Archive for the 'Lawn and Garden' Category

(BPT) – It’s been in the news for years now: the decline of pollinators such as honeybees and butterflies, and how it’s upsetting our world’s healthy ecosystem. We need pollinators for the growth of many of the foods we eat each day – according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, some scientists estimate that one in three bites of food we take result from the work of pollinators. Berries, apples, oranges, almonds and scores of other foods, not to mention flowers, rely on pollinators. If they disappear, those foods will fade along with them.

So, why are pollinators declining? They can’t find enough food because their habitats are disappearing.

Fortunately, we can all help protect pollinators. Ortho, a leading brand in lawn and garden, recently teamed up with the Pollinator Stewardship Council for a consumer education campaign, “Bee Responsible,” aimed at helping home gardeners protect the pollinators in their yards, attract more of them and help them thrive.

In 2016, after evaluating the risk to honeybees and other pollinators, Ortho also announced plans to phase out neonicotinoid-based pesticides from all its outdoor gardening products and is investing in alternative pest control solutions. Ortho’s parent company, Scotts Miracle-Gro, has funded 125 pollinator-friendly gardens throughout the country.

Want to attract pollinators to your yard and help them thrive? Here are some tips.

Make your garden pollinator friendly. Nectar and pollen-packed plants attract honeybees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators. Choose colorful flowers, such as alyssum, aster, delphinium, flax, lavender, liatris, lupine, phlox or zinnia. Check with your local garden store for native plants and flowers that thrive in your climate and choose a range of plants that bloom in different seasons.

Encourage neighbors to do the same. If one pollinator-friendly garden is good, a network of them dotting your neighborhood is better. This could provide enough habitat and resources to help restore and bolster the pollinator population in your community.

Control pests in your garden. Insects and mites can bring disease and destruction to your garden, undoing all of the good you’re trying to do for pollinators. Ortho’s neonic-alternative 3-in-1 Insect, Mite & Disease control will help banish the bad bugs in your garden. To use responsibly, avoid spraying when it’s windy, apply the product at dusk and dawn when pollinators are less active and avoid using the product on blooms. Another tip: Use native plants whenever possible. They usually require less pesticide than plants from other zones.

Provide shelter. Bees and butterflies need shelter, so make sure your yard has some cozy nesting sites, like leaves, moss, piles of grass or a patch of yard you just let go wild. Also, check out bee houses in your neighborhood garden store. They’re artistic and fun, and they provide bees with shelter for their offspring to thrive.

Don’t forget the water. Your garden will provide the nectar and pollen. But bees, birds and butterflies need water, too. A decorative bird bath, water feature or even a shallow rain catcher will give your buzzing friends the water they need.

Install a hummingbird feeder. Imagine sitting outside with your first cup of coffee in the morning and watching those magical hummingbirds dart around the feeder. You’ll be nourishing your garden and your spirit at the same time.

By providing pollinators with friendly habitats, backyard gardeners can help these vital components in our ecosystem regain a foothold.

(BPT) – It’s been in the news for years now: the decline of pollinators such as honeybees and butterflies, and how it’s upsetting our world’s healthy ecosystem. We need pollinators for the growth of many of the foods we eat each day – according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, some scientists estimate that one in three bites of food we take result from the work of pollinators. Berries, apples, oranges, almonds and scores of other foods, not to mention flowers, rely on pollinators. If they disappear, those foods will fade along with them.

So, why are pollinators declining? They can’t find enough food because their habitats are disappearing.

Fortunately, we can all help protect pollinators. Ortho, a leading brand in lawn and garden, recently teamed up with the Pollinator Stewardship Council for a consumer education campaign, “Bee Responsible,” aimed at helping home gardeners protect the pollinators in their yards, attract more of them and help them thrive.

In 2016, after evaluating the risk to honeybees and other pollinators, Ortho also announced plans to phase out neonicotinoid-based pesticides from all its outdoor gardening products and is investing in alternative pest control solutions. Ortho’s parent company, Scotts Miracle-Gro, has funded 125 pollinator-friendly gardens throughout the country.

Want to attract pollinators to your yard and help them thrive? Here are some tips.

Make your garden pollinator friendly. Nectar and pollen-packed plants attract honeybees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators. Choose colorful flowers, such as alyssum, aster, delphinium, flax, lavender, liatris, lupine, phlox or zinnia. Check with your local garden store for native plants and flowers that thrive in your climate and choose a range of plants that bloom in different seasons.

Encourage neighbors to do the same. If one pollinator-friendly garden is good, a network of them dotting your neighborhood is better. This could provide enough habitat and resources to help restore and bolster the pollinator population in your community.

Control pests in your garden. Insects and mites can bring disease and destruction to your garden, undoing all of the good you’re trying to do for pollinators. Ortho’s neonic-alternative 3-in-1 Insect, Mite & Disease control will help banish the bad bugs in your garden. To use responsibly, avoid spraying when it’s windy, apply the product at dusk and dawn when pollinators are less active and avoid using the product on blooms. Another tip: Use native plants whenever possible. They usually require less pesticide than plants from other zones.

Provide shelter. Bees and butterflies need shelter, so make sure your yard has some cozy nesting sites, like leaves, moss, piles of grass or a patch of yard you just let go wild. Also, check out bee houses in your neighborhood garden store. They’re artistic and fun, and they provide bees with shelter for their offspring to thrive.

Don’t forget the water. Your garden will provide the nectar and pollen. But bees, birds and butterflies need water, too. A decorative bird bath, water feature or even a shallow rain catcher will give your buzzing friends the water they need.

Install a hummingbird feeder. Imagine sitting outside with your first cup of coffee in the morning and watching those magical hummingbirds dart around the feeder. You’ll be nourishing your garden and your spirit at the same time.

By providing pollinators with friendly habitats, backyard gardeners can help these vital components in our ecosystem regain a foothold.

(BPT) – It’s summertime, and you’ll want to spend many sun-drenched hours in the great outdoors. But while Mother Nature is flourishing, it feels like you’re wasting too many precious summer afternoons and evenings doing chores in the…

(BPT) – Nothing transforms a home quite like a fresh coat of paint. In fact, painting your own house is one of the smartest and easiest DIY upgrades a homeowner can accomplish on their own.

“Summer is the ideal time to tackle a painting project, as the warmer temperatures lead to faster drying times, and you can comfortably leave the windows open for better ventilation,” said Megan Youngs, Product Manager at DAP. “Just remember, a little bit of preparation goes a long way toward creating a professional look that will last for years to come.”

Before reaching for a paintbrush, follow these paint preparation tips from the experts at DAP.

Clean Up Your Act – Paint adheres better to a smooth, clean surface. While living room walls may only need a dry dusting, kitchens and bathrooms, where dirt, grease, oil or mildew can build up, need extra attention. Wash surfaces with soap and water, rinse well and allow them to fully dry. For bathrooms, remove mildew by applying a solution of one-part bleach to three-parts water and allow the solution to sit for 20 minutes. Then scrub the mildew with a soft-bristle brush, rinse the surface and allow it to dry. Be sure to wear safety glasses and rubber gloves when working with this bleach-and-water solution.

Scrape and Sand – Now that the surface is dry, smooth down the surface with a bit of fine-grit sandpaper. This is particularly important if painting over a glossy finish, as paint applies more evenly to dull surfaces. In addition, going over the area with sandpaper will help uncover any cracks, holes or dents that could diminish the final look of your project. Another pro tip is to shine a bright light at a low angle across the surface to spot any problem areas. After you have sanded or scraped the area, wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove any dust or residue.

Don’t Forget the Details – Anyone can paint over a wide, smooth surface, but it’s the attention to detail around windows and doors that truly separates a mediocre job from the pros. Use painter’s tape to protect window sills, molding, baseboards, door hinges and the ceiling perimeter, taking your time to ensure that every corner is properly protected. These areas are also prone to gaps and cracks. Remove any loose or cracked caulking from windows, doors and trim, and apply a fresh bead of sealant for a smooth, sealed surface. Alex Flex Premium Molding & Trim Sealant is specifically formulated for use on molding and trim applications. The sealant is paintable in just 30 minutes with latex or oil-based paints, saving time and resulting in a seamless, more professional finish.

Fill It Up – Now it’s time to tackle the main surface. Cracks, holes and dents will mar the finished project, so apply spackle to fill in these areas. Open a container of pre-mixed spackling compound and scoop up a small amount with a putty knife. There’s no need to pile it on. Instead, start with a small amount, and with a shallow knife strike, spread the compound over the hole or crack in a smooth, downward motion. Repeat until the hole is completely filled in. Want to get rid of those stubborn recurring cracks? Reach for Alex Flex Flexible Spackling, which provides maximum flexibility and moves with the repaired surface as problem areas expand and contract with changes in weather and humidity. It’s also easy to sand to a smooth, feathered-edge finish and is paintable for a seamless repair.

Paint with Precision – Make the job go easier and faster by having a variety of brushes and rollers on hand. Rollers are great for covering large, wide surfaces, but for a professional look around edges and corners, you’ll need smaller brushes for the right amount of detailed work. Moisten rollers and brushes in water beforehand, as this will help the paint glide more smoothly onto the surface. Allow the first coat of paint to completely dry, and then apply a second coat to ensure smooth, even coverage. Once the second coat is dry, carefully pull up any painter’s tape and voila! Your space is transformed!

For more information on DAP products for your next DIY project, visit DAP.com.

(BPT) – Cookouts, barbecues, family reunions and more are upon us, and as the coolest neighbor on the cul-de-sac, hosting the summer fun is a no-brainer. Throughout the colder seasons it’s easy to forget about your special role of summer party ho…

(BPT) – If The Old Farmer’s Almanac prediction holds true, this summer will be a hot one. The weather forecast anticipates temperatures for the season to be “hotter than normal” across most of the U.S. If you’re ready to kick up…

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