Keeping Yards Safe
Consult My Checklist to Keep Your Yard Safe
Keeping yards safe begins with planning. To that end, I supply this checklist to help you stay ahead of the game. Here you will find warnings to alert you to common landscaping hazards. Please recognize, however, that there is one thing even more critical to safety than planning: common sense!
"Itchy Rash Plants"
Among the "itchy rash plants," you will find certain vegetation that just about everybody has heard of. For example, the reputation of poison ivy most definitely precedes it wherever it is encountered. Everyone has heard of the itching it can cause. But there are some other rash culprits that are far less well-known.
Deer Ticks and Lyme Disease
Some of the tiniest hazards are the worst. Smaller than the ticks one encounters more often, deer ticks are so hard to detect that you might not even be aware that you have been bitten. Lyme disease can ensue, which spells big trouble. Keep you yard safe from deer ticks by making it less attractive to their hosts.
Natural Mosquito Control
Another tiny menace is the mosquito. I'm not referring to their annoying buzzing and biting (although that can be bad enough), but to something more sinister: the West Nile virus they can carry. If you are worried about using chemical bug sprays, you will wish to read my tips on natural mosquito control methods.
Pictures of Poisonous Plants
I don't wish to sound like an alarmist, but poisonous plants are everywhere! What I mean by that is that wherever you look in landscaping, poisonous plants lurk -- potentially. You probably figured there are poisonous weeds . But how about your perennials and shrubs? How about those tropicals growing in patio pots or window boxes? Keep kids...
Newspaper Safe as Garden Mulch?
Each of the next 3 entries deals with a question commonly asked by homeowners who are trying to be conscientious about keeping yards safe. This first one regards using newspapers in the garden, whether as mulch or shredded up in the compost bin.
Cat Poop in the Compost?
I'm often asked for advice from folks sick of finding cat poop in their gardens. It's a legitimate concern, since cat poop is unsanitary. Thus my article on cat repellents, on Page 2 of which I respond to those who are curious as to whether cat poop should be composted.
What's the "Dig Safe" Phone Number?
One way to keep your yard safe is to remember the spirit behind the Hippocratic oath and first do no harm. Specifically, I'm referring to DIY projects that involve digging. You can do a lot of harm (to underground cables and whatnot) by digging where you're not supposed to. So before you dig, call the "Dig Safe" phone number.
Carving Pumpkins and Halloween Yard Safety
Safety and fun are two things we seldom associate with each other -- which often gets us into trouble! Here's a case in point. A fun fall activity is carving pumpkins. But carvers sometimes get carried away with the fun and expose themselves (or others) unnecessarily to Halloween hazards.
Pictures of Poison Ivy
Many people who come down with poison ivy rash had no idea, when they came into contact with the plant, that it was, indeed, poison ivy they were brushing up against. That is why identification is so critical. Let these pictures of poison ivy at its various stages of development and in its various habitats help you identify the "itchy weed" and...
Help With Poison Ivy Identification, Eradication
Maybe you wish to get right down to business, rather than browsing the photos in the entry above. This article offers quick identification tips, then proceeds to tell you how to get rid of poison ivy. I also talk about a weed you may well have growing on your land that can counteract poison ivy rash.
Getting Rid of Poison Oak
Poison oak is to residents of the U.S. West Coast what poison ivy is to their Eastern brethren. I am an East Coast native, myself, so poison ivy is my nemesis. But here I tell you how you can eradicate poison oak, which is a similar weed.
Poison Sumac Pictures
Many worry unnecessarily about encountering poison sumac while landscaping. It tends to grow in swampy areas. If you have brushy wet areas on your land, consult my photos to help you in identification. But I warn you ahead of time: you may come away from my gallery thinking poison sumac is lovely!
Gardening as Natural Stress Relief
This entry puts a twist on our subject. Gardening is well known to be an antidote to the debilitating effects of stress, as Elizabeth Scott confirms. About.com's Guide to Stress Management observes that the very act of turning our landscapes into backyard sanctuaries is a stress reliever.