Imagine being able to pick fresh lemons, limes and oranges right from your patio! Read more »
Cutting overgrown grasses by more than an inch or two at a time can create unhealthy brown and bald spots in your lawn – or ev... Read more »
Kids are eager gardeners. They love to experiment with colorful flowers, have an adventurous sense of design, and getting dirt... Read more »
Our Shear Ease® Grass Shears include a patented mechanism that prevents the blades from jamming or sticking when you’re trimmin... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Hedge Shears, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear techno... Read more »
Our Easy-Pour Watering Can offers both capacity and control. The 2.6-gallon volume holds a generous amount of water that is eas... Read more »
Put your crafting skills to work and create a beautiful and unique fascinator that reflects your personal style. Read more »
“Painting” with tissue paper is not only fun but beautiful! Read more »
Mosaic tile frames are a beautiful way to display photos. Read more »
Designed for long, easy cuts down strips of Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that preve... Read more »
Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with a Squeeze Punch that makes every embellishment up to 2X easier to pun... Read more »
Designed for tight, precise cuts through Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Detail Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that p... Read more »
A colorful, roomy bag is just the thing you need to carry all your belongings for a day at the beach. Read more »
Keep the kids busy on a road trip with their own art bag full of inspiration and the essentials. Read more »
This easy pillowcase dress looks adorable with pretty fabrics. Plus, it is super simple to put together, even if you have not... Read more »
Only our Stitcher Scissors provide precision and control that meet the needs of the most demanding sewers and quilters. Micro-T... Read more »
Our Seamstress Scissors are the perfect all-purpose scissors for anyone who cuts fabric frequently. The smooth action of these... Read more »
Choose our Dressmaker Shears for long, smooth cuts through multiple layers of medium to heavy fabrics. Extra-long blades maximi... Read more »
Looking for a sure cure for bored kids - make sparkly sea creatures! Read more »
Open-ended activities like this Busy Book can keep kids occupied in the back seat of a car AND spark fun family conversations! Read more »
It doesn’t take much to turn an everyday snack into something a little extra special. It is great to see how quickly you can a... Read more »
Our Preschool Training Scissors features a special training lever that opens the blades after each cut, helping children learn... Read more »
Children love our Designer Non-stick Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the colorful handle patterns that make cutting fun and the non... Read more »
Our Designer Non-stick Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those ol... Read more »
The beautiful mood lighting of lanterns at outdoor gatherings is fabulous, so why not craft up a set to use this summer. Read more »
Treat your children to their own special tent hideaway, then stand back and watch as the fun and adventures begin! Read more »
Make a thoughtful gift for someone this summer! Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Great for beginners, the unique design of this tool makes cutting perfect shapes from fabric a breeze — since you’re not managi... 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 »
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.