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Archives for April 28, 2014

East Haven mayor looks to improve west end, form business association



EAST HAVEN Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. held a Town Hall business summit earlier this week, a meeting of west end business leaders and property owners to talk about revitalization and plans to form a business association.

“This type of association has been very successful in other surrounding towns, such as New Haven,” Maturo said Thursday in a prepared statement.

The town’s west end business district is designated as a 16-block chunk of Main Street extending between Forbes Place and the New Haven city line.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Frank Biancur Jr. has produced a 25-page planning and design standards report reviewing everything from building facades to landscaping.

“The west side of downtown is in desperate need of revitalization,” the report states. “Most people who reside in the ‘west side’ area or have businesses there have wanted that end of downtown to mirror the downtown area that we call the central business district.”

Maturo pointed to the town center’s revitalization as a significant accomplishment from his first run as mayor beginning in 1997. The plan involved reconnecting Main Street with the shops in Trolley Square. Maturo said he’d like to see similar changes for the town’s west end.

A press release issued this week by Maturo’s office states his administration is preparing an application to the state for both a planning grant and a grant for “further financial assistance for implementation of the improvements.”

Biancur’s report lists improvements including:

• The introduction of “streetscapes,” which he says “should be conceptually furnished like a stage set — a backdrop for community activity. In East Haven’s situation with the west end, there is a medical center and some major retail and service outlets, however tying them all together to get the area to flow will be the major challenge of this project.”

• Stressing the importance of attractive business signs and storefront building facades.

• Potentially building a portion of green space, which he says “would go a long way with laying a cornerstone to build off of.”

• Creating more municipal parking and widening sidewalks.

Maturo praised David Brennan, owner of the East Haven Memorial Funeral Home, for his efforts in organizing neighborhood merchants and property owners. The mayor added that First Niagara Bank is also helping out by putting together a program aimed at helping neighborhood businesses secure financing at discounted rates to encourage property improvements.

Reached Friday, Brennan said he and several other businesses owners near the funeral home originally approached the town before Christmas. The town typically begins stringing decorations after Thanksgiving but Brennan noticed that signs of holiday cheer did not extend to the west side of town.

“We’ve had some requests over the years to spruce up our end of town, like they did with the center,” Brennan said. “So we sat down and have had some meaningful discussions about strength in numbers. Organizing a group of people gives us a bigger voice.”

Brennan said the biggest challenge right now is establishing the association as a legal entity. He added that he’s still trying to get a majority of the businesses on board.

“I don’t think people will jump on board until they see things getting accomplished,” he said. “I think that’s the snowball effect.”

Brennan listed several other businesses that have been active in attending meetings and discussing ideas, including the owners of Sugar Bakery, Polo Palo II Gelato Italiano and Tolli’s Apizza.

“But the ones who show up at these meetings are the one who are already taking care of their properties,” he said. “The owners we need to get on board are not at these meetings.”

Brennan said he once spent an afternoon tallying the number of businesses located between Forbes Place and the New Haven line.

“There are at least two-thirds more businesses in our end of town than in the center that has already been remodeled,” he pointed out. “I believe action is the only thing that will get things going.”

Town Administration and Management Director Arthur DeSorbo said ideally the administration would like to see the same improvements made in the town center copied in the west end.

There are obstacles, however.

“In the 1970s there was a big redevelopment project in the town and utilities in the center were buried underground,” he said. “That did not happen in the west end.”

The telephone poles belong to United Illuminating. State laws prohibit the hanging of any decorations from utility poles.

“We’d still like to see decorative poles in the west end like you see in the center,” he said.

DeSorbo added that he helped Brennan complete his business survey.

“Most of what you have in the west end are small businesses,” he said. “Mom-and-pop restaurants.”

DeSorbo noted that establishing more municipal parking lots is crucial to the project. He added that success will come down to the business owners.

“We don’t want to make a cookie-cutter neighborhood but we want everyone to be in the same ballpark,” he said.

Call Evan Lips at 203-789-5727. Have questions, feedback or ideas about our news coverage? Connect directly with the editors of the New Haven Register at AskTheRegister.com.

Article source: http://www.nhregister.com/government-and-politics/20140427/east-haven-mayor-looks-to-improve-west-end-form-business-association

DuPont might raise tax to pay for parks upkeep

Two members of the DuPont City Council have proposed increasing the city’s business and occupation tax to the maximum allowable rate to raise money for landscaping and park maintenance.

The proposal would increase the tax from its current one-tenth of 1 percent to two-tenths of 1 percent of gross receipts in the south Pierce County city. Based on DuPont’s 2013 gross receipts from its BO tax collection, the increase would have generated an addition of almost $170,000 in 2013. That figure includes factoring in a deduction for businesses that also pay a square footage tax.

Council members Roger Westman and Shawna Gasak proposed the increase at a meeting last week.

“The business community has expressed a lot of concern with the maintenance of the parks and the greenways and the roads leading up to the businesses,” Gasak said. “The idea was to put the money where the businesses would see the biggest improvement.”

The city assesses BO taxes based on the gross revenue or usable square footage of a business. The money collected is used to help pay for police, fire, park maintenance, economic development and general government operations.

DuPont is one of 40 cities in the state to impose the tax.

Councilman Mike Courts questioned using the additional money for landscaping and park maintenance after the council recently voted against allowing volunteers to maintain two parks.

In February the council voted 4-3 against allowing the Northwest Landing Residential Owners Association and Commercial Owners Association to pay for the landscaping and maintenance at Ross Plaza and Clocktower Park. Westman and Gasak voted with the majority on the issue.

Now the two council members propose a tax increase on businesses to pay for the same thing the commercial group had volunteered to do for free, Coats said.

“The message we send is, ‘We the residents of DuPont choose to maintain our taxes at a low rate but we want to increase (business) taxes so we can maintain our quality of life,’” Courts said at the Tuesday meeting.

Council members Kathleen Trotter and Penny Coffey questioned the impact on some already cash-strapped small-business owners. Councilman Michael Gorski shared those concerns, but said that shouldn’t stop the council from having the discussion.

“For a long time we have missed opportunities for maximizing our taxes,” he said at the Tuesday meeting. “I see there is an opportunity here, but I’m not sure where.”

Jacquelyn Farrell, owner of Farrelli’s Wood Fired Pizza and McNamara’s Pub and Eatery in DuPont, said the discussion comes at a bad time.

Farrell began offering health insurance to employees in January, which added $100,000 to employee costs. Minimum wage increases and an 8 percent increase in food costs also hit the bottom line this year, she said.

Doubling the BO tax to cover city landscaping – instead of a critical service such as the fire department – doesn’t sit well with Farrell.

“Every business owner that I’ve spoken to doesn’t think it’s a reasonable tax to impose at this time,” she said.

But at least one business owner said she would support it.

DuPont General Store owner Sandy Ikemeier said that being part of a community means paying for services.

“I’m 100 percent for it; it’s not that big of a deal,” she said Friday. “For what we get, it’s so well worth it.”

Gasak was surprised by the criticism the proposal has generated.

“We’re the only two council members that have brought forward any revenue ideas,” she said Friday.

A date has not been set for the council to vote on the measure.

Brynn Grimley: 253-597-8567 brynn.grimley@ thenewstribune.com

Article source: http://www.theolympian.com/2014/04/28/3106392/dupont-might-raise-tax-to-pay.html?sp=/99/102/

Landscaping advice from landscape architects on April 27

In Julie Moir Messervy’s new book by Taunton Press titled Landscaping Ideas That Work, the landscape architect offers up several concepts that work to help you achieve the landscape you desire in the simplest way possible, according to Houzz contributor Charlotte Albers on April 27.

One of those concepts is to make your garages and driveways beautiful, not just your lawn. Julie points out that a cracked asphalt driveway is really a distracting eyesore which needs to be addressed if you want to improve your property.

Mary Palmer Dargan of Dargan Landscape Architects totally agrees, providing the general public with many free tools on her social media site in order to help them achieve the landscape of their dreams, new driveway and all, on their own. But she is also available for hire and in attendance at such events as the 2014 Buckhead Garden Show, which culminates today in the Atlanta neighborhood.

Between the two landscape experts, one learns that creating an elaborate large garden or home landscape design is not essential to having a pleasing or productive one, even if you have children. In fact, for the most part, you will see each woman recommending creating rooms within your overall home exterior space instead of designating the entire property for multiple activities.

With Julie Moir Messervy, the goal seems to be giving every family member a little bit of space to do what they like outdoors without taking up the whole lawn. For Mary Palmer Dargan, the goal is more along the lines of creating an oasis and haven that moves seamlessly from one outdoor room to another, meeting the homeowner’s sanctuary needs at the same time as addressing the practical needs of the family.

Tips from Julie include creating open-air outdoor rooms so you can entertain friends and family, and putting up a partial fence that borders your property and the neighbors, where you want privacy, like for dining. She also recommends creating fun play area spaces for children, to lure them away from indoors and computer screens. But the space doesn’t have to be large; just creative and conducive to age-appropriate physical activities they will want to engage in while outside. And she thinks inviting the children to help with the design process is a good idea, since it will be used partially for their play space.

For a look at some unique design ideas for walkways, driveways and outdoor room spaces from Mary Palmer Dargan, check out the video titled Mountain Landscape Design. Many of the ideas presented are not unique to the mountains, as they can be incorporated into most any residential community. And if you haven’t visited the Southeastern Horticultural Society’s Buckhead Garden Show yet this year, you have until this afternoon to stop in and see Mary Palmer and all the other vendors showcasing their products and services this year.

Article source: http://www.examiner.com/article/landscaping-advice-from-landscape-architects-on-april-27

Biz tied to Libya wins airport deal; Planterra loses landscaping contract over …

The loss of that contract, effective May 1, was a slap to Shane Pliska, whose father, Larry, started Planterra in the 1970s and has grown it from a small retail shop into a landscape and events business with $5 million a year in revenue. It has such high-end clients as Somerset Collection in Troy and the Mansion at MGM Grand, an exclusive suite hotel in Las Vegas. The company creates living green walls and elaborate interior gardens as well as throws lavish parties in Planterra’s 11,000-square-foot greenhouse.

“They don’t care about Detroit,” said Pliska, referring to Rentokil. “They don’t care at all. We’re proud of our local airport. It’s a real pride point to do business (there).”

Planterra continues to service the airport’s larger McNamara Terminal through a direct contract with Delta Airlines Inc. The large trees in the terminal are artificial and don’t require maintenance, but Planterra handles Delta’s club lounges and some of the airline’s concessionaires.

Rentokil was incorporated as a British pest control company in the 1920s and expanded into other business services in the 1990s, including interior landscaping. (It originally called that division Rentokil Tropical Plants but later rebranded as Ambius.) In 2006, Rentokil bought Pennsylvania-based J.C. Ehrlich Co. for $141.8 million to “build up its U.S. bug-killing business,” according to Bloomberg News.

That gave the British company a foothold in the U.S., and it soon expanded its interior landscaping business here, too. Ambius has been involved in the renovation of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the African pavilion of the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.

It was Ambius — doing business under the name of its sister company, J.C. Ehrlich — that bid against Planterra. It scored the three-year contract for $127,053. Planterra bid $167,416.

When the issue came before the Wayne County Airport Authority Board on Thursday, all present board members except for Chairman Alfred Glancy III voted yes; Glancy abstained.

Before the vote, the authority’s lawyers confirmed that Rentokil scored contracts several years ago with Gadhafi. British newspaper accounts suggest those contracts came in exchange for Britain releasing the Lockerbie bomber at Gadhafi’s request.

In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was scheduled to fly from Frankfurt to Detroit with stops in London and New York City. A terrorist bomb destroyed the flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crewmembers.

A Libyan citizen was convicted of carrying out the terrorist act. He spent more than two decades in prison, until, in 2009, the Scottish government set him free, calling it a humanitarian nod to his ill health.

But Gadhafi’s son claimed, in The Telegraph, the release was linked to trade deals the British government had arranged with Libya for British companies. One of those companies was Rentokil, which in 2009 signed a contract with Gadhafi for pest control, including on the leader’s personal ranch, according to the newspaper.

“It makes we wonder, does anyone have a backbone?  Real people died in the Lockerbie bombing,” said Pliska, 33. “Michigan victims were on that flight. Why would the airport authority knowingly grant this contract when they have legitimate local alternatives?”

Because the bid was lower, explained Conway, reiterating that neither Rentokil nor J.C. Ehrlich is flagged by the State Department.

“The contract expired and we put it out to competitive bid,” he said. “We just rebid the retail vendors, for example, and some existing retailers didn’t win the bid because there was another bidder who generated more revenue for the airport authority.”

The airport authority relies on revenue from the airlines and what it generates from retail, parking, car rental and taxi concessions to make its budget.

The authority charges airlines to land planes, based on a particular aircraft’s maximum gross landing weight.

Any budget deficit is contractually made up by the airlines that use Metro, and they, in turn, lean on the authority to further trim costs. Conversely, any budget surplus is refunded to the airlines.

Pliska said the bulk of the terminal landscaping contract is actually labor costs, so he suspects Planterra’s bid was higher because he pays higher local wages than J.C. Ehrlich. For maintenance workers, Planterra pays an hourly wage of $11-$17 after training.

Neither J.C. Ehrlich Co. nor Ambius would comment for this story.

“Labor is our biggest expense,” said Pliska. “We invest in our people. We’ve had one horticultural technician with us since 1976. He’s taken care of the GM Tech Center that entire time.”

Losing the contract will not hurt Planterra’s bottom line, however, Pliska said. The terminal represents one of the company’s larger interior landscape-maintenance accounts, but only a small fraction of its annual sales.

“We are fortunate to be diversified,” he said.

The bulk of Planterra’s business is its corporate interior landscaping, but that is followed by its onsite events service, which designs everything from food to décor for weddings and other celebrations in the company’s conservatory. The company has 55 employees.

The glass-encased botanical garden is frequently rented for corporate events, as well.

Finally, it does off-site events and special displays, such as the current Easter-themed plantings for the Somerset Collection.

Amy Haimerl: (313) 446-0416, ahaimerl@crain.com. Twitter: @haimerlad

Article source: http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20140427/NEWS/304279957/biz-tied-to-libya-wins-airport-deal-planterra-loses-landscaping

Celebrate National Public Gardens Day on May 9

National Public Gardens Day

National Public Gardens Day




Published: Monday, April 28, 2014 12:15 am


Celebrate National Public Gardens Day on May 9

(StatePoint)

EllwoodCityLedger.com

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Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, it can only mean one thing — spring has sprung. May 9, which is National Public Gardens Day, is an ideal time to celebrate the warmer weather and visit a local garden.


“Even if your green thumb means you have a garden right in your own backyard, a visit to a public space can be fun, informative and is a hallmark of the season,” says Casey Sclar, Ph.D., Executive Director of the American Public Gardens Association. “In fact, many gardeners use the trip to get inspired and learn how to practice environmental stewardship at home.”

Here are some great ways to make the most of your trip:

Celebrate Mom

Looking for fun Mother’s Day Activities for the family? National Public Gardens Day takes place annually on Mother’s Day weekend, the unofficial start to spring, and a time when the environment is top of mind.

Celebrated by more than 500 arboreta, botanic gardens, conservatories, entertainment gardens, historical landscapes, museums, and zoos, many sites are extending the National Public Gardens Day celebration throughout Mother’s Day weekend with special events, tours and activities designed specifically for families.

“What backdrop would be more perfect for celebrating mom than a beautiful garden?” says Sclar.

Additionally, many gardens are offering discounts and other special offers to visitors on May 9th. To find a garden near you and learn more about the celebration, visit www.NationalPublicGardensDay.org.

Learn

The staff at a public garden can be a great source of information when it comes to gardening techniques. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

For example, public gardens use efficient watering practices and have insight on responsible water use and irrigation systems. Learn how to more efficiently irrigate your own garden by consulting with your local public garden.

Additionally, landscaping at public gardens can demonstrate what plants bloom at similar times and what arrangements look great together.

And while you’re there, don’t forget to pick up some reading material on gardening and botany.

Get Supplies

Public gardens often sell plants, flowers and trees during annual festivals, providing top quality native and adaptable additions to your garden. With the sale comes professional experience and advice of the sort that cannot be found in nurseries or hardware stores.

Whether you’re a family looking to spend the day together, a couple on a romantic date or a gardening enthusiast looking for information and inspiration, a visit to a public garden is a low cost way to spend the day outdoors.

Photo Credit: (c) Scott Dressel-Martin

© 2014 Ellwood City Ledger. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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on

Monday, April 28, 2014 12:15 am.



Home And Garden,



Gardening

Article source: http://www.ellwoodcityledger.com/homeandgarden/celebrate-national-public-gardens-day-on-may/article_f881f8ef-2eca-5426-9ede-7363409919e6.html

Cleaning the bays with ‘conservation landscaping’

Tonya Witczak (left) and her daughter Julianna planting with Missy Weiss. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Tonya Witczak (left) and her daughter Julianna planting with Missy Weiss. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Build a rain garden, help the environment, get a reward.

It’s a simple as that.

The federal Peconic Estuary Program, which was created 20 years ago to improve water quality in the Peconics, will offer rewards of up to $500 to residents in Southold’s Hashamomuck Pond watershed area and the Reeves Bay watershed in Flanders who work to combat groundwater pollution by installing rain gardens, rain barrels or other forms of “conservation landscaping” on their properties. 

This summer, the Peconic Estuary Program plans to install rain garden demonstration projects near Hashamomuck Pond and at one of the buildings at Big Duck Park in Flanders to draw attention to the program.

So, your first question is probably “What’s a rain garden?” And that’s likely followed by “What’s a rain barrel?”

The nonprofit environmental organization Group for the South Fork teamed up with local Girl Scouts Saturday to provide answers at Downs Farm Preserve in Cutchogue, on the grounds of the old Ford Corchaug Indian archeological sites.

“A rain garden is a very specific garden,” said Missy Weiss, an environmental educator for Group for the South Fork and program manager at the preserve. “It’s not something you would plant in your backyard if it’s a flat area,” Ms. Weiss said. “A rain garden would be used if you had a slight slope in your lawn, so that stormwater runoff naturally will flow into the ground and be filtered by a collection of native plants.”

Experts say native plants like these New England asters are preferred for rain gardens. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Experts say native plants like these New England asters are preferred for rain gardens. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Stormwater runoff is often cited as a major source of surface and groundwater pollution because it carries pollutants like fuel and animal waste from streets and into the water.

A rain garden serves two purposes, Ms. Weiss said. It waters the plants, of course, but the plants — if you choose the right types — will also filter out contaminants the water might have picked up, so it’s cleaner when it returns to the ground.

On Saturday, members of Girl Scout Troop 1971, Service Unit 60, in Cutchogue helped build a demonstration rain garden at the preserve, with the aim of not only demonstrating what one looks like but educating residents on other ways to protect the Peconic Estuary.

The rain garden the scouts created in Cutchogue is also connected to a rain barrel, which collects water from a roof gutter so it can be used again to water plants. Troop leader Tonya Witczak said she got to know Ms. Weiss when her daughter attended the “storytime” program Downs Farm Preserve runs for the Southold Mothers’ Club.

“We had so much fun and this place is beautiful, so I asked, ‘What else can my girls do?’ ” Ms. Witczak said. “Last year we did a huge planting over at Orient Beach State Park for Earth Day and now we’re doing this. The girls love to plant things, they love to get dirty and work in the dirt. We’ve been trying to do this project for some time now.”

On Saturday, the scouts planted ferns, asters, lowbush blueberries, native grasses, milkweed and other plants that will filter rainwater and return clean water to the ground.

“We try to use native plants, specifically as local as possible, that we know have been documented to have grown here on Long Island,” Ms. Weiss said. “If that’s not possible, we try to use as close a species to that as possible.”

The Group for the East End is monitoring will monitor the PEP rebate program to make sure people are doing it right, Ms. Weiss said.

The rebates will award different amounts for different conservation projects, up to a maximum of $500 per location. The program will operate on a first-come, first-served basis, according to education and outreach coordinator Jennifer Skilbred, and is supported by $50,000 in funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. To qualify for program rewards, rain gardens must be at least 50 square feet and rain barrels must hold at least 50 gallons.

It won’t take more than a day to build a rain garden, Ms. Weiss said, but participants might need to do some research beforehand. For instance, a depth of six to eight inches of available soil is needed to make sure the plants will remain stable, she said.

While rain gardens can help prevent pesticides or fertilizers from being carried into the groundwater, Group for the East End isn’t promoting their use as a justification for continued of pesticides or fertilizers, Ms. Weiss said. They would rather homeowners didn’t use those products on their lawns in the first place.

For more information visit PeconicEstuaryProgram.com or email jskilbred@eastendenvironment.com.

tgannon@timesreview.com

Article source: http://riverheadnewsreview.timesreview.com/2014/04/53767/real-estate-cleaning-the-bays-with-conservation-landscaping/

KEEPING FIT: Tips to avoid injuries while gardening


By Wayne L. Westcott
For The Patriot Ledger


Posted Apr. 27, 2014 @ 7:00 am


Article source: http://littleton.wickedlocal.com/article/20140425/LIFESTYLE/140427420/12455/OPINION

Lawn and Garden Feature: Lawn Care Tips

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Yard Works 728x90

A beautiful lawn does not come without some effort. Depending upon what type of soil you have, the amount of effort will vary. For instance when raising trees and shrubs, sandy or a gravel base soil is great. Landscape plants like well drained soiled. A lawn on the other hand is different. Lawn grasses grow constantly throughout the growing season, and need an ample supply of both nutrients and water.

The most basic of lawn care tips includes regular watering and fertilization is required to keep a lawn beautiful. If you’re lucky enough to have a lawn that was originally planted in good rich topsoil, you won’t have to work near as hard as somebody like me, who has a lawn that is planted in sandy gravel. The soil at our house has little nutritional value, nor does it have the ability to retain any amount of moisture. By mid-May my lawn starts drying out. It is very difficult for us to keep our lawn looking nice.

Lawns are one area where a little clay in the soil is a good thing. Of course standing water is not good, but having soil that has the ability to retain some moisture is helpful. If you happen to be installing a new lawn, here’s a news flash from my lawn care tips that will make all the difference in the world:  Add lots of organic matter before you install your new lawn if you have sand or gravel type soil.  The easiest way to do this is to find some good rich topsoil and spread that over your existing soil.

Because most lawn grasses grow so vigorously, they need additional amounts of nutrients added in order to stay looking nice. Just use one of the four step programs offered by the fertilizer companies. Most of these programs also include weed control along with the fertilizer. Here in the north we basically have two concerns with weeds in our lawns.

Crabgrass can be a problem, and I do consider it a weed. In order to control crabgrass you must use a pre-emergent herbicide that will prevent the crabgrass seeds from germinating. In order for this herbicide to be effective you must apply it early in the spring while the soil temperature is still below 45° F.

Broadleaf weeds such as Dandelions are another problem, although fairly easy to control with a broadleaf weed control. Most broadleaf herbicides are mixed in with the fertilizers, and must be applied when the grass and weeds are damp. The wet foliage will cause the herbicide to stick to the weed, giving the herbicide time to be absorbed by the weed. Once absorbed the herbicide translocates through the weed plant and kills it completely.

These types of herbicides are considered “selective” since they seem to know the difference between a grass plant and a weed. That’s why they only kill the broadleaf weeds and not the grass itself. However, many people have different kinds of thick bladed grass in their lawn such as quack grass.  Quack grass is on the ugly side, and can really detract from a lawn. The problem is, it is still in the grass family, and “selective” herbicides leave it alone because it is a card carry member of the grass family.

So what’s a person to do?

In order to get rid of these thick bladed grasses you must use a “non-selective” herbicide, and “non-selective” herbicides don’t care who they kill. Well, at least that’s true in the plant kingdom. When you use a “non-selective” herbicide you must understand that everything that you spray is going to die, but it really is the only effective way to rid your lawn of undesirable thick bladed grasses. This type of treatment is effective if you have isolated areas that contain wide bladed grasses. You’ll have to spray all the grass in the area, then reseed with good quality grass seed.

To keep the spray from drifting, adjust the nozzle so that the spray pattern is narrow with larger spray droplets. You do not want a fine atomized spray if there is danger of spray drift. It also helps to keep the pressure in the sprayer as low as possible. Pump the sprayer a minimum number of times, to keep the pressure low. You just want enough pressure to deliver the spray, but not atomize it to the point that it can be easily carried by the wind.

Buy a sprayer just for herbicides and mark it as such. You never want to spray plants with a sprayer that has been used for herbicides.

Once you have sprayed the area you want to kill, wait three days before doing anything else. After a period of three days the grasses that you sprayed may not look any different, but if they have been properly sprayed, they will die. It takes three days for the herbicide to translocate throughout the entire plant, then the plants will die. So even though the weeds and grass plants look fine, you can start digging and chopping and not worry about them growing back. If you start digging and chopping before the three day period you will interrupt the herbicide, and the weeds and grass you were trying to kill may come back.

If you happen to be installing a new lawn, make sure you spray all the weeds and thick bladed grasses before you start. Once you have the lawn installed, you sure don’t want to go through all the trouble of killing areas of your lawn and reseeding. If you make sure that all of these undesirables have been killed before you start, you’ll be way ahead of the game.

When selecting grass seed, you should always use a blend that is recommend for your area. Here in the north a popular blend contains fine bladed perennial rye grass, fescue, and blue grass. Keep in mind that it takes blue grass seeds 28 days to germinate, while most perennial rye grasses germinate in 5 or 6 days, so you never want to plant a lawn that is 100% Kentucky blue grass. Before the blue grass seeds have a chance to germinate, every kind of weed imaginable will already be actively growing in your lawn.

With a blend, the faster germinating grasses come up quick, and act as a nurse crop for the slower germinating seeds. Having a blend also gives you some protection in case some new pest comes along that attack certain types of grasses.

Visit http://www.freeplants.com for more articles by Michael J. McGroarty

Article source: http://gantdaily.com/2014/04/26/lawn-and-garden-feature-lawn-care-tips/

Just add water: Alan Titchmarsh tips on building a garden pond

It doesn’t matter how many channels you have, there are always those evenings when there’s nothing on the telly. The solution is simple: build yourself a garden pond.Nowadays most folk seem to go for water features rather than a full-blown pond. It’s understandable; they are easy to install, attractive to look at and relatively easy to maintain. 

But they don’t offer much in the way of sustenance to wildlife, and that way you miss out every bit as much as the creatures that will enjoy a pond.

Frogs will spawn there, birds will drink, dragonflies and damselflies will skim the surface and you can even introduce goldfish for a spot of exotic colour.  

Even in a tiny pond, water boatmen and pond skaters will appear almost before it has been filled. The larger the pond the greater your scope – waterfowl will take up residence if space is available and nesting facilities provided.

As far as siting goes, make your pond in the open – not under trees where, at the first sign of autumn, it will fill with leaves. Make it as large as you can, and certainly no smaller than 6ft by 4ft, which is an absolute minimum. 

As far as depth goes, you don’t need to go mad with the spade – 18in at the deepest point is fine for a small pond, and even on a massive one, 3ft is ample. Around the edge of the pond construct a step arrangement to act as a shelf for “marginal aquatics” that like to live in shallow water.

Article source: http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/garden/472183/Alan-Titchmarsh-how-to-build-a-garden-pond

4 Tips for “Green” Gardening from Avant Garden Decor

PHILADELPHIA, April 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/—What can be more natural and beneficial to the earth and the environment than Green Gardening? When gardeners use eco-friendly gardening techniques, they can get better results and save their gardens from damage done by chemicals.

A few simple gardening habits are all it takes to get started on the journey to “Green.”

1.) Efficient Watering: Cut down on water evaporation and waste by watering your gardens in the early morning or evening. Apply mulch to your garden beds to retain water moisture in your plants while also decreasing weed growth.

2.) Say Goodbye to Chemicals: Get rid of pesticides and chemical fertilizers and instead turn to organic weed killers and compost. Safer Brand has a line of organic products that is well-loved by gardeners for its effectiveness, in addition to its organic attributes. Most Safer Brand products are OMRI approved. Safer Brand EndALL kills over 40 different plant-attacking insects while keeping the environment safe. (http://www.avantgardendecor.com/store/insect-controls/b5102)

3.) Composting Made Easy: The hero in “Green” Gardening is the compost pile. By using leaves, grass clippings, fruit and vegetable skins, you can make compost and give your gardens a nutritional super-sized meal. This will not only cut down on waste and save money on expensive fertilizers, but will also enhance the soil with all necessary nutrients.

Start the composting process with Ringer Compost Plus Compost Maker, which uses a range of natural microorganisms to aid in material breakdown. In particular, Ringer Compost Plus combines thermophilic organisms that work at higher temperatures and contains specially designed nutrient sources that start the compost process more quickly and efficiently.(http://www.avantgardendecor.com/store/composting/2b3050)

4.) “Green” Hanging Flower Baskets: Flower gardening can get in on the “Green” movement as well when gardeners use the EcoLiner for their flower baskets and pots. EcoLiner is made with recycled materials and has higher water retention than traditionally used coco liners. In addition, the smoother lining of the EcoLiner gives flower gardeners a new and elegant look for their potted flowers. In addition to its eco-friendly attributes, it has the added benefit of being “Made in the USA.” (http://www.avantgardendecor.com/store/ecoliner/plb14)

These four, simple gardening habits are easy for every gardener to embrace as part of a “Green” gardening plan. By putting these tips into practice, the environment will be one step closer to sustainability for future generations.

Avant Garden Decor is a premier brand of innovative outdoor living decor, including the CobraCo Brand. From stylish planters and baskets, to flower boxes, plant stands, and fire pits, the CobraCo Brand is the outdoor entertainer’s choice for outdoor decor. Avant Garden Decor also offers Gardener’s Blue Ribbon brand of garden helpers, such as garden stakes, accessories, and various plant saucers that meet the demands of both gardening hobbyists and enthusiasts alike. Gardeners can contact Avant Garden Decor at www.avantgardendecor.com or 800-323-5800.

This press release was issued through 24-7PressRelease.com. For further information, visit http://www.24-7pressrelease.com.

SOURCE Avant Garden Decor

 

Article source: http://www.greentechmedia.com/industry/read/a-4-tips-for-green-gardening-from-avant-garden-decor-345692