Global tree planting campaign for Freudenberg Group’s 170-year anniversary

real christmas tree

Over 20,000 trees planted around the world

PLYMOUTH, Mich., Dec. 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Freudenberg employees and their family members around the world took part in the company’s annual tree-planting campaign and planted more than 20,000 trees worldwide in more than 100 tree-planting events.

In a tradition of previous milestones, the Freudenberg Group Board of Management at the beginning of 2019 invited its global workforce to plant 170 trees in their region, one for each year of the company’s history.

The response was overwhelming. Joining their national Arbor Day celebrations, marking the dates significant for their own locations, or simply picking the ideal tree-planting time for their location, employees joined the initiative and easily overshot its goal.

In North America, employees partnered with local arborist organizations to conduct the most impactful tree-plantings in their communities. From Michigan and New Hampshire through Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia and Texas, a variety of tree species were planted.  In Bethlehem, New Hampshire, for example, numerous seedlings were planted to help reforest a tree farm that had been destroyed in a fire. In Detroit, in partnership with the Greening of Detroit, Freudenberg provided trees for a revived park in the city. 

“Planting trees is a fitting tribute both to Freudenberg’s corporate citizenship and the company’s longevity,” said Bob Evans, Freudenberg Regional Representative in North America. “Putting down roots and planning for the future, that is what we are all about.”

In multiple locations in Mexico, employees and their families participated in reforestation efforts. For example, over 600 trees were planted in Lerma, Mexico.

“We will continue to look after the planted area to achieve real, long-term effects,” said Dagoberto Sanchez Martinez, site executive officer in Lerma. “The campaign is intended to make a statement and show that a team can make a difference. On our own, we might be a bit faster, but only together can we truly make progress.” 

Freudenberg employees were filled with enthusiasm. They agreed that the effort was good for the environment, for future generations, and for strengthening the relationship with the communities in which they work and live.

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Cleaning Up After a Winter Storm? Follow These Chain Saw Safety Tips

snowstorm-cleanup
When a winter storm hits, homeowners often handle much of the cleanup on their own, with tools they aren’t comfortable or experienced using. Prior to using a Remington chain saw or other outdoor power tools for cleanup, make sure to review the operator’s manual and follow suggested guidelines to remove fallen trees. (PRNewsFoto/Remington)

CLEVELAND, Feb. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — In the aftermath of a winter storm, homeowners have plenty of ice and snow to remove from walkways and driveways. The storm can also be destructive to trees, covering branches in snow and ice and even breaking limbs from the heavy weight.

Homeowners often handle much of the cleanup on their own, with tools they aren’t comfortable or experienced using.

Prior to using a chain saw or other outdoor power tools for cleanup, make sure to review the operator’s manual and follow suggested guidelines to remove fallen trees. When selecting power equipment, consider the task ahead, familiarity with the product, tree size, weather conditions and location of power sources. Post-storm cleanup can present risks. Remington®, a leading manufacturer of battery and electric power tools, has compiled this safety check list for safe storm cleanup:

  • Assure the saw’s chain is properly tensioned before each use and all fasteners, controls and safety features are functioning properly.
  • Make sure the bar and chain is always lubricated to prevent the saw from wearing out or cutting poorly. Never let the oil reservoir run out or it will ruin your chain. A good rule of thumb is to fill your oil tank each time you fill your fuel tank or check often when using an electric product.
  • Start the saw while standing on the ground and always hold the handles securely and follow manufacturers recommended procedure for starting.
  • Clear debris and small tree limbs from the saw’s chain path, and beware of nails and other metal before cutting.
  • Avoid saw “kick back,” to prevent a serious chain saw injury. Never let the tip of the bar come in contact with anything. Always reference the operator’s manual for proper chainsaw operation and safety instructions.

When cleaning up your yard after a storm, injury prevention is the most important factor to keep in mind.

Follow these cleanup activities and safety tips once the storm subsides:

  • Check the area – Walk around your property to inspect overall damage and take pictures as documentation. Check overhead for downed power lines and hanging branches. Never touch a power line that appears to be down or hanging. Instead, call your power company immediately to report the problem.
  • Wear protective gear – Eliminate injuries by dressing appropriately using protective eyewear, hearing protection, durable gloves, waterproof steel toe boots and a hard hat. Because the ground may be icy, make sure to clear away any ice or snow where you are working. Avoid wearing loose clothing, jewelry or dangling objects that might become tangled in machinery.
  • Eliminate hazardous areas – Use a chain saw to remove branches weakened by the storm but still attached. Examine upper canopies for irregular branches and remove these branches with extreme caution. Bowed or stressed branches can easily snap and cause severe injury. Make sure to cut in a location that will eliminate exposure to unexpected breaking limbs.  
  • Practice extreme caution – Never work with a saw on a ladder or near a downed power line. Ask a family member or neighbor to be present while using a chain saw in case of an emergency and maintain a safe distance of 50 feet from all bystanders. Fallen and leaning trees can be extremely dangerous if they have not yet come to rest with the ground. If you are unsure or inexperienced, call a certified arborist to remove trees safely and professionally. If hazardous branches are overhanging a sidewalk or curb, set up cones to alert pedestrians of the hazard.
  • Use common sense – Prevent serious or fatal injuries, never use a chain saw when your balance is compromised, while up in a tree or on a roof. Don’t risk your safety, always allow a professional to do the job.

If you’re researching the right tools for storm cleanup and are considering electric and battery-powered options, two to consider are the Remington 18-inch Lift & Dial Chain Saw, which is ideal for removing branches and foliage from trees after a storm. For smaller jobs, the more lightweight, 16-inch model with a high power-to-weight ratio, makes it easy to cut at all angles. For hard-to-reach jobs, use a pole saw with telescoping poles for easily removing branches. The RM1015 has a 15-foot reach capability and a 10″ low kickback bar and chain. For lower branches try the RM0812P pole saw, weighing only 7.5 lbs, with a 12-foot reach capability and an 8″ low kickback bar and chain. Remington products are available at Amazon.com, Walmart, Sears, Menards, Ace Hardware and True Value or visit your local hometown hardware store.

SOURCE Remington

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Artificial Grass Transforms Backyard Into Putting Paradise

GRANITE BAY, Calif., Oct. 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Artificial grass offers more than just money-saving practicality; it also offers homeowners versatile design possibilities that will transform any home into an oasis. One homeowner in Granite Bay turned to artificial grass because they were searching for a background landscaping solution that offered a relaxing ambiance. The homeowner, an avid golfer, wanted to relax in his yard at night and putt around on a professional-grade putting green. That’s why this client recently sought out Natural Tech for this outstanding backyard putting green installation.

Installation by Natural Tech
Installation by Natural Tech

Natural Tech recently installed 3,500 square feet of Synthetic Grass Warehouse’s Sure Putt and Diamond Pro Fescue in a home in Granite Bay, CA. Sure Putt features a dual coloring of field green and forest green, and it has a pile height of 0.75 inches. With a 45-ounce face weight, it is ideal for residential or professional putting green installations. Diamond Pro Fescue, used for the fringe, has dual field green and olive green blade tones with brown thatch, and it has a pile height of 1.875 inches. With a 75-ounce face weight, it is ideal for moderate to heavy foot traffic.

Natural Tech accepted this project because they knew that it would pose an exciting challenge for them. The variation in elevation presented a particular challenge when it came to matching seams, but Natural Tech was able to achieve a flawless installation nonetheless. They used Sure Putt turf, in part, because it’s easy to work with and manipulate during installation. The experts at Natural Tech were able to pin the turf, stretch it into place, glue the panels together, and pull the pins to create a seamless appearance despite the hilly terrain.

Natural Tech is a full-service artificial grass installation service that was first founded by owner Rob Orlando. Orlando has more than 40 years of experience in the landscaping industry and has been contracting since 1987. Natural Tech prides itself on its attention to detail and unrivaled installation quality. “We make sure that we do everything perfectly,” says Orlando. “We don’t take shortcuts on anything. We have extensive knowledge of landscaping, drainage, irrigation, plants, and more, so when we’re working on a project, we know everything about the landscape part of the job as well. We love a challenge, and we’re always striving to hone our skills and become more efficient.”

Natural Tech is Synthetic Grass Warehouse’s “Install of the Month” winner for October 2019.

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As Fall Arrives, Plant And Prepare Your Lawn For Spring

Lowe’s offers tips to help you take full advantage of autumn’s abundance

MOORESVILLE, N.C., Oct. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Most gardeners can’t wait for spring to arrive so they can get outdoors and plant. But experts know fall is the perfect time to plant trees, shrubs and bulbs while tackling essential lawn care projects that will prepare your yard for a burst of growth next spring.

 “Tap into your inner child and pile up the leaves while prepping for fall lawn care and maintenance this season. Use leaves as ground cover for garden beds to insulate perennials during cold winter months or bring leaves indoors for colorful craft projects, such as embellishing a wreath or creating a fun floral arrangement.”

While soil temperatures remain warm – actually warmer than in the spring – air temperatures start to cool in fall, creating the perfect setting to get outdoors and plant in pleasant, moderate weather. The cooler air temperatures also mean less stress during planting of trees and shrubs while providing them a head start to develop root systems, acclimate and rest before spring’s rush.

While fall offers the only time of year to plant spring-blooming bulbs, you don’t have to wait until spring to add a burst of color to your yard. Pansies and mums thrive in abundance during autumn, complementing changing leaf colors in beautiful yellow, orange and red hues.

“The combination of warm soil and cool air makes fall a fantastic time for planting. Lowe’s offers 3 quick tips to get healthy, beautiful results. 1) Plant flowers and veggies. 2) Plant Bulbs. 3) Plant Tress and Shrubs. Start now to make a big difference later.”

Also consider planting frost-tolerant vegetables in your garden such as:

  • Carrots: Try short or round varieties with rocky or heavy soil. Look for yellow, white, and purple selections for variety.
  • Beets: Known for their intense coloration, entire beet plants- roots and leaves- are edible. Try growing a sampling of striped, golden, and red beets. Beets can be roasted, pickled or sauteed.
  • Kale: Edible varieties of kale are just as hardy as their ornamental counterparts, which are widely used in pansy beds during winter. Try pretty “Red Russian” or tasty “Lacinato” for a calcium-packed treat.
  • Onions: An everyday kitchen ingredient, pungent onions are a garden staple. Whether growing white, yellow, or red, harvest early for immediate use or wait for bulbs to mature and dry them for storage.

Lastly, make sure your yard is able to withstand the stress of winter by maintaining lawn care in the fall. Start by aerating, which allows greater movement of water, fertilizer and air, to stimulate your lawn. Aeration also speeds the decomposition of grass clippings and enhances deep root growth. Then, apply the last main fertilizer feeding of the year and seed to avoid any bare spots in winter. Finally, lower your mower’s deck for the last cutting to reduce disease potential during wet winter weather and to make raking leaves easier.

“Lowe’s took a powerful high-speed camera (called the Phantom Flex) and filmed everyday yard work in slow motion. At 2,500 frames per second, the action virtually freezes in time, allowing a glimpse of how spectacular everyday tools can be. A chainsaw rips through wood and spits out sawdust, sending shavings flying. A trimmer chews up grass, captured in close-up macro focus. Fallen leaves colorfully lilt in the air when a leaf blower cleans them off a lawn. Take a closer look and get inspired.”

Once your planting and preparation projects are completed, it’s time to entertain and enjoy the crisp, cool autumn weather with friends and family. Consider making “mumple” centerpieces or adding sparkle to trees or arbors with lights designed to create ambiance all evening long. For more ideas, inspiration and how-to advice, visit Lowes.com/creativeideas.

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Georgia Power offers fall planting guide to ensure reliability

where to plant trees

Company highlights the importance of planting the right trees around homes, power lines

ATLANTA, Sept. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Georgia Power works every day to keep reliability high across the state and, during fall planting season, reminds customers that making the right landscaping choices can decrease the likelihood of a power outage. During summer thunderstorms and winter ice storms, and even sunny days, tree limbs that come in contact with power lines can interrupt service. Ensuring that power lines are clear of trees and brush also provides easier access to the company’s power lines, which means quicker restoration of power during storms.

(PRNewsFoto/Georgia Power)

Georgia Power provides a variety of free resources for customers, including an illustrated planting guide perfect for fall, online at www.georgiapower.com/trees. Resources include:

  • Defined Low, Medium and Tall Zones around homes and recommended bush and tree species for each zone.
  • Planting tips to help ensure new landscaping is best positioned for health and growth.
  • Pruning tips to ensure proper removal of limbs and branches from established trees.
  • Safety tips including appropriate proximity to power lines and electrical boxes, as well as the importance of contacting Georgia 811 to have underground utilities located prior to digging.

In addition to helping customers select the right trees to plant, Georgia Power maintains 160,000 line acres and 24,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines under guidelines set by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). These maintenance activities are an essential piece of the company’s commitment to ensuring reliable service for 2.5 million customers in every corner of the state.

Other free tools and resources from Georgia Power include the Outage & Storm Center at www.georgiapower.com/storm, where customer can sign up for Outage Alerts and report and check the status of outage. The Outage & Storm Center also features an interactive Outage Map which provides near real-time information on where outages are occurring across the state, as well as estimated restoration times.

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3 Key Trends Driving the $7.1 Billion US Landscaping Products Market

spring maintenance

CLEVELAND, July 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ –The Freedonia Group’s new study on the landscaping products market projects that the industry, currently valued at $7.1 billion in demand terms, will grow 4.4% annually through 2023. This growth is predicated on several factors, including:

1. A Strong Economy: Renovation projects can be expensive, which is why a healthy, growing economy is closely tied to demand growth in landscaping products. Solid economic conditions can spur a rise in homeownership, which in turn can lead to investments in exterior renovations, including landscaping improvements. Better economic conditions will also positively impact the professional end-user segment of this market, as more consumers will opt for do-it-for-me landscaping installations in lieu of cheaper, more time consuming do-it-yourself projects.

2. Outdoor Living’s Outsize Popularity: The Freedonia study includes survey research that reports 79% of US adults had an outdoor space in 2019, whether they owned it or not. Increasingly, US homeowners looking to expand their livable square footage are turning to these outdoor spaces, undertaking renovation projects to transform basic exteriors into elaborate “outdoor rooms.” These outdoor rooms might consist of outdoor kitchens, furnished lounging and entertainment areas, and decorative water and plant features designed to mimic the aesthetics and comforts of the indoors. In particular, this trend is expected to spur demand growth in higher value, better looking hardscape products and outdoor heating items.

3. Millennials: According to survey results in the Landscaping Products report, 54% of respondents aged 25-39 said they enjoyed gardening as a leisure pursuit. Because millennials are more likely to live in urban areas with limited outdoor space, this demographic group will show greater affinity for more compact, portable landscaping items like pots and planters, which can be stored on patios and balconies, or used in rooftop and community gardens.

While demand for landscaping products is generally expected to remain solid, the specter of global tariffs looms. Many of the materials utilized in landscaping products – including Canadian softwood lumber; steel and aluminum; and aggregates, natural stone, building and paving blocks, and certain types of wood from China – are subject to the Trump administration’s new import taxes. If consumers are forced to shoulder the burden of tariff-related cost increases, it could serve as a restraint against long-term landscaping product growth.

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Four in Five Americans say Summer Passes by Too Fast: L.L.Bean Launches Initiative to Help Make the Most of it

Outdoor retailer partners with Uber for Business to kick off summer with free rides to backyard-inspired campsites in major cities

FREEPORT, Maine, June 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — June 21 marks the first day of summer, and with events and activities stacking up on the calendar, many Americans feel the season is over before it even begins. They’re not far off – there’s less than 100 days to make summer memories that will last. According to a new survey commissioned by outdoor retailer L.L.Bean, four in five Americans agree summer passes by too quickly, and more than half of them feel they don’t have time to truly enjoy it.i

L.L.Bean is on a mission to help people get the most out of precious summer days by spending more time outside, together. To kick things off, the company is bringing the L.L.Bean Backyard Campsite to major cities across the country and partnering with rideshare company Uber to make it easy to get there, and get outside.
L.L.Bean is on a mission to help people get the most out of precious summer days by spending more time outside, together. To kick things off, the company is bringing the L.L.Bean Backyard Campsite to major cities across the country and partnering with rideshare company Uber to make it easy to get there, and get outside.

That’s why L.L.Bean is on a mission to help people get the most out of precious summer days by spending more time outside, together. To kick things off, the company is bringing the L.L.Bean Backyard Campsite to major cities across the country and partnering with rideshare company Uber to make it easy to get there, and get outside.

The events will serve as an outdoor respite from the city in the summer and are part of the retailer’s S’more Out of Summer campaign aimed at helping people get more out of the season through a variety of events and initiatives geared towards friends and families of all kinds. 

“At L.L.Bean we have always believed in the benefits of the outdoors and are committed to making sure everyone has the chance to enjoy it,” said Steve Smith, President and CEO of L.L.Bean. “We all have busy schedules and don’t spend as much time as we’d like outside, especially in the summer. Making a s’more is the perfect way to pause and celebrate the season. It’s another great way to be an outsider.”

Join the S’more Tour

The first L.L.Bean Backyard Campsite will pop-up Thursday, June 20 from 10am-6pm in New York City’s backyard, The Battery, followed by pop-ups in Buffalo, NY; Madison, WI; and Boston, MA throughout June and July. Through Uber Vouchers, Uber ridesii will be available to each site to deliver consumers directly to the outdoors.

L.L.Bean is on a mission to help people get the most out of precious summer days by spending more time outside, together. To kick things off, the company is bringing the L.L.Bean Backyard Campsite to major cities across the country and partnering with rideshare company Uber to make it easy to get there, and get outside.
L.L.Bean is on a mission to help people get the most out of precious summer days by spending more time outside, together. To kick things off, the company is bringing the L.L.Bean Backyard Campsite to major cities across the country and partnering with rideshare company Uber to make it easy to get there, and get outside.

The free events will feature classic summer activities including s’more roasting and yard games, plus an innovative audio experience provided by the National Park Foundation’s PARKTRACKS and hands-on activities from L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Program. The cities noted are just the beginning – throughout the summer, look out for the S’more Tour’s additional stops, featuring L.L.Bean’s famed Bootmobile as it visits outdoor festivals and events, as well as free Outdoor Discovery programing at local parks including family hikes, kids activities and free kayak and paddleboard rentals. Find one nearby at www.SmoreOutofSummer.com.

 Ideas to Get S’more Out of Your Summer

For the majority of Americans who want to spend more time outside this summeri, there’s no shortage of ways to get outside with family and friends and make the most of those precious summer days, even if you can’t join the S’more Tour. L.L.Bean’s S’more Out of Summer Guide offers tips and inspiration to better enjoy the season, and can be found throughout the campaign and tour, in stores or online. Below are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Make S’mores – You can’t go wrong with a classic, and L.L.Bean will make it easy with free s’mores at all of its retail stores on Saturday, June 22.
  • Ask Alexa! – Say “S’more Summer Tips” to any Alexa device for tips and suggestions for getting the whole family outside.
  • Discover a New Park – There are over 400 national parks just waiting to be explored. Find Your Park here.
  • Go Camping – Pitch a tent in the backyard or find a campsite at your favorite park. Looking for something simple? Try L.L.Bean’s Wicked Easy Camping in Maine or join L.L.Bean at The Battery throughout the summer for The Battery Campout series. 
  • Learn Something New – From kayaking, fishing and archery classes to kids’ camps, day trips and all-inclusive adventures, L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Programs are here to help you learn new skills and share the outdoors. Check out our schedule or stop in to your local store to learn more.

Win an Ultimate Backyard Campout

In addition to the Backyard Campsites and S’more Tour, consumers can enter to win the Ultimate Backyard Campout, complete with a tent, sleeping bags, fire pit, camping attire, and your very own L.L.Bean experts to set it all up. Participants can enter to win one of five Ultimate Backyard Campouts by sharing a photo of how they and their loved ones (four-legged too!) are enjoying the summer on Instagram, Twitter or L.L.Bean’s Facebook using the hashtags #SmoreOutofSummer and #LLBeanContest19. Official rules are available at www.llbean.com/contest.

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Don’t Mess Around if Your Chainsaw Won’t Start

chainsaw-wont-start

Freaking out because your chainsaw won’t start?

You may have reason to worry if your chainsaw won’t start. Engine repairs can be complicated and expensive enough to make a replacement a worthy investment. Still, we know some of you have your trusted old favorites you don’t want to part with anytime soon.

Before you start searching for the best chainsaw for the money, check out these common reasons behind a chainsaw stalling:

1. Spark Plugs

Settle down, now. We know you realize changing your spark plugs is a regular part of chainsaw maintenance. We’re not assuming the worst about your habits. Unfortunately, sometimes you wind up with a bum spark plug that goes out early or never works straight out of the factory! Thankfully, it’s relatively inexpensive to switch your spark plugs out, and inspecting them is 100% free. Just take them out and check them and their casings for signs of cracking, burns or buildup.

Don’t see any damage? Move along to the next common reason even the best chainsaws for the home wind up not working.

2. Carburetor

Sometimes when you don’t use your chainsaw for a while, fuel can clog the carburetor. Again, we’re not assuming you forget to drain the tank before winter storage! Things happen. You might not drain fuel as thoroughly as you think, leaving a layer of fuel to evaporate and leave behind a thick, sticky mess. This will prevent your engine from starting, but it can also be pretty easy to fix using a carburetor-cleaning product.

The bad news? If a cleaner doesn’t work, you’re out of luck. You’ll have to have your carburetor replaced or rebuilt. Depending on your chainsaw model, its age and overall condition, it might be best to buy a new model.

3. Miscellaneous Parts

There are quite a few parts that will break and prevent your engine from starting. These include:

  • Recoil starter
  • Recoil starter spring
  • Rewind spring
  • Ignition coil
  • And more

Unfortunately, the only way to check to see if these parts are functioning is with a special testing tool or by replacing them. Unless you’re familiar with small appliance repairs, the time and money spent on DIY chainsaw repairs quickly add up.

Also, much like a car that starts needing one thing after another, once your chainsaw’s smaller parts start to wear out, it won’t be long before they all need replacing.

Diagnosing the problem can be more expensive than buying a new chainsaw, so we recommend moving on if you rule basic problems. The one caveat: If you own one of the best chainsaws for professional use. Obviously, if you have an expensive-to-purchase model in otherwise good working condition, it can be worth it to get a professional’s opinion.

Find out why your chainsaw won’t start or replace it today with the best chainsaw for the money.

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Wild Bird Feeding: Is It Ok?

winter habitats for birds

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Feeding songbirds in winter has been an American pastime at least since the days of Henry David Thoreau, who wrote about feeding birds at Walden Pond in the latter 1840s. But Americans have enjoyed watching songbirds clean up our table-scraps and waste grains even before then.

Thoreau did it to get closer to subjects he enjoyed watching and wanted to know about. Today, many people – particularly those 25 and older – have similar interests. More than 55.5 million Americans feed wild birds and a third of Pennsylvanians observe wildlife around their homes, according to a 2006 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey. More importantly, they spend millions of dollars on these pastimes. Feeding birds is no longer a cute thing that some people do; it’s a full-fledged American industry that influences our economy. 

But is inviting songbirds – and indirectly, other wildlife – closer to our homes a smart move? Are we compelling wild birds to become more dependent on or unnecessarily comfortable with people? Does feeding birds in winter create health risks for songbirds at a time of unquestioned vulnerability?

“It is important to get past the, ‘Is it ok to feed birds?’ question before engaging in any discussion about bird feeding,” noted Doug Gross, Pennsylvania Game Commission biologist. “Of course, our preferred answer to the question is for folks to plant vegetation beneficial to birds before hanging feeders. Birds can never have too much good habitat.

“But we recognize not everyone has an acre or two, or simply some backyard space, to groom into wild bird-preferred habitat. In these instances, we try to ensure bird-feeding enthusiasts place their feeders in good locations, keep them clean and fill them with seeds capable of attracting the birds they want to see.”

It all seems easy enough, but there really is a lot to consider before opening a winter bird feeding station on your property. For instance, feeders should be placed near cover to shield songbirds from avian predators, but at least 15 feet away from windows and groundcover roaming cats can hide in or behind.

A bird coming to a feeding station in winter usually enters a heightened risk area because the chatter and commotion created by birds at feeders attracts cats on the ground and sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks from the air. Of course, most people who feed songbirds aren’t in it to set the table for hawks and cats. So give some thought to feeder placement. Wild birds are counting on you! 

Although many people don’t realize it, windows can be as deadly to songbirds as predators because birds don’t see glass.  Therefore, it is important to move feeders away from windows.

“Millions of birds die annually from window strikes as they leave or flee feeders when startled,” Gross explained. “They fly unsuspectingly into the reflection of escape cover or open skies on windows, and when they do, they often hit with such force that they cannot survive the impact.”

After sorting out where your feeder should be placed, the next step is to identify which species you want to attract and then select the feeder and seeds/food you’ll use to attract them. The three easiest ways to attract the greatest number of birds involve using are cylindrical feeders – filled with black-oil sunflower seeds and/or thistle seeds – and suet feeders, and ground feeding with corn, millet and black-oil sunflower seeds. This three-way approach will make just about any yard a food court for birds, so long as there is some nearby cover for birds to use for perching and seed-cracking.

“It’s always a good strategy to use a diversity of foods,” said Gross. “It complements the dietary diversity of most wild birds. After seeds, some great choices are raisins for Carolina wrens and thrushes; peanuts for blue jays, cardinals and nuthatches; even peanut-butter smeared in tree crevices. A heated birdbath also attracts birds; not because it’s heated, but rather because it offers accessible water.”  

Although some birds may become dependent on feeders, it likely won’t be the only stop on their daily foraging route. Still, if you commit to feeding birds in winter, it’s best not to stop in the middle of winter.

“When your feeder becomes a part of a bird’s routine, the seeds it retrieves become part of its daily resources that fuel its body’s needs,” Gross said. “Once you begin winter feeding, it is important to remember that those foods you’ve begun to provide help balance birds intense daily demands for energy to endure frigid winter nights and body heat-robbing winds.”

Equally important is keeping your feeders clean so birds don’t risk contracting avian conjunctivitis, salmonella, trichomoniasis, aspergillosis (fungal infection) and avian pox. Most of these diseases arise from birds contaminating seeds and the feeder through droppings and secretions, and from fungus growing on damp seeds. To learn more about the diseases, visit the Game Commission’s Wildlife Disease Reference Library, housed on the agency’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) under “Wildlife” in the menu bar at the top of the homepage.

The Game Commission recommends first cleaning bird feeders with soup soap and water followed by a solution that is one part of household bleach and nine parts of warm water. Rinse your feeder thoroughly and wait until it is completely dry before refilling it with seeds and placing it outdoors. If you don’t want to work with bleach, which is the most effective cleanser, another cleaning solution can be made by mixing one part white vinegar to four parts warm water, but this solution will not kill viruses. If you’re not seeing sick-looking birds at your feeder, cleaning it once or twice a month is sufficient. Increase the frequency to once a week if trouble shows. 

“Another way to reduce the spread of disease at your feeders is to offer seeds in different areas and at multiple heights,” Gross explained. “Spread out your feeding sites to reduce crowding. Hang feeders at different heights. Ground feed away from elevated feeders. This feeder approach, combined with regular feeder cleaning, will help the birds visiting your yard remain healthy.”

Whenever you feed songbirds, there’s always the potential to lure into your yard – and sometimes your house – critters you’d rather stay away. The usual list of potential “unwanteds” includes black bears, deer, raccoons, squirrels and field mice. Black bears had a rough fall – acorn crop failure – and some may be more active this winter than usual. Suet and black-oil sunflower seeds would be very appealing to them. Raccoons also are partial to suet. Deer, on the other hand, can be drawn by shelled corn. So can field mice. Squirrels come to just about everything you offer.

When feeding wild birds in your yard, you really can’t pick your guests. Your offering becomes an open invitation to all foraging animals that happen upon it. And sometimes they decide to take up residence with you. Flying squirrels, field mice and raccoons that feed on your bird offerings sometimes look for and find hideouts in your house or garage to hold them over when they’re not feeding at your bird buffet. And once they get in, you have to get them out, find out how they got in and then seal the access point. In agricultural and suburban areas, this problem can be compounded by Norway rats.

Other unwanted guests include starlings, house finches and house sparrows. Starlings, in particular, can really crowd feeders, and aggressively chase away other songbirds you may want to see. Corn and suet seem to be starling magnets, so pull in the corn when they start showing up and use suet feeders that require users to cling and feed, which starlings can’t do well.

Of course, the alternative to putting out a feeder is to plant trees and shrubs that offer songbirds and other wildlife food and cover in winter. But, as now is not planting season, the Game Commission will be offering a variety of wildlife-friendly tree and shrub seedlings in its annual seedling sale. In mid-January, watch the agency’s website for information on how to select and order seedlings from the agency’s Howard Nursery. 

By Joe Kosack
Wildlife Conservation Education Specialist
Pennsylvania Game Commission

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Best Chainsaw Accessories for the Money

Buying the best chainsaw accessories for the money is an essential step in having the right tools for the job, right? Unfortunately, it’s a step that often gets skipped until after there’s a problem. If you don’t have the right supplies, you can damage your chainsaw or other landscaping equipment. You can even be injured without the appropriate gear.

Here are just a few of the best chainsaw accessories needed to put your amazing new tools to work:

Absolutely essential accessories — 

  • Hard hat with face plate (if user is going to do a lot of tree/limb work, a hat with a neck plate is a good idea) 
  • Kevlar chaps 
  • Protective gloves 
  • Ear protection/soundproofing (many hard hats come with built in ear protection) 
  • 2-stroke oil for gas tank 
  • Chainsaw oil (supermarket shelf canola oil works quite well) 
  • A bristle brush or two for cleaning out debris from the chain and gears 

Very helpful to have — 

A spare chain — chains break 

Sharpening a chain is an acquired art and really should be done by a qualified professional, which is one reason to have a spare. A poorly or improperly sharpened chain can be dangerous, hurt the machine, besides not cutting well. 

As for storage, make sure the saw, chain, and shaft are cleaned and oiled before storing and store in a dry place. If the area it is going to be stored is damp or humid, wrapping it in cloth will also help. If the saw is going to be stored for a long time, slather the chain and shaft with petroleum jelly. If storing for a long period of time (4 weeks or more), keep some gas in the tank and add some fuel stabilizer 

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