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How to Winterize Your Bird Houses

 

No doubt, winter could be a rough time for everyone including your birds. A birder should pay substantial attention to winterizing bird houses as soon as the temperature starts to drop. Many of the birders prefer to remove bird houses during ferocious winters, but that does not offer any help. Rather than putting them away, you could easily convert them into roosting boxes for appropriate shelter amid winters. 

Nothing gets better than providing your local birds with some safe and sound shelter during winters. Keeping your feathered friends happy through all the seasons is a euphoric gesture, and nobody should refrain from doing so, right? With just a little effort and minimal modifications, you can winterize your bird houses. 

Giving a winter roost box in the form of a shelter to your local birds will provide them an additional piece of protection from the breeze and icy temperatures and enable them to save calories and vitality. Your winter roost box may have a significant effect on a feathered creature, particularly on a chilly night or amid a wild frigid tempest.

This article presents some simple steps for winterizing a bird house.

Clean the Bird House and Repair Damages

Whether you want to convert a bird house into a winter roosting box or simply want to preserve it, the initial step is cleaning. Sanitize the house well and remove the old nesting material in order to get rid of pests or any bacteria that could be harmful to birds. This will also make room for the new visitors. Never forget, cleaning always helps!

After you are done with cleaning, you should check for damages. On the off chance that the bird house requires any repairs like strengthening seams, unclogging drained holes or removing splinters – you should do them right away. This way, you can ensure your birds to be safe and sound, and the bird house could also retain its life.

Afterward, put the bird house back after drying it completely.

Check for the Bird House Design

Since some bird houses are designed to be converted to roosting boxes, you should check for your particular design before beginning to convert them. In case, your bird houses have the same design, you should follow manufacturer’s instructions for converting it. On the off chance that you have a basic bird house, you can convert it yourself after cleaning and repairing.   

  • If feasible, use entrance hole to remove the front board of the house and then invert it. This way, the hole will get nearer to the base of the house and more warmth will stay inside the house because warm air rises.
  • If you intend to use your spring bird houses as winter roost boxes, you may want to get rid of the big ventilation holes that keep the blistering sun from damaging the interior. Weatherstripping foam is ideal for blocking such holes, and you can remove it easily when spring kicks in. Or you can use silicone gel to seal the tiniest cracks. It will also keep the moisture from getting into the house. Likewise, block the most (not all) of the ventilation holes to trap heat so that the birds can be kept warm. Additionally, place tiny pieces of foam beneath the eaves of the house. 
  • Put extra perches inside the birdhouse so that more birds can utilize the space. Extra perches are essential since several adult birds may use the same house for shelter and without the additional perches, birds on the bottom may suffocate. You could also put small twigs or branches across the corners to provide additional perching space.
  • Insulation is of utmost importance when it comes to winterizing a bird house. Place a layer of sawdust, dried grass or hay to the bottom of the house. Most importantly, your birds will have a nice cozy atmosphere during winters. The additional insulation will also allow you to clean the house for spring.
  • Utilize a dark cover on the roof of the house to darken it. The darker color will provide additional insulation because it will trap more solar energy. Allow the cover to hang from the sides so that it can provide great protection from rain and snow.
  • You should look for an ideal spot to position the bird house. The ideal location must be safe from the predators. Select the position wisely to safeguard roosting birds. Make sure that the entrance of the bird house is far from the chilly winds, and it will get substantial afternoon sunlight to provide warmth in the evening. It would be great if you can place the birdhouse under a home’s roof. All this will prevent your birds from the ferocious temperature. It’s is believed that setting up the roosting box high amid winters attracts more roosting birds and it also secures them from predators.

When Spring Starts

Regardless of your decision of either converting or storing the bird house, you must gear up to prepare your bird houses for nesting birds. With no exceptions, stored bird houses will require the least inspection before families start living in them again. Although, roost boxes will need thorough inspection the following spring for early nesting birds to live in them. 

Storing the bird houses will ensure their safeguard for the upcoming spring, whereas if you decide to transform them into winter roost boxes, local birds will cherish the shelter throughout the winter. Now you decide what’s better? 

Taking the right decision of either storing or converting will assist birders in retaining the lives of their bird houses so they will be able to see generations of several healthy bird families each year. 

If you wish, you can even take a further step in order to rescue birds amid harsh winters. You can buy roosting pockets that are made from woven natural materials. You can hang those in protected areas across the yard as a safe and warm shelter for birds during winters. By taking some measures before winter sets in, you can have your bird houses prepared to protect your feathered friends during harsh weather conditions.

 

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Introduction to Lawn Care Equipment

 

What you need to keep your lawn in tip top condition depends on the type of lawn you have and how big the area is. For small lawns it is not necessary to spend a lot of money on equipment that you will not be using on a regular basis. What type of grass you plant is very important and you need to make sure that you chose the right type for your area and circumstances. To maintain your lawn in tip top condition you will need to make sure that you will have enough water to keep the lawn green and luscious. 

EQUIPMENT

Lawn Mowers

Your lawn will have to be trimmed regularly and a lawn mower is essential. There are two types of lawn mowers, electric or gasoline rotary or the reel type which is a lot simpler. The rotary mowers come with or without a bagging system or with a mulching blade that will disperse the grass cuttings. Most of these mowers are self-propelled and you can even find ones that you can ride on while cutting the grass. The reel mowers which are less common, are the ideal solution for small patches of grass as they are inexpensive and very easy to use. 

Trimmers and Edger’s

String trimmers have a spinning plastic twine which is used to trim and cut grass in hard to reach places and to keep the edge of your lawn looking neat and tidy. The powerful Edge trimmers are usually with vertical metal blades and ideal for trimming borders. This is also an essential piece of equipment that is necessary to care for your lawn.

Aerating your lawn

All lawns need to be aerated from time to time to allow the water and air to penetrate below the grass. This can be done with a simple pitchfork or if you have a large lawn you can purchase a de-thatcher which is used to rough up the lawn to remove dead grass and allow the water to be absorbed into the roots. The act of aerating the grass is done to loosen dense grass and allow nutrients and water to penetrate the soil.

 

The above are essential for good lawn maintenance, other equipment to consider is a blower, which essentially blows all the leaves and loose particles into one area making it easier to clean. This is not an essential piece of equipment as a rake and garden broom can do the same job. Whether you buy a blower or not will depend on how much grass you have and what you are willing to spend.

Other equipment you might need is a sprayer for applying pesticides and small weed removal tools.

Apart from ample sunshine, grass needs regular watering to survive. For smaller gardens this can be done by hand, for larger areas it is wise to install a sprinkler system that will dispense the right amount of water automatically.

The items mentioned in this article are the basics needed to maintain a lawn. If you are looking for more advanced professional equipment, there is a huge variety that you can find which include fertilizer dispensers, drum rollers with spikes for aerating the lawn and testing kits to ensure that your grass is in optimum condition.

What you buy and how you use it is a personal choice, you can get away with a simple routine or purchase all the paraphernalia available to ensure the best possible results.

 

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The Basics of Fall Yard Care

 

 

Arguably the most beautiful season of the year, autumn is an important time to be taking great care of your yard. You don’t want your neighbors showing you up! For not only the best looking yard this coming season, but also the most winter resistant, we’ve put together some tips to follow.

 

Maintaining Leaves

 

It’s common knowledge that autumn brings leaves and more leaves. They call it fall for a reason! While pretty, it’s best to keep them off your lawn. Piling them up prevents your grass from the sun and water it needs. Be sure to maintain this by frequently raking or blowdrying leaves off into oblivion.

 

Mowing The Lawn

 

As with all the warmer months, maintaining your lawns height is essential for its health. 2-3 inches should suffice. Longer grass is susceptible to damage from the inbound snow, while shorter doesn’t give the root enough strength to resist the cold. Not to mention that regular mowing helps to spread leaves around.

 

Fertilizing

 

Fertilization is also essential. It’s important to time it based on your grass type. Cool season grasses should be done in later months, specifically September to November. Warm season grasses should be earlier, ideally July to early September. There are special fertilizers for winter with extra potassium – essential for resisting the cold as well as for growth. Think of fertilizer as an extra shot of energy before the winter comes.

 

Managing Weeds

 

Weeds are handled fairly simply. All you need is to apply a blanket weed killer to prevent them before they start. There are even some fertilizers that blend in weed killer. Two birds with one stone. Those who want to go the extra mile should overseed their lawn before the snow comes. Weeds can’t grow if there’s no room for them. 

 

Fall is best to overseed due to the extra moisture in the air, as well as the sun not being as overbearing. Note that this needs to be done before the temperature drops too much, otherwise it’s a wasted attempt.

 

Watering

 

While autumn is definitely a wetter season, you mustn’t slack on watering your lawn! You’ll want to keep some extra water going before the harsh winter comes. At least an inch a week should suffice. But, make sure to store your sprinklers and watering devices before it gets too cold, otherwise they’ll freeze.

 

Mulching

 

A often under looked but still essential part of yard maintenance, mulching helps keep heat and moisture around for your lawn to flourish. This is best done in the early fall, before any heavy snowfall. It also serves as sort of a shield from the harsh winter environment, keeping your roots strong and in place.

 

There is much to be done when prepping your lawn for the winter. While these tips are great for starting, each lawn is different. For the best results, do some research on the types of grass, fertilizer, grass length, and more are best for your situation. You won’t regret it come spring time.

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Why You Should Mow Your Lawn High

 

The most necessary thing which every gardener should know while taking care of his lawn is that mow your lawn high. Many lawns must be cut at the minimum mowing range of 2.5 inches, taking or giving the notch on the mower’s adjustable wheels. 

Why mow the Lawn High?

The lawn with more height will have greater surface area for the process of photosynthesis to happen. The increased process causes the much greater growth of plants, stronger root system, and a stout plant. 

Advantages of mowing the lawn high

The lush green, dense lawn which is maintained at the height of 3 inches is much tolerant to the infrequent watering and the stress made by the drought as there are more moisture reserves in the root and leaf tissue system. Though the turf will still need the water, the influences of the drought or excessive water will be not much noticeable and take more time to happen with the higher lawns. This can be the difference amid the lawn getting dried up or surviving till the next rain. 

Another important advantage of the high lawn is the aesthetics. The high amount of the leafy blades offers a dramatic enhancement in the color of turf. You may observe the lawn becoming consistent, lush green and smooth. 

Reasons to mow the lawn higher

Following are the few reasons of mowing the lawn higher. 

  1.   The grass leafs are the food generating parts of the grassy plants. In this part, photosynthesis occurs and plants get the essential food contents for having the excellent shoot and root growth system. The short it is; the lesser food plants will generate. 
  2.   The long grass leafs can shade the ground below them while keeping it cool, which keeps it well as soon as the lawn is mowed and gets short. You can say that the lawn doesn’t need to get as much of the supplemental water.  
  3.   The long grass leaves can reduce the growth of weed. There are many kinds of weed seeds which can be found in the lawns, waiting for the favorable conditions for getting germinated. One of such conditions is to have the sufficient sunlight for making them warm to germinate. If the sunlight doesn’t reach the seeds, there are very fewer chances for them to get germinated. High mowing is the best solution for controlling the weed growth.
  4.   So, as the grass leafs are cut to short, the plant needs to make its leaf blade grow and for this purpose, it utilizes the food reserves for producing the new shoots. All of these reserves are saved in the roots of the plant, so due to the forcing of the plant for growing its shoots in any condition can lower the food storage ability of plant. As the lawn is mowed high, the enough leaf surfaces will be available for keeping the plant healthful. As the leaf of the grassy plants is fresh and healthy, so will be your lawn.
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Lawn Maintenance 101: When Should You Rake Leaves Off Your Lawn

 

It’s important to know why you should rake leaves in order to understand when you should rake them. It’s not just about tidiness but also has a lot to do with the health of your grass. 

There are two schools of thought. One suggests you don’t rake at all; it’s time-consuming and laborious. Also, too much raking isn’t good, especially if you’re too enthusiastic or aggressive, and you can cause damage to the lawn if the leaves are wet. Be sure to rake small amounts, gently, when the leaves are light and dry.

 

Too Much of a Good Thing

There are those who believe a layer of leaves is a good way to protect the lawn and fertilize it but there are also a number of reasons as to why it’s not good to have too many leaves for too long on top of your grass, including: 

  • Lawns need to breathe
  • Too many leaves can be a cozy home for pesky pests and diseases like brown patch and snow mold 
  • While a layer of leaves can protect the nutrients escaping from your lawn, too many leaves can also create a barrier, preventing water, a healthy air flow and nutrients getting to the roots
  • A really thick layer of leaves can keep new grass from growing

If you’re an old hand at lawn maintenance you will have a ‘feel’ for when the leaves should be raked but if you’re new to it, there are a few guidelines that’ll steer you in the right direction. 

How Long To Wait Before You Rake

A general rule of thumb is every three to four days however there are no hard and fast rules as to how long you should wait. This is because there are too many determining factors for it to be an exact science. For example, do you have a lot of trees? What kind of leaves are they? What kind of lawn do you have? Is there a lot of rain or moisture around? How thick is the layer of leaves?

 

Size Matters

Bet you hate hearing it but yes, size does matter. If you have a large lawn you might find yourself raking more often to keep it manageable. Also, having a lot of deciduous trees will mean more raking more often. 

Tools of the Trade

Small lawns will probably need a rake, while larger lawns will need a leaf blower and a rake to get the job done. There are some lawn owners who prefer to run a mower over the leaves, catching the majority into a bag. And then there are those who like to mulch things up.

Much More Mulch

There are a lot of nutrients in decomposing leaves and mulching them is one way of ensuring a wonderful source of free compost. What a mulcher will do is break down the leaves enough for them to stay on the lawn without becoming too heavy or causing damage as mentioned before. The mulch will slowly work its way into the soil as a cheap and effective fertilizer. 

 

To Summarize

As you become more familiar with lawn maintenance you’ll feel more comfortable knowing when it’s the best right time to rake.  A couple of leaves lying around on the grass isn’t a major issue at all. It’s when the layers start piling up and they get too heavy and wet that the damage is caused. 

Decomposing leaves make for a good organic fertilizer, but they will need to be mulched. While it sounds like additional work it actually saves time and you save money not having to buy nutrient-rich compost or paying for a lawn service to remove the leaves. It’s a win win situation for everyone.

 

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Pros and Cons of an Electric Snow Blower

                                   

 

When winter is coming, it is best to have a decent snow blower handy, especially if your locality experiences regular or heavy snowfall. Like any other machine the electric snow blower has its advantages and drawbacks. However, making the right choice is largely dependent on the scale of usage. Electric snow blowers are smaller and have a low-to-the-ground design as opposed to the much larger and more powerful two-stage gasoline snow blower. Here are a few things to keep in mind before making a purchase.

Lightweight and Cost Friendly 

An electric snow blower has a single motor and due its single-stage status it is lightweight and cheaper to acquire. Electric snow blowers are powered by electricity and require extension cords to operate. A battery powered model can be availed, newer versions can be charged for a run time of up to seven hours.

A Low Carbon Foot Print

Electric snow blowers do not use fuel and as a result are environment friendly. Since there is no gas exhaust the electric snow blower is a better choice, even if the contribution is small.

Easy to Steer and Low Maintenance

An electric snow blower is easy to steer and does not require a lot of strength. While the location and the quantity of the snow is a very important factor, on a medium amount of snow, it can be a blessing for a person of older age. Almost no maintenance is required for the electric motor and it takes up less storage space as opposed to a gasoline snow blower. Maintenance can be a cumbersome task, especially if you do not have the time for it.

Not for Heavy Snowfall 

In places with heavy snowfall the size, single motor and the use of an electrical power outlet can be counterproductive. The smaller size and less weight will require more effort and if the ground is wet then the machine stands little chance against it. Gasoline snow blowers have two-stage motors; one throws the snow while the other powers the blower’s wheels. This feature adds weight, mechanical assistance and power to its operations. 

Limited Range

Electrical snow blowers require a power outlet and the length of the cord or extension limits its range. This presents a challenge for people with long driveways or larger outdoors.

At the end of the day, if money is a factor then the electric snow blower has appeal, not to mention it’s easier to start, run and manage. However, this advantage is meaningless on snow thicker than eight inches or any region that experiences extreme winters with regular snow fall and is prone to hardened icy grounds. While fuel costs more the electrical advantage becomes useless when the effort to remove the snow is doubled. If you are looking to clear large areas and the average weather conditions are presenting heavier snowfall it is better to opt for a gasoline snow blower. For the average user the electric snow blower is fast, easy and cost effective.

 

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How To Choose A Wood Shop Vacuum

The wood shop is considered a creative space where fine products emanate from. Some even consider the wood shop their home away from home. No one deserves to work or live in a dirty environment. To make certain that space remains clean from all the debris and sawdust, many owners install centralised dust collection mechanisms. They work efficiently yes, but they can be out of reach for some. These centralized systems do cost a pretty penny. That is why most wood shop owners prefer to work with a wood shop vacuum.

In order to select the best wood vacuum, there are a few factors that you need to keep in mind. Understanding these factors will make selecting a wood shop vacuum a stroll on the beach. Yes, that easy. Let us look into these factors.

 

  • Consider performance and capacity

 

When you look around the woodshop, you should be able to gauge the amount of dust that needs to be collected in a day. In the case that you produce a lot of sawdust, you need a unit that has high performance and capacity. Most units measure power in amperes or horsepower. The higher the rating the more power output. Remember that the noise levels matter. A high powered vacuum is likely to be noisy. Look at the decibels to gauge the sound produced. Most models produce 65Db which is manageable.

The sealed pressure (SP) determines the amount of liquid you will be able to pick up for wet applications. The cubic feet per minute measurement indicates the rate of airflow. The higher the CFM the more suction is provided. With a large tank, you will be able to save the time spent on frequent emptying. Whether for cleaning up liquids or debris, look at the tank size and power to determine how fast the work will get done.

  1. Look at the hose

The hose size and length will determine the effectiveness of the vacuum. If you are collecting super fine debris then you need a hose with a smaller diameter. This is because a small diameter hose produces more suction than a wide diameter hose. Large sized debris needs a larger hose. The length of the hose will also limit your reach. Select the length of the hose depending on the space that needs cleansing. The longer the better especially for large spaces.

 

 

  • Filters and safety features

 

Wood dust does no good to one’s health. The filter prevents debris from being released back into the air and it also prevents the motor from accumulating dust. The filter you select should be able to contain all the dust and enable easy disposal. If you have fine ash or wet debris, seek one that can handle such. There are filters that are HEPA certified. These are used for those with allergic reactions or are sensitive to dust. 

Safety features in any machine are important. Models that switch off the unit once the tank is full prevent the motor from overworking and overheating. There are models render the motor inactive if the hose is not properly connected. Al these features aid in maintaining the performance of the unit.

  1. Consider the price and compatibility

Depending on the size and the features offered, the price range will differ. The secret to selecting a unit with the right price is to consider the features offered. That way, you will estimate value for money. There are models that can be connected to power tools through different adapters which are very convenient. You will also find models that have a blower function installed for when you need to do yard work. These extra features will definitely affect the price. Consider the amount of money you want to spend and select the best unit within that price range.

We hope that this crash course has been helpful to you and that you find the best wood shop vacuum that suits your needs. 

 

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When to Stop Watering Your Lawn in the Fall

 

 

There are few factors that go into deciding when to stop watering your lawn as fall and winter approach. Amongst other things, the biggest deciding factor in how long you continue to water your lawn after Labor Day is obviously your location and climate.

 

If you live in the southern part of the country you will probably continue to water your lawn the entire year. When temperatures cool in these areas you can water your lawn less often, but you should not cease all irrigation. It is very important not to overwater since cooler temperatures make the growth of fungi easier which appear in your lawn as dead or bald patches. 

 

The rule of thumb for stopping irrigation completely for cooler climates is when the ground freezes. This makes sense as the frozen ground becomes a barrier to your root system. Also, as soon as the ground freezes grass becomes dormant. Even if the frozen ground temperature for a few days then there are a few days that are warm before going back to frozen, the ground will not thaw completely to awaken your grass again.  The fall is a very important time for your lawn, while growth above the ground slows, beneath in the root system your grass is growing. 

 

Depending on the type of seed that you have used, fall might be the biggest growth for your lawn the entire year. Again, you’re not going to see it and you’re not going to have to mow the lawn every week like in the summer. But beneath the top soil your grass is preparing for next spring. To grow a nice, thick, healthy looking lawn autumn watering is critical. If you stop irrigation as soon at September hits before the ground is frozen, the preparation in your root system will not happen. Not as much water is needed since water does not evaporate as quickly as it does in the summer, and it is not needed as often. You might be able to get away with once a week if the temperatures are cool enough, but still above freezing. Monitoring of moisture is important in the fall, too much moisture can lead to fungi growth which will jeopardize the fullness of your lawn the coming spring.  

 

Fall is the time to fix any bald or seriously damaged patches in your lawn. These will need to be watered regularly and you might not even see grass spring up before a freeze, but you have laid the ground work for the coming spring. 

 

It is also important to remember that fall leaves and cooler days are not a signal to cease other lawn care as well. It is important to keep up on your mowing, which will not have to be done often due to the slow in growth above ground. But it is a good idea to have one last mow before the ground freezes to give your lawn a head start for the next spring.