even mower maintenance is easier with the help of a digital reminder on the mower's handlebar that indicates when it is time to change the oil or spark plug. The mowers also mulch and disperse grass clippings easily, creating a natural fertilizer as you mow.

More than 2,000 homeowners who own and use lawn mowers took part in the surveys used to help design the Snapper NXT. Engineers also visited homeowners to watch them mow. Once the Snapper NXT prototypes were designed, consumers were brought in to try them out and suggest any last changes.

For more information and to locate a dealer, visit www.snappernxt.com.

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Change The Way You Think About Your Lawn To Enhance Its Health

(NAPSI)-Our lawns enhance the look of homes and add to property values. They serve as a place to relax and as a play area for kids and pets. They absorb carbon dioxide from the air and give back fresh oxygen. Lawns are also expensive. Sod can cost about $500 for 1,000 square feet.

"The easiest way to achieve the goal of a beautiful lawn and protect your investment is to really think about grass as a living, breathing thing," says Bayer Advanced Garden Expert Lance Walheim, co-author of "Lawn Care for Dummies." "Your lawn requires a proper diet of water and fertilizer, regular haircuts and protection against the things that can harm it."

Four Ways To Enhance The Health Of Your Lawn

• Deep watering: For most areas, two waterings a week in the summer is sufficient, but you should check with your local water department or extension service for guidelines. You need to irrigate your lawn long enough so the water can penetrate 6 inches into the soil. You can use a screwdriver to test the depth of moisture.

• The right fertilizer at the right time: Fertilizers feed the grass to strengthen it against weeds, diseases and pests. Slow-release fertilizers cost more, but they're less likely to burn the lawn and they last longer. Warm-season grasses require fertilizer in late spring. Cool-season grasses require fertilizer in spring or fall. Be sure to check with your county extension office to determine the proper timing for fertilizing your type of turf.

• Mowing: Set the wheels of the mower at the recommended height for your grass type. Mow often enough so you don't scalp your grass. Scalping can lead to weed problems.

• Insect protection: Below-ground pests such as grubs eat your grass roots and can harm your lawn. Above-ground lawn pests such as fleas and ticks can be a nuisance to your kids or pets. Bayer Advanced Complete Insect Killer saves money because one product kills soil insects for up to three months and kills surface insects in 24 hours. Be sure to read and follow the directions on the label. Visit BayerAdvanced.com for lawn care tips and how-to videos or call (877) BAYERAG.

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