Tag Archives: backyard gardening

TRIMMING THE TREES

As a kid, I loved trimming shrubs. Trim a bit there, trim a bit here. Like a haircut, except no one is upset if you take a little too much off the back. Perhaps why I later went to beauty school.

Around here, autumn is a great time to trim the trees. Here are some tips and tricks to giving the trees a haircut.

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I like to use a pair of bypass loppers to cut the thicker branches. The red handles on our pair also make it easier to spot when you lay them down in the grass, and then forget where you put them.

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I start by trimming some of the too-low hanging branches. Start with just a little, because you will be surprised how much the tree will spring up once its relieved of just that little weight. For instance, if you like the way a tree hangs in front of a window, don’t go chopping a huge limb all at once, because the existing branches might spring up and not hang the same anymore.

Be sure to trim the dead branches too, and any of the growing straight up suckers that you don’t care for. You want the tree to grow in the shape of a tree, and sometimes it needs to be reminded of that.

Another big plus of trimming the trees before the leaves all fall- proactive leaf collection.

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Happy tree trimming! Don’t go crazy because there is always next year!

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HOW TO ADD MULCH

We’ve found that adding mulch is the quickest way to make your flower bed look extra pro. In some places of the world, the dirt is nice and soft, but here, our dirt looks like rubble rocks. If you spent the time and effort to plant some pretty flowers, let’s get our money’s worth!

First, you will need to obtain some mulch. We do this through our local garden store. This whole cart of mulch is less than $20.

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Next, you need to prepare the ground for mulching. You can level out the ground a bit with a sturdy rake or hoe. Get your plants in the dirt. If you are discouraging a particularly nasty weed, lay down some black weed control fabric.

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Finally, add your mulch! You will need to cover the ground evenly with several inches of mulch. Be sure to use gloves so you don’t get slivers!

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Not only does it add some nice contrast to make your flowers really stand out, mulch also discourages weeds and helps water control! Big fans.

DIY LAWNMOWER RAMP

Lawnmowers are heavy. We don’t know how heavy, since we have been working out a lot and can’t tell, but heavy enough to make them inconvenient to lift off the ground. So let’s make things easier for ourselves!

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You’ve seen this problem before. Our shed is a little off the ground, so you have to step up to get into it. Lawnmowers do not have legs, or else they would be creepy.

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To solve this problem, first find a wide board that fits in the doorway of the shed.

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Set one of the long sides of the board in the doorway, and slant the other long side down so it reaches the ground, creating a ramp.

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Now wheel your lawnmower up and down with ease as needed.

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What a simple solution to a very small problem!

WEED REMOVAL, VOL. 2

If you aren’t feeling up to the work-out of pulling weeds with your muscles, we turn to our handy spray bottle. Since our goal is to always stay cool and organic, our reusable spray bottle is filled with 20% vinegar, which you can get at garden stores, or pretty much anywhere.

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So the strategy here is to spray the weeds. We douse them in vinegar. One of the drawbacks here is that it works best and quickest at the hottest part of the day. You can hear them sizzle in the sun.

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If you have a large patch of weeds, be sure to take a break for fresh air, and not spray into the wind. That vinegar is nasty stuff in the eyes. After they are good and sprayed, then comes the waiting.

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In a couple hours or a longer length of time, the weeds turn pale and crispy. They will be much weaker and easier to pull up now, or will eventually disintegrate into nothing, if you are being super lazy about it.

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Just be careful where you spray. Vinegar only knows how to kill. It doesn’t care what. So if you spray a flower, it will do the same thing to it as a weed. We use a piece of cardboard as a shield if we are spraying around plants.

Spraying weeds sounds like the easier way out, but being out in the afternoon summer sun, combined with the real fear of getting a cramped trigger finger, and mixed with the impatience of waiting until the plants die, can make it just as hard. Weeding is just hard. Weeds are sorry not sorry about it.