PEST CONTROL

Smart tips to keep rabbits at bay

Follow these tips from Bobbex:

Step 1: Build and bury barriers

The fence only needs to be 3 feet tall, as rabbits are unlikely to jump over it. However, you’ll have to bury the fence underground since rabbits are experts at burrowing up to a foot below the surface to access a tasty food source.

Step 2: Repel and remove temptation

Use natural, environmentally friendly repellent to protect ornamental plantings from small, four-legged garden critters such as rabbits.

Step 3: Remove the creature’s comforts

If you don’t want rabbits nesting and raising families in your yard, remove brush and other debris that could provide them easy shelter and spray a repellent in those areas to maintain rabbit-free hiding places.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Quick tips for the spring season

Bring your garden to new levels with these tips from Gilmour:

* Plant based on your zone. Not all flowers succeed in the same weather conditions, which makes planting based on what grows best in your geographical area crucial. Use a planting map to learn more about what to plant based on your zone.

* Apply the right amount of water. Water is essential for growth of both plants and herbs, but the proper quantity varies drastically depending on what you’re growing. For tender herbs like basil, dill and cilantro, use plenty of water, about 1-2 inches per week. For hardy herbs like rosemary, thyme and mint, be sure to let the soil dry out between watering.

WATER

Hard water proves hard on your wallet

Hard water, which contains high levels of calcium and magnesium, can be found in nearly 90 percent of American homes. These minerals cause scaling, a buildup that clogs waterlines and plumbing forcing appliances to work harder and operate less efficiently. The scale may also harbor bacteria. The only way to truly remove the hard and soft scale from household water systems is with salt-based water softeners.

According to the Water Quality Research Foundation for washing machines, the key factor in removing stains from clothing was water softness. Reduction of water hardness was up to 100 times more effective at stain removal than increasing the detergent dose or washing with hotter water. In fact, soft water can reduce soap use by as much as half. Hard water can also reduce the efficiency of water heaters and increase electricity costs by as much as 48 percent, according to the Battelle Memorial Institute.

HOMES

Insider tips and tactics for buying a home in a seller’s market

If you’re looking to buy a home, you’re aware it’s a seller’s market out there. Don’t worry! You can still get your slice of the American dream at a price you can afford. Here’s how:

Work with a professional Realtor. In a seller’s market, it’s even more critical to getting you the home of your dreams.

Get pre-approved. It’ll show the seller you mean business.

Use technology. House hunt online first.

Don’t wait to request a showing. The minute you see a house you love, ask your Realtor to request a showing.

Don’t wait to make an offer. No contingencies, no special requests and more than the asking price if you can afford it.