How to Prune or Remove Problem Trees

The following is a guest post by Rodney Southern.

Knowing how to prune or remove problem trees is a vital part of being a homeowner. Trees are a wonderful part of having a lawn. Your children may enjoy a tire swing while you take advantage of a nice shade tree to create a reading nook. But trees are constantly changing and growing, which means you have to take care of them, if you want a healthy yard. Trees can also create problems in certain situations. What do you do then?

How to Prune or Remove Problem Trees at The Happy Housewife

What constitutes a problem?

Tree branches that extend over your roof will drop leaves that can clog your gutters or break and damage your roof. Trees with dead branches could be dangerous if they break and fall on children or pets. Overgrown trees take up too much space and create too much shade. There are many reasons why you may decide it is time to either prune those trees or have them removed completely.

The first step is knowing what kind of trees you have on your property and what is causing the problem. Some trees are subject to a variety of diseases and molds, which make it nearly impossible to prune and save the tree. Insects may have destroyed the structure of the tree, leaving it to die from the inside out. Other trees, like the Lombardy Poplar actually send off what are known as suckers which create a poplar-like small shrub several feet away from the actual tree. Other trees may just be overgrown and unruly. Once you know what you have, you can begin to research the best way to handle your issue, whether you need to learn how to prune or remove problem trees.

When should you prune?

If your trees simply need pruning in order to grow better and fit better within the space you have for them, you can either tackle the job yourself or hire a professional. Pruning should be done very carefully and with the proper tools to prevent injury to yourself or the tree. Typically pruning is done at the end or beginning of the growing season. This is the opportune time to trim back growth, cut away dead areas, and treat for diseases and insects. During the growing season, any pruning performed should involve nothing more than trimming back fast growing branches to keep new growth contained.

Can you remove a tree?

In the process of researching how to prune or remove problem trees, you may find yourself wondering whether you are really qualified to remove that 100 year old oak tree that sits at the corner of your yard near your house. Unless you are an experienced tree worker, the answer is probably no. Amateurs should only remove trees that are located far from buildings and electrical wires to avoid damage, injury, and even death. Safety is a major concern when removing trees as well as getting rid of the unsightly stump. Most of the time it is best to hire a professional for tree removal.

Once you have figured out what the problem is and decided on a solution, deciding how to prune or remove problem trees is the easy part of your conundrum.


Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He also runs his own website on diabetes called Dashing Diabetes. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie, and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.

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How to Inspect a Roof for Leaks

The following is a guest post by Rodney Southern.

Inspecting your roof for leaks is important because a roof leak can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare. From drywall damage to mold problems, the last thing you want is for water to come into your home through your roof.

How to Inspect a Roof for Leaks | The Happy Housewife

In many cases, you won’t notice leaks for a while, as they usually start off slow and don’t show any signs until the damage is already done. Inspecting your roof for leaks helps you in a number of ways. Most importantly, it can help you make repairs quickly without having to replace your entire roof.

Know the Signs of a Potential Leak

There are a few telltale signs that can point to a roof leak. Brown water spots on your ceilings, peeling paint around skylights, and pieces of your roof shingles falling into your yard or driveway are clear signs that something may be wrong. You may also notice black spots or stains on your roofing deck that can signal a mold problem, which needs to be addressed immediately.

If the leak is especially bad, you will notice water dripping into your home when it rains. You may even notice water spots on your walls. This is because your insulation may be saturated, which can cause water to run down into your home and penetrate the walls.

How to Find the Leak Source

Inspecting your roof for leaks can be tricky. Even roofing contractors have trouble from time to time, but there are a few steps you can take on your own to identify the problem area on your roof. Inspecting your attic on a rainy day is one if the easiest ways to check for leaks. Be sure to bring a flashlight so that you can inspect each area of your roof until you identify where the water is entering your home. If you don’t want to wait for rain, have a friend use a garden hose on the roof.

You may also want to check the exterior of the roof from the ground. You will want to check for loose or buckling shingles. This is easy if you have a pitched (angled) roof, but if you have a flat roof, you may want to use a ladder to get a closer look. Make sure that you use a safe, secure ladder so that you don’t hurt yourself while inspecting the roofline.

If you are unable to find a problem when inspecting your roof for leaks, there may be another way that water is coming into your home. Plugged or dirty downspouts and gutters can divert water into your home, and can cause the same type of damage that a roof leak might. After you inspect your roof and gutters, you may want to consider hiring a roofing contractor to handle all repairs or to do a more in-depth inspection. Remember that the sooner you repair your leaky roof, the less expensive the repairs will be.


Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He also runs his own website on diabetes called Dashing Diabetes. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie, and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.

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This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

5 Simple DIY Home Repairs

The following is a guest post by Rodney Southern.

Hiring a contractor to repair every little thing that goes wrong in your home can become expensive, so learning these five simple home repairs that you can do yourself can save you a lot of money. Here are the easiest repairs to do on your own.

5 Simple DIY Home Repairs | The Happy Housewife

Troubleshoot a Running Toilet

For many homeowners, nothing is more irritating than a toilet that won’t flush. This often happens because the toilet won’t stop running. You can troubleshoot and repair this by doing the following:

  • Check to make sure that the chain is still attached to the lever inside the tank.
  • Check the flapper at the bottom of the tank to make sure it is opening and closing properly.
  • Check to see that there is water reaching the water line in the tank.

The first two issues can be handled by replacing the broken components. The last problem can be solved by making sure that the water valve is turned to the “on” position. If problems persist, you can then call a plumber.

Repair a Broken Garbage Disposal

Usually, when a garbage disposal stops working, people assume it needs to be replaced. This isn’t always the case. If your disposal stops working, you can troubleshoot it by first checking for the reset button. Sometimes, when a garbage disposal stops working, it simply needs to be reset.

If it is clogged, you can disable the power and use a dowel rod to remove the clog. Once complete, plug the unit back in, and run water through it.

Patch a Hole in Your Drywall

Patching a hole in your drywall is a simple repair you can do yourself. Depending on the size of the hole, you can use a patching kit, or you can use a small scarp of drywall.

Larger holes will require a piece of drywall, which means you will need to cut a square around the hole so you can put the cut-to-size scrap in its place. A drill, a few screws, a putty knife, and some joint compound are all you need to finish this repair.

Replacing a Light Fixture

You don’t have to be an electrician to repair a light fixture. While you might want some help replacing a chandelier or fan so you don’t fall off the ladder, replacing the actual fixture itself is easy. You will need to make sure you turn off the breaker that delivers power to the area first, then simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the new fixture once the old one is removed.

Repair a Clogged Bathtub Drain

Bathtubs can get clogged from time to time, but there is rarely a need to call a plumber. Usually the clog is caused by hair, which can be easily removed. Snake kits are available at most hardware stores, and they can be used to remove a clog in just a few minutes. Follow this up with a healthy dose of drain cleaner, and your tub will be as good as new.

Once you master these five simple home repairs you can do yourself, you won’t be in a rush to call a home repair contractor for those tiny problems anymore.

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Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He also runs his own website on diabetes called Dashing Diabetes. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie, and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.

 


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

How to Clean and Seal a Deck

The following is a guest post by Rodney Southern.

Cleaning and sealing your deck can seem like an intimidating task, but really it is a simple, step-based task that anyone can do. The more temperate month of May is ideal to do this task as it is warm, but not so hot that the sealer will not spread evenly. Also, you won’t get a nasty sunburn! Here is a quick, seven-step guide explaining how to clean and seal a deck with ease.

How to Clean and Seal a Deck | The Happy Housewife

Check the Sealant on Your Deck

It is silly to spend the money and time on sealing a deck that is already holding back the water, right? To check whether your deck is already sealed properly, simply spray it down and look to see if it is beading up. If it is, you have no worries. Move on to simply cleaning the deck.

Check for Splinters, Nails, Loose Boards, etc

Clear the entire deck of chairs, tables, and anything that might be in your way. Get on your knees and inspect the boards one by one, being careful not to miss any surface areas. Look for raised areas, splinters, popped nails, and damage.

If you have damage, fix it. If you can’t fix the damage, see about a professional helping you out. If you want to fix it yourself but don’t know how, here is a good tutorial for fixing your deck planks. Regardless, don’t lay fresh sealant down on damaged boards. You will have a mess to deal with.

Wash the Deck

Some folks use soapy water but I like to use good old fashioned water and a scrub brush. This allows you to keep a natural look to the deck and it avoids some of the discoloration that soap and chemicals can leave behind. Elbow grease will remove the debris just fine.

Rinse and Let Dry

Whatever you do, do not apply sealant to a dirty or wet deck. After cleaning the deck, let it sit for a day with nobody walking on it. Let it dry naturally and completely.

Inspect for Debris

When you come back the next day, walk across the deck and make sure there are no wet areas or standing water. This is very important because you could otherwise seal the water into the wood. That kind of defeats the purpose. If you have to let it sit another day, go ahead. Make sure the deck is totally dry and clear of any debris. Sweep completely.

Apply Sealer

Pick out the sealant you want for your deck carefully. Here is an awesome buying guide from Lowe’s to help you out with that. This sealant will not be especially cheap, but a new deck costs a good bit more. Apply the sealant with a clean, dry paint roller. Start in one corner and back your way out carefully. Paint the seats and benches first. Don’t paint yourself into a corner. Always paint what is in front of you and never what is behind you.

Let Dry and Enjoy!

At this point, it is a waiting game. Do not go near your deck for a day or two, and when you return, voila! You will have a beautiful, like-new deck to enjoy without fear of water damage.

Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He also runs his own website on diabetes called Dashing Diabetes. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie, and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.

 


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.