Tools and Tips for Springtime Yard Care
Wire Tensioning Kit
This system can be used to tension wire fences, anchor fence posts, stabilize garden sheds, strengthen foot bridges, prevent wooden gates from sagging or cross-brace the legs of a workbench, as just a few examples. The kit includes 10 aluminum-bodied anchors with spring-loaded hardened steel jaws, 150 feet of 14-gauge high-tension steel wire (HTSW), a tensioning device, and two drill bits: a 27/64×9-in. twist drill for through boring and a 5-in. piloted counterbore for seating the anchors below the wood surface. The tensioning device is made specifically for 14-gauge HTSW, but the anchors are compatible with 12-1/2 gauge HTSW as well and will withstand up to 1600 lbs. when used in the anchor. The 14-gauge HTSW will withstand up to 800 lbs. when used in the anchor. Unlike unhardened wire, HTSW is elastic in use and does not deform. Visit www.leevalley.com.
Side Note One
Tips for Tree-Planting Success
From small fruit-bearing species to really big ones with branches big enough for a treehouse, trees can add a lot to a home’s landscape. Keep these professional pointers in mind when adding a new one.
Selection—When adding a tree to your yard, do a little research to select a type that is well suited to the home’s landscape and the area where you live. Some trees provide more shade while others offer quick growth, a different color or more fragrance. Some trees are also best suited for certain soil conditions, a wet or dry climate, or warmer temperature ranges.
Location—Most trees thrive in full sunlight, but many need shade. Plant the tree away from visible obstructions like power lines and underground hazards like pipes and wires. To reduce home maintenance, locate it far enough away from your home, garage or shed where it doesn’t cast a permanent shade that leads to mildewed siding. Remove surrounding weeds and other plants that compete for nutrients and may prevent your tree from growing straight and tall. Allow plenty of space for the tree to grow for the next 10 to 30 years.
Planting—The spring growing season is an ideal time to plant a tree. The planting hole should be four to five times the width of the root ball. The tree should extend up from the ground roughly half an inch higher than the soil around it to shed water away from the trunk to prevent rot. Cover the planting hole with 1-3 inches of hardwood chips or leaf mulch but keep it 2-3 inches away from the trunk. The tree will need plenty of water the first few years as the roots get established.
Side Note Two
Pruning is one of the least understood disciplines in arboriculture for a variety of reasons. It is important to realize that even accurate pruning may have some negative impacts. Pruning may be necessary, but it still inflicts a wound to a tree’s armor. Even so, the results of a proper cut are usually far better than one never placed.