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Spruce up your home for Spring!

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  • 2 Spring Home Improvement Westside News Inc. April 12, 2015

    Outdoor spring cleaning tips(StatePoint) Its time to prep your homes outdoor spaces for the season ahead. From the yard to the garage to the deck, getting these areas tidy is all part of a thorough spring clean.

    Here are some tips to make the pro-cess faster and easier.

    De-Clutter your workspaceYour shed, your garage, your toolbox -- its time to take stock of what youre storing in these key areas. Broken tools, piles of junk these are items that will get in your way and slow you down all season long. So before you get to the nitty gritty of your outdoor spring clean, take the time to organize your work-space.

    Throw out what is junk, donate what you arent using, and organize the rest into categories. Vertical storage can save crucial room, so install tall shelves and use walls and the ceiling to install organizational systems. Now is also a great opportunity to perform routine maintenance on your lawn equipment and tools to improve their efficiency.

    Identify multitasking toolsCheck out innovations on old tools that can make your versatile workload easier. For example, you can upgrade your con-ventional pressure washer for a newer model with more diverse functionality. For example, Briggs & Strattons new POWERflow+ Pressure Washer technol-ogy has one pump with two separate cleaning modes -- high pressure and

    high flow, which work for different tasks.Remember, different surfaces require

    different cleaning techniques. Whether youre cleaning up tough mold and mildew stains from your deck or patio or washing the more delicate surface of your car, you can switch modes or apply soap directly from the nozzle. This feature eliminates the need for switch-ing attachments or walking back to the pressure washer, making an afternoon of diverse to-dos manageable. Just be sure youre using the proper mode for the task.

    Do smart yard maintenanceIf you have a larger yard, consider a rid-ing mower to save time and energy on lawn maintenance. Remember not to over mow your lawn. Not only is it not healthy for the grass, it can be a time waster and increase your carbon foot-print needlessly. Likewise, only water your lawn and garden when necessary. During periods of rain, you can ease up on this chore. The most efficient time of day to water your lawn is morning. When the sun is strongest, you will lose more water to evaporation and your work will be for naught. By changing up your lawn care habits, you can save time all season.

    While working outdoors can be fun, dont spend more time than you need to on your household spring cleaning tasks. Finding simple ways to be more efficient will give you more time to enjoy your homes outdoor spaces.

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  • April 12, 2015 Westside News Inc. Spring Home Improvement 3

    Get out & grow!by Kristina Gabalski

    by Kristina Gabalski

    Theres no lack of yard and garden work in the spring, especially following such a brutally cold and snowy winter. If youre having a hard time prioritizing which job to take on first, heres a list of ten helpful and important chores for getting the growing season off to a great start.

    Now is the time to prune and remove any dead or winter damaged branches on trees and shrubs. Prune dead wood from roses and cut back long canes once leaf buds begin to swell.

    Clear beds of debris which can harbor disease. Remove dead leaves and plant material. This will help with air circulation and clear the way for new growth. Push

    any frost-heaved perennials or fall plant-ings back into the ground with your garden boot or clog.

    While you are tidying up, its never too early to pull weeds. They are already out there and it is easier to eradicate them when they are small and the soil is moist.

    If your lawn is a priority, you can fertil-ize and apply a pre-emergence herbicide.Timing for application of herbicides is important - if applied too early, crabgrass seeds that germinate late in the season will not be controlled. A good rule of thumb is to apply when forsythia blooms begin to drop, or when redbud trees are in full bloom as crabgrass seed typically germi-nates after these events. Be sure to care-fully read and follow all package instruc-

    tions when applying herbicides.

    Now is a good time to build raised beds, while temperatures are cool and before its time to plant. Ground-level beds can also be dug, but make sure the soil has dried out.

    Stake early summer perennials which grow rapidly once temperatures begin to warm up. The moist soil also makes it easier to drive in supports.

    Divide perennials. This can be done when new growth appears. Divide clumps with a sharp knife, making sure each division has several shoots and roots. Replant imme-diately and keep well watered throughout the growing season.

    Start veggie and annual seeds indoors. Read seed packets carefully for germina-tion times to make sure the plants dont become leggy before being transplanted into the garden.

    If you didnt do it last fall, clean and sharpen garden tools and clean pots and containers. Purchase new tools if needed.

    Have some fun and plant colorful contain-ers of pansies or violas to brighten up your yard and entry. Pinch back dead blooms to keep the plants vigorous.

    Celebrate Arbor Day April 24 -- plant a tree!National Arbor Day is Friday, April 24,

    this year, and the Arbor Day Foundation is making it easy for anyone to celebrate the annual tree-planting holiday. Join the Foundation in April and receive 10 free shade trees.

    By joining the Foundation in April, new members receive the following trees: red oak, sugar maple, weeping willow, baldcy-press, thornless honeylocust, pin oak, river birch, tuliptree, silver maple, and red maple.

    The free trees are part of the Founda-tions Trees for America campaign. These trees provide shade in the summer and vibrant colors throughout the fall, said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. Through the simple act of planting trees, one person can make a difference in helping to create a healthier and more beautiful planet for all of us to enjoy.

    The trees will be shipped postpaid with enclosed planting instructions at the right

    time for planting in April or May. The 6- to 12-inch trees are guaranteed to grow or they will be replaced free of charge.

    To become a member of the Foundation and receive the free trees, send a $10 con-tribution to Ten Free Shade Trees, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Avenue, Nebraska City, NE 68410, by April 30 or visit arborday.org/april.

    Provided information

    The Get out & grow column returns for a third season soon ... watch for it!

    Springtime garden chores abound

    Now is the time to clear garden beds of debris and dead plant material. This will help with disease control and makes the garden look nice and tidy. K. Gabalski photo.

    Be careful when cleaning garden beds. Tender shoots of perennials are emerging now. K. Ga-balski photo.

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