Types of Weeping Willow Trees

The willow genus (Salix spp.) is composed of a wide variety of deciduous trees and shrubs commonly grown in the garden of your home as ornamental plants. The weeping willow (Salix Babylonia) is a particularly common species of willow that features a weeping, cascading branch. Numerous weeping willow cultivars and hybrids are available at nurseries.

Weeping willow

The weeping willow can grow up to 50 feet in height, with a similar extension. The tree has a short trunk with dark gray, deeply crusted bark. The tree crown features fallen branches and yellow-green stems covered with olive-green spear-shaped leaves, which turn yellow before falling in autumn. The flowers appear in April or May and are followed by brown fruits, with a capsule shape.

Wisconsin weeping willow

The Wisconsin weeping willow (Salix 3blanda) is a cold-resistant hybrid made between the weeping willow tree and the brittle willow (Salix fragile). The tree grows to between 25 and 30 feet in height with a crown width in cascade. The leaves are dark green or blue-green and smaller than the leaves of the weeping willow species. The twigs and branches of the tree are particularly fragile and break easily.

Cultivars

A variety of weeping willow cultivars are available, showing unique foliage habits and growth. The cultivars include the known Tristin; Crispi, a willow that produces braided, corkscrew like foliage; Area, a cultivated variety that offers bright golden yellow stems; and Babylon, a robust variety with a particularly large crown. Gold Curls is an unusual cultivar that offers golden yellow bark and leaves and corkscrew branches.

Culture

Weeping willows are adaptable to a wide range of habitats, surviving in most types of soil as long as they have a lot of moisture. Weeping willow develops best in a bright, sunny place. When grown in the shade, the plant produces poor, long-legged growth. Exact resistance varies depending on the cultivar, although, in general, weeping willows are suitable for areas of USDA resistance 4 to 9. The tree can be grown in zone 10 if it is given a lot of water.

How Much Does a Paver Patio Cost?

Clay bricks or cobblestones are still one of the most durable types of outdoor accessories for your home. When properly installed, a paver patio will last a lifetime, which guarantees the value of your home, as well as your enjoyment in the years to come. A number of factors that can influence the price of the construction of a paver yard, including the type of pavers you use, the pattern, its geography and more.

Type of paver

The cost of cobbles depends on the type of cobblestone you want to work with. Concrete pavers are still the cheapest, with prices ranging from $ 5 to $ 10 per square foot. You’ll find clay and brick pavers in the same category, although they stretch upwards of $ 15 per square foot, depending on the type you buy. Natural stone cobblestones, on the other hand, will cost between $ 10 and $ 30 per square foot, since the suppliers have them quarried instead of from molds. All price estimates are as of July 2011.

Installation

Because the type of material that affects the installation, as a general rule, customers pay roughly the same amount per square foot in the installation as they do for real stone. While this may vary a bit depending on your area, the more expensive of the paver, the more expensive the cost to install it. Special tools and skills, although often required, add to the cost of installing more unique stones. As of July 2011, you pay around $ 25 per hour for inexperienced artisans, and upwards of $75 per hour for a master craftsman with 25 or more years of experience.

Pattern

A normal straight-lay pattern, in which the cobblestones are simply stacked against each other to the right along the entire length of your yard, costs you a little more than the basic installation price. Special patterns, on the other hand, cost significantly more, depending on the speed of the contractor. For example, circular and diamond patterns require more planning in advance, as well as specialty cuts and measurements during the installation process. Since “time is money,” you’ll have to pay more when the pattern is more complex.  The hourly rate depends on the contractor.

Type of soil

Since cobbled patios require drainage for the sand or stone dust used between the cobbles and as a base layer, the type of soil that you deal with directly affects the costs of building your patio. Although normal, arid soil can simply use sand or stone dust as a base, if you live in an area where your soil looks more like clay and holds water with ease, you need to include a layer of stone or crushed gravel under the stone or sand in order to provide adequate drainage. As of July 2011, sand and gravel cost between $40 to $60 per cubic yard of purchase, depending on your location.

Can I Prune Cedar Trees in Hot Weather?

When Can I Trim a Deodar Cedar Tree?

Unlike deciduous trees, cedars and other evergreen conifer trees typically need pruning only when their branches have been broken or damaged. If you prune your cedar properly when it is young, trimming it will likely be unnecessary when it matures. In deciding when to prune, the pruning goal and the time of year is more important than whether it is a hot or cold day.

Pruning to Thicken Cedar Foliage

Cedars are random-branched conifers as opposed to firs, pines and spruces, whose branches grow in spirals. To thicken the canopy of a cedar or other random-branched conifer, prune it in early spring. The new growth will mask the wounds you make by pruning. Whether it is a hot or cold day is irrelevant.

Pruning to Maintain Size

Pruning the interior of a cedar carefully to limit its size is best done in early to mid-summer when the weather is typically hot. Do not prune in late summer or early autumn because pruning can stimulate new growth that will not have time to turn hard before the freezing autumn or winter weather.

Pruning Broken Branches

If the branches of your cedar are broken by a storm or accident, prune it immediately; never mind the time of year. Infection on the tree and damage to your property from falling branches can occur in any season, so don’t wait for hotter or cooler weather to take care of the situation.

Pruning to Limit Height

Removing the crown or top of a cedar will destroy its beauty. While you can prune one-third of the top part of a cedar crown in the summer, do not prune the lower part. Select a cedar that fits your space. The deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara), known for its drooping branches, grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 to 9. While the deodar cedar can grow up to 150 feet tall, the cultivar “Pendula” (Cedrus deodora “Pendula”) only grows 10 feet high. The graceful, rich green western red cedar (Thuja plicata) will grow from 50 to 80 feet high in USDA zones 5 to 8. The Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica) grows 40 to 60 feet tall in a Christmas tree pyramid form when it is young, but it grows horizontal branches at the top of its crown as it matures. It will grow in USDA zones 6 to 9.

The Best Way to Clean Oil Paint Stained Brushes

If you have ever done a painting project in your house, then your paint brushes have gotten some good use out of them. Oil-based paint can be difficult to remove from brushes, but if you use the best methods and act quickly, you will be able to clean the brushes without damaging the bristles.

Instructions

  1. Pour three inches of paint thinner into a metal can, such as an empty coffee can or paint can. Always use gloves to handle paint thinner.
  2. Hold the brush handle and place the paint covered area of the brush in the paint thinner. Shake the brush around, pressing against the bottom of the can to help remove the paint.
  3. Pull the last of the paint and the excess of finer paint on the inside edge of the can.
  4. Dry the paint thinner in the brush with a cloth. Rinse the brush with water and dry again with a new cloth.
  5. Hang your brush upside down to dry without disturbing the bristles.

10 Gardening Tips for Beginners

Never gardened before? No problem. Make your grow-your-own dreams a reality with these 10 easy-to-follow tips.

Site it right.

Starting a garden is just like real estate; it’s all about location. Place your garden in a part of your yard where you’ll see it regularly (out of sight, out of mind definitely applies to gardening). That way, you’ll be much more likely to spend time in it.

Follow the sun.

Misjudging sunlight is a common pitfall when you’re first learning to garden. Pay attention to how sunlight plays through your yard before choosing a spot for your garden. Most edible plants, including many vegetables, herbs, and fruits, need at least 6 hours of sun in order to thrive.

Stay close to water.

One of the best gardening tips you’ll ever get is to plan your new garden near a water source. Make sure you can run a hose to your garden site, so you don’t have to lug water to it each time your plants get thirsty. The best way to tell if plants need watering is to push a finger an inch down into the soil (that’s about one knuckle deep). If it’s dry, it’s time to water.

Start with great soil.

When starting a garden, one of the top pieces of advice is to invest in soil that is nutrient-rich and well-drained. Achieve this just-right blend by mixing 3 inches of Miracle-Gro® All Purpose Garden Soil into the top 6 to 8 inches of existing soil if you’re planning to plant in the ground. If you’re planting in a raised bed, use Miracle-Grow® Raised Bed Soil, which is the perfect weight and texture for raised bed growing.

When space is at a premium, look to containers. You can grow many plants in pots, including vegetables, herbs, flowers, fruit trees, berries, and shrubs. When gardening in containers, use a pot that’s large enough for the plant it’s hosting, and fill it with Miracle-Grow® Moisture Control® Potting Mix. Not only is it specially formulated to help plants in pots thrive, but it also helps protect against over- and under-watering.

It’s important to select plants that match your growing conditions. This means putting sun-loving plants into a sunny spot, choosing heat-tolerant plants in warm climates, and giving ground-gobbling vines like pumpkins and melons ample elbow room (or a trellis to climb). Do your homework and pick varieties that will grow well where you live and in the space you have. And to get a step up on success when growing veggies and herbs, start with vigorous young plants from Bonnie Plants® instead of trying to grow from seed.

Discover your zone.

Knowing your “hardiness zone” can help you choose the best plants. Simply put, it describes the coldest place a plant can grow. The higher the zone number, the warmer the climate. So if a plant is “hardy to zone 4” and you garden in zone 5, that plant will survive in your yard. If, however, you’re in zone 3, it’s too cold to grow that particular plant. Find out your hardiness zone.

Learn your frost dates.

Planting too early (or late) in the season can spell disaster for your garden. You need to know the last average spring frost date for your area so you don’t accidentally kill plants by putting them out prematurely. It’s also good to know your first average fall frost date so that you get your plants harvested or moved indoors before late-season cold damages them. Discover the average first and last frost dates for your area.

Add some mulch.

Apply a layer of mulch that’s 2 to 3 inches deep around each plant. This will help reduce weeds by blocking out the sun, and reduce moisture loss through evaporation, so you have to water less. For a polished look, put down a layer of Scotts® bagged mulch. Or, you can put down straw, shredded leaves, pine straw, or some other locally available material.

Feed plants regularly.

We’ve already talked about the importance of starting with great soil, but that soil works best in concert with regular boosts of high-quality nutrition for your plants. In other words, amazing soil + top-notch plant food = super garden success! So, a month after planting, begin feeding your garden with plant food like Miracle-Grow® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food. Be sure to follow label directions.

One last word of advice: Stock up on the basic tools you need to make it easier to grow. Happy growing!

Building Your Own Slate Patio

Slate is a perfect stone for the outdoor gardener. Durable and aesthetically pleasing, it highlights outdoor spaces and is both easy and cost effective to work with. Slate patios are quite easy to create and very versatile. The creation of a slate patio is a do-it-yourself project that can come to completion in the course of a day.

Instructions

  1. Measure the area where the patio will be built. Mark the area with spray paint. Transmit these measurements to a professional at your local home improvement store. Your calculations will tell you the amounts needed for each of the materials you purchase.
  2. Cut along the marked area with a shovel. Next, remove the grass in the enclosed area with a shovel. If it is a large job, or if the material that is being cut in and removed is the pavement or concrete, use an excavator. It is best to hire a professional for this segment of the job, if that is the case.
  3. Use a level to determine that the cut area is level. Once this step is complete, you are ready for the work to proceed. If it is not well leveled, spread the dirt around with a shovel to level the area.
  4. Place the slate pieces in the patio area in the desired pattern. The slate can come in two ways. It can be in individual pieces or it can come as several pieces connected with a mesh material. Either way is fine. Pour the stone dust between the pieces of slate. Compress the powder with a barrel roller. Sweep the excess with a brush.
  5. Apply grout between the pieces of slate. Wipe the excess with a damp cloth or sponge. Next, apply a layer of weather-resistant sealcoating with a brush or roller. Let it dry for six to eight hours before stepping on or placing the furniture in the slate patio.

DIY Non-Toxic Paint

If you want to make crafts focused on children with materials such as wood and want to add a touch of color, it is much better to use non-toxic paint, so that if they are put the craft in their mouth there is no danger. At unComo.com we explain how to make non-toxic wood paint. Reduce costs and produce your own version of this type of paint. You will only need some kitchen ingredients. Let’s do it!

  1. Collect plastic bottles. Squeezable ketchup or mayonnaise containers will be the ideal measure to carry out this activity, in addition to having the adapted liquid dispenser. When you finish the container, clean them thoroughly with warm water and soap.
  2. Before carrying out the activity, prepare the work area. Cover the surface with newspaper and remove all objects that may stain or break. Also, put old clothes that can be stained without problem.
  3. To make the color, you will need: measuring cups, a container and a blender (or a mixing spoon), as well as a funnel. We recommend that you make each color separately, so you can place them in each of the bottles you have.
  4. In the bowl, mix a cup of salt with one of flour and another of water. Using a blender or a large spoon, mix everything until you have a homogeneous paste and add a food coloring. For example, to give it a dark brown color you can also use coffee dissolved with water.
  5. Next, it’s time to apply a touch of color to the paste. How? Using food dyes. You will find these additives in any baking section of the grocery store. Add a few drops to the dough, mix and go verifying that the tone of the dough adapts to the one you want.
  6. Once you have the mixture of non-toxic paint made and with the desired color, place the funnel in the plastic bottle and pour the paint inside. Do it carefully.
  7. Ready! You now have your non-toxic paint to paint your wood crafts.

Tips

  • It is good that after painting and applying the color you want, apply a little wood polish.
  • You will need several coats to achieve a good color. Depending on how dry or humid the climate is, along with the number of layers used, the wood should be completely dry in about 3 hours.
gutters-1

Replacing Rain Gutters

Over time, rain gutters in your home may have to be replaced due to damage caused by termites, extreme weather conditions or even a fallen tree branch. Making do-it-yourself gutters is a relatively easy project because rain gutters can be replaced in parts. It is only necessary to repair the part that has been damaged.

Taking down the gutter that needs replacing

Clean any debris in the old rain gutters with a garden palette. Place scrap pieces of 2 by 4 inches of wood in the gutter so it retains its shape while you remove it. With a lever and a hammer, remove the spikes that hold the gutter in place, making sure to not damage the side of the house. Check the eaves boards that were under the old rain gutter. If you see signs of water damage or termite infestation, use the lever bar to remove the boards. Cut new boards to match the size and shape of the old eaves boards. These will be installed when attaching the new rain channels to the house.

Choosing your new rain gutters

Decide what type of rain channel you will install. Vinyl gutters are the least expensive and easiest to cut yourself, but they will not last as long as a more resistant material. They have an advantage over metal gutters, as they are impervious to rust. Aluminum gutters are durable, but can rust and can bend if they are hit by tree branches or other large objects. Steel gutters are very durable, but they cost more and are still susceptible to rust – unless they are made of stainless steel. Before you get rid of your old rain gutter, measure it so you know how long the new gutter needs to be. If you are using vinyl or aluminum rain gutters, you can cut them yourself with a hacksaw.

Installation of the new rain gutters

Put your new gutters up and connect the corners. Use silicone putty to seal the corner joints, making sure the putty dries before fixing the spout to the house. If you had to replace the eaves boards in the previous step, attach them to the house with galvanized wood screws. Drive a channel peak through each of the holes drilled in the inner edge. Run the channels so there is a slight slope down, which connects with the down spout. You want the water to flow freely out of the gutter, instead of pooling and overflowing.

How to Install a Roof Vent

Inadequate ventilation can cause roofing material in your home to deteriorate. The addition of roof vents increases the air flow and can extend the life of your tiles. Substantial money can be saved by installing ventilation ducts. Homeowners who have had some experience in roof repair can save even more money by installing the same vents.

Instructions

  1. Set up an extension ladder on the side of the house and go up to the roof.
  2. Look for the ridge line; this is the angle at which the two sides of the roof meet.
  3. Look for frames, which are triangular wooden structures that are used to support the roof, with the beam detector.
  4. Measure 3 feet from the center of the ridge line, centered between two roof beams. Hammer a roofing nail into the roof to mark the center of the area where the vent will be installed.
  5. Measure the area of ​​the guide holes by using the nail as your center point. Drill a hole in each mark.
  6. Cut through the roof and plywood with skill saw. Make your cut following the marked guide holes. Keep the nail in the center to catch the cut piece when it is about to fall.
  7. Remove the shingles cut and felt with a roofing knife all the way around the edges of the new hole.
  8. Apply a generous layer of roofing sealant around the cut hole where the vent will sit.
  9. Place the vent grill over the hole and center it. Nail the top, sides and bottom of the ventilation grill on the roof with roofing nails. Make sure that the tiles are placed on the flange of the ventilation grill.
  10. Caulk all the nail heads and open seams around the vent.

Tips and warnings

  • Match the ventilation holes to your ceiling color.
  • Caulk generously to prevent future leaks.
  • Be careful to insure yourself when working on a roof.

How to Build Corner Shelves

Corner shelves provide a good solution for the storage of objects to display or hold, such as towels or plants. When you build these shelves, you can make them as elaborate or simple as you’d like. Joining the shelves directly to the wall is probably the easiest way to do it.

Instructions

  1. Cut a section of wood into a triangle and keep firm on the corner where you want to go your shelf.
  2. Place your conveyor so that the ends are nearby. Run the tip side of the wall and pencil on wood. This will transfer the shape of the timber wall, so that you can build a shelf corner that fits perfectly.
  3. Use a saw to cut along the line you drew in pencil. Gently sanding the edges of the shelf.
  4. Paint or stain your corner shelves as you like.
  5. Screw support pieces of wood to the corner where you want to install your shelf. Paint them the same color as the wall so that once you have installed the corner shelves they “disappear.”
  6. Keep the shelf in place and drill from the bottom of the supports and through the bottom of the shelf to secure it in place.