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Home and Garden

Standard-sized apple tree cannot be pruned to dwarf size

Standard-sized apple trees may grow to 35 or 40 feet in height. You might be able to keep a standard-sized tree under 20 feet tall through pruning, but the standard-sized apple tree is just too vigorous for pruning to short heights.

Lack of hot water probably problem with thermocouple

Q: My wife started complaining about a lack of hot water, so I ventured out into the garage to check out the water heater. I took the door off and peeked inside and discovered there was no flame. Following the instructions on the tank, I relit the pilot but as soon as I let go of the button, the pilot light went out. I originally thought a breeze may have blown it out, but now I don’t know what to do.

Rainy conditions can cause diseases in plants

A disease called fire blight might pop up in some pear and apple trees beginning around May. It can be common several weeks after spring rains, particularly if trees were flowering. It can lead to tree death if not controlled when it’s first seen.

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Delay grape pruning as long as possible

Delay pruning grapes as long as possible in the spring to reduce disease possibilities and avoid any late spring frost damage after pruning. Immediately after pruning grapes, consider applying a fungicide to the vines if there were problems with grape bunch diseases last year.

Time for a pool renovation?

So often the driving force behind such renovations is the pool surface, a cement-based coating of about three-eighths of an inch over the gunite structure. Because of Las Vegas’s hard water, the longevity of a gunite pool surface is 10-12 years.

Mexican petunia needs to be contained to area

My experience with Mexican petunia is that it grows like a weed, and I consider it the broadleaf version of Bermuda grass, aka devil grass. If it’s contained in an area and prevented from spreading into the landscape, I think it will be OK.

Local pros discuss cleaning essentials

Although the official start of spring is March 19, warmer weather has arrived in Las Vegas and the cleaning season is definitely here.

Check for borers after rainfall

An infrequent desert rain is not a problem. But when irrigation water is applied over and over to a soil that is normally dry, these soils shift, collapse and chemically change. In urban landscapes, this can be potentially destructive.

Sanitize blades of loppers, hand shears before using

When preparing to prune plants, follow these three rules: adjusting loppers or hand shears so they don’t rip plants instead of cutting them, making sure the blade is sharp for the same reason and sanitizing the blades.

Dripping ball-type faucet is inexpensive fix

There are lots of different types of faucets, and they use different methods to control the flow and temperature of water. Over time the parts wear out and you get a drip. You need to replace the washers and springs and, possibly, the ball if it shows signs of wear.

Heavy mirror, artwork would not work on tall wall

With a tall wall above an entryway, you don’t want to use anything that is too heavy in visual weight as it would give an uneasy feel to walk underneath it.

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