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Archives for November 30, 2017

Editorial: As traffic returns, what’s the cost of fixing the problem?

As holidays usher the region into its peak tourist season, travel and traffic will become words of the day.

Seasonal residents who have returned for the winter, and those living here year-round, are beginning to endure longer drive times. The question many will ask: Can’t something be done about the traffic?

Well, there are some ideas, both good and not-so-desirable, under consideration in Collier County. Can roads be widened and intersections improved to reduce traffic congestion? Certainly. But at what cost?

If you’re concerned about traffic, we suggest you pay attention to the road discussions ahead.

Naples

A study of how to better move traffic through the core of Naples, while making it safer for pedestrians and cyclists, began in 2016 and has reached its final stages.

There is a long distance to travel before the recommendations become reality, or are scrapped, but the Naples City Council is split over what surely will be controversial. It’s called a “road diet.”

Those fed up with traffic in core Naples will choke over the recommendation to reduce U.S. 41 from six driving lanes to four along about a mile in the city. The “road diet” would reduce U.S. 41 to four lanes between the restaurant-shopping area of Fifth Avenue South and Seventh Avenue North, near NCH Healthcare System’s Baker Hospital Downtown.

Council members received the study’s final draft report in October. Most don’t like the idea of replacing two of the travel lanes along that stretch with street-side parking. Opinions were split, however, on keeping six driving lanes or instead reducing to four vehicle lanes while using the other two for landscaping, pedestrians and cyclists, or mass transit stops.

Consultants suggested 28 percent of the traffic now using U.S. 41 would find another north-south Naples route. Alternatives include Goodlette-Frank Road, Eighth Street and Tenth Street. We’d note those alternatives aren’t just commercial areas; there are some school zones and residential areas along those roads. Also worth noting is the additional strain of diverted traffic on Goodlette-Frank Road’s intersections at Golden Gate Parkway and U.S. 41 East.

Mayor Bill Barnett identified one high hurdle, saying the estimated $25.5 million “road diet” project cost “is a major, major concern.”

U.S. 41 is managed by the state Department of Transportation, so there are many stops ahead for this proposal. There is a February election for three council seats and this recommendation must be debated by candidates.

Collier government

Collier leaders likewise are looking for answers to their traffic management challenge, one that will require serious money and no “road diet.”

County staff is analyzing how to pay for backlogged road, bridge and intersection projects. A 2018 referendum on imposing a 1 percent local infrastructure sales tax is under consideration, as is borrowing money.

A report presented to commissioners this month listed financial shortfalls to complete a $100 million Vanderbilt Beach Road extension that would provide an east-west alternative to Immokalee Road and a $17 million widening of Airport-Pulling Road from Vanderbilt Beach Road to Immokalee Road.

Potential intersection improvements in need of more money to pay for them include $31 million for the Pine Ridge Road, Livingston Road and Whippoorwill Lane area and $14 million at Randall Boulevard. Also on the project list: $23 million to replace 11 aging bridges, potentially new bridges to improve traffic movement in Golden Gate Estates and paving 27 miles of limerock roads, along with other possible projects not related to moving traffic.

So, yes, there are road projects in the works. Paying for them is something to ponder when you’re stuck in traffic. 

Article source: http://www.naplesnews.com/story/opinion/editorials/2017/11/28/editorial-traffic-returns-whats-cost-fixing-problem/900718001/

Seek champions, be vocal and push for management plans early to win the landscape case, Healthy Design, Healthy …


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Article source: https://www.hortweek.com/seek-champions-vocal-push-management-plans-early-win-landscape-case-healthy-design-healthy-places-event-hears/landscape/article/1451619

Master Gardener: Gift ideas for gardeners

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Is there a gardener on your Christmas list? They may have put away their garden spade for the winter but that doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking about their garden or planning for next year. Whether it is a new tool, decoration or book, any gift that is garden related will be appreciated.

It seems that gardeners can never have too many tools. When selecting tools buy the best you can afford. The rule “you get what you pay for” definitely applies here. After polling Master Gardeners about their favorite tool, the hori hori knife was mentioned numerous times. Other tools that gardeners wouldn’t be without included sturdy Fiskars garden shears, the Radius transplant shovel and the Vector retractable garden hose reel.

The hori hori knife is a traditional Japanese digging knife. The word “hori” means “to dig” in Japanese. A cross between a knife and a trowel, it is a great multipurpose tool for digging, planting, weeding or dividing plants. The knife has a straight edge and a serrated edge, making it easy to saw through tough roots. Some knives have a slightly curved blade. Most have inches marked on one side, so you know how deep you are digging. Look for a sturdy design that comes with a belt sheath so you can safely wear it when gardening.

Ergonomic garden tools are designed to make garden chores easier and reduce back, wrist and hand strain. Garden tools with long handles can be helpful when gardening from a seated position and they can help protect your knees. One company that offers a line of ergonomic gardening tools is Radius. They have a line of spades, forks, shovels, edgers and a long handled weeder, plus a bulb auger. The large, circular handles allow a greater range of natural hand positions, avoiding wrist strain. All the tools have a resin-encased steel shaft core and a stainless-steel head and they have generous stepping edges. Their “root slayer” shovel was the 2017 winner of the Green Thumb Award for Most Innovative Garden Tool. This shovel has teeth, literally. If you garden in an area with lots of trees roots you may want to give this shovel a try. Radius also carries a line of ergonomic hand tools as well as pruning tools.

If the gardener in your life hates fighting hoses, they might appreciate a retractable hose reel. There are a number of manufacturers that make them. The main feature is the retracting system that will recoil the hose automatically. They should also have a locking device that can hold the hose at certain length. Many have a 180 degree swivel mounting bracket. Some come with an access panel to give the option of replacing the hose if ever needed or adjusting it. Check the hose length and diameter to make sure it will fit your needs.

Consider looking for a potted plant hand truck if your gardener has many large and heavy containers to bring in for the winter. A Google search came up with several different kinds, all designed to easily transport potted plants. Or look for a landscaping hand truck that can move plants as well as heavy loads such as statuary and big rocks. You will want something suited to lugging plants in from the garden over grassy terrain. Some hand trucks have a curved design that would fit a container better than a flat hand truck.

Protect your gardener from ticks next year by getting them tick repellent clothing. Encounters with ticks and the diseases they carry are on the rise. According to the Tick Encounter Resource Center, wearing tick repellent clothing is the best and easiest way for people to prevent tick bites when they go outdoors. Look for Insect Shield® repellent apparel as it will repel ticks, mosquitoes, ants, flies, chiggers and midges. The repellency of Insect Shield® apparel is EPA-registered to last 70 launderings, the expected lifetime of a garment. The Tick Encounter Resource Center website (www.tickencounter.org) lists several companies that sell a variety of tick repellent clothing, from socks to jackets.

Is the gardener on your gift list also a bird lover? Bird feeders are a good bet as plastic feeders wear out over time. Look for feeders that keep seed dry, are easy to fill and clean. During the winter it is nice to have feeders that don’t need to be filled every day, so look for feeders that can hold several pounds of seed. Quality feeders come in a variety of styles and are available in all price ranges. Specialty feeders for suet, nectar or fruit can expand the variety of birds in your yard. Bird houses and roosting boxes also make your yard more attractive to some species. Add a birdbath deicer to your yard so birds have fresh water all winter.

Gardening books are always appreciated as resources, inspiration or a good read over the winter. One of the Master Gardeners told me, “The more I garden, the more I realize that foliage is there all season, and most flowers are fleeting.” The book “Gardening with Foliage First” by Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz is on her wish list. This book shows how to build a framework of foliage and then layer in flowers and other artistic elements.

One of my favorite gifts last year was a personalized calendar that a friend made for me. She used photos she had taken of my garden. A lovely remembrance of the garden and useful, too.

If your gardener has “everything” you can’t go wrong with a gift certificate to their favorite garden catalog or nursery. Then they can spend the winter trying to decide which plants or tools they just can’t be without.

(Reference in this article to any specific commercial product or corporation is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of any kind by Genesee County Cornell Cooperative Extension or the Master Gardener program.)

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Have a garden question? Contact the Cornell Cooperative Extension Genesee County Master Gardeners for assistance. They may be reached by calling (585) 343-3040, ext. 127 from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. You can also stop in at our office at 420 East Main St., Batavia. For more information, visit genesee.cce.cornell.edu.

Jan Beglinger is the agriculture outreach coordinator for Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Article source: http://www.thedailynewsonline.com/bdn05/master-gardener-gift-ideas-for-gardeners-20171128

Acorn Landscapes wins prestigious landscape award

If you wish, you can contact us using any of the methods below: 
Longford Leader,
Leader House,
Dublin Road, Co Longford
Email: newsroom@longfordleader.ie
Telephone: 043 3345241

Article source: http://www.longfordleader.ie/gallery/business/284629/acorn-landscapes-wins-prestigious-landscape-award.html

Red Cedar Garden Club works to beautify Williamston

As the warmer seasons come to a close, the Red Cedar Garden Club is just getting started. With monthly educational meetings, and guest speakers, the group of 48 landscaping-loving individuals work towards one goal: taking their gardening abilities and bringing the art of landscaping to the town of Williamston and its residents.

“The purpose of the garden club is two-fold, one is to beautify Williamston, so we maintain civic gardens,” Red Cedar Garden Club president, Catherine Ware said. “But the other one is to educate our members and the Williamston public on various topics that would be relevant to gardening.”
Ware said that while most people would believe the main purpose of the gardening club included things such as monthly meetings, that is the minority of events planned. Instead, Ware said that the main purpose of the club was the educate the members, and invite others who are interested in the specific art to come join and learn more about.

“While I’m not necessarily a part of the Red Cedar Garden Club, you can’t help but just admire their work and be grateful for their dedication to creating a more beautiful Williamston.” resident, Cara Guernsey said. “Even though Williamston is so small, we have so many amazing people that help this community grow simply for their love for the town, and I am reminded of that everytime I drive through downtown.”

While the club does create landscape pieces around the town of Williamston, all supplies and resources are funded by the members of the club.

Photo of the gazebo off Putnam Street, which has been decorated and landscaped by the Red Cedar Garden Club. Photo by Camille North

“If we want plants, it is our job to go out and get the plants, the town does not pay for that,” Ware said. “They do watering, but other than that, everything is up to us, so fundraising is a big part of the club.”
According to the club’s vice president, Carol Grainger, the members receive most of their fundraising through donations from the public, along with membership fees. The club also sells gift cards to the public, redeemable at Christian Greenhouse and Garden Center, and a portion of the gift certificates profits go to the club, to fund supplies.

“We tell people it’s a contribution towards the Red Cedar Garden Club,” Grainger said. “So when we hear people talk about shopping at the garden center, we encourage them to buy gift cards, and that way it not only benefits us but another part of the community as well.”

As winter approaches, so has seasonal fundraising. Members of the club begin sell wreaths and ceramic mugs with greenery planted inside to help fundraise their activities, and many buyers use these original art pieces for thing such as Christmas presents.

The club is also recognized within the Michigan and National Garden Clubs, and it sponsors a fall program called Smokey Bear Woodsy Owl, where elementary students are given the opportunity to create a poster on their subject and enter it into a competition. Ware stated that they have had multiple students go onto winning at the state level. Ware also encourages anyone who’s interested in learning more about gardening to attend the next meeting on Nov. 13.

 

 

Article source: http://news.jrn.msu.edu/2017/11/red-cedar-garden-club-works-to-beautify-williamston/

BrightView selected to maintain historic landscape

Equipment that positively impacts an operation helps contractors complete jobs faster and better, allowing for more job opportunities during the season. Efficient snow and ice removal benefits contractors by increasing profits as well as creating satisfied customers who want to share their experience, meaning word-of-mouth advertising with the potential to add more business in the future.

If it’s not broke…

When investing in a snow pusher, contractors need to look beyond the purchase price and take into account the long-term effects of repairs that can drastically change the total cost of ownership. They should look for products that will spend more time working than getting parts replaced.

Mounting blocks on a pusher’s mainframe, for example, prevent damage and lessen repairs. Should an operator hit a hidden curb, the blocks will absorb the impact, protecting the pusher, carrier and operator. Designed to handle a lot of pressure, these mounting blocks will experience little damage and might last more than five years.

Along with operator and equipment safety, segmented pushers can mean overall less maintenance. At first, contractors tend to be skeptical, assuming more moving parts means more maintenance. However, that’s not always the case because fixing a segmented pusher can be quick and easy.

A steel cutting edge tends to be more economical than other cutting edges over time, as well. Rubber edges wear quickly, lasting only 20 percent as long as steel, which translates to replacing five rubber edges during the same period as replacing just one steel edge.

For Johnston, the difference meant significant time savings. The first time he needed to change a steel cutting edge, the pusher was in its fourth season and approaching 700 hours of use.

On a one-piece moldboard plow or pusher, the entire cutting edge, often at least 8 feet, must be replaced when damaged. In the event that a sectional cutting edge gets damaged, only that individual 24-inch or 32-inch section needs to be replaced. This significantly reduces repair costs, making replacement not only easier but more cost-effective overall.

Drop-and-go hitches, which self-adjust to the pavement, also lessen maintenance. The nature of this style of hitch ensures even wear on both shoes for longer life and fewer replacements. Commonly made of steel, pusher shoes can survive several years of abuse, but premature wear drastically cuts short their lifespan, which is a common occurrence with conventional hitch designs that require manual adjustment.

Slip-hitch systems also make it simple for operators to attach the pusher on various interfaces. For instance, some slip-hitch systems require the operator to secure four pins while transferring a pusher between coupler systems on different machines.

Along with easy changeovers to and from other pieces of equipment, take into account whether or not operators can service their pusher easily in the field. A hard impact can damage or break a pusher’s linkages, springs or bolts to the point of needing repair. Luckily with some segmented pushers, operators can fix damaged components easily onsite within 10 to 15 minutes if the parts are readily available. Other pushers don’t always have easily replaceable parts and would require a trip to the repair shop. This impacts overall productivity and can turn a successful season into a costly one.

 
Look at the big picture.

 When considering a pusher’s ROI, take into account other pieces of secondary equipment needed for the job, whether it’s sand and salt spreaders, liquid anti-icing applicators or snow brooms. Those extra pieces mean more expense, more time on the job and a lower ROI.

A pusher that provides contractors with results can also provide potential new accounts and profits. Johnston estimated his company saw a profit increase of about 30 percent after adding the right pusher with the best features to his fleet. The profit resulted from less salt usage, less manpower and fewer hours spent pushing snow.

Lemcke was able to expand into new markets after he found the right pusher. Doing so has added $150,000 to $200,000 to R.M. Landscape’s annual revenue stream.

A high-quality snow pusher will typically pay for itself in the first 30 inches of snowfall — a relatively quick return, considering many areas of the country average this amount in the first few months of winter.

Getting the best ROI stretches far beyond the purchase price of a pusher. Time on the job or spent performing repairs, replacement part expense, salt costs and the time to apply it all add in to the cost to remove snow. And the lower that is, the more that’s in the bank.

Push results. Look for a pusher that has proven performance, and the profits should quickly exceed the initial costs, maximizing ROI.

Article source: http://www.lawnandlandscape.com/ll-112917-brightview-maintains-colonial-williamsburg-landscape.aspx

Garden chores to do in December

December is the month when shorter daylight hours and cold weather really begin to restrict the gardener’s outdoor activities. Winter gives you a great opportunity to catch up on reading your favorite gardening magazines and books. Here are a few tips and topics to occupy the gardener’s time this month.

 

Planting

There’s still time to plant pansies. These colorful annuals will live through the winter and be spectacular next spring. They work especially well when mixed with bulbs. Choose bright and light colors if you’d like the bed to be seen from a distance.

Also, hardy trees and shrubs can be planted this month. Just take care to water them carefully, not letting them dry out, nor keeping the soil sopping wet.

If you are planning to create a new shrub, flower or rose bed for next spring, go ahead and prepare the soil now. Dig it up, remove the weeds, and work in leaves and compost. If you discover that the soil stays wet longer than it should, add more organic matter, sand and soil and create a raised bed to facilitate better drainage.

Remember those tulips and hyacinths you have chilling in the refrigerator? After 45 to 60 days of chilling, they can be set out in the landscape.

 

Pruning

Don’t get too anxious to do major pruning. Most woody trees and shrubs can be safely pruned December through early March. But if you can’t justify the removal of each branch or limb, put up your clippers and go spade the garden instead.

Some of the right reasons for pruning include removing dead or winter-killed or diseased or insect-injured wood, as well as branches broken by wind or wild kids. Avoid severe pruning if possible. Never leave stubs, long or short, which do not heal properly and invite the entry of insects and disease.

Plants which bloom in early spring, like azaleas, forsythia and spirea, should be pruned after they flower, while those that bloom later in the spring and summer can be pruned during wintertime. Roses are pruned in mid-February except spring-only bloomers which are cut back after spring flowering.

One pruning practice that needs to be changed is how crape myrtles are pruned. Every winter crape myrtles are severely cut back to short stubs resulting in ugly plants. Although there is disagreement among landscapers on whether or not to prune back crape myrtles, scientific research indicates that early winter pruning of crape myrtles can result in significant freeze damage.

In my opinion, it is better to leave crape myrtles unpruned altogether. If you just cannot tolerate those seed capsules (which add winter interest to the landscape), then delay pruning until late February or early March, and remove no larger than pencil-sized twigs. Resist the urge to cut them back hard.

 

Miscellaneous

If it continues to be dry this month, occasionally water the lawn, shrubs and small trees to help prevent winter damage.

Winter is a good time to browse plant catalogs, visit nurseries and study your landscape to make improvements or additions. If you are not a do-it-yourselfer, get professional advice on landscape design. An attractive landscape around the house not only beautifies but also adds to the value of the property – an increase anywhere between 5 to 15 percent of the sales price.

Don’t let fallen leaves remain on the lawn all winter. Either mow them back into the lawn, collect them to be used as a weed suppressing and water conserving mulch, or compost them for use next spring and summer to improve the soil. Leaves left on the lawn can cause disease problems if a thick layer keeps the grass too wet and dark.

What does the vegetable patch look like now? Remove dead vegetation and weeds to prevent a buildup of diseases, weeds and insects. Order seeds now for spring vegetables so you will have them in plenty of time for starting early transplants or sowing directly into the garden in early spring.

Many cool season, fall crops, like lettuce and spinach, have shallow root systems. So, be sure to frequently apply water to keep the soil slightly moist to keep the plants healthy and growing. Between the rows and around the plants in the garden is a good place to use leaves to help conserve soil moisture and control weeds.

Order seeds now for spring vegetables and flowers so you will have them in plenty of time to start early transplants or sow them in early spring.

Goldfinches, tufted titmouse, black-capped chickadees and other birds will be showing up at feeders. Remember to provide both food and fresh water for birds this winter. You can attract just as many birds with a bird bath as with food, especially during dry spells. If you put out a variety of seeds, like sunflower, thistle, safflower and millet, plus suet, you will draw a diversity of birds. Once you begin putting out bird food, continue feeding them through the spring time.

If you have questions about this article or any of the Extension programs, contact the AgriLife Extension Office at (936) 435-2426, or go to https://walker.agrilife.org/. Extension programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex or religion, disability or national origin. The Texas AM University system, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commisssioners Courts of Texas cooperating. A member of Texas AM University System and its statewide agriculture programs.

Article source: http://www.itemonline.com/news/local_news/garden-chores-to-do-in-december/article_d35db510-c9f5-5a86-a695-b1fe5de67c9b.html

Good things grow when community comes together

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Article source: http://www.presspubs.com/white_bear/news/article_bc7e9230-d494-11e7-b660-3b8fafed7140.html

Gardening Guru: Gardening Tips for December

Gardening Guru: Gardening Tips for December

By Peyton Ellas
UCCE Master Gardener

An important use for the garden in December is as a place to escape the hustle and bustle, crowds, over-heated houses, and a revved-up pace. During and after leaf-fall, we can glimpse the structure or “bones” of our garden through our deciduous trees and shrubs. Stroll a garden path, or sit with a hot beverage among the colors of fall and winter. The native garden comes alive with sharpened blue-greens, greys and silvers, yellows, and every shade of brown. If you don’t think brown can be beautiful, challenge yourself to visit a California garden, let nature be part of your holiday spirit, and discover the beauty of stillness and the world in waiting.

Another important use is as a supply source for decorations. If you have a pine, spruce, cedar or redwood tree in your yard, you probably have discovered that home-grown fresh-cut greens are excellent tied in bunches with a pretty bow or gathered into a traditional wreath. Holly, fir, cedar, juniper, mistletoe, redwood, magnolia, pines and Podocarpus foliage are traditional choices, but don’t be afraid to use toyon, coffeeberry, rosemary, bay, eucalyptus, native sage, live oak and even manzanita. You can add nuts, pomegranates, acorns, pinecones, buckeyes, and any other natural objects. Reminder: only use LED candles and other non-flame lights around any greenery indoors, as many evergreens can still look fresh but be quite dry as the month goes on.

Garden chores: Watch for frost warnings and protect your sensitive plants. Move potted plants under the eaves, patio or other protected areas. Plants will survive better if kept moist but not overwatered. Throw away any mummies left on fruit trees.

We are finishing up our annual cutting back and tidying up as winter approaches. Shrubs and perennials that benefit from severe pruning (cut back almost to the ground) include non-compact Buddleia (butterfly bush), Lion’s Tail, Matilija Poppy, Mexican Sage, most penstemon, Jerusalem sage, Rudbeckia, Epilobium (Zauschneria), and yarrow (Achillea). For the rest, just remove any branches and old flower stalks that look dead or bedraggled. You can adopt a cut and drop approach in the natural garden to encourage healthy populations of soil microorganisms. In the formal garden or where stone mulch is used, add the cuttings to the compost or green-waste bins. If you get too busy to cut everything back, don’t worry; you can wait and prune in spring when the new growth appears. To encourage woody shrubs like lavender, Ceanothus and santolina to be longer-lived, trim them back lightly several times a year, including once in early winter.

If your garden has a natural look, leaves can sometimes be left in the beds if they don’t prevent rain from reaching the soil. If there are too many, or if the appearance of all those leaves bothers you, add them to the compost or mulch pile. If there is an insect or disease problem, fallen leaves and fruit tree mummies (old fruit) should be put in the green waste bin or otherwise removed from the garden. Many insects overwinter in leaves and mulch, but not all of them are pests, so don’t over-react unless you know you have a severe pest problem.

Cold weather crops, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower grow well during the winter, and can be harvested as long as they are producing.

Critter control: After the leaves fall, spray fruit trees and roses with a dormant oil spray to kill any overwintering aphids, mites, scale, and whitefly.

Handpick slugs and snails or set out iron phosphate as a bait. To help control them, eliminate their hiding places under debris such as wood or pots. Unfortunately, many common garden plants, such as day lily and agapanthus, also make good hiding places. You can go on a patrol, or engage the help of children in the family and make it into a treasure hunt.

See any white moths around your winter veggies? That cute little dear is laying eggs on your prize broccoli or cabbage. The eggs will hatch into the cabbage looper and eat holes in the leaves. You can’t do much about the moth, but seeing one is the signal to start looking under the leaves for the next several days to snag the small, green caterpillars before they do much damage. Large plants can survive some damage, however, seedlings can be devoured. You can also spray with BT (Bacillus Thuringieis), sometimes marketed as caterpillar killer. Be sure to spray plant leaves thoroughly on the tops and bottoms.

Many other pests are dormant during winter, but during warm spells watch for earwigs in your greens and handpick or trap them under newspaper and boards.

Bulb planting season is ending, so check nurseries for sales. Stock photo.

Bulb planting season is ending, so check nurseries for sales. Stock photo.

What to plant: It is nearing the end of the bulb planting season, so nurseries may have them on sale. Choose healthy firm bulbs and make sure they are not mushy or moldy. Tulip and hyacinth bulbs should be cooled in the refrigerator (away from fruit) for six to eight weeks before planting, so skip those until next year. But you can probably get a decent bloom from daffodils, narcissus and hyacinth.

Asian greens and lettuce can be planted through the month, especially if you use cold frames, hoops, or row cover cloth.

You can also continue to plant frost-hardy trees, shrubs and perennials until at least mid-month. For the rest of December and through winter, turn your attention to designing and planning your spring improvements. Why not take a break from festivities to enjoy the December garden, or to hold a winter party out of doors? Happy Holidays!

You can find the Master Gardeners every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at the Farmer’s Market in the Visalia Sears’ parking lot on Mooney Boulevard.

To contact the Tulare/Kings Master Gardener Program, call 559-684-3325, e-mail cetulare@ucdavis.edu or write to 4437 S. Laspina St., Suite B, Tulare, CA 93247.

– This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.

Article source: http://www.thesungazette.com/article/lifestyles/2017/11/29/gardening-guru-gardening-tips-for-december/

8 Tips to Clean Gutters Safely

(WTNH)–Thousands are injured across the United States falling off of a ladder every single year and one of the biggest reasons you’re probably going on to a ladder is to clean out the gutter. It’s the time of the year to do that, so here are 8 tips.

Tip number 1: Even if the leaves haven’t completely fallen, clean gutters now. If not, this could be the expensive result if you forget once it snows.

Related Content: Is your home ready for the winter weather?

Number 2: Always wear protective gloves when cleaning the gutters. Sharp debris and sticks are impossible to see under the leaves.

Number 3 is ladder safety. Always put your ladder on a flat surface, and make sure someone is around to spot you.

Number 4: Watch out for power lines near your gutters!

The fifth tip can help make cleaning the gutters much easier.

Related Content:  Prepping your home now to save money later

“Instead of putting your hand in the gutter, use this, scoop out the leaves, flip it over and you’re good to go. Keep on scooping it out and it keeps your hands pretty clean.” Mentioned David Katz, owner of Goody’s Hardware in East Haven.

If you’re not keen on even climbing a ladder and your gutters aren’t too high up, there’s a solution. That solution is a cleaning tool that sprays high pressure water on a long stick to a garden hose.

Katz showed, “You hook up to the garden hose, put some pressure in there, and it washes the leaves down to the downspout and cleans it without you getting dirty.”

Number 6: Clean out your downspouts. Clear the bottom with your hand, and flush the top out with a garden hose.

Tip 7: Get gutter guards. Some systems can be installed easily by the homeowner and cost as little as $200 for materials!

The final tip is that if you’re not comfortable climbing onto a ladder or cleaning out the gutters yourself, the best advice is to just call and hire a professional!

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Article source: http://wtnh.com/2017/11/29/8-tips-to-clean-gutters-safely/