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Fall Yard Maintenance Musts

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Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2013 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:34 am, Mon Nov 18, 2013.

(Family Features) - Fall is a great time for yard maintenance. Raking leaves is a given for many homeowners, but there are more things you can do to help make sure your lawn, trees and shrubs will be ready for the new growth of spring.

"One of the keys to successful yard maintenance is to use the right tools for each job," said Joe Newland, outdoor product development manager for Black & Decker. "Using the proper tools makes your job easier and helps you take better care of your landscaping investments."

Here are some tips and equipment solutions to make this year's fall clean up effortless and efficient:

Prune and trim overgrown trees and shrubs. This helps prevent weakening of the limbs under snowfall and helps keep trees and shrubs healthy. Black & Decker's 18 Volt Rechargeable Pole Pruner enables users to easily reach up to14 feet to prune overhead.

  • To prune properly, make cuts at a node, the point at which one branch or twig attaches to another.
  • To maintain or develop structure and form, thin some branches throughout the crown of the plant. This helps increase light penetration and air circulation. Do not remove more than one quarter of the living crown.
  • Prune branches from the bottom of the crown to provide clearance for people and vehicles, and to clear lines of sight.

Trim and edge your yard and gardens. Give your yard a finished look with one last trim around trees and shrubs to cut down taller grass. Use an edger between the lawn and the garden area or a hard surface next to it for a clean, manicured lawn.

Clean up leaves. A lawn buried in leaves all winter will not thrive come spring. A mulching mower or bagger can help you deal with some of the clean up, while a blower can make a big job more manageable. The Black & Decker LeafHog® Blower Vac allows you to do both with up to 240 MPH blow speed and a metal mulching impeller that can reduce up to 16 bags of dry leaves down to just one.

  • Never point nozzle or blow debris toward people, pets, cars or houses.
  • Most blowers make plenty of noise. Wear ear protection whenever operating a blower.
  • Follow local ordinances about when to use leaf blowers.

Mow a few more times. Grass growth slows down as it gets ready for winter dormancy, but it does still grow.

  • Some experts recommend decreasing your mowing height to 2 to 2 1/2 inches for the last few mowings of the year. This picks up all the debris and helps keep the grass from bending under the weight of snow and becoming susceptible to fungal mold.
  • Clean and spray mower blades with a rust preventer before storing for the winter.

For additional information, visit: www.blackanddecker.com.

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Should graduations return to the Grape Bowl?

Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

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