When To Water

The long, hot days of summer take a significant toll with mid-summer droughts turning home landscapes dry, brown and brittle. Fortunately, nature is forgiving and in most cases lawns will come through a dry spell with little long-term damage.

If you wish to maintain a lush green lawn, water is critical, and timing is everything. Daybreak is the perfect time to water your lawn as evaporation is at a minimum and the morning sun will quickly dry the grass, minimizing the risk of fungus or plant disease. It takes a lot more water if you do it later in the day as evaporation robs a good portion of the water applied before it can permeate the soil and reach the thirsty roots.

Many folks make it a habit to water their lawn in the evening after the sun goes down and it is a bit cooler, and the water we apply will not be sucked away by evaporation. The big drawback of watering in the evening is that a lot of plant diseases thrive in a moist environment. The water that sits on the grass blades overnight provides a breeding ground for disease and mosquitoes.

Water when it’s raining. That may sound silly, but it is a good idea. This doesn’t mean during a cloudburst or a thunderstorm. A light summer shower is often too light to add any real benefit. By watering during a shower, your sprinkler provides enough water to get down to a depth needed to water the grass roots.

Mowing

Make sure your lawnmower is serviced with a sharp blade. If the blade is dull, it makes a ragged cut and can tear clumps of grass out by the roots.

Only mow your lawn when the grass is dry and from 3-to-4-inches tall. Not only will this save a lot of wear and tear on your lawnmower, but it will also keep grass from forming clumps on the lawn, which encourages plant disease. If you wait to cut your lawn at a longer length, it provides a longer grass blade to soak up the sunlight for photosynthesis, helping to cultivate a healthier, greener lawn.

Alternate the direction of how you cut your grass, going vertically and horizontally across the lawn, cutting no more than a third of the grass blade length or no more than one inch at cutting. If the grass is extremely high, cut it multiple times, rather than trying to cut it all down at once. Trying to cut to much grass at a time tears grass out by the roots. Don’t bag or rake up grass clippings. Allow them to decompose in place, releasing natural organic nitrogen to the lawn, locking in moisture and helping to minimize weeds. By leaving clippings in place, you fertilize your landscape every time you cut the grass.

Mow once a week in the spring when growth is vigorous, cutting back to once every other week during the heat of summer. During the summer months, cut back on watering and fertilize less.

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At a glance, buying a home seems like a daunting and complicated process. If it’s your first time buying a home you’re probably hearing a lot of terms that don’t mean much to you like “rate commitment,” “prequalify,” and an array of acronyms that no one has ever really explained like APR and ARM.

What many first time homebuyers don’t realize is that the mortgage application process is relatively straightforward. It’s a way for lenders to determine if they will lend money to the homebuyer.

The lender will require some documentation on your part and you’ll want to do your homework when it comes to choosing the right mortgage for you, but if you’re confused about where to begin, here’s everything you need to know about the home mortgage application process.

Gather your documents

Each lender will be slightly different when it comes to what records and documents they require from you. In general, lenders will require two years of work history, proof of income, and tax papers. They will also ask for your permission to run a credit check. Some things you should bring when applying for a mortgage include:

  • Your most recent pay stubs (at least two)
  • Your most recent W-2 forms
  • Completed tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Gift letters
  • Debt – credit cards, student loans, etc.

Filling out the application

The actual application for the mortgage is pretty simple. Be expected to provide your personal and marital information, as well as your social security number.

When you apply for a loan you’ll also be determining if you’re applying singly or with another person, such as a spouse. Some people apply jointly to seek a higher loan amount. However, you should be aware that if this is your plan of action the lender will require income and credit information from both of you. Keep in mind that it isn’t easy to remove one person from a home loan once the contract is signed, so you should make certain of this decision before applying jointly.

Locked-in interest rates

It won’t come as a surprise to you that, like in other industries, interest rates on mortgages fluctuate. For this reason, many home buyers attempt to “lock-in” their interest rate, meaning the lender is no longer allowed to change the interest rate after signing. The benefit of locking in your interest is that it can avoid having your interest rate raised before you sign on the home. The disadvantage is that since rates fluctuate, you could miss out on a lower one.

This is also the difference between APR (annual percentage rating) and ARM (adjustable rate mortgage). With an APR, the cost of borrowing money (interest) is fixed. For an ARM, the interest rate can increase, decrease, or stay the same at different points in the repayment process.

Refinancing

Your financial situation is bound to fluctuate throughout your life, hopefully for the better. At some point down the road, it might make sense to refinance on your mortgage. Essentially this means you are agreeing to change the details of the mortgage to either accept a different interest rate or to alter the length of the loan term. Refinancing usually involves fees, however, so you don’t want to rely on it too heavily as a fallback.

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