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Watering Tip: Use Soil Polymer Crystals

Try using soil polymer crystals to help water notoriously under-watered indoor plants, or to help vegetable container gardens grow since it is so lightweight! The best part is, soil polymer crystals are natural and will eventually break down and compost in your soil. A soil polymer will also help your patio and indoor plants retain water. Its an additive that absorbs 400 times it’s weight in water. Here's what you need: :: 1/4 teaspoon of crystals. :: 1 1/2 cups of water. You could also use weak compost tea for added fertilizer benefit. :: A container of sufficient size to “grow” your crystals. :: The crystals became 1 1/2 cups of expanded, jelly like, material. There's 1 drop of green food coloring in it so it shows up better in the pictures. :: It only took about 30 minutes to absorb the water and expand fully. How much should you add? Well, figuring that 1/4 a teaspoon of crystals will expand to 1 1/2 cups, 10 cups of soil to 1/4 teaspoon polymer mulch works well. You can also use these if you are going away! When going away for a week or so, spread expanded crystals over the soil in a 1 inch deep layer. It will slowly release water during the week, but make sure you water the plants before adding the crystals! To make a big batch: Put a couple of tablespoons of the product in a 3-gallon bucket and fill the bucket with water. In about 15-30 minutes, the polymer will have absorbed most of the water and swollen to fill the bucket. Caution! A couple of tablespoons of these crystals in a bucket looks mighty small, and you’ll be tempted to add more – Don’t! You’ll have it all over your floor and it’s very hard to pick up.
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Home Gutter Maintenance
Cleaning gutters can be a daunting and dreaded task, but as we'll see in this article, it's a must! So read on to know more: How do I know if gutters need cleaning? Maybe the easiest way to see if your gutters need cleaning, without going up onto the roof, of course, is by looking up on a rainy day! If you see that the rain is flowing from anywhere except the drainpipe. If so, gutter cleaning is needed. But let's look at the other telltale signs: 1. Gutter sagging: You need to clean your gutters, so they don't clog with leaves and other dirt. Once they are blocked, the water can no longer flow away. So for every litre of water stuck in the gutter, 1 kilo is added. On long gutters, that, plus other debris, can sum up to a lot of weight! That extra weight causes extra stress, which can eventually break the guttering and cause it to sag. 2. Stained walls: After a rainy day, if you see streaks of dirt or unusual stains under your gutters, then chances are that the water is running over, bringing dirt along with it, as it has nowhere else to go. 3. Larger than usual puddles: The whole point of gutters is to take the water away from your house. If you see big puddles around your home, it could be a sign that the gutters are no longer taking that water away! 4. Birds and other animals: What do birds use to make their nests? Twigs? Leaves? Exactly, and a dirty gutter is full of both of them! So if you see a lot of birds coming and going from your gutters, especially around nesting season, you can be assured that your gutters need cleaning! What about other animals? They might not make the same nests, but many rodents will love to bunk down in a leaf bed! And what do rodents attract? Snakes, another good reason to clean your gutters! 5. Roof garden: If you see that flowers and other plants are sprouting from your roof guttering, the chances are that it's time for a clean! Why? Rotten leaves and other natural debris like dust make good makeshift compost. Compost and water = the perfect environment for your new roof garden! How often should gutters be cleaned? This is a more difficult question to answer. What if I asked you how long is a piece of string? (Twice as long as half its length, but that's for a more philosophical article!) Generally speaking, gutters need to be cleaned twice a year, but certain factors, like if you have overhanging trees, will mean you need to clean your gutters a lot more often! What happens if you don't clean your gutters? It might seem like a trivial matter, but if left uncleaned, it can cause significant problems! 1. It can cause foundation damage. In addition, heavy rains falling on the same stop will soften the soil and even erode the soil surrounding your foundations. This will cause cracks to appear. In the colder areas where it freezes, those cracks can fill with water, which will cause much more problems! 2. Trapped water + wooden building are a recipe for disaster! The dampness can cause the wood to root, weakening the structure. It can also allow rodents and other vermin to enter your house. 3. Creepy crawlies. The same rotten, humid debris that can make you a not so lovely roof garden can also attract all kinds of insects. Of course, if the weather changes for the worse, they'll look for a dry place to hide out, which will probably be inside your house! But that's the least of your insect worries! Insects like termites and carpenter ants are also are attracted to the rotten leaves, and once they've finished the starter, they will probably move on to the main course, your lovely wooden walls, windows, etc. 4. Roof and basement leaks. The excess water has to go somewhere, and that might be your roof space or even your basement! But, of course, this can cause more problems: rotten roof timbers, black mould, water damage, flooding, short circuits and so forth. How to clean your gutters? First of all, you should know that gutter cleaning can be a dangerous task! For example, did you know that 4.5 Australians die every year in ladder-related accidents? And many more are seriously injured! So make sure your ladder is safely placed. If you want to read more about height safety systems, take a look at my other article: Beginners guide to height safety systems or, better yet, talk to a professional about ladder brackets. Now I've warned you about being safe, let's get back to the subject at hand, gutter cleaning: 1. Wear the right clothes! Gutter cleaning is a dirty job! So it's best to wear a long-sleeved shirt, work trousers, and of course, gloves! You don't know what you're going to find up there. 2. You must also make sure that the ladder won't be leaning on the gutter, which could cause it to crack or push it out of place. And as we said before, make sure your ladder is safe and won't slip while you're working. 3. Slowly but surely, remove all debris from the gutter. Be careful not to use anything that might damage the gutter as you're cleaning it. You can buy specialised tools, but you can use an old rubber spatula from the kitchen. • TIP: You might want to place something on the floor below where you will be working, making cleaning up more straightforward once you've clean the gutters. 4. Once all the solid and semi-solid material has been removed, rinse the gutters with water, preferably using a hosepipe. Doing this will also help you find any leaks. 5. Does anything need repairing? Sagging or loose gutters? Leaks? Maybe water damage in the roof itself? 6. Once everything is in tiptop working order, you'll need to clean all the mess you will have made on the floor below. Is it better to call a professional? Now that you've read the dangers and steps needed to clean your gutters, you probably know the answer to this question. There are multiple factors you need to think about before making a decision. First, do you feel up to the job? Second, do you have the right tools? A long enough ladder? Before you decide, why not ask for a free quote? Once you hear the price, you might decide that the DIY path is not worth the trouble! If you're in the area of Sydney, why not go directly to the best gutter cleaner? Sydney Gutter Clean has more than 20 years of experience with thousands of satisfied clients. Not only will they clean your gutters, but they will also make sure your gutters are as good as new! And once they've finished, they guarantee to leave no mess! So visit the gutter cleaning Sydney website today! You'll see much more detailed information and can request a free consultation. You won't regret it! Sydney Gutter Clean Address: 287/495 Pacific Hwy, Crows Nest NSW 2065 Phone: (02) 8020 5777 Website: https://www.gutterclean.com.au/
Guide: How To Cut Down A Tree
When Should A Tree Be Cut Down? Do you have a tree on your property that needs removing? Maybe the tree is too close to your property or too close to your neighbour's property. Perhaps the tree is dying and could become a hazard. Or you're concerned for the safety of your family and neighbours. If you're considering removing a tree, whatever the reason may be, this guide will help you through the process. It is always recommendable to ask professional advice about tree removal. A trained Arborist might save the tree if needed and will best know how to remove it. Tree Removal: Pros And Cons. Pros: Safety: A hazardous tree can cause a LOT of damage, even death! Or, if you think back to the massive bushfires, a large canopy of trees close to your property could be a problem. Space: You make extra space in your garden! Trees can take up a lot of room. Depending on your garden, it might be taking up a lot of valuable space needed for other projects. Cons: Value: Removing trees from your property can devalue it. A study conducted in 2017 by AECOM stated that a "10 per cent increase in the leaf canopy of street trees could increase the value of properties by an average of $50,000" in the Sydney area. Beauty: Fewer trees can make your garden look less attractive. The aesthetic value of a tree can make your garden look more mature, as long as it's looked after, of course. Shade: The shade produced by trees can reduce your energy bill by up to 800$ a year! Permanent: Once tree removal has taken place, there's no going back! Trees take years to grow; depending on the tree, it might take decades or even centuries to grow back. Special Permissions For Tree Removal You should always check to see if local laws protect the tree you wish to remove. If you cut down a tree or even prune a protected tree by law without receiving the proper approval, you can be fined up to $1.1 million by the Land and Environment court! What permits you will need for tree removal depends on your state and local council. You can contact your local council for more information on tree preservation orders and local environment plans. Or you can contact a specialist tree cutting company, like Cutting Edge Tree Maintenance in Newcastle NSW, who will help you through the entire process. Can Cutting A Tree Down Be Dangerous? There are many reasons why cutting down a tree can be very dangerous. The tree can fall on someone or something. The tree can fall in an unexpected direction; it can be affected by the wind or become interlocked with surrounding trees. Using power tools without the proper training can also be a dangerous task! If you feel you don't have the experience needed, don't hesitate to contact a trained specialist. Now you know the pros, con, dangers and permissions needed, let's look at how you cut down a tree! How To Cut Down A Tree: Before you start to cut down your tree: You MUST use all the necessary safety equipment! Eye protection, ear protection, work gloves, steel-toe cap boots. Cutting down a tree can be a dangerous task! Using the proper safety equipment might save your life! Plan your escape route! Make sure you have a clear path to get out of the way of a falling tree! You will need the right tools. In this guide, we will talk about how to cut down a tree using power tools, specifically, a chainsaw, plus a tree-felling wedge and a hammer, all of which makes the job a lot easier. Of course, it can be done with hand tools, e.g. with a saw or an axe, but this is considerably more difficult! Remember, good tools are half the work! Inspect the area! Ensure there is nothing that the falling tree could harm; power lines, structures, fences, pets, etc. The tree will naturally fall in the direction it is leaning to; you must clear this area and a 45º angle on either side of where you expect the tree to fall. Don't forget to consider the height of the tree and how far the tree will fall! Next, once you know that you and everyone around you are safe, you can move on to the next step: First of all, you need to cut a notch into the tree. Make the initial cut at a 70-degree angle. The second cut should be horizontal, meeting the bottom of the first cut. The notch needs to reach about a quarter of the way through the tree. The notch should also be facing in the direction you wish the tree to fall. On the opposite side of the tree, you need to make the third cut, horizontally, slightly higher than the second cut of the notch. Do not cut all the way through the trunk. It's best to leave about 10 per cent of the width to work as a hinge as the tree falls. Depending on the width of the tree, you will need the tree-felling wedge. This will stop the weight of the tree from blocking the chain. The wedge can also be driven into the cut with a hammer to topple the tree. Once the tree begins to fall, get out of the way! Congratulations, by now, you should have cut down your tree! But you will need to cut the tree into smaller pieces so that it can be removed from your property. How to cut a tree into pieces for removal or firewood: Removing the branches: This first step is called limbing—the act of removing all the branches from a tree. Be very careful when removing branches! Some branches will be under tension caused by the tree's weight, and others will be holding the tree in place. Removal of either type can be dangerous, as the branch can flick, or the whole tree can move. Removing the tree trunk: Once the branches are removed, the tree trunk must be cut into manageable pieces; this is called bucking. Look where the trunk might compress, or drop when cut, pinching the saw blade. It is best to cut one-third of the way through the side where you think the trunk will compress and then finish the cut from the other side. This technique can also be used when part of the tree is being supported, and cutting away the support may cause compression. When needed, a wedge can be used to stop the trunk from compressing. Also, make sure that the blade never touches the floor, as it can dull the blade or even snap the chain. How To Make It Fall In The Direction You Want? If you have a tree leaning in a specific direction, and it's needed to fall in another, you'd best call a professional; this requires special tools and technical know-how. Many factors make this difficult and should never be done by an amateur. If you feel like you would prefer to talk directly to a trained Arborist after reading all of this, call Cutting Edge Tree Maintenance in Newcastle, NSW today. They are known as Newcastle's #1 tree cutting, tree removal and maintenance company in the area. They offer free consultations and can provide other solutions if you'd prefer to keep that tree! So why not visit their site now for more information. Cutting Edge Tree Maintenance Address:  42 Wakal St, Charlestown NSW 2290, Australia Phone: (02) 4003 4400 Website: https://newcastletreeandstumpremoval.com.au/ 
Abies numidica
The total extent of occurrence (EOO) of forests containingAbies numidicais estimated to be less than 30 km2. The actual area of occupancy (AOO) is estimated to be less than 1 km² (8 km2using standard IUCN methodology). Even though the area is protected by a National Park, there has been a continual loss in EOO, AOO and a decline in the quality of habitat as a result of forest fires, collection of firewood and grazing. This species is therefore listed as Critically Endangered. Located on Mt. Babor and Mt. Tababort, in the Djebel Babor Mountains which forms part of the Petite Kabylie Mountain range which runs parallel to the Mediterranean coast. Most reports give the EOO of the Babor forest asca.23.67 km² in which Abies numidica has an EOO of 2.5 km². However a specially commissioned study of the forests (Technoexportstroy 1970)) gives the overall forest as 27.3938 km² and theAbiescomponent as low as 0.8188 km² . The actual AOO is not known but is assumed to be less than 1 km² A single population with a very restricted range. Knowledge of the population is very poor due to the fact that access to the area is highly restricted because of security problems. Occurs in humid montane mixed forests on north- and east-facing steep calcareous slopes. The climate is particularly humid and cold, with annual precipitation of 2,500 mm, much of which falls as snow during the winter. The summers are dry and typical of a Mediterranean climate with an average of 18°C and a winter minimum of -1°C, with extreme frosts of between -8 to -10°C (Gharzouli, 2007); however the northern slopes tend to be wetter due to their proximity to the coast. The annual rainfall is between 1,500-2,000 mm. Abiesnumidica has an altitudinal range of between 1,850-2,000 m. Typically they cover the mountain summits where they occur as pure stands (rare) or are co-dominant withCedrus atlantica, Quercus faginea, Acer obtusatum, Populus tremula,Sorbus aria andS. torminali swith the occasional tree ofTaxus baccata. Abies numidica is threatened by a combination of factors including fire, fuel-wood collection and grazing by herds of cattle and goats in the summer. It appears that the young saplings are unable to establish due to a combination of dense under-storey and deep winter snow. The threats to the forest and endemic species are presumed to be ongoing, although the difficulties of access to the site (especially in winter) afford some degree of protection.
Beautiful & Inspiring Landscape Designs For Your Garden!
So you are ready for a change and want to refresh your garden but don’t know quite where to start? The outdoor area of our homes is where we are often most likely to be entertaining our guests, especially during the summer months! Adding more flora, trees, lighting and outdoor seating can really brighten up your home exterior and create an inviting place for you and your guests to enjoy. However, the world of landscaping is not always easy to navigate, and with so many styles available these days, it can be difficult to know which one to choose. But with some inspiration and the help of an expert team of landscapers, you will soon be transforming your garden into a beautiful and functional outdoor space that you, your family and friends will love to spend time in! Here are some stunning projects that can spark your imagination and help you decide which landscaping design is the perfect one for you. Modern, Minimalistic, and Functional The first exceptional landscaping idea we will look at is this beautiful garden designed by Custom Creations, based in Sydney, one of the most reputable landscape design and construction teams in NSW. They have used the house's original architecture and incorporated that into this modern and inviting garden design. Picture from Custom Creations As we can see here, the entryway is extremely eye-catching and has a very modern, minimal feel to it. It is lined by these exquisite Ornamental Pear Trees to add a very natural element and draw the eye down towards the house and the rest of the garden. The use of these modern paving stones brightens up the whole space and keeps a minimal aesthetic throughout. The symmetrical harmony of this design really helps it to stand out as chic and modern. Picture from Custom Creations Inside this garden, they have used a range of diverse plants and shrubs arranged perfectly to create many eye-catching textural forms. These well-chosen plants add colour whilst still maintaining that beautiful, minimalistic design. The clever design and use of pathways help divide each part of this fantastic outdoor space into its own distinct zone. Again, the attractive white stone paving helps tie this build together and keep a uniform and minimal design throughout. Picture from Custom Creations This wonderful build also includes an extremely functional yet attractive entertainment area! Relax in the minimal yet comfortable lounge area, complete with a table, sofa and chairs. Or start up a barbecue in the convenient outdoor kitchen space! Again, the well-thought-out colour palette works very well here, making it a truly stylish and minimal area. The industrial floating concrete bench and steel pergola combine beautifully with the wood panelling and garden foliage. The carefully chosen and high-quality materials used work to create a trendy, modern and yet still extremely natural atmosphere. This high-quality construction and stunning designs were implemented by one of Sydney's best landscape design and construction teams. Luxurious, Spacious, and Defined The next design is from Hurst House, a landscaping team based in the US. Picture from Hurst House Chicago This is a fantastic landscaping design for entertaining, socialising, or simply relaxing outdoors as a family. Its defined spaces work as a series of outdoor rooms, including a dining area, lounge, kitchen area, and even an outdoor spa underneath the beautiful white pergola. This provides lots of individual areas, where you can relax together or separately. The exquisite Bluestone paving and well-chosen materials make this design extremely luxurious. Trees are strategically placed in the centre of the garden, and the expertly placed greenery ties all the different areas together. Picture from Hurst House Chicago With the clever backyard illumination, firepit, and mood light coming down from the trees, this fantastic garden space can be used even after dark! There are even uplights hidden away among the ornamental pieces and shrubbery. The path lights direct you through the various areas and all the way down to the spa. Light, Rustic, and Natural The final design we will highlight was created by Trunorth Landscaping, also located in the US. It is a wonderful lakeside patio, complete with an entertainment area, firepit, and beautifully landscaped pathways. Picture from Trunorth Landscaping This design truly makes the most of the available space to include an elegant seating area with a fully functioning kitchen. The Techo Bloc stone panels give this area a beautiful and rustic feel. Due to the lakeside location and lack of large trees surrounding the area, this garden feels very light and spacious, leaving you with a fantastic view of the lake. This design also makes clever use of expertly placed lanterns, and a large firepit, to provide warmth and a bright atmosphere, even on an evening, so you can use this space all year round. Picture from Trunorth Landscaping They have also incorporated this natural flagstone paving and rustic Techo Bloc stone panels to create a design that flows beautifully with its surroundings. The well-chosen colours of the flowers and other foliage add lots of texture and really tie this space together to give it a natural, inviting feel. What Do We Learn? Each of these projects we have looked at vary greatly in style, size and budget. For example, although beautiful, the design shown from Hurst House would require a large plot of land and a significant amount of money. The first design shown by Custom Creations is an excellent example of practical yet stunning landscaping that makes the best use of available space and is achievable even on a smaller budget. They took the already existing style of the clients home and used this to design a modern yet functional space that could really enhance their quality of living. And by using high-quality materials, this space still maintains that luxury feel. We love how Custom Creations can create exceptional outdoor spaces that always fit with their client’s needs and budgets. They certainly have an eye for detail to design stunning garden landscaping that is attractive, practical and affordable. This kind of precision and attention to detail is definitely the mark of true landscape design and construction experts! You can scroll down to see more of their stunning builds on Instagram and discover not only how professional they are but also the expert construction and breath-taking landscaping they can achieve! To see more of their completed projects, check out this wonderful Sydney landscape design and construction business here! How can you contact Custom Creations Landscapes? Custom Creations has a team of carefully selected landscapers and highly skilled contractors, so you can be sure that the design and landscaping of your garden are in the best hands! They provide landscape design, construction, pool design and building services that are beautiful and functional to transform your home and outdoor space. To us, Custom Creations Landscapes have really stood out from the rest, with their professionalism and stellar communication and customer service. As a result, they can provide tailor-made design solutions for projects of all sizes and styles. In addition, they always make sure to use high-quality materials and plants so that every part of your outdoor space is built to the best possible standard. The team at Custom Creations will always work alongside you to ensure that they can create the perfect outdoor space for you that compliments your already existing home and living space. This will result in a garden that is not only visually attractive but reflects your individual lifestyle so that you can enjoy it for years to come. Contact Custom Creations today to find out how easy it is to achieve the beautiful garden space you have always dreamed of! Custom Creations Phone: 02 8065 4344 Website: Custom Creations Landscapes