Finding the Best Christmas Trees

The yuletide season won’t be complete without Christmas trees. Throughout the years, these trees give more significant meaning to the season. You can find lots of Christmas trees in the market, but not all are guaranteed safe enough to display at home or in the office.

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Tips on finding the best Christmas trees:

  1. Go for the real trees instead of the artificial ones. Real trees are believed to be more eco-friendly and affordable.
  2. When purchasing a Christmas tree, make sure the sellers are reputable. Check if they have a business license. They should also be able to tell you where their trees are made or came from. Fly-by-night sellers are less likely to comply with the rules so don’t rely on them.
  3. When you’re going to buy two (or more) Christmas trees, obtain a permit. In the US, households are entitled to purchasing two trees while schools and companies are required to donate one tree to charity or to any non-profit organization.
  4. Only buy the resilient, durable trees. You’ll know if a Christmas tree is flexible and springy by holding its branches smoothly. If needles are falling off, it simply means the tree isn’t durable.
  5. When you can’t afford a Christmas tree sold in the market, you can cut your own from a nearby state land or national forest reserve. Don’t forget to secure a permit from your state authority before cutting.
  6. Trees with root balls barely survive when being transplanted in cold temperature. In line with this, make sure your tree doesn’t have many root balls. The safest way here is to stick to a tree with healthier saplings.

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How to Keep Your Christmas Tree Alive

To keep your Christmas tree alive and long-lasting, follow these tips:

  • Add anti-transpirants when possible – Spray your tree with anti-transpirant for at least three times a week. The water content helps evaporate any liquid part from the needles.
  • Always consider the location – Place your Christmas tree in a location away from sun exposure. If you placed it beside your window, keep the curtains and blinds closed during daylight hours.
  • Hydrate your tree – Place your tree in a stand that can hold a gallon of water. If possible, fill it with warm water to protect the pitch from unnecessary forming.
  • Cut the bottom inches of the tree if it’s dying. Make a fresh cut on its slightest angles (or about an inch from the bottom) then put in water immediately. When the tree’s bottom inches are slowly cut, its needles and branches will subside.
  • Don’t place your Christmas tree beside the television, computer, or any other electrical appliance.
  • Unplug the lights attached to your tree at night (at least before you go to sleep) to reduce any drying effect which often results in fire.
  • Store it outside your house when possible – To maintain its moisture (which is a factor in keeping Christmas trees fresh for years), store the tree outside your house.
  • Wash your tree after displaying

If you prefer to have an artificial Christmas tree. Here’s a video to help you decide which is best for you.

Getting ready for Christmas is always a lot of fun for the whole family. Make sure you enjoy the time you have together!

Bruce Edwards.

The Basics of Decorating With Fairy Lights

Fairy lights, also referred to as “twinkle lights”, can be used for Christmas decorations both indoors and outdoors. For indoors, these lights enhances peaceful ambience and creates soft glow while for indoors they illuminate a certain portion of the backyard.

Christmas lights

How to Decorate with Fairy Lights Indoors

  1. Locate the outlet near the bedroom or living room area’s headboard. For safety purposes, add an extension cord. Wrap the lights all over the nearest post (or at one end of the headboard). Hang its strands slightly from the headboard’s front part while wrapping the other ends around its post. If the light string is long, wrap the headboard’s rungs or slats. Once you’re done, run the lights up and down (or in between the wrapped ends).
  2. Set a large urn or vase covered with floral foam near the living room. Slowly push a dried tree branch into the foam then stick it to create a “real tree” appearance. Plug the lights into the outlet and wrap around the tree branch’s limbs.
  3. Run a long strand of lights behind two opposite strands – one located behind each side/panel while other is open. Plug the lights into the outlet then run the strands up near the sheer panel’s outermost part. Loosely wrap the strands around the curtain rod (or few inches away from the lights’ first portion). Loop the strands until the panel looses and tuck its ends to ensure protection. You can use as many strands as you want in creating an eye-catching appearance within your living room.

How to Decorate with Fairy Lights Outdoors

  1. Wrap 2-3 strands of fairy lights (Tip: Go for the battery-operated ones because they are safer.) around metal or wooden supports along the patio umbrella. Turn on the lights afterwards to create an “after dark” lighting effect.
  2. String extra strands of lights over the fence’s posts. Plug them into an extension cord or plug-in strands.
  3. Wrap a long, single strand of lights around the trunk or benches of a tree. Start from the bottom in order to create a band of Christmas light.

Steps on Decorating with Floral Fairy Lights

  1. Remove the stems of any faux flower or silk product using a puller. If you don’t have a puller, use a pair of scissors to cut them.
  2. Plug in a glue gun (with glue stick inserted) and apply a small portion of glue around the lights’ housing edges (or beneath each light from the strand).
  3. Press one flower ring using wet glue. Allow it to dry for 10-20 minutes.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the ring forms into an illuminating floral light decoration.

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3 Basic Ways of Decorating Your Apartment with Fairy Lights

  • Around picture frames – Use smaller strings of lights (battery-powered) when decorating your picture frames to avoid fire exposure.
  • Around the mantel – This is commonly used in decorating twinkling lights as it gives light and dimension to the entire room.
  • Inside mason jars – Mason jars aren’t only for storing food. They can also add extra dimension when you put in small light strings for display.

If you’re really clever with your fairy lights, you may even be able to do this:

Hopefully this has helped you with your fairy light decorating this Christmas!

Bruce Edwards

Awning Types and Maintenance

Modern awnings, or overhangs, come in two basic types, the manual and mechanical ones. The manual one is the traditional one which is opened by hand while the mechanical ones are opened and closed via remote control. The latter is, of course, more expensive than the first one. They both have their share of advantages and disadvantages.

awnings

Manual overhangs offer greater affordability and easier installation for any window, door, deck, or patio. The supporting arms can be angled against the wall or set standing vertically on the ground or flooring of the deck. These arms come in handy especially in windy areas. Also, since manual awnings are easily installed and removed, they can be transferred anywhere when needed.

Mechanical awnings need no support arms. They instead have lateral arms which gives an unobstructed view of the surroundings and shaded space. An electric motor operates this type of overhang. The arms open or close the overhang when the switch, either mounted on the wall or on a remote control is controlled.

Modern awnings can be made using different types of materials. The most common are aluminum, various fabrics, and fiberglass. Better overhangs are created as time went by because stronger winds are testing the durability of and damage their older versions. When overhangs are constructed, big emphasis is placed on their wind tolerance depending on their length, width, material used, and number of supporting arms to hold the awning.

A popular material used in residential overhangs is aluminum. They come in various colors and commonly painted with enamel paint. The reason why overhangs made from this material is because they can provide cooler temperatures inside the room, block a lot of sunlight, and prevent furniture and other things inside the house from fading colors. you can even find clear PVC awnings. Central Coast dwellers can still keep out of the sun while not affecting their view of the coast.

awnings central coast

Caring for the awnings is essential to ensuring convenient usage for many years. The following are some tips to maintain your awning:

  • There should be a regular inspection of each of the awning’s parts such as the support arms and the cover itself. Owners should also check for angled frames, rusts and dents. If the overhang is a mechanical one, the motor should be checked every now and then and should be lubricated when needed.
  • After every extreme weather condition, all overhangs should be inspected.
  • There should be a schedule of cleaning the overhangs. Light soap in lukewarm water is good for cleaning the awning’s parts.
  • Small debris can affect the opening and closing of both manual and mechanical overhangs. Such debris may be dead insects, twigs, and other small things that are usually carried by the wind.
  • During winter, it is best to remover the awning entirely even before the season starts.
  • If the awning is a self-standing one and is being stored after every use, it should be cleaned thoroughly before being stored.

Overhangs are great investments in business. Building a restaurant, for example, will require the owner to make use of all available space for tables and chairs. There may be instances where he should put more outside the building. Using an awning to expand the room is a good move to accommodate more customers.

If you’ve ever wanted to know the work that goes into making an awnings. Here’s how they do it:

Wishing you all the best with all your home decorating and window covering choices. Hopefully you’ll find just the right product for your home!

Bruce Edwards

Home Awnings and their Purpose

Awnings, also known as overhangs, are secondary coverings that are attached to the external windows, doors, or sides of homes and other buildings. They were first used long ago by ancient Egyptian and Syrian civilizations. Usually composed of canvass material that is stretched tightly over light steel or aluminum, they add a decorative touch for the house especially if they are of good design.

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Home awnings provide good shade from the sun and can be easily set up over patio or over doors and other outside resting areas at the side of the house. They have various uses for each house. They provide convenience and are easy to use.

Some notable functions of such coverings include:

  • Great protection from sunlight during summer, from heavy rain during rainy season, and from snow during the winter. The protection given against ultraviolet light also helps in warding off skin illnesses.
  • Overhangs have various designs, which add to the aesthetic aspects of the house. A good design may add to the elegance of the structure whether it is a house or a business establishment.
  • They also help in conserving valuable energy by acting as heat insulators against the heat of sunlight. They also prevent too much sunlight from entering the house, which protects furniture and other interior parts of the building from fading.
  • The sunlight is hotter today compared to that of the previous years, and cases of various skin conditions are more rampant. Awnings can block ultraviolet rays and can protect the skin against such diseases.
  • They help lower electrical consumption due to the reduced need for cooling appliances like AC units and electric fans.
  • Businesses can take advantage of awnings due to their design and location. They can advertise their business or the products they sell on an awning to attract potential customers. This is also a less expensive way to promote their product.
  • An awning can cover a significant size of space which a business can make full use of. They are good in expansion of a limited room for a house or a commercial space.
  • An awning can also cover things that cannot be seen just by anyone. Privacy is important, and an awning can ensure it.

Some awnings can be opened at any angle depending on the owner’s preference, some may like it fully open, half open, or just enough to let little air to enter the room to protect the privacy of the person inside.

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Awnings have different designs. There is a specific type for suitable for a structure. There are four:

  •  Freestanding overhangs are tents that can be assembled and positioned anywhere around the house; they can be put beside the window but without any attachment to it. Owners can make use of them anytime as they see fit, and remove it when not needed.
  • Fixed overhangs are directly attached over the window or door and are permanently connected to them. removing them takes a lot of effort.
  • Retractable overhangs are more common. Although they are also attached to a specific location in a building, they can be retracted or rolled up when not needed. These overhangs are usually made of canvass and other materials which can easily be rolled or folded.
  • Mechanical overhangs are more modern versions. Remote controls are used to retract or roll an awning and adjusting it requires only a press of a button, saving manpower energy.

Overhangs on doors protect doors from sunlight, and protect waiting guests from the sun or rain while the door is not yet open.

You can either purchase awnings from a store or if you want try make one yourself like this;

With the awnings on your windows, you’ll be cool in summer. Have fun!

Bruce Edwards

Window Shutters and Types

Shutters are nice additions for added protection and decoration to a house’s windows, doors, and other parts. There are many types available and each of them offers a unique look for the house.

The most traditional design is the solid shutter. Today they are commonly used in antique styled houses with furnishings that date back as early as the 18th century. A solid shutter provides the highest level of privacy and sunlight protection. Some may have hard panels that can be lowered or raised.

shutters

Café-style shutters, as their name implies, they are commonly seen in cafes and restaurants of European style. Such food businesses prefer this kind of shutter because they only cover the lower part of windows or doors, allowing only the adequate amount of light to come in. it still leaves the top part of the doors or windows open for potential customers to see what’s inside.

Plantation shutters are commonly seen in modern houses. This type of shutter has the perfect design for the living room and the kitchen. They have slim slats that can be rotated to adjust the level of sunlight that enters the house. This kind of shutter can also be customized and very suitable to any spaces inside the house. They can be installed either on patio doors or over French doors.

A window shutter is used by many homeowners for many reasons. Besides being able to give an aesthetic design to the house, it can also protect the room from today’s harsh sunlight. And as it does it, the shutter can also protect the person from the “eyes” of other people outside. Other benefits of a window shutter are:

  • A window shutter can block sunlight during summer and keep cold air out during winter.
  • The level of privacy can be adjusted from full blockage of the view inside the house, to partial, to full view, depending on the owner’s preference.
  • A shutter doesn’t only look clean, but it is also easy to clean. Wiping it a few times is enough to clean a shutter.
  • Prior to installation, a buyer can customize the design of his shutter. He can choose the color of the slats according to the style and size of his window, as well as the design of the panel.
  • A shutter is also as cost effective as it is durable. It can greatly insulate the heat that enters the house, reducing the need for air cooling appliances buy up to 50%.

shutters

Shutters are not just for windows. Doors have them too. A door shutter can provide the same amount of benefits as a window shutter. It provides protection for glass doors, preventing objects from hitting the glass. It is also a good alternative to window curtains to give a more unique and “new” look to the door’s design.

Elegance can also be achieved when a shutter is installed on a bathroom. It filters the light that enters the bathroom and provides privacy for those who want to relax and take a soothing bath longer. The materials used for a bathroom shutter should be able to withstand humidity and moisture.

Perhaps once you have your shutters installed, you may wish to improve the look at the top with a fabric covered window cornice. Here is a video to show how you can make one at home:

Good luck choosing shutters for your home. With the great choices available, you are sure to find exactly what you want!
Bruce Edwards

What are Window Blinds: Newcastle Blinds and their Types?

Window blind, or window shade, is a covering for the windows of a house, office, or any building. This is similar in purpose to curtains but different when it comes to the materials used to make them. Window blinds have many types depending on the mechanisms and design.

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A common window blind comprises elongated slats of many types, which can be horizontal or vertical. They can be made of metal, wood, or plastic which are attached together with strong cables that are extended through the gaps between the slats. They can be adjusted through rotation to an open or closed position either manually or with the use of a remote control. Closing the blinds allows the slats to lie on top of each other with each other obstructing much of the light outside. Other types of window shades have only one piece of large material adjusted instead of multiple smaller slats.

The two general kinds of window blinds are the ready-made ones and the made to measure ones. The latter is made after the window size is given to the maker. Ready-made ones are already made in set sizes where the buyer can only choose among them what fits his window. Some manufactured window shades can be cut down to fit the size of the buyer’s window.

The blinds can be categorized into 5 groups. Namely the Roller window shades, Roman window shades, Vertical window shades, Venetian window shades, and Pleated window shades. A Roller shade does not have slats. Instead, it only has one large material that is rolled up or down. Metal shades are used in business establishments to prevent thieves from entering through the window. Also, metallic window shades protect the room from harsh temperature, fire, and protect the privacy of the people inside. Usually these types of window shades are machine operated.

The slat blind is the most common you will see in many offices and business establishments. The slats in this window shade are positioned horizontally and are usually made of vinyl or metal. Strings attach them together and can be rotated depended on the level of light you want to enter the room. The downside of horizontal window shades I that they accumulate dust as time go because of the positioning of the slats.

Vertical window shades, unlike the first type, don’t collect dust simply because they stand vertically. They draw to the side compared to the first type which is lowered or raised. Usually, they are used in doors rather than windows and can be operated more easily because they require less physical effort.

vertical blinds

Roman shades are primarily used to block the sun. They cover the full window and are evenly stacked when opened. The downside with roman shades is that they cannot protect against moisture and extreme temperatures, making them unsuitable for comfort rooms or bathrooms.

Materials used in making window shades vary. Some of them are affordable while some are expensive. Vinyl, polyester, aluminum, and PVC are some common inexpensive materials. They are durable yet affordable making them perfect for making window blinds. Newcastle and Central Coast home owners can decorate their home however they want with the great range available.

This video explains some of the do’s and don’ts of window decorating. Hopefully this will help you in your window decorating efforts:

Have fun with your home and windows!

Bruce Edwards

Information On The Recurve Bow

There are different types of bows that archers today can choose from. One potential option is called the recurve bow which is a bow that carries curved tips which curves even more when the string is drawn. Although all bows rely on a draw string, this is the only kind where the string actually touches a section of the primary limb that it is attached to.

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It is often compared with the straight bow. This is the kind of bow that looks pretty much like a capital D. What sets the curved version apart from the straight bow is its ability to deliver stronger shots ultimately because of the curved design. Because the ends of the limbs are curved, the bows store energy in a more efficient manner. In addition, they carry a larger amount of excess energy that can easily be released with the drawing of the string. Basically, the recurve bow allows the archer to deliver stronger shots with little power.

Although the shots delivered by this particular type of bow are stronger and speedier, they do make a significant amount of noise with every shot. The noise that is heard with every draw and release of the string results from the stored energy that the limbs store.

The history of this bow dates back to the time of the early Turks, Magyars, Persians, and Chinese in the second millennium before Christ. Use of this weapon later spread like wildfire reaching Egypt, the Mediterranean, and finally Europe where it was considered as one of the best battle gear that an army can have.

Although it served the necessities of war back in the day, modern times have turned it into a recreational item used by amateur and professional competitive archers. The great thing about the recurve bow is that it works best as both a training bow and one for professional use.

There are additional pieces of equipment that complete the recurve bow starting with the clicker. The clicker is a wire-type attachment that resembles a blade. It is fitted onto the bow with the help of a riser. What it does is hold the arrow until the archer reaches the maximum length for each draw of the string. When this happens, the clicker automatically releases the bow signaling the archer to release the string for firing.

There is the kisser as well. The kisser is a tool that helps with the archer’s aim. It can be positioned on one part of the bow and the archer can use it to draw the string to the perfect level for each and every shot. This results in a more precise angling especially when there are specific environmental conditions that need to be considered.12762154844_1cbbf4ceb3_z__47777.1408679867.1280.1280

Serving as a complement to the kisser is the stabilizer. The stabilizers are a series of weights that can be attached to the bow. What these do is balance the bow depending on the preferences of its user. Aside from offering more stability, the stabilizers also act as a tool to reduce any vibrations from when the string is drawn and released. Vibrations can cause the archer’s aim to change significantly and this is why it needs to be controlled.

Here is a video showing you to shoot a recurve bow:

Now that you know all you need to know about the recuve bow, go shooting and have some fun!

Bruce Edwards

The Many Uses Of The Ghillie Suit

In the game of hunter versus hunted, the most important thing is camouflage. The same can be said for the hiding game. In these two situations, the objective is to conceal oneself well enough so as not to be detected. The same concept of concealment is applied all throughout the military where soldiers cover themselves in a ghillie suit or two to blend in with their environment. Hunters also use these suits so that they can effectively set their sights on and eventually hit their targets. Photographers also rely on these suits to shoot pictures up-close without disrupting the animals that they are trying to photograph.

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This particular type of gear is meant to look like foliage, heavy foliage for that matter. A piece of cloth, usually thick netting, is lined with different strips of fabric including twine and burlap and then covered in actual twigs, leaves, and other types of foliage to give the ghillie suit an authentic look even as it rustles in the wind.

It was actually the Scottish who came up with the revolutionary idea for these particular suits. Initially, they served the purpose of a hunting blind, a portable and lightweight one. The Scottish hunters loved the easy-to-use suits that allowed them to improve their hunting catches. After several years, it was introduced to the British Army and the rest is history.

The British Army began utilizing the suits for their sniper units and special operations personnel. Seeing that the ghillie suit improved the performance of these departments, the British shared the suit with their allies and these have been in use by different armies across the globe.

The great thing about these handmade suits is that the user is always assured of these suits’ high quality not to mention their durability and reliability. Depending on the manufacturer, the added leaves, twigs, and natural foliage can be changed every now and then to cater to the current season making the ghillie suit more adaptable.

Because of the nature of the fabric and the component of the suit itself, it is possible for these suits to reach high temperatures when exposed to warmer climates. It is a good thing though that modern practices and materials have allowed manufacturers to fabricate the ghillie suit not only from a fire retardant material but also equip it to have a heat release capacity enabling the user to conceal themselves effectively without being exposed to any risk of overheating.ghillie-suit1

There are plenty of different uses for the camouflage suit and there are different types of people who rely on it on a regular basis. It is popular among military snipers and special action teams. It is popular among hunters who need an easy way to hide themselves from the prey that they are trying to catch. Photographers continue to use them in their photo sessions especially when wild animals are the focus of their piece. Hopefully, with further improvements to the design of the suit, more wearers will be added to this existing list.

Here is a video of how you can make your own ghillie suit:

Have fun hiding in the bush and trying out your new ghillie suit!

Bruce Edwards

The Evolution Of The Bow And Arrow: How They Work

Used by hunters and then by soldiers and now by sportsmen, the bow and arrow is a weapon system consisting of strings and projectiles that is commonly found in the vast histories of different countries. It consists of three primary elements starting with a flexible wooden limb called the bow, string, and the projectiles, the arrows.

Silueta de arquero

The flexible bow is joined from end to end with the string. Each draw of the string flexes the bow even more and when released, the generated energy from the bow is transferred onto the arrow giving it flight. The farther the string is pulled back, the longer the distance the arrow will travel. This weapon is susceptible to the changes in wind speed, direction, and temperature but can be adjusted for more precise shooting.

It is a known fact that the bow and arrow is one of the oldest combination weapons in existence and its persistence proves to be rather intriguing. It follows the practice of throwing darts and spears. No other practice with projectiles predates it. This gives you an idea of how old this weapon is. Records show that this weapon has been in use since 17500 BCE. Although it is no longer utilized by military men for battle, it still persists as a reliable weapon for tribesmen and hunters. These days, its use has also been adapted into the recreational field in the competitive sport of archery.

Although the classic design for the bow and arrow is still utilized today, modern updated versions have been released in the past century. There are different kinds of bows and arrows that can now be chosen from depending on the purpose of the buyer. These are fabricated from different materials and come with specifically designed string mechanisms.

The different bow types include the recurve bow, the reflex bow, the self-bow, the longbow, the crossbow, the composite bow, the takedown bow, and the compound bow. These differ in the number of limbs they have and the kind of assistive technology that is applied to the string mechanism.

When it comes to the arrows, the materials used in making these differ as well. Back in ancient times, arrows were simply sharpened pieces of wood. It was nothing but a tubular piece of wood much like your typical pencil. To make the arrows lethal, the user will dip the arrowhead into some poison before firing it.

bow and arrow

Modern day arrows are aerodynamic which allow for better flight. Although some are still made out of a wood base, other materials like carbon fiber, aluminum, and lightweight hardened plastic are also used in the shaft. Arrowheads are now made of reinforced steel and no longer have a flat surface.

When it comes to the modern day bow and arrow, flight paths are more precise and shooters have better control over the weapon thanks to the different improvements that have been made not only to the primary components, the bow and the arrow, but also to the additional equipment that these can accommodate from the sights to the draw weights.

Here is a video that helps teach you how to shoow your bow and arrow:


Now you know a little bit about the evolution of the bow and arrow, go have fun shooting!

Bruce Edwards

How to get Rid of Couch Grass

couch-lawn

Not all types of grass are good for your home. One of the not so suitable types is couch grass.

You may not notice what couch grass is right away, as it looks like other kinds of grass, but when you look underneath, you’ll see that there is a thick mass of roots—which is not evident in other types of grass. Bulbs also form and easily grow especially during autumn or spring.

Why it’s not good for you

The problem with couch grass is that the bulbs and the grass become entangled. Aside from that, they may also get intertwined with other plants in your garden, which may damage those plants because the grass may get the nutrients that are supposed to be for them. This happens mostly if the garden and the plants in it are not healthy, and when there are infested lawns in the vicinity.

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How to fix it

If you’re experiencing this problem, you can try the following:

  • Hand Weeding. The old school process of using your hands to pull weeds out can be effective but you have to keep in mind that it is not a one-time thing. Do it when you notice that foliage from the bulbs is dying, but not when the grassy area is near Roses, shrubs, or trees.
  • Use a rake. Sometimes, the process is also called forking the soil so that roots and stems underground will be damaged, and so the grass won’t grow again. However, there are times when not all the roots are removed, so you may have to repeat the process regularly.
  • Don’t re-turf right away. If there are any remaining couch grass, dug them out and make sure to strip away any infested parts of the lawns before re-turfing. This is recommended especially for areas that have already been heavily infested. Make sure to dig up and throw away bulbs that have dried up and have no chances of growing again.
  • Spray weed-killers in spring. Do this when grass has grown at least 10 to 15 cm from each shoot. Do it mildly.
  • In autumn, make sure to use the weed-killer during the months of October or November, so that drought can be avoided.
  • Get a Gutter Guard. This way, you will not only be safe from unruly grass such as this, but your house would also be free of tree debris, or fallen leaves. It also keeps pests away, and improves quality of water, too.
  • Remember to spray-weed killers every time the grass grows back again. If you see something growing from the soil within three weeks after you have raked, or sprayed, it means that the roots are still there so dig them up again, and spray some more. Make sure not to plant anything else until all of the grass has been killed completely.

Check your garden or yard now and see for signs of couch grass. If you see any, follow the tips listed above, and you most certainly will be able to get rid of them. Here is a useful video with some tips!

Best of luck getting rid of your Couch Grass!

Bruce Edwards