Project Showcase

Project Showcase

Enter your project for a chance to win!

ENTER »

What's on Sale

What's on Sale

Find out what's on sale at your local Westlake.

See Ads & Specials »

I Need Help With...

Lawn & Garden

Frequently Asked Questions

  • In fertilizer what does potassium do?

    It assists plants in forming starches and proteins, thus promoting plant hardiness, disease resistance and a tolerance to drought and cold. It's the 'all-around' number.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • I want to fertilize my lawn and prevent crabgrass, but I just seeded my lawn. What should I use?

    There is a product specially formulated as a pre-emergent that prevents crabgrass but allows grass seed to germinate.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of anvil and bypass pruners?

    Anvils provide one blade that is pushed up against a flat surface. These are less expensive and are good on dried wood. Some experts also believe evergreens also prefer this type of cut. Bypass pruners allow you to cut larger branches.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What size of string do I need to buy for my string trimmer?

    This varies greatly. You either need to bring in your old string or know what brand and model you have. If you don't know, we can make a guess. If we are right, you won't have to come back. If you have an electric trimmer, it's probably .064 and if you have a gas trimmer it's most likely .080.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Fall Mowing Tips

    It's important to keep your mower blade sharp during the fall season. A dull mower blade  actually pulls at the top of the grass blade. That leaves a serrated edge which not only causes a browning at the tip, but in extreme cases can cause some types of lawn diseases.

    Adjust the cutting height in the fall. Cut your grass higher. Generally speaking, a grass root system grows about as deep as the grass blades are tall, and a deeper root system results in a healthier lawn come next spring. Warm-season grasses should be cut to a height of at least two inches and cool-season grasses should be cut to three to four inches.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I grow a shade garden?

    Creating a garden in the cool shaded parts of your yard isn't as challenging as you might think. The key is to select plants that will thrive in the available light.

    First, take note of the amount of sun the area receives throughout the day:

    • Lightly shaded - Shaded for four-six hours each day, but still receives bright, indirect light.
    • Partially shaded - Areas are blocked from the sun, except for short periods in the morning or late afternoon.
    • Full shade - Little sunlight reaches the area during the day.

    When deciding on shade-tolerant plants that would work in your site, choose a variety of form, texture, height and color. Contrast broad-leafed plants such as hosta with tall plants with finer leaves, such as astilbes, ferns and coralbells. Also think low, with shade-loving groundcover such as ajuga, vinca, Solomon’s seal and foamflower.

    Make sure your flowers will stand out in shady, low-light areas by choosing ornamentals with blooms in lighter colors such as whites, pinks, purples and blues, which appear more vivid than darker colors such as red or orange.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is the difference between annual, perennial and biennial weeds?

    Annual weeds, such as crabgrass, germinate from seeds each spring. After maturing, they drop seeds before dying. These are the seeds that germinate the following year. Perennial weeds, such as dandelions, do not die at the end of growing season. They may lay dormant in the winter, but will become noticeable in the spring. There are also biennial weeds, such as thistle, which grow vegetation in the first year and then flower and die the second year.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is an annual?

    These plants last one season and die out.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • I need a glove to work in chemicals.

    Use a neoprene-treated glove. It is chemical resistant.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What are time-released granular pellets?

    These controlled-release fertilizers provide consistent feeding for three to nine months, depending on the product. The fertilizer granules are coated with a permeable substance. With each watering, a bit of fertilizer diffuses through the coating and into the soil. Advantages include the need for fewer applications and less of a chance of burning the plant. However, they do not provide as quick a boost and they cost more.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of drop spreaders and broadcast spreaders?

    A drop spreader allows for precise applications, such as along flower beds, but it typically takes a little longer and requires you to make sure that you do not put too much or too little in one area. Broadcast spreaders are quicker and require less precision.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of organic fertilizers?

    The word 'organic' simply means that nutrients contained in the product are derived from a once-living organism. Most are high in just one of the three major nutrients and low in the other two. Their major advantage is adding bulk to the soil. Except for manure, the organics generally release their nutrients over a fairly long period. However, the potential drawback is that they may not release enough of their principal nutrient at a time to give a plant what it needs for best growth. Because they depend on soil organisms to break them down, most organic fertilizers are effective only when the soil is moist and warm.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

     

     

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I transplant flowers?

    First, dig a hole a little larger than the plant's rootball. Put your hand over the rootball and turn the container over. Now, you can gently pull off the container with your other hand. Set the rootball in the hole, cover with loose soil, press down firmly and water thoroughly.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I select the right fruit trees?

    • Choose a fruit tree that grows best in your local climate. It's wise to buy your tree locally, that way you'll know it is suited to your climate conditions.
      • Some varieties of apple trees thrive in cold, wet climates, and others do well in a warm climate.
      • Citrus trees grow best in warm and sunny climates.
      • Plum trees need damp soil, but apple and peaches do not.
    • Choose a fruit tree that is self-pollinating, or else you will need two of the same type of tree but of different varieties.
    • When choosing a fruit tree, keep in mind that some of them are messy and drop leaves and fruit. Citrus trees do not drop and make a good choice if you don't want to clean up.
    • When you pick out your tree, make sure the trunk is straight and the branches do not look lopsided. The roots should be damp, and the tree should not look as if it has suffered sun damage.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

     

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What about annual maintenance on my mower?

    Change Mower Spark plugIf you are going to store your mower for the winter, disconnect the sparkplug and drain the fuel from the tank. Then, reconnect the sparkplug and run the engine until it runs out of gas. This keeps aging fuel from going bad inside the engine.

    In the spring, change the oil in the mower if you have a four-stroke engine. In addition, replace the spark plug, fuel filter and air filter.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I use a rain barrel?

    • Keep the top firmly in place. Exposing rainwater to sunlight and open air will encourage algae growth.
    • Make sure the screen is secure to keep out water-loving bugs, like mosquitoes.
    • Clean the filter regularly according to the manufacturer's directions, and inspect your rain barrel every once in a while for leaks.
    • Keep your roof gutters clean, and make sure that water is flowing freely to and through the downspout when it rains.
    • When watering your garden with the water from your rain barrel, keep the water flow at ground level, away from the stuff you'll actually be eating, and don't use rainwater within a couple of days of harvesting your crop.


    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • 15 Easy Ways to Go GreenGreen Content

    Going "green" in our everyday lives is all the rage these days. From CFL bulbs to organic cotton T-shirts, it seems everyone has some skin in the eco-game. Your family - and in particular your home - should be no different. Below are 15 easy do-it-yourself projects that will save you money, reduce your environmental footprint and have you playing your eco-part in no time.

    1. As the cost of energy continues to rise, there is a way to lower your electric bills. Compact florescent light bulbs, or CFLs, use up to 66 percent less energy than conventional incandescent bulbs and can last up to five years. Replacing the five most-used bulbs in your home can save you up to $60 a year on your electric bill.
    2. Your water heater can do a better job keeping the water in the tank hot if you buy it a jacket. Insulating jackets can be installed on most conventional water heaters and reduce the number of times a water heater "fires" during standby. In fact, 20 percent of your energy cost to heat water is used up during standby!
    3. Fix that leak! Did you know that a dripping faucet or leaking toilet can waste up to 20 gallons of water a day? Repairing these leaks takes just a little time, and a small investment for the parts needed. The payback - both in dollars and for the environment - is huge!
    4. Adding a rain barrel to your drainage system can help you capture some of the water Mother Nature sends us during rain showers. A 1,000 square foot roof can shed up to 650 gallons of water during a 1-inch rainfall. By placing a rain barrel under a down spout, you can use this water for your lawn, garden or even a car wash.
    5. Plant a tree and reduce the carbon footprint of your home. To counteract the footprint from the use of electricity and natural gas or oil in the average American home, you would need to plant 42 trees... while that's a lot of green, start slowly to help shade your home and absorb carbon dioxide from the air.
    6. Using a ceiling fan can not only help you feel more comfortable in your home, both in the winter and the summer, it can also help to lower your energy bills. By circulating the air in your home, your furnace and air conditioner will run less, which means savings for you.
    7. Cutting your lawn just got a lot greener with Earth-friendly mowers. Gas-powered mowers are terrific for larger lawns, but if you have a smaller space to take care of, an electric or new cordless mower can do the trick, and with no fuel or harmful emissions. Mother Nature will thank you!
    8. Composting is a great way to reduce your waste and your impact on landfills. By collecting and placing compostable materials in a collection bin, you can create a super-charged natural fertilizer for your garden.
    9. Natural cleaning products have come a long way. You now have a choice to use products that lessen their impact on the environment. Many of these new cleaning items have natural ingredients and use less water during shipping to reduce fuel use.
    10. Tankless water heaters are here to stay, and are a viable choice when it comes to installing a new water heater in your home. Standby energy use is completely eliminated, and you will never run out of hot water from a properly-sized unit!
    11. Reduce your usage. How many cups of water do you boil for a cup of tea? Do you leave the TV or lights on when you leave the room? Does the water run from the faucet when you brush your teeth? These small changes in your lifestyle can make a difference for all of us!
    12. Did you know that almost 25 percent of water used in the home is for showers, and each member of a family of four taking a 5-minute shower can use up to 700 gallons a day? By installing low-flow shower heads, you can reduce that use by almost half, and with new technology, still feel a brisk force from the water.
    13. Stop all the leaks in your home! Drafty windows and doors can greatly raise your energy consumption. According to the EPA, if you caulk or seal those air leaks with weatherstripping, you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1,000 pounds a year.
    14. Let the sun shine! Not only will it brighten your mood, it will keep you from flipping the switch. In the colder months, the rays from the sun can help to heat your home, and the best part of this tip: it's absolutely free!
    15. Your indoor air is three times more polluted than the outdoor air. While painting is a great way to liven up your living environment, make sure you are not harming it during the process. Low VOC or zero VOC paints work just as well and are a great choice for those with allergies, asthma or homes with young children.

    Credit:  Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • I notice there is quite a price range in hoses. What do I get for my money?

    The less expensive hose is not reinforced. Medium-priced hoses are usually 5/8" and have some reinforcement in the walls. Higher-priced hoses have more reinforcement and are usually made with rubber.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I rid my lawn of moles?

    You must first get rid of the food source - grubs, sod webworms and some beetles. Then you can use either a toxic cartridge that 'smokes' their holes or a toxic pellet that you place in the burrows. See this video for more information.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • In fertilizer what does phosphorous do?

    This is the 'down' number. It stimulates cell building and root growth and is particularly beneficial in helping seedlings, flowers and vegetables to develop.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What's a better choice in edgers: electric or gas?

    Since all gas-powered equipment is noisy, some people prefer the electric models. The cordless models have run times of about one hour, which is generally sufficient for homeowners.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Tune Your Lawn Mower For Better Performance

    The engine purrs as fuel mixes with plug-provided sparks, firing a machine that can be the worst nightmare of ... your front lawn? You're not cruising the strip like a teenager, your cutting strips in the grass around your home. Keep the mower maintained and it'll run like a high-performance machine. Here are a few simple tips:

    Replace the air filter - Breathing fresh air will help the engine run smoother, giving you better fuel efficiency. Use only a suitable replacement filter of the same shape and size.

    Maintain the mower's spark - ... plugs, that is. Check them for wear, damage, overheating, etc. and replace when necessary; typically once a year, at the beginning of the season.

    Keep the blade sharp - A sharp blade makes short-order of long grass and keeps your efficiency level high, keeping you from having to go over areas more than once. You can do it yourself with a blade sharpener that fits into your drill or you can bring it to your local Ace store (many Ace stores offer blade sharpening, call yours to find out).

    Change the oil - Dirty oil is full of impurities that gum up engine parts. Follow manufacturer's instructions for the mower unit to empty old oil (into a container, not into the street!) and replace with new. Determine first whether your mower is a two-stage (gas and oil premixed together) or a four-stage (separate spots for gas and oil, usually an SAE 30).

    Keep it clean - Aside from having pride in your 'maven of the mow,' keeping the mower clean helps prevent dirt and grime from sullying the mower's operation. It also gives you an opportunity to check some of the other maintenance items, like the blade's sharpness and the status of the sparkplugs.

    Credit: Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • When is the best time to plant grass?

    Most grasses can be planted in late winter or early spring, as soon as weather permits.

    A good time to seed your cool season lawn is around Labor Day or somewhere between August 15 and September 15. Temperatures will have dropped a bit, making the seeds and new grass less likely to be scorched, but the soil is still warm enough for quick germination so the young grass plants have the upcoming cool season to become established. Plus there are usually less weeds for the new lawn to fight with and there will likely be less foot traffic on the growing grass.

    Warm-season grasses are best planted in late spring when the weather is mild enough to let you get the grass established, but the hot weather of summer and the most vigorous growth are just around the corner.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Is there a power tool that I can use to trim evergreens with?

    Yes, there are electric hedge trimmers. They come in different sizes. The larger units are more powerful, but do not buy a model that is too heavy for you to handle.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What should I plant in my spring garden?

    The temperature is starting to rise, which means your soil is finally warming up. So it’s time to get that spring garden in place. But what should you plant? Here’s a quick overview of some of the best seeds to plant during this time of year.

    • Beans
    • Beets
    • Cabbage
    • Carrots
    • Corn
    • Cucumbers
    • Herbs
    • Lettuce
    • Melons
    • Onions
    • Peas
    • Peppers
    • Summer Squash
    • Tomatoes

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How should I trim my lawn?

    Most people use a power trimmer that spins a nylon line. Try to keep it at the same height as your mowed grass. Remember cutting grass too short can damage it. And always remember to wear protective eyewear and heavy clothing on your legs.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is a good all-around, multi-purpose fertilizer?

    A 12-12-12 helps promote growth and is good for all vegetables, flowers, fruit and nut trees, shade trees, evergreens and shrubs. A 1-1-1 ratio (10-10-10,15-15-15, 20-20-20, etc.) is widely used at the time of lawn establishment, but established lawns generally respond better to fertilizer ratios high in nitrogen. Two of the more common complete fertilizers used by homeowners for flowers and vegetables are 10-10-10 and 5-10-10. A high phosphorus fertilizer such as 6-18-6 is often recommended for vegetables when transplants are set out.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • My neighbor's dog is killing my evergreen. He comes to the same spot everyday.

    Apply a dog and cat repellent.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Tips That Will Make Your Yard Thrive This Year

    Simply fertilizing the lawn and prepping the power equipment is insufficient to ensure that garden areas will thrive during the spring and hot summer months. Success in the garden is the result of know-how that includes proper soil cultivation and improvement, pest control, pruning and irrigation well before new plant growth emerges.

    Plant and soil requirements vary in different regions of the country. I always suggest that homeowners contact their local county co-operative extension agency or neighborhood hardware dealer for recommendations on the appropriate grasses, fertilizers, pest and disease controls and plants. But here are a few more professional insights as to ways you can achieve better growing conditions in your yard:

    Test the Soil

    This easy, but usually overlooked step will reveal the needs your soil has for improvement. For example, the pH level indicates the acidity or alkalinity of the soil; that will dictate the types of plants that will grow best in a particular location. Without knowing the soil make-up, you could inadvertently apply the wrong combinations of nutrients or amenders or plant the wrong varieties. Submit soil samples for analysis to the county extension agency. You also may obtain test kits at your local Ace Hardware store.

    Amend and Cultivate Soil

    Heavily compacted soil hinders the health of plants. They prefer well-drained, loamy soil. Add compost to flower, shrub and vegetable beds and turn over or till the soil to break it up. Do not cultivate soil when it is wet. That will compact it even more and disturb beneficial microorganisms. Aerate lawns using power equipment designed for that purpose.

    Fertilize Properly

    Improper fertilizing can do more harm than good to plants. Never use a single type of fertilizer universally. Lawns, shrubs, trees, flowers and vegetables each have specific requirements. Soil conditions (based on testing) also dictate specific needs. Also, fertilizing at the wrong time, too little or too frequently will have a negative result. Consult local experts and product labels for specific recommendations.

    Control Pests and Diseases

    Indiscriminant spraying and dusting of pesticides can be harmful to plants, pets and humans. Controls are formulated for specific purposes and should be used only as recommended on the product's label. As a first step, determine what pests or diseases your plants have by providing samples to your extension service or the garden center manager at your local Ace store.

    Irrigate

    Plants are like people when it comes to water. Too little and they dehydrate; too much and they drown. As a general rule, most plants prefer water at their 'feet,' not on their 'heads.' So, water at soil level, not by overhead spraying an entire bed. It is important to know when to water. An inexpensive moisture meter, available at a hardware store, can be used to indicate the need. Simply push the prong into the soil to various depths around a plant and read the meter.

    Mulch

    Covering a soil bed with the proper mulch will retain moisture that will benefit plants and maintain better soil conditioning. Three to 6 inches of straw has proved effective as a mulch. Bark gives up moisture quickly except in humid climates where, in turn, it can mildew. Rock is risky because it absorbs, retains and radiates heat, which can damage plants.

    Prune Selectively

    Some plants prefer pruning in early spring, while others can be trimmed during summer or fall. Generally, anything that flowers in the spring should be pruned after flowers die off. There are exceptions, however, so consult your local extension service or the garden center manager at your local Ace store to learn what those are when in doubt.

    Check Soil Temperatures Before Planting

    Interestingly, horticulturists have found that how well plants adapt to transplanting or seeding depends upon the temperature of the soil at the time of planting. In some cases, plantings before the last frost do well; in other cases the soil must be at a consistent temperature (say 55ºF) for a period of time to achieve maximum results.

    By following each of these procedures faithfully each year you will be rewarded with an even better lawn and yard than you imagined.

    Credit:  Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

     

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Are there tree-trimmers you can use from the ground?

    Yes, pole tree trimmers typically extend 12' to 20'. Shears with a pulley and rope can cut about a 1' diameter branch, and saws are used on branches up to about 6'. For these and larger branches, you may want to consider a chain saw.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I get my amaryllis bulb to bloom year after year?

    The trick to using the same bulb year after year is creating a yearly cycle.

    After Growing Season – When the amaryllis’ bloom has died, and you’ve cut off all of the stalks, keep your amaryllis indoors and continue watering regularly. You’ll see more leaves continue to grow. This is a sure sign that the bulb is bulking up for next year. Placing the potted plant in front of a sunny window will help this process even more.

    Spring/Summer – Once spring arrives and there is no chance of frost, move your amaryllis outdoors into a sunny location. If you choose to plant it in the ground, keep the bulb in its original pot. Continue to water regularly, but avoid getting the portion of the bulb above the soil wet. NOTE: Some leaves may die during this time. Do not worry; new leaves will grow back.

    Before Growing Season (The Dormancy Period) – Before the frost begins to hit (usually between mid- August and late October), and for it to bloom again in time for the holidays, you’ll want to bring your amaryllis back indoors. During this period of time, you will not water the plant. Instead, remove the bulb from the pot, wash, and store in a cool, dry place for 6-8 weeks. During this time, you’ll notice the leaves will begin to die. This is necessary for the bulb to reach complete dormancy. As the dormancy period comes to an end, you will notice a new stalk forming. It’s time to repot and start the process all over again.

    Click here to learn how to appropriately plant and water your amaryllis bulb.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Picking the Perfect Place for Plants

    The secret to growing the perfect garden is neither luck nor a green thumb. Rather, putting the right plant in the right place is the one underlying rule for planting success. Plants will thrive in locations that provide proper light, soil, nutrients, drainage, moisture and protection. Here are a few tips:

    Map It Out

    Just as you wouldn't jump head-first into remodeling a room, take the same care when designing your garden. Surf the Web, read books and consult magazines for inspiration. Draw a detailed map of your gardening space, laying out planting locations first and noting particular conditions like sunny and shady spots, drainage issues, and measurements of the area.

    Consult Experts

    Good gardeners rely on expert advice. Visit your local hardware store or nursery and ask the experts to guide you in planning the garden. Show them the map of your site, and inquire about plants that will naturally thrive in your site's specific conditions.

    Don't Buy on a Whim

    Resist the temptation to buy plants before you discover what types will grow successfully in your garden. Most plants have a 'tag' that describes their specific needs. Be sure you know a plant's mature height and width; if it is 'hardy' in your climate zone; how much sunlight it needs; and what type of soil and drainage it requires. Above all, know your soil pH, as this is a significant factor in the health of your plants.

    Don't Let Invasive Plants Take Over

    Some plants can actually 'invade' your garden, creating unfavorable growth conditions for the other plants. If you're a beginner, find out which plants may harm, rather than help, your garden and be prepared to combat them.

    Get Creative

    Once you know all the basics, turn your creative side loose. Have fun picking out colors, sizes, shapes and textures of plants. Remember that what you select will create an overall mood and theme to your garden. If you want a vibrant, lush look, go for warm and bright colors and plants that bloom big. If a more serene, peaceful look is your preference, opt for cool color patterns, and small and dainty blooms.

    Credit: Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What are the advantages of granular pellets?

    They are usually less expensive than their organic counterparts. They can be applied by simply spreading them around plants or using a spreader to apply them to a lawn.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Fertilizing cool-season or warm-season grasses

    Cool-season grasses grow well in the cooler regions of the northern United States while the warm-season species are best adapted to the warmer southern regions.

    Each grass has a different growing season and you should apply fertilizers only when your lawn is actively growing. If you fertilize during the period that your lawn is dormant, you're effectively wasting fertilizer and encouraging weed growth.

    Cool-season grasses such as bluegrasses, fescues or perennial ryegrass, have two growing periods: spring and fall. They go semi-dormant in the hotter months, so primary fertilization should be done in the fall, although you can fertilize lightly in the early cool of spring.

    Fertilizing in the fall will stimulate root growth before winter really sets in. High rates of nitrogen helps build up food reserves, so your lawn will be greener and healthier in the spring.

    Warm-season grasses, such as bahia, bermuda and zoysia grasses have a growing season that generally is in the warmer months of late spring and summer. The best time to fertilize is when the grass begins greening up in spring and then again in late summer, after the intense heat has passed.

    Do not fertilize warm-season grasses in autumn. It's too late in the year and that's when they're winding down their growing season.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • In fertilizer what is nitrogen needed for?

    It's the up number. It promotes plant growth and greening, thus providing more foliage, color and density.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I control grubs in my yard?

    Apply a grub control lawn treatment when grubs are newly hatched or just before. They're easier to control when they're small. For most lawns, that means applying around June and July, or when you see adult Japanese beetles flying around.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • I have a good garden hose but it has a small break in the middle. Can I patch this?

    Cut out the bad section and connect the two lengths with a hose mender. Simply slide on the compression fitting and screw on the connector.

    There are also replacement male and female hose couplers that can replace damaged ends. The plastic ones are easier to use.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I know when to prune my plants?

    If your plants are looking spindly, then pruning could spur new growth. Most plants benefit from some sort of regular pruning and maintenance.

    Many flowering plants prefer to be pruned while they are dormant, in late winter through early spring. Some, like spring blooming trees and shrubs, will start setting new buds as soon as the old buds have fallen. These will need to be pruned shortly after flowering, or you risk pruning off the new buds with the old.

    Remove all dead leaves by hand. Remove dead branches with pruning sheers, getting as close to the trunk as possible without cutting into it.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • When is a good time to get rid of perennial weeds?

    Most perennial lawn weeds, like dandelion, clover and ground ivy, are most susceptible to attack in the Fall when they're winding down and getting ready for Winter.

    If you treat perennial weeds with an herbicide in the Fall, the chemical moves from leaves to roots, essentially killing the weed at the root.  And killing the roots is key to killing these weeds.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How close should bulbs be planted together?

    Planting flower bulbs in clustersGroups of bulbs make a much nicer showing in your garden. To create greater color impact, plant clusters of same-color flowers together in blocks or 'bouquets.'

    When you plant, bulbs should never touch each other, but you have a lot of flexibility.

    Smaller bulbs, like crocus, snowdrops, dwarf Irises, scilla, anemones and lilies of the valley, can be planted fairly close together, 1' to 2' apart will create a nice cluster. Don't plant them more than 4' apart or they start to lose their impact.  

    Larger bulbs, like tulips, daffodils and hyacinths, should have approximately 3' to 5' separating them. But this rule was meant to be broken. If you wish to create a bolder splash of color, you can plant them even closer, to the point where your bulbs are almost (but not quite) touching.

    Click to find out more about when should I plant flower bulbs and how deep should I plant them.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I sharpen a lawn mower blade?

    If you’re not familiar with using a blade balancer, let a professional sharpen your blades for you. Simply bring your mower into your local Westlake and we’ll have the job done in no time. If you are familiar with blade balancers:

    • Remove the spark plug wire to disengage the engine and prevent injury.
    • Loosen and remove the nut holding your blade in place.
    • Remove the blade.
    • Use a file and sharpen the blade by following the angle of the edge. Your blade should be filed to a 45-degree angle.
    • File each blade the same number of times. Filing them differently results in an off-balance blade.
    • Reattach the blade and securely tighten the nut.
    • Balance the blade using a blade balancer.
    • Replace the spark plug and start the mower.
    • If the lawn mower vibrates, the blades aren’t balanced. You’ll need to file a little of the heavier side and try again.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How many bags of mulch do I need?

    Mulch is a the first line of defense against weeds, but knowing how many bags you need seems tricky. So here is a formula.

    For 2' Deep Mulch Layer: Multiply the number of square feet by 0.2
    For 3' Deep Mulch Layer: Multiply the number of square feet by 0.25
    For 4' Deep Mulch Layer: Multiply the number of square feet by 0.3

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I design my landscape?

    • Make a list of desired features -- a pond, fountain, walkway, fence, rose garden, etc.
    • Inside your home, look out the window at the view and think about what you'd like to see from that vantage point. Are there views from inside your home that you find attractive or otherwise want to preserve? Consider ways that this view can be enhanced by your landscape design. Take advantage of all natural or attractive architectural features to add beauty to the view from inside your home.
    • Make a rough sketch of your home and surrounding property. Include existing hardscape like retaining walls, patios etc.
    • Determine walkways and desired shape (curved, angled, or straight) as well as width and length and building materials to be used.
    • Plan for most of your plantings to be far enough from the house to be viewed from inside.
    • A flower bed several feet from the kitchen window can provide a plethora of colorful wildlife for your entertainment while you cook and clean.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is an impulse sprinkler and what are its advantages?

    It will water a large area with minimum evaporation.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • When should I prune?

    Typically, it's best to do this trimming when the plant is dormant before it is budding.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Should I buy a long-handled or short-handled shovel?

    A job's limited space may require a short handle. However, a long handle supplies more leverage and allows you to work in a more upright position. As a result, a long-handled shovel is usually a better choice.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What are the advantages of synthetic fertilizers?

    They're faster acting than organic making them a good choice for aiding plants in severe distress from nutrient deficiencies. These fertilizers, which come as dry, granular pellets or water-soluble products, also provide even, consistent feeding.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How can I tell if my mower blade needs sharpening?

    If you're wondering whether your lawnmower blades need sharpening, just take a look at your lawn. Dull mower blades shred grass leaves, which become an ugly brown and susceptible to disease. Sharp blades cut evenly, giving your lawn a smooth look.

    Keep your blades sharper longer by keeping them clean. Clean grass and other debris from your blades after each use. After you flush them with water, allow them to dry completely so they don't rust and become dull.

    It's a good idea to replace the blades annually. However, if you maintain them well and have them sharpened, you may get two good productive years out of them.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What are the advantages of shovels with curved handles?

    These are called back savers because they allow you to work without bending over.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • When buying a trimmer or edger, should I buy gas-powered or electric models?

    If you can reach every corner of your yard with a 150' extension cord, you should consider an electric model. They typically cost less, are quieter and require less maintenance. If you have a larger yard, then a gas-powered model may be better.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What's the best way to trim large branches with a saw?

    About 6' to 1' away from the trunk of the tree, cut about halfway up through the branch. Next, cut down from the top. Finally, cut off the stub at its collar on the trunk.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I trim and cut my amaryllis?

    As blooms begin to die, trim them to help keep the healthy blooms going for about a week longer. Once the blossoms have all died, you’ll want to cut off the entire stem at its base, just above the bulb (about two inches). Be sure not to injure the surrounding leaves. NOTE: You may see some sap seep when you cut the stem; this is normal.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • When and how do I apply mulch?

    Summer is the best time. Applying in the spring slows the soil's ability to warm naturally. Course mulches should be applied 3" to 4" deep and fine mulches 1" to 2" deep. It should be wet thoroughly after application. One cubic foot of coarse mulch should cover about 3 to 4 square feet of space.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I start a small herb garden?

    Growing herbs is quite easy. All that most herbs require is plenty of sunlight and average soil conditions.

    If you're just getting started with herbs, start with these. You'll find lots of uses for them in the kitchen.

    Basil

    Start from seeds or buy plants and allow at least 2 square feet for each plant. Basil is good for pesto, any tomato or Italian dish, and in Asian cooking.

    Thyme

    Cultivate this low-growing herb from plants or cuttings. Thyme's subtle flavors work with almost anything - meat or vegetables.

    Dill

    Once you plant dill, you'll never have to replant, because this tall airy herb self-seeds. This versatile herb is delicious with soups, salads, fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and many vegetables.

    Rosemary

    Start with a nursery-grown plant; seeds are difficult to germinate. Rosemary's fragrant leaves add a sweet pungent flavor to poultry, fish, and roasts - as well as tomatoes, potatoes, peas, mushrooms, eggs, and much more.

    Chives

    This smallest member of the onion family is a perennial that will self-propagate. After two or three years, when the bunches become too big, simply divide them into smaller bunches. The chives' sweet, mild onion flavor enhances nearly any meat or vegetable dish.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How much ground will lawn fertilizer cover?

    Lawn needs are usually based on nitrogen needs and vary from 1 to 6 pounds needed per 1,000 square feet per year. Specific amounts depend on the type of grass. Leaving grass clippings on the lawn usually reduces this number by 1 pound.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is the advantage of composite handles on an ax or maul?

    These cost a little more than wood-handled versions, but they are stronger. This can be particularly important if you have a tendency to overstrike, which can break a wood handle. In the past, wood handles were easier to replace, but new composite designs make these easy to fix as well. Some people say they prefer the feel of wood and that it creates less vibration.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • When do I apply post-emergent herbicides?

    These are used on weeds that are actively growing and should be applied in mid spring. Another excellent time is in early fall.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I tune up my lawn mower for the season?

    You’ll need a spark plug, an air filter and oil (typically 10W-30). These are available as individual products, but they’re also available as a kit at your local Westlake. Once you have these, you’re ready to begin:

    • Shut off fuel to the carburetor by closing the inline fuel shut-off valve.
    • Drain your mower’s oil into an approved oil drain pan. (Dispose of all oil at your local oil recycling facility.)
    • Replace oil with new oil.
    • Replace spark plug with new spark plug using a spark plug socket and a ratchet.
    • Replace existing air filter with new filter.
    • Sharpen blade.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I create a succession garden?

    Succession gardening is an efficient way to make the most of your garden spot and get the highest crop yields possible.

    There are three methods of succession gardening. You can choose the one that works best for you or experiment with a couple of them.

    Succession planting

    Plant early-maturing crops, such as peas, early in the season. Immediately after harvest, replace those spent plants with a warmer-weather crop, such as corn. After the second crop is harvested, clear the way for a planting of cool-weather crops to take you into fall.

    Relaying

    Make multiple, staggered plantings of one crop to provide a continuous harvest. For example, plant one variety of cucumbers several times at about two-week intervals.

    Planting three gardens

    Plant a spring garden, followed by a summer and then a fall garden. Plant cool-season plants, such as broccoli and lettuce, in spring and fall gardens and warm-season crops, such as tomatoes and peppers, in summer.

    You'll have better success with succession gardening if you start your seeds indoors to give them a head start in the garden when they take the place of a harvested crop. By planting transplants, rather than seeds, you'll gain several weeks in the growing process, allowing for more crop production.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is a perennial?

    These flowers will survive winter and return the next summer. If you plant perennials, you will not have to replant them next year unless you want to move them to a new location.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I replace a sprinkler head?

    First you need to locate the broken sprinkler head, then follow these steps.

    • Dig out a small section of grass and dirt around the sprinkler head down to about 6 inches or so deep to expose the sprinkler head.
    • Twist the top off the sprinkler head so you can see the components. You may have to gently pull on the head or, if the entire component housing is broken, unscrew the component housing and lift it up out of the ground.
    • Pull the broken head out of the component housing and take it to the store to make sure you get thecorrect replacement part.
    • When you get home make sure there is no debris in the exposed component, then get your replacement part ready to go.

    • Install the new sprinkler head by dropping it into the component housing and screwing the top back on. Or follow the instructions on the package or in your sprinkler system operators manual.

    • Turn on the sprinkler system to make sure the head sprays properly.
    • If everything is working properly, refill the hole.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I fertilize trees and shrubs?

    Mature trees seldom require fertilizer because of their extensive root system. As long as a tree or shrub appears healthy and is growing at an acceptable rate - if tree shoots, for example, are growing more than 6 inches per year - there is no need to give it any additional fertilizer.

    A soil test is the most reliable way to tell whether it's necessary to fertilize trees and shrubs. Ideally, a soil sample should be taken before trees are planted. Additional samples should then be taken every three to five years to check whether nutrients are lacking.

    Without a soil test, certain visible symptoms can signal nutrient deficiencies in trees and shrubs. If a tree's annual shoot growth is less than 6 inches or regular foliage color appears off, then it may need some nutrient help.

    In general, apply fertilizers to plants at the beginning of the growing season. For deciduous trees, fertilize when leaves appear; and for evergreens, when it turns cold.

    Distress signals from shrubs, however, don't automatically call for fertilizer. The plant may have been unhealthy to begin with, unadapted to its new home, carelessly planted or improperly watered.

    If you determine that fertilizing is necessary, apply in early spring or in autumn after shoot growth ceases; plants take in few nutrients during periods of active shoot growth.

    Choose a slow-release fertilizer, which releases nitrogen over a long period of time, reducing the chances of overdosing or burning plants.

    Always provide adequate water when fertilizing. Plants can't properly use the fertilizer without adequate water and some fertilizers may damage roots and scorch leaves if the plant isn't hydrated enough.

    Don't apply liquid fertilizer at the same time you plant. Some root hairs will break, and the fertilizer will burn them. Wait two to three weeks after planting before you fertilize.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What are micronutrients?

    These are nutrients, such as sulfur and iron, that plants need in tiny amounts. Generally, micronutrient deficiencies are not common because organic matter and most soils and fertilizers contain sufficient amounts.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What plants attract butterflies?

    Butterflies searching for nectar are attracted to:

    • Red, yellow, orange, pink or purple blossoms
    • Flat-topped or clustered flowers
    • Short flower tubes

    Short flower tubes allow the butterflies to reach the nectar with their proboscis. Nectar-producing plants should be grown in open, sunny areas, as adults of most species rarely feed on plants in the shade.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • When should I plant flower bulbs and how deep should I plant them?

    Planting flower bulbsPlanting times vary, so check your hardiness zone. But as a general rule, earlier in the fall is better than later. Bulbs need a little time to establish strong root systems, before the frosts of winter set in and the bulbs enter a new cycle in preparation for spring blooming. Remember to plant bulbs in an area that drains well and water newly planted bulbs to help those roots get going.

    When planing your bulbs, plant them 3 times as deep as the bulb is long. And remember to plant pointed side up! For example:

    • Small bulbs like crocus -- plant them about 5 inches deep.
    • Big bulbs like daffodils, hyacinths and tulips -- plant those about 8 inches deep.

    Find out more on how close together you should plant them.


    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is the difference between a standard sheet of plastic and a landscape fabric?

    A landscape fabric lets water through while preventing weeds from growing. While plastic will stop weeds, it does not allow moisture penetration. Cutting small holes for your plants prevents weeds from growing in the bed but still allows your plants to get moisture. A sheet of plastic could be used if you are trying to keep anything from growing in an area, such as under a deck.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How can I create a flower garden if I have limited space?

    Even if your growing space is very limited, or you don't want a full flower garden, you can still enjoy colorful splashes of colors by growing your plants in containers.

    Unique containers will make your little mini-garden even more fun. Flower pots range from simple clay or plastic to ornately designed container, but you can also get a little creative and use buckets, window planters, large cans, washtubs, watering cans, bushel baskets, old boots, or treasures found at antique shops and garage sales. Anything that can hold soil and drain well can be a container.

    Space may be limited, but options are not:

    Space savers

    Plants that take up little space include succulents, pansies, marigolds and asters. Keep light requirements in mind, however. Just because they're little doesn't mean they don't need full sun.

    Perfect potters

    These are known for being perfect container plants. Try such annuals as petunias, sweet peas, begonias, dusty miller, fuchsia, lobelia, moss rose, snapdragons, statice and alyssum. Some of the best perennials include coreopsis and dianthus. Don't forget foliage plants such as caladiums, cannas and elephant ears.

    Grow up

    Expand your growing space by growing vertically with the help of trellises. Trumpet vine - loved by both hummingbirds and butterflies - morning glories and clematis require support to climb, but they won't take up much of your space. These need full sun.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Why should I use mulch in my beds?

    It retains moisture in the soil, reduces the growth of weeds, protects ground temperature, prevents erosion, attracts earthworms, enriches the soil and adds to the beauty of the planting.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What do the three numbers on the bags and boxes of fertilizer mean? And what does each one do?

    They represent the percentages of plant nutrients by weight. Just remember 'up, down and all around.' The first number is how much nitrogen is in the mix. Nitrogen makes grass and plants grow and become greener. The second number is how much phosphorous there is. Phosphorous stimulates root and seeding development. The third number is how much potassium there is. Potassium promotes disease and drought tolerance. These numbers are always expressed in the same order.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What are compound pruners?

    These use a mechanical action so the tool does more of the work. It requires less effort and force.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Which is better, rubber or vinyl hose?

    Rubber hose will last longer and will not kink as easily. However, it is heavier and more cumbersome to handle.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • I have a brown spot in my yard, how do I get rid of it?

    Brown spots in the lawn can be caused by many things, including: dog urine, brown patch fungus, a dull lawnmower blade or grubs.

    • To prevent spots caused by the nitrogen in dog urine, create a mulch or gravel area in your yard for your dog.
    • If your brown spots appear after you mow, check your mower blade. Dull blades shred the grass which damages the ends that then turn brown.
    • In mid Summer, check for grubs. And if you find them, apply a grub control product to your lawn.
    • Brown patch fungus grows in circular patterns sometimes several feet wide and generally found during hot, sticky weather. Treat your lawn every other week for 6 weeks (3 applications) with a lawn fungus control product. And water just once a week, since a wet lawn encourages the fungus.
    • If you have broad patches of brown, you could have overfed your lawn. Water the burned area every 3 days with at least one-half inch of water for about 4 weeks. And don't fertilize again until the area perks back up.


    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What are special-purpose fertilizers?

    Some fertilizers are designed for certain uses or types of plants such as citrus food, rose food or azalea food. For example, azalea fertilizer has been specifically formulated to acidify the planting medium. Packaging of other fertilizers for specific types of plants is often based more on marketing then reliable research. Pick the most inexpensive product that supplies the correct amount of needed nutrients.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Keep Weeds Under Wraps for a Lush Lawn

    Admit it, at some point in time, you have had 'lawn envy!' Surely you've driven past a neighbor's home, wondering how they got their grass to look so good. 'Is it some special seed blend? A secret fertilizing plan?'

    While the neighbors may have a few tricks up their sleeves, that can't stop you from getting a lawn that is deep green, lush and long-lasting. But, to do this, you'll have to get rid of those pesky weeds.

    Weeds really detract from the look of the lawn, but there's hope if you treat them properly. First, give the lawn a good raking and pull out any dead patches or excess build up of thatch. Treat your lawn with Ortho Weed-B-Gone Lawn Weed Killer. This product will eliminate many of the most common 'problem weeds,' including clover, chickweed, oxalis and it'll even do a pretty good job on 'ol Creeping Charlie or ground ivy (these are the same thing). This product is rain-resistant in just hours and it won't harm the lawn.

    Keep in mind, you will get a little grass kill by using the Weed-B-Gone, but once the weeds are taken care of, you can loosen up the soil and reseed the area. Then watch your lawn thicken up and look great!

    Often times, really tough weeds get into the cracks in sidewalks, driveways and patios. If you need to tackle these and there is no surrounding vegetation (like grass you want to keep or a flower bed), it's best to use a total vegetation killer such as Round-Up Season Long Grass & Weed Killer. Many Ace stores are also carrying a new product called Concern, a fast-acting non-selective weed killer that uses a soap blend to kill nearly all weeds in just hours. What's more, Concern targets plant tissues and doesn't move through the soil, so nearby vegetation is pretty safe. You can replant after about two days.

    Important tip: All of the aforementioned products should be used with caution. Be sure you read all labels, adhere to all applicable safety precautions and use the products as they are intended to be used.

    Credit:  Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

     

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I plant perennials?

    It's best to plant most perennials in early spring or early fall. Read the planting tips on the seed packet or pot.

    The earlier in the Spring growing season, the smaller the container and the less expensive the plant will be. Perennials in 4-inch (10 cm) pots may look small, but they are actually easier to establish in the garden than larger plants.

    Look for signs of vigor in a nursery plant: healthy green leaves just coming out, either right by the soil or on a branch. Avoid plants with yellow, limp leaves or those that are root-bound.

    Buy perennials in bloom if you want to be sure of the color.

    To plant:

    • After preparing soil, dig hole deep enough to hold root ball.
    • Remove pot, break up root ball if root-bound.
    • Place root in hole, fill with water.
    • Refill with soil. Root ball should be slightly below soil surface.
    • Water a second time.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Enhance outdoor spaces with solar lights

    Outdoor lighting - whether it's soft and subtle or colorful and dramatic - adds beauty and safety to a variety of lawn and garden features. And solar lights make it easier than ever to illuminate even the most out-of-the way areas.

    Because there's no need for electrical wiring, solar lights can be placed anywhere they're needed to light a walkway, define a driveway, show off a fountain, accent plants and trees or brighten a patio, pool or grill area. Possible uses are limited only by a homeowner's imagination.

    Solar lights can set a mood that evokes elegance and sophistication or comfort and relaxation. They're also not limited to providing just white light. Some models come in different hues, providing splashes of color for holiday or party outdoor decorating.

    Advantages of using solar lighting include the versatility of styles, the ability to be installed almost anywhere and the ease of maintenance. Just clean the solar panels when necessary to ensure they stay charged. Solar lights also are safe because they don't generate heat or require wiring. Plus, there's no need to set timers or remember to turn on a switch since solar lights come on automatically. Some types also come equipped with a switch to allow you to go dark if you want.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I take care of my pruning tools?

    Simply keep them clean and wipe them down with light oil. Oil their pivot points and blades and keep them sharp.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How big of a snow blower do I need?

    Snow blowers are a way to quickly remove snow from your driveway and sidewalks. There are a wide variety of types and sizes. The key considerations are the size of the space to clear and the depth of the snow.

    Most consumers buy a single-stage model, which has a rubber paddle that reaches to the ground. Single-stage snow blowers have one propeller that breaks up the snow, draws it in and discharges it. They work best in dry snow and are lighter, easier to maneuver and less expensive than two-stage snow blowers.

    People with driveways that are wider than two cars may want to consider a two-stage model. These can throw snow farther because they have an intake and an impeller that throws the snow. Two-stage snow blowers mean two propellers, which breaks up the tasks it performs. The first propeller draws the snow in, and the second throws it. These snow blowers are larger, self-propelled and can handle up to 24 inches of snow depth, making them great for heavy snow and blizzards. They are fueled with a mixture of oil and gas. Shake it well before using and read the directions for the appropriate combination. Add a stabilizer to keep the oil from deteriorating over time.

    However, if you prefer not to make your own fuel mix, four-cycle snow blowers have separate containers for gas and oil. Four-cycles also offer the most power, and can clear 14 to 32 inches of snow depth. While the two-stage snow blower requires you to mix the oil and gas together for the fuel before pouring it in, four-cycles allow you to pour in the oil and gas separately, cutting down on the chance of an inappropriate mix. Snow blowers usually come with a recommendation on what type of oil to use.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is the best way to care for my roses?

    • Remove spent blossoms to encourage your rose bush to produce more flowers.
    • Use a liquid food, like Miracle-Gro every few weeks or sprinkle granules around the base.
    • Keep mulch around your roses and water 1 inch per week.
    • Stop feeding them a month before first frost.
    • After the first frost, add a few inches of topsoil over the base. If you live where it gets really cold, keep your rose bush snug by wrapping some sackcloth around it.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Which are better, plastic or metal trashcans?

    Most people prefer the heavy-duty plastic models because they do not bend or get out of shape as easily. However, metal cans make good storage containers for things such as birdseed, when you want to protect the contents from mice, rats, squirrels and insects.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Fall Watering Tips

    Your lawn will most likely not need as much water in the fall as it would during the spring and summer seasons. But cool season grasses still need enough fall watering to carry them through the long winter. Just because temperatures cool don’t forget to water. During the fall season, water twice a week for about 20 minutes and it is best to do so early enough in the day so your grass is dry by night fall.

    Warm grasses do not need any special watering attention in the fall.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Can I repair my pump sprayer that has quit working?

    Usually, this is the result of damaged seals in the pump. Most manufacturers sell a repair kit. In addition, the sprayer will not work if the tip is clogged and needs cleaning.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • I used a shade-tolerant grass seed in a shady area, but I am still having trouble getting the grass to grow.

    Make sure you keep this area well watered, and do not cut it as short as the rest of the lawn. In addition, rake the leaves in the winter. If you still have a problem, you may have to trim the branches on a tree that is blocking the light or cover the area with mulch.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Are lawn mower blades specific to particular mowers?

    Yes, you need to know the brand, width of the cut and whether it is a mulching mower. Some blades come with adapter kits that allow them to be used on different brands.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How much fertilizer do I need to buy for my lawn?

    Fertilize lawnLawn needs are usually based on nitrogen needs and vary from 1 to 6 pounds needed per 1,000 square feet per year. Specific amounts depend on the type of grass. Leaving grass clippings on the lawn usually reduces this number by 1 pound. Check with your local Westlake to learn about lawns in your area.

    Let's say for example you want to add 1 pound of nitrogen to your lawn in the Fall. It just takes a little math to calculate. Just follow these steps.

    1. Divide 1 by the first number in decimal form (percent of nitrogen) on the fertilizer bag.

    2. Multiply that by the square footage of your lawn.

    3. Then divide by 1000.

    The answer will give you the total pounds of fertilizer you need to apply to the lawn.

    Here's an example:
    Let's say you have 24-0-12 fertilizer and a 8000 square foot lawn. One divided by 0.24 equals 4.2. Multiply 4.2 by 8000 for 33,600. Then divide by 1000 for the answer of 33.6 or 34 pounds. So you would need to put 34 pounds of 24-0-12 spread over the entire lawn to properly fertilize it.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What should I look for when buying a lawn mower?

    For a mulching or self-propelled mower, you need plenty of horsepower. Look for one that has a 5- to 6-horsepower engine.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What are the advantages of water-soluble fertilizers?

    These dry or liquid concentrates must be diluted in water before application. They are applied with a hose-end sprayer or a watering can. They are relatively expensive, but they are easy to apply and provide even feeding. They are easy to use, especially on container plants. There is no risk of burning a plant as long as you follow label directions for dilution, and the nutrients, in solution, are available to plant roots immediately. They are less practical than the solids for large-scale use because of their greater cost and because they must be reapplied more often (their nutrients in solution leach through the root zone more rapidly).

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I grow a butterfly garden?

    Planting nectar plants will attract butterflies to your yard, but you can easily create a habitat where they'll stay and live out their entire life cycle. The key is to provide both host plants, which are a food source for caterpillars before they turn into butterflies and nectar plants for after they emerge.

    Locate your butterfly garden where it is protected from wind, making egg-laying less challenging, and pesticides. A sunny location is preferable, but not required.

    Provide host plants, which include milkweed, hollyhock, parsley, dill, fennel, passion vine, wild cherry, Queen Anne's lace, passion vine, and false or stinging nettle.

    The female butterfly will lay her eggs on or near the host plant, which will then serve as a food source for emerging caterpillars. Caterpillars may strip a plant bare of leaves, but they rarely kill it, so simply cut the plant back to the ground. New growth will appear.

    After about a two-week metamorphosis, butterflies emerge from their cocoon to search for nectar plants, such as butterfly weed, phlox, lantana, salvia, cosmos, verbena, petunia and zinnia, to name just a few. Milkweed serves as both host and nectar plant.

    Now that you've provided them an abundant food source, make sure they have water and flat sunning stones so they can bask in the sun.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What are the best ways to prevent weeds in my garden?

    • Placing a thick layer of mulch around the newly planted plants greatly reduces the opportunity for weeds to grow.
    • If you choose, you can cover the surface of the soil you intend to plant with landscape fabric before you plant. Simply poke holes  and plant directly through the fabric. Water and oxygen can penetrate the fabric, but weeds can't grow through the barrier. Cover the landscape fabric with a layer of mulch.
    • Encourage plants to grow to full size by fertilizing. Wait until you begin to see new growth before adding the first application of fertilizer. Established plants will shade the surface of the soil and choke weeds before they can become established.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Do you have a grass and weed killer that can be safely used around a flowerbed?

    There are many brands, but they will all harm flowers. You can try to shield the plants from overspray, but the best way is to simply pull the weeds.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • I have some bare spots in my lawn. What do you recommend for starting grass growth?

    There are lawn patching products that are specifically formulated for these situations. It is a mulch that contains seed and fertilizer. You apply the mulch to the bare spot and keep it watered.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is the difference between a round-point and square-point shovel?

    Round-point shovels are used for digging, while most square points are used for scooping.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What should I consider in a leaf blower?

    Fallen LeavesA leaf blower is a versatile machine that can make the work of clearing fallen leaves and other yard debris easier. You can blow your leaves to your compost pile, or blow them into a pile on a tarp and scoop them into bags.They are convenient to clean sidewalks, driveways, patios and garage floors of debris. And many handheld models allow you to reverse the airflow and suck up leaves and debris. Some models even have a mulching feature. If your leaf blower has a vacuum capability, use it to suck up leaves from bushes and around the foundation. Doing so will eliminate an inviting winter refuge for rodents.

    When buying a leaf blower, consider the following:

    • First you need to decide if you want a blower or combination blower/vac.
    • Then you'll need to decide between gas powered or electric.
      • Gasoline powered leaf blowers are typically more powerful, but they also vibrate more and are noisier. The engine should be powerful and easy to start if you choose a gasoline model.
      • Electric blowers are quieter and lighter, and they vibrate less. Do you live in a busy neighborhood where a quieter unit would be appreciated? Some electric blowers require a cord, which can restrict your movement. Others have rechargeable batteries.
    • And lastly, consider the weight of the unit because you are going to be carrying it around your yard.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Wasps have built a nest on our patio. How can I get rid of them?

    There are sprays that have a range of 20' so that you can stand far away and still be effective. Some sprays leave a foam so that returning pests will also be killed.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What can I plant that is deer and/or rabbit proof?

    • Rabbits and deer tend to avoid eating flowers like astilbe, daffodils, marigolds, snapdragons, daylilies, primrose and peonies.
    • Plant onions and garlic around the perimeter of your garden to discourage rabbits and deer.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I attract hummingbirds?

    • Plan your garden so it contains several varieties of nectar-bearing flowering plants or trees that are attractive to hummingbirds.
    • Hang hummingbird feeders in several locations around your property.
    • Fill each feeder with a mixture of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water.
    • Clean feeders often and thoroughly.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is an edger?

    This tool provides a vertical cut into the soil, to create a clean line between a lawn and a flowerbed, driveway, sidewalk or some other structure. The fastest models are powered models. A non-powered edging tool looks like a shovel with a small blade shaped like a half moon. You can push the blade in with your foot so that it slices off a thin piece of turf, leaving a clean, straight edge of soil along the edge of the lawn.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What's the best way to water my outdoor potted plants?

    Most plants want moist (but not soggy) soil around their roots all the time. In the spring, too frequent and too shallow watering makes roots rise to the top of the soil for moisture; this discourages deep root growth and leads to survival problems during hot summer months.

    Deep-watered plants will have long, deep-seated roots that will find moisture beneath the surface when the sun has baked the ground.

    In summer, apply water when the temperature is moderate and when the wind is calm - not in hot sunshine or strong wind that will immediately evaporate the water and leave the soil harder than if it had never been watered.

    Use a watering wand or can and apply water directly to the soil to get water to the roots where it's needed, and keeping water off the stems and leaves will keep the plants from burning if the sun is too bright.

    The rate of penetration into the soil is very important. Water should be applied no faster than the soil surface is able to absorb it. This is determined by the rate of application, hose size, length of hose, water pressure, the water head and the type of soil. Sand has coarse particles and will absorb water faster. Clay particles are much finer and absorb water at a slower rate. As a general rule, the faster the soil absorbs water, the more frequently it needs to be watered.

    If you live in a region that has fairly strong, constant wind, recommend a sprinkler with a low, moderate to heavy spray; otherwise the homeowner can lose up to 40 percent of the water.

    Night watering can be recommended because water pressures are higher, winds calmer and temperatures lower to reduce evaporation if the sprinkler has a timer or meter or the homeowner is willing to watch the watering so that the soil isn't overwatered.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Which is better, an electric or gas leaf blower?

    A gas blower provides mobility and is more powerful.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I care for my hanging baskets and potted plants?

    Hanging baskets and potted plants provide easy instant color for summer decks, patios and porches. Hanging baskets also allow for vertical gardening in small homes without much landscape space.

    With a little care, hanging baskets and potted plants can last well into the fall.

    Watering

    Hanging baskets and containers dry out very quickly. In warm weather, you may have to water as many as two or three times each day. Check the soil's dryness by feeling the soil or lifting the basket or container; if the container is lightweight, or if soil fees dry 1 inch below the surface, then water immediately. Make sure your containers have drainage holes so water doesn't accumulate in the bottom and rot the roots.

    Fertilizing

    Frequent watering flushes nutrients from the soil, so fertilize regularly to replenish them. Choose either a liquid fertilizer, which should be applied every two weeks, or a timed-release, which can last for several months. Before you fertilize, make sure the soil is moist and the plant is not wilting.

    Deadheading

    Removing spent flowers after they've bloomed - called deadheading - makes the plant look better, but it also promotes additional blooming.

    If you've watered, fertilized and deadheaded correctly and the plant's leaves or flowers are sparse, try placing the basket or container in a sunnier spot.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How often should I fertilize my lawn?

    Fertilize lawnIn early spring, apply a fertilizer with a pre-emergent herbicide. About six to eight weeks later in late spring apply a fertilizer with a post-emergent herbicide.

    In late summer, apply a fertilizer with insect control. In early fall, apply fertilizer to stimulate root growth. In late fall, apply a winterizer fertilizer that builds resistance to the cold and provides nutrients to extend the green period in the fall and green up quicker in the spring.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I select the plants that will be hardy for my area?

    A simple way is to buy plants locally. These will be suited for your zone.

    To understand more about hardiness zones, the following sources can be helpful.

    • USDA Plant Hardiness zone map
      • The USDA Plant Hardiness zone map tells you the zone in which you live. Many plants are labeled by zone.
    • Sunset climate zones map
      • The Sunset climate zones map differs from the USDA map because it takes into account rainfall, humidity, summer highs and winter lows, whereas the USDA map only considers winter lows.
    • American Horticultural Society's heat zone map
      • The American Horticultural Society's heat zone map includes the number of days a region experiences temperatures over 86 degrees. The zones are numbered 1 through 12, with 12 being the hottest.

    Select your plants according to how they can survive in each of these three zones. Many plants include reference to the USDA Plant Hardiness zone map, but some do include reference to the other two zones as well.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is lawn thatch?

    It's a layer of stems and the crowns of dead grass just above the soil. While clippings decompose quickly, thatch decomposes slowly. When it builds up, it creates a problem. Either use a de-thatching machine or a core-aerating machine to fix the problem.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is the best way to water my lawn?

    Water lawns deeply and infrequently. Apply about 1 to 1 1/2 inches each time, per application, depending on your environment.

    Water consistently. If your area experiences drought, turn the sprinklers on before the grass turns brown. Trying to revive a dried-out, brown lawn depletes energy reserves and stresses the plant.

    Water early in the day, if possible. Watering in the heat of the day causes water to evaporate rather than hydrating your lawn. Evening watering tends to encourage disease and insects because the ground stays damp all night.

    Water during winter. During winter drought, when soil isn't frozen, water every two or three weeks for about 20 minutes to offset dry conditions and the drying effects of winter winds. Watering usually is necessary where winters are mild and not so much in regions with plenty of rainfall or snow.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I maintain my mower after each use?

    After each mowing, wait until the engine cools and then use a hose to spray the clippings and grass debris that may be clinging to the underside of the mower deck. Some people recommend that you get your blade sharpened about once a month.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Even with a lock washer, I continue losing the nut off my mower.

    Use a lock nut with a nylon insert. This arrangement will not vibrate loose as readily.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • When should I cut my grass?

    Mowing Heights for Fall and Spring Tall Fescue

    Set your lawnmower blade to cut the grass to a 2-inch height during the cool months of fall and spring. This height will ensure steady growth of the root system, and the deep roots will increase drought tolerance during the hot summer months.

     

    Mowing Heights for Heavy Shade and Hot Summer Months

    Raise the mower blade to 3 inches in heavily shaded areas or during the hot summer months. Allowing the grass to grow to this height helps reduce water evaporation, wilting and rolling leaves.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • I need a tool to trim my evergreens.

    Anvil pruning shears work well on light foliage. For heavier cutting, a lopping shear with more leverage will be needed. For other trees, a bypass shear provides a cleaner cut that those trees prefer.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • From the Garden to the Table

    There's nothing like creating a meal made with fresh, healthy vegetables from your own garden. These recipes are kept simple to showcase the freshness of your garden’s bounty.

    Grilled Corn

    Ingredients:
    6 ears corn
    6 Tbsp. butter, softened
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Directions:
    1. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.
    2. Peel back corn husks and remove silk. Place 1Tbsp. butter, salt, and pepper on each piece of corn. Close husks.
    3. Wrap each ear of corn with aluminum foil. Place on the grill and cook about 30 minutes, turning occasionally until corn is tender.

    Add a little zing to your buttered corn by making herb butter with herbs from your garden:

    Herb Butter
    Blend 1/2 cup softened butter or margarine and 1 tsp. each of chopped fresh basil, thyme and parsley. You can substitute these for your favorite herbs.

    Dill Cucumber Slices

    Ingredients:
    2 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced
    1 medium onion, sliced
    1/3 cup white vinegar
    1 Tbs. sugar
    1 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. chopped dill

    Directions:
    1. Combine cucumbers and onion in a bowl.
    2. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over cucumbers.
    3. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

    Fresh Cabbage Salad

    Ingredients:
    1/4 cup white wine vinegar
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1 tsp. Dijon mustard
    1 tsp. sugar
    1 tsp. salt
    Pepper to taste
    2 cups finely shredded cabbage
    1/2 cup julienne carrots
    1/2 cup julienne peppers
    1/2 cup finely slivered red onion
    1 small bunch chives, cut into 2-inch lengths

    Directions:
    1. Whisk together vinegar, oil, Dijon mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Set aside.
    2. In another bowl, toss together the cabbage, carrots, peppers, onions and chives.
    3. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat.

    Glazed Baby Carrots

    Ingredients:
    2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
    1/4 cup light brown sugar
    2 Tbsp. mustard
    1/4 tsp. salt
    3 cups sliced or baby carrots, cooked and drained.

    Directions:
    1. Melt margarine in pan.
    2. Stir in sugar, mustard and salt.
    3. Add carrots.
    4. Heat and stir until carrots are glazed.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • When do I apply insect controls?

    These can be applied anytime there is a problem. However, a preventative application for surface insects should be made in late spring.

    The best time to attack insects below the surface is in late July and early August. This application should include watering the lawn before and after the application to ensure the insecticide gets down to the root zones where the grubs are active.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • I have a large area to water, but I don't want to be bothered with moving the sprinkler.

    Use a traveling sprinkler, it moves under its own power along a track of hose and has an automatic shutoff feature.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Is there a proper way to mow to keep my grass healthy in different seasons?

    Mowing your lawn changes as the season progresses from early spring to late fall. These tips will help keep your grass healthy and looking good all through the growing season.

    Spring

    Soon as your grass needs cutting, mow it. Allowing grass to get tall before mowing means you cut more than you leave and that stresses the plants and encourages diseases. Most grasses should be cut at about 2 inches, so mow when your lawn reaches 3 to 4 inches.

    Summer

    Mow at a higher setting. Keep your grass at least 2 1/2 inches, because it not only promotes stronger roots, but taller grass keeps soil temperatures cooler.

    Mow in the cool of the morning or evening. Mowing during midday's high temperatures causes additional stress on the turf.

    Keep mower blades sharp. Dull blades tear and bruise the leaf tips. That strains your lawn and makes it less resilient in times of dryer weather.

    Fall

    Mow until the grass stops growing. This reduces the amount of springtime thatch.

    Lower the cutting height for the season's final mowing. Cutting it short - to about 2 inches - not only will allow for better air circulation, but it will keep the grass from bending and laying over on itself under snow or heavy moisture. Too-long grass mats create favorable conditions for diseases to develop in spring.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Give Your Home a Facelift by Enhancing Your Front Entrance

    If you long to give your home that sought-after "curb appeal," consider starting with your front entrance. Your front entrance is so important when making that "first impression," because it's really the 'face' of your home. So try following these 10 easy improvements to help give your home a facelift.

    1. Repair the Walkway:

    Patch cracks and replace loose bricks and pavers. Rent a power washer or purchase a chemical treatment to clean up embedded stains in concrete, stone or asphalt.

    2. Illuminate the Path:

    Lighting helps ensure guests arrive safely and also acts as a theft deterrent. Clean light fixtures and replace burnt-out bulbs with energy-saving CFL bulbs, replace outdated fixtures and add landscape lighting to brighten walkways and shrubbery.

    3. Use Foliage and Shrubbery:

    Strategically-placed plants can conceal any unattractive aspects of your house or surroundings. Place large pots or hanging baskets around the stoop or porch. Bushes or hedges hide air conditioning units or propane tanks, and flower beds and window boxes will stylize a stark facade.

    4. Prune and Mulch:

    Prune dead branches, trim back overgrown shrubbery or remove obstructive plantings. Spread mulch or bark around trees, shrubs and flowers for a weed-free, well-kept look.

    5. Decorate Your Door:

    Restore the luster of your door by polishing the hinges and knobs. Paint or stain the door with a color that stands out, yet complements, the trim and siding. Hang a pretty wreath to finish the look. If your front door is weak or unattractive, invest in a replacement door or storm door for security and energy efficiency.

    6. Focus on Windows:

    Fix broken windows and torn screens and paint sashes, trim and shutters in a neutral color. Add window treatments and keep the glass crystal clear.

    7. Accessorize:

    Choose a few lawn and garden ornaments. Match a decorative handle, door knocker or kickplate with shiny new house numbers and a mailbox.

    8. Feature Furniture:

    Spray a fresh coat of paint on furniture and replace the cushions. Fill an empty spot on the porch or stoop with a quaint bench or porch swing.

    9. Keep it Clean:

    Sweep the sidewalk and stoop, clear away cobwebs, tighten wobbly railings and repaint posts and supports.

    10. The Finishing Touch:

    Put out a clean, new welcome mat and make sure the doorbell works because you're sure to attract more visitors now!

    By following these 10 simple steps, your front entrance will be beautiful, well-maintained, and most of all, welcoming.

    Credit:  Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What do I use to cut branches more than 1'?

    Loppers are used on small trees and bushes up to 2' in diameter. They are essentially oversized pruners and are also available in compound models. For larger branches, you will need a saw. These come in a variety of styles. Essentially, you need to pick one that will allow you to get at the branches.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How can I help my potted plants thrive?

    To keep your potted plants looking their best, just follow these simple tips.

    Use the right container

    A container should provide ample room for soil and roots, provide drainage, and be attractive with the plant it holds.

    The container should be in proportion - in size and appearance - to the plants and its setting. Make sure the pot will be large enough once the plant reaches full height; otherwise, the roots will become crowded and the plant will never be vigorous.

    Use proper potting soil

    Commercial prepared potting soils are designed to best promote root aeration and drainage, and water and nutrient retention. Commercial soils also help avoid insects, disease and weeds.

    Select the right plant for your area

    Growing a plant in a container does not change its basic light or moisture requirements, so keep sun-loving plants in full sun and others in partial sun.

    Water correctly

    Containers usually dry out very quickly, especially in full sun. Daily or even twice daily watering may be necessary. Use your fingers to gauge the soil, then apply enough to run through the drainage holes in the bottom of the container, to thoroughly and uniformly wet the soil. Click here for some watering tips.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What type of pump sprayer do you recommend?

    For the homeowner, the plastic ones are often a good choice because they will not rust. Some of these have metal wands and tips, which are stronger, more durable and easier to clean.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What sizes of wheelbarrows are there?

    For general use around the yard, there are 3-cubic-foot and 4-cubic-foot models. The heavy-duty 6-cubic-foot model is designed for commercial use.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Prepping Your Home for the Selling Season: Smart Ideas for Securing that Sold Sign

    Once winter has passed, 'for sale' signs start popping up on lawns across America. And if you're one of the many people planning to put your home on the market this year, there's probably some home improvement work to do to fetch top dollar on the deal.

    Luckily, you don't need to spend lots of money to get your home ready to sell. There are plenty of inexpensive projects you can tackle to make your home more appealing to the buyer and get that ‘sold' sign in your front yard.

    Identify Your Home's Flaws

    Although disclosure laws can vary from state to state, sellers are obligated to disclose property and structural flaws when selling a home. Even if it's an honest mistake, failure to mention a basement that floods or a leaky roof could leave you in the hot seat well after the deal is closed.

    While you probably don't want to remodel your entire basement or kitchen before you sell, you should make some minor improvements to your home. Fixing small appliances like the dishwasher might cost you money upfront, but you'll probably recoup that cost when you sell.

    Get Your Home in Showcase Condition

    Have you ever walked into a space and been immediately overwhelmed by clutter and disorganization? As a seller, you rarely have a second chance to make a first impression.

    Spending a week or two cleaning and organizing your home will give your house a more spacious appearance. Minimize clutter by clearing counters, organizing closets and concealing items in stackable crates and baskets. And what about the garage? Remember, storage is key. Make sure it's organized, clean and can fit cars too.

    In the bathroom, replace caulking in bathtubs and showers. Modernize your kitchen by replacing a cracked linoleum floor, old counter tops and cabinetry.

    Be sure all appliances are working properly. Clean and inspect your furnace and water heater. Make repairs to correct leaky faucets, squeaky doors, broken light switches, burned-out light bulbs, loose doorknobs, torn screens and broken windows.

    Minimal Cost - Measurable Results

    Painting is one of the best yet relatively inexpensive ways to improve your home. Not only can a new paint job improve a room's appearance, but a fresh coat of paint can give a home a fresh ambiance and modernize outdated décor.

    As the selling season approaches, the need for neutral décor is also important. A house with beige walls and neutral tiling or carpeting is a faster sell. The neutral colors give potential homeowners a clean slate to make the property their own.

    Curb Appeal is also Key

    If the home doesn't pique curiosity from the curb, you'll never get the buyer to step foot inside.

    A good place to start is with your yard. A freshly cut lawn, manicured hedge and a beautiful flowering garden should catch the eyes of buyers. Siding and trim should be clean and in good condition, and cracks in the sidewalk or driveway should be patched and treated. You also should repair broken windows, wobbly railings and crooked shutters.

    Consider also painting or staining your front door, or even installing a new one, to make the doorway more welcoming. Adding a fresh coat of paint to the exterior of the house can make everything look new again.

    Credit:  Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

     

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • On long-handled tools, such as a shovel, what is the advantage of the more expensive ones?

    The higher-priced shovels have a sturdier construction and have better materials. For example, the composite handles are less likely to break.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Can I spray my fruit trees from the ground?

    Yes, a hose-end tree sprayer will do the job, but will often end up applying the chemical to other surrounding plants and the lawn. Consider using a ladder and a regular hose-end sprayer or pump sprayer.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I plant grass seed?

    Start with top-quality grass seed. Work the soil up a little with a rake. If you are overseeding consider using a slicing machine. Evenly sowing larger areas by hand is difficult, so use a spreader. Cover the seeds by raking a little soil over them. Fertilize and mulch only if it's on a hillside. Use very little mulch. Water, water, water.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I plant a kitchen garden?

    A kitchen garden is simply a small garden where vegetables, herbs and fruit are grown near the house for easy access. The purpose is to produce the fresh, flavorful food that you intend to prepare and eat.

    If this is your first garden, start small and plant just a few, easy-to-grow vegetables so you don't become overwhelmed. As you start to plan out your garden, think about the foods you eat most frequently.

    Does your family prefer spicy foods? Then focus on peppers, onions and garlic. Do you like a salad with every meal? Then designate plenty of room for a variety of lettuces, cucumbers, radishes and other salad fixings. Consider the herbs you frequently use in cooking and include those in your kitchen garden. Imagine how much better your dishes will taste with fresh herbs!

    Before the seeds go into the ground, have your soil tested to determine whether it's rich in nutrients or if it could use some help.

    Next, prepare your garden spot by clearing it of weeds and adding any amendments suggested by your soil test. Enrich it even further by covering the spot with about 3 inches of organic material, such as compost or decaying leaves and tilling it into the soil.

    Once you've planted, supply the germinating seeds with plenty of water and keep a close eye on the seedlings one they've sprouted to make sure they're well hydrated.

    Keep the garden weeded so weeds don't steal moisture and nutrients from your crops and fertilize according to each plant's requirements.

    If you don't have much backyard space for a garden, create a functional kitchen garden by using a raised bed, whiskey barrel halves, or containers.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I kill poison Ivy?

    It's almost impossible to get rid of poison ivy by cutting it or digging it out, since the roots are very well established under the ground. It can look like you have it all out, but you almost never get it all, and it comes back with attitude.

    Herbicides like Roundup, which is a glyphosate-based herbicide, and Ortho Brush-B-Gon, which is triclopyr-based, can be used to get rid of poison ivy. These products will kill a great variety of woody plants, but they will kill many other plants, too, so don't use them near specimens you wish to keep.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

     

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is a soaker hose?

    It is a hose that is blocked at the end and moisture seeps through its walls. It can be weaved through a garden to provide water directly onto the soil.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I plant and water amaryllis bulbs?

    Begin the planting process 6-8 weeks before you want your flowers to bloom. When planting an amaryllis bulb, keep in mind that they are tropical plants and should be potted indoors. You’ll need the bulb, soil and a pot that has a drainage hole and allows roughly two inches between the bulb and the sides of the pot. Fill half of the pot with soil, place the bulb in the center and continue to add soil until two thirds of the bulb is covered. It’s important to leave a third of the bulb above soil, including the neck, so that the stem and leaves can grow.

    How much you water an amaryllis is very important, because overwatering can cause the amaryllis bulb to rot. Once you have potted your bulb, water the soil thoroughly. You will only need to do this once. Not until green growth appears will you begin to water regularly. If your soil dries out before that happens, you can water again, but DO NOT water more than once a week until you see green growth. Once that happens, water only when the top inch of soil is dry, keeping the soil moist, but not soggy. At this stage, you should not water any more than once every three days. NOTE: Avoid getting the portion of the bulb above the soil wet.

    Click here to find out how to tend to your amaryllis after the blooming season, so you can enjoy it again the following year.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I start an outdoor garden?

    • First decide what you'd like to plant in relation to how much space you have. Growing requirements are provided on seed packets, in catalogs, and on nursery tags.
    • You'll need a flat spot that gets full sun.
    • Break up and turn the soil. Than add compost or other organic material.
    • Schedule plantings around the two main growing seasons which vary by region: cool (spring and fall) and warm (summer). Common cool-season vegetables include lettuce, carrots, peas, radishes, spinach, potatoes, broccoli and turnips. Warm-season crops include beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, peppers, pumpkins, squash and tomatoes.
    • You can purchase seedlings, but starting from seeds is less expensive.  Plant the seeds directly in the ground as directed on the package.
    • Some plants tend to do better when set out in the garden as seedlings: eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do insecticides work?

    There are basically two types: systemic and non-systemic. The systemic is absorbed by the plant and makes it poisonous. The non-systemic provides a coating on the outside of the plant.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I start composting?Green Content

    Composting turns organic wastes into a valuable resource by creating an earthy, dark, crumbly substance that is excellent for adding to houseplants or enriching your garden soil and flower beds. Plus by recycling your yard and kitchen wastes you are reducing the volume of garbage sent to the landfills.

    • A bin keeps the compost contained and looks neater.

      The two basic elements of compost are green garden debris (grass clippings or old plants) and brown garden derbis (dry leaves).

    • Green ingredients are high in nitrogen and brown materials are high in carbon. Adding too many greens can make the pile smell bad.
    • Compost piles with a balance of one part green to two part brown materials break down fastest.

      Compost also needs the correct amount of moisture to breakdown. Check your compost pile's moisture level once a week and adjust it if necessary by adding water to increase moisture or more browns to help dry the pile out. The correct moisture level should feel like a damp, wrung-out sponge. Too much moisture can cause temperatures to fall within the pile and make it smell. Too little moisture slows down the decomposition rate and keeps the pile from heating up.

      Turn the pile once a week to move material from the outside of the pile in. Turning also keeps the pile from compacting, which reduces airflow and slows down decomposition.

      You should have finished compost in about two months. You'll know your compost is finished when it no longer heats up and you can't identify any of the original materials. The compost should be dark brown, moist and earthy smelling.

    • Never add animal waste, meats, oils, dairy, diseased plants, weeds that have gone to seed, or plants treated with pesticides or herbicides to your compost.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Is there a sprinkler that I can restrict to a small rectangular area between two buildings?

    Yes, an oscillating sprinkler can be set so that it will direct water to a specific area. There are also pattern sprinklers.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I select the right grass seed?

    • Determine how you use your yard. If your lawn gets a lot of foot traffic, you'll need to plant a type of grass that recovers from damage quickly. If your lawn is mainly ornamental, you can plant a less hardy variety of grass.
    • Decide how much maintenance you are willing to do. Some types of grass require more mowing, fertilizing and watering than others.
    • Choose a grass that can handle the growing conditions in your yard. Note how much water and sun your yard gets. Most yards include both sunny and shady areas, so you may need to plant more than one type of grass.
    • Write down all of the information about your yard and take it with you when you go to the store. Read the grass seed labels carefully to choose the best grass seed for your yard and lifestyle and ask a store associate for advice.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Is there any advantage of a metal leaf rake over a plastic leaf rake?

    A metal rake usually has more spring and is better suited for large areas. It is easier to clean around flowerbeds, shrubs and bushes and does not rake up essential thatch in a lawn.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Do you have an ice melter that will not damage concrete or adjoining grass?

    Yes, one option is a product that uses a specially formulated corn derivative.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • I am trying to decide which is better for me - a gas or electric chain saw.

    Gas chain saws can be used anywhere and are more powerful. Plus, they come in larger bar sizes. Electric chain saws must stay within the limits of an extension cord.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How do I plant my trees and shrubs?

    • You should dig the hole one foot wider than the roots of the tree or bush.
    • Fill the hole with water and allow the earth to soak it up before placing the tree or shrub.
    • Lower the root ball into the hole. Remove synthetic wrappings or straps, but you can leave natural burlap or twine in place around the root ball since they will compost quickly.
    • Cut away any burlap around the trunk; if it sticks out above ground it will wick moisture away from the roots.
    • Fill the hole about halfway with soil and tamp it lightly with your foot to remove large air pockets. Make sure the tree or shrub is standing straight up, then water slowly to saturate the soil and remove any remaining air pockets.
    • Finish filling the hole with soil. Use any extra to build a temporary berm at the drip line (the place on the ground directly below the outer edges of the foliage). Cover the base of the tree or shrub with mulch, but keep at least six inches bare around the trunk.
    • Water new trees or shrubs at least once every week if it doesn’t rain. This way, the roots become well grounded. Using fertilizer is a good idea to keep the tree or shrub well fed. Using a time released one at the start of the season can save time and energy.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Are cordless electric hedge trimmers a good choice?

    For general use they are more than adequate, but most only offer run times of less than one hour. Some corded models are more heavy duty.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is the difference between a two-cycle and a four cycle-engine?

    With a two-cycle engine, you will have to mix oil with the gasoline. Four-stroke engines tend to be more efficient and usually require less maintenance.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

Product Results from AceHardware.com

Other Page Results

Garden Center

Winter Weather is on the Way

Donor of the Month

Duct Tape Wallets, PVC Wreaths and Hex Nut Bracelets:

Winter Weather Preparedness

7 Easy Tips for An Autumn Paradise In Your Yard

Basic Lawn Care vs. Complete Lawn Renovation

Westlake Hardware to Close Store in Independence, MO

Westlake Hardware to Close Store in North Dallas

Westlake Hardware to Close Store in St. Charles, Mo.

Create a Garden that Welcomes Nature’s Most Beautiful Insects: Butterflies

Mother’s Day is For the Birds!

Westlake Ace Hardware Teams with SoundBite Communications to Deliver Innovative Weather The Storm Program

Colder Weather Increases Risk of Uninvited Guests in Your Home

The Art of Winter Grilling

Westlake Ace Hardware named ‘Retailer of the Year’

Consumer Lifestyle Changes Prompt Growth Strategy Shift for Westlake

A Fresh Look for the Newest Westlake Ace Hardware Store

Lawn

Lawn & Garden

Garden

Garden coupon

Preen Garden Weed Preventer

Heavy Duty Garden Hose

Enhance Your Home This Spring With Foundation Plantings

Spring Your Lawn Back to Life

Westlake Ace Hardware Announces New Store in West Plains, Mo

Bug-B-Gon Max Lawn Insect Granules

100' Flexogen Garden Hose

Lawn Renovation

Lawn Renovation Coupon

Westlake Ace Hardware Announces Opening Date of West Plains Store and Chances to Win Big Prizes

Summer’s End Doesn’t Mean The End of Lawn Care

Ace Lawn Fertilizer with Crabgrass Control 5M

HD30 Lawnmower Oil

Assorted Softec Garden Gloves

Garden Weed Preventer By Preen

5/8" x 50-Ft. Flexogen Garden Hose

Ladies Garden Gloves

A Fresh Look for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City

Heavy Duty Garden Hose 100' x 5/8"

32-Oz. All In One Lawn Weed & Crabgrass Killer

Awaken Your Home With New Paint Colors and Décor Trends

Women's Garden Gloves

Ace Flex Tech All Season Garden Hose