While a carpet of manicured grass helps make a home more beautiful, a lawn has more than just aesthetic value. The American Lawn Mower Association has compiled a list of some of the less well-known benefits of lawn ownership:
*A well-maintained lawn can add up to 15 percent to the value of a home.
* A lawn can reduce noise levels by as much as 30 percent.
* A 50-by-50-foot lawn provides enough oxygen to sustain a family of four.
* A lawn absorbs damaging ozone and sulfur dioxide and traps dust and dirt particles that can feed allergies.
* Eight average-sized lawns have the cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning. The average home central air unit has only a three-to-four-ton capacity.
Bees and Wasps!
Stinging insects may be essential for pollination and pest control, but they can be pests when you're cooking out. The following tips from experts may help you keep bees away and avoid their painful and sometimes dangerous stings.
* Before entertaining outdoors, check the area for nests. Caulk holes in wood decks and siding. Nests of yellowjackets can grow to more than 2,000 insects if left undisturbed.
* Avoid wearing perfumes, colognes or scented hair sprays and deodorants that attract bees and wasps.
* Keep food containers tightly closed when outdoors. Bees and wasps are attracted to such things as sugared drinks and barbecue sauces. Also, never drink from an unattended soft drink can, because a bee may have ventured inside.
* Use a "sting" operation to lure bees away from your barbecuing area. Before guests arrive, put out a small plate of whatever you are serving, especially sweet barbecue sauces. When bees find it, move it to a another location. This will lure bees away.
* Bees and wasps are the hungriest and the most likely to be attracted to your outdoor gathering in the late summer and early fall, when their natural food supplies are diminishing. If you want to avoid them, plan a family get-together earlier in the summer, if possible.
* Keep an Epi-Pen bee sting kit handy. This kit contains epinephrine to counteract the sometimes fatal allergic reactions that can result from a bee or wasp sting.
After centuries of rose cultivation, you'd think tried-and-true methods of pruning roses would naturally be best, but master gardeners have recently made some new pruning discoveries. Instead of deadheading roses by cutting back to the first five-leaflet leaf as standard practice dictates, England's Royal Horticultural Society has found that snapping off the bloom at the abscission layer (where the stem is swollen just beneath the flower) actually produces more new flowering shoots than the old method.
* You don't have to wait until late fall or early spring to prune your roses. The New York Botanical Garden cuts back all its modern roses in August to promote heavy fall bloom until frost.
* The Royal National Rose Society growers recommend cutting hybrid teas and floribunda shoots straight across with shears or a hedge trimmer. They believe this promotes more and stronger growth and possibly better flowering than traditional pruning and thinning techniques.
* Fertilize your roses with Epsom salts. An old folk tradition of applying a half-cup of Epsom salts around each rose bush after pruning adds magnesium to the soil. It also results in larger flowers, stronger cane growth, and greener foliage.
Phlox `David' Perennial Plant of the Year
A heavenly fragrance and resistance to powdery mildew make this white blooming phlox an outstanding selection for a summer border. Phlox are native to North America, and this variety from open-pollinated seed is thought to be a descendent of the phlox that was sent to England by John Bartram from Pennsylvania's Brandywine Valley back in the 1730s. Phlox `David' blooms from July through September. As a border element, it is striking when planted with contrasting colors and textures such as purple coneflower, globe thistle, or Miscanthus grass.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Saturday Evening Post Society
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