Edibles with Ease: When to Get Growing from Seeds or from Starts? Read more »
In my side yard which is mostly shade, I have tried a variety of perennials that thrive in a woodland setting. Read more »
Make your garden even more welcoming to birds and butterflies: turn it into a certified wildlife habitat. Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Keep your lawn and your shoes clean and free of clippings by adding our innovative, sturdy Grass Catcher to your StaySharp™ Ree... Read more »
The Salsa Rain Barrel System makes it easy to collect up to 58 gallons of water for your garden and lawn. Our rain barrel is ma... Read more »
Make the most of National Craft Month by preparing some craft kits for your children - let them explore color, texture and dif... Read more »
This is the second how-to in a series focused on getting the most out of your basic paper punches. Read more »
Spring brings in the most wonderful colors and here is a fun way to add a touch of color to your gifts! Read more »
Our ProCision™ Rotary Bypass Trimmer features a unique dual-rail system that stabilizes the rotary blade, eliminating wiggle fo... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of crafting and mixed media tasks, our Amplify® Mixed Media Shears sense blade separation and force th... Read more »
Available online and at your local retailer May 2014 Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with... Read more »
My idea is to show everyone that they can make something cute and fashionable without spending a lot of money. Read more »
Embellishing a plain shirt using a reverse appliqué technique is easy - and your kids will love their personalized outfit! Read more »
This year, it seems like spring is way overdue at our house. Read more »
Perfect for tight, precise cuts, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force the blades back togethe... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Perfect for users with larger hands or anyone who needs to make long cuts through multiple layers, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabr... Read more »
I always look forward to school being out for the summer (more so than my children, probably!) and the change of pace means we... Read more »
This fun project is a great way to send a little love note to your child. These lunchbox notes can be slipped into a backpack... Read more »
Here is a fun craft for St. Patrick’s Day that is not only adorable, it makes kids stop and think about how lucky they are. Read more »
Children love our Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the handle that’s shiny, bright and smooth, not “sticky” or “bumpy.” Teachers and... Read more »
Our Big Kids Scissors take the basic design of our teacher-recommended Kids Scissors and enlarge them for kids that are a littl... Read more »
Our Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those older children who ar... Read more »
Introduced to the world as a quality fabric scissors, the Original Orange-Handled Scissors redefined the standard for cutting p... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Super Pruner/Lopper, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear... Read more »
Our Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter with a 45 mm blade makes cutting a wide variety of quilting materials comfortable and easy. A cu... Read more »
Rat Ladders, as I call them, were high on my list of gardening flubs to avoid.
Here’s the thing: gardening wildlife – whether a rat, mouse, squirrel, possum, raccoon or other climbing critter – looks for protected ways to move through the garden. They also seek shelter. And what better shelter than the attic of our homes? Attics are protected from harsh weather, usually heated and quite often rarely visited by the humans living in lower stories – until we hear scratching and scrambling from above or begin to smell rodent waste. Or worse yet, we see something scurry by out of the corner of our eye. So, best we do everything in the garden to make it as difficult as possible for those critters to gain access to our homes in the first place.
First things first: don’t install large, inappropriate plants right next to your house. Instead, take care to select locations further from your foundation for bigger trees and shrubs. Yes, softening a foundation or the corner of the house with a tall Juniper accent or airy Japanese Maple may look lovely early on, but as those trees grow, they become increasingly difficult to keep pruned away from the home. Instead, try planting bigger things well away from the house.
If you already have a large plant right beside the house, know that most plants can be pruned from the interior to remove branches growing toward the house. Be sure to use your bypass shears or handsaw to remove the entire branch headed toward the house rather than just lopping it off at some random length. (See image at the beginning of the article, which illustrates where to cut.) Leaving a stub, which contains buds, only means you will get several more branches growing toward the house.
Whatever you do, don’t lop the top off the tree. Chopping the top off of a tree in an effort to waylay any climbing critters simply won’t do the trick. First, topping a tree in this way will create an unhealthy tree. If it doesn’t kill the tree outright, what you’ll likely see is an ugly tree with loads of new, ugly, climbable shoots erupting from all of your topping cuts. Not only will the critters have a new, well hidden route to the top of your house, but you’ll have an ugly and potentially hazardous tree to manage going forward. And, once you’ve created this kind of chopped up mess, it’s much harder and can take many years to prune your tree back into a healthy and somewhat visually appealing shape.
If your plant is too big for a space right beside the house, consider removing it completely. Plants that create these ladders can also cause other problems for homeowners. They may rub on siding and paint, ruining the exterior. They may unload buckets of material into gutters, clogging and even breaking them. They may send out exploring roots that damage foundations, too. And, if they’re in front of a window, they may break your view and block sunlight into your home.
If you do dig out a plant installed to close to the house, try to recycle it elsewhere in the garden. Depending on the type of plant, its age, time of year and how large it is, you may be able to successfully dig it out and replant it in a more appropriate space in the garden.