Do These Things in April to Prep for a Stress-Free Summer


April is the month to set the wheels in motion to get your home ready for a carefree summer. Summer is one of the best times of the year, so by doing some simple preparations now, you will be able to enjoy those times without any homeownership worries.

Start your prep by checking the toolshed to make certain that your yard maintenance tools will be up and running for the summer months. Be sure the lawn mower engine has new plugs, a new air filter and a fresh tank of gas. Sharpen the blades of the mower and all of your gardening tools.

An efficient AC will be your best friend when you crank it up, so schedule a springtime preventative maintenance tune-up. If it’s determined that your AC has limited life expectancy, then be prepared and get an estimate for a new unit.

Don’t let pests ruin your summer fun. Seal up any openings that could allow insects to take refuge in warmer weather. Before it gets too hot, check your attic for signs of animals that may have taken up residence there during the winter.

April also signals a good time to tend to bird feeders. To keep rodents away and to safeguard the birds of summer from disease, dismantle your feeders and give them a deep sanitizing. Do this for any birdbaths, and clean up under the feeders as well.

Since summer can bring heavy rains that can lead to water damage, make April your time to check if winter left behind any roof or gutter damage. Examine the basement for any leaks or cracks, and take time to create water diversions away from your foundation on the outside of your home.

Did You Know that Trees Talk to Each Other?

A fascinating story in honor of Earth Day is the growing research into how trees are much more social beings than we ever realized. There are widening studies by forestry ecologists into the way trees communicate using networks of fungus in the ground, relaying messages to each other warning of predators, sharing nutrients with their “sick” neighbors and even forging “alliances” with different tree species.

Likened to the neural pathways in the brain or the lines of communication that form the internet, the underground fungal networks have been described variously as the “wood wide web,” the “mushroom internet” or the “mycorrhizal network.” Vast swathes of mycorrhizal fungus connect different trees in the forest. Trees are then able to send nutrients through these pathways to be picked up by connected trees as well as chemicals that act as “distress signals,” causing their neighbors to release substances that can defend against disease or attack from predators.

Ecologist Suzanne Simard is one of the researchers delving further into these studies. During one of her studies, she witnessed a Douglas fir tree that, having been colonized by insects, sent chemicals acting as a warning to a nearby ponderosa pine tree. This caused the pine to create enzymes that would protect it against insects. In other studies, she has seen older trees sending carbon, nutrients and water to young seedlings, the same way a mother would nurture her child.

What better reason to make sure we’re all doing our bit to save the trees!

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