Month: May 2016

How to Prevent Tree Roots from Damaging Your Property

Tree

Trees are hardy plants, and their roots fight back against man-made limits around them. In urban and suburban landscapes, tree roots are often forced to grow between buildings or under driveways and walkways—and they can cause costly damage if left unchecked.

“Before you plant a new tree in your yard, you need to understand how a tree could damage your property, and take appropriate measures to prevent that damage,” says Tchukki Andersen, a board-certified Master Arborist and staff arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA).

Woody tree roots thicken as they grow, gradually pushing shallow roots toward the surface. Since soil near the surface is best suited for root growth, most tree roots are just below the surface, placing them directly in conflict with man-made obstacles. Where the soil is covered by a solid driveway or patio, upward growing roots will grow against the underside of the pavement or pavers.

“Most damage is found six feet or less from the tree, since roots become smaller and less damaging the further they are from the trunk,” says Andersen. “Keep this in mind before you plant. That small sapling could become a large shade tree with roots spreading 30 or 40 feet outward from the trunk.”

Some homeowners, masons and landscapers manage intrusive roots by grinding down or removing them. This can be expensive, and is harmful to the tree. Wounding a tree’s roots creates points of entry for pathogens, leaving a tree vulnerable to disease. Cutting major roots also reduces a tree’s ability to absorb nutrients and water, leaving it more susceptible to drought. In addition, cutting roots can reduce a tree’s structural support, which increases the danger the tree will topple onto your house in high winds.

When cutting problem tree roots, remember:

• The farther you cut from the trunk, the less threat to the tree’s health, and the less danger of creating a hazard.

• Avoid cutting roots greater than 2 inches in diameter.

• Prune roots back to a side or sinker root (one that is growing downward) when possible.

• Roots recover from being severed when you cut them cleanly with a saw, instead of breaking them, and mulch and water well after pruning.

• Consult a qualified arborist when cutting within a distance equal to five times the trunk diameter to the trunk.

To avoid cutting tree roots altogether:

• Install physical root guides and barriers that redirect tree roots down and away from hardscapes with minimal impact on the tree.

• Curve new hardscape features, such as a driveway or patio, around the tree roots.

• Suspend hardscape features on small pilings to bridge over roots.

Ultimately, the best way to keep the trees and their roots on your property from causing damage is to select species that match site conditions, Andersen says, and to avoid planting large shade trees within 12 feet of hardscapes. In areas within five to seven feet of a paved area or structure, plant trees that grow to a mature height of less than 30 feet. In areas within seven to 10 feet of a paved area or structure, plant trees that grow to a mature height of less than 50 feet. Reserve trees that mature to higher than 50 feet for areas with at least 12 feet of clearance around the trunk; this allows adequate space for the roots.

A professional arborist can assess your landscape and work with you to determine the best trees to plant.

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What was the Good News for May?

According to personal finance technology company SmartAsset, Dallas-based Dave & Buster’s Entertainment Inc. is the country’s second-best performing stock in the nation over the past five years. The Dallas-based entertainment company was the only North Texas business to make SmartAsset’s ranking the nation’s top 10 publicly traded companies, coming in second to Reno, Nevada-based Eldorado Resorts.  In SmartAsset’s study, D&B logged an average annual return of 73.42%, soaring above the national average of 5.52%.   The company held its initial public offering less than two years ago, and they have seen rapid physical expansion and revenue growth in that last two years. It opened 10 of its large-format entertainment centers in 2015, and has 83 centers in the U.S. and Canada. It has also signed a seven-store master development agreement for the Middle East.  The company plans to open another nine to 10 locations this year.


Almost 40 North Texas hotels are under construction, including the new Renaissance Hotel at Legacy West in Plano.  More than 16,000 additional hotel rooms are in the works in the Dallas-Fort Worth area – a 41 percent jump from a year ago, according to a new report from Lodging Econometrics.  Lodging Econometrics reports that there are currently 39 hotel projects under construction in the D-FW area, and 63 hotels are expected to start in the next 12 months.  D-FW currently ranks third in the country in hotel construction, behind New York (101 hotels) and Houston (41 projects).  Out of the hotels being built in North Texas, 29 are Marriott International flagged projects, Lodging Econometrics said.


Since 2009, Flower Mound has seen a net increase in jobs of 10,687.  In 2015, there were an additional 1,782 net jobs and already in 2016 Flower Mound has increased 1,487 jobs net.  Increased employment brings sales tax revenue and home sales!


The first Metroplex location for the popular Buc-ee’s Travel Center will open at the southwest corner of Texas 114 and Interstate 35W — across from the Texas Motor Speedway — at 6 a.m. Monday, 05/23/16, a store manager confirmed this week.  There are scheduled to be 240 employees at this location.  The north Fort Worth store will be the company’s 25th location, with another is scheduled to open later this year in Denton, on I-35 near Brinker. Most of the company’s stores are located in south Texas, with the closest store currently in Terrell.


Park Place Dealerships is about to break ground on a new Jaguar and Land Rover dealership on the south side of Texas 114, near Texan Trail, in Grapevine, with the facility expected to open in spring of 2017. Park Place Jaguar Land Rover will be built on 8 acres and will relocate the Park Place Jaguar business from Plano.

Park Place Jaguar Land Rover will feature a two-story building with  30 service bays, 12 “make ready” bays and a showroom that can hold 12 cars.  The service area will hold 9 vehicles and include a 2,800-sq-ft car wash.

The company already operates Park Place Lexus and Park Place Motorcars — the latter a Mercedes dealership — in Grapevine.


In recent months, the options for online shopping with curbside and home delivery have multiplied with Kroger, Wal-Mart, H-E-B Central Market and Amazon.com expanding and increasing online options in Texas.  Beginning June 1, 2016, Google Express becomes available in DFW also.  Google isn’t building its own fulfillment center, but instead will open their service throughout Texas in partnerships with Costco, Walgreens, Barnes & Noble and Whole Foods Market.

5 Spring Home Improvement Projects for Under $1,000

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Spring is not only the best time of year to give your home a good cleaning, it’s also the best time of year to take on several home improvement projects. Spring projects like these can improve your home’s looks and performance, and rarely cost more than $1,000, so you can easily take care of these issues before they have a chance to lead to bigger problems down the road.

Siding Repair

Winter weather can really do a number on your siding. Hail stones can dent or damage anything from aluminum to vinyl, while painted wood siding frequently needs to have sections replaced that have been subjected to moisture over the cold wet months. In most cases, repairing a section of siding can help your home maintain its curb appeal, while also helping to ensure that problems like rotting wood don’t spread, necessitating further repair.

Costs
The average cost to repair siding of nearly any type is about $300, with a full range of up to $1,000 for more invasive types of repairs.

Money-Saving Tips
The best way to save money on a repair is to try to color match the new siding to the old. That way you only have to replace damaged boards, rather than the whole section. You can also paint aluminum or vinyl siding to match existing siding if you are unable to find matching planks to help keep costs down.

DIY Considerations
Aluminum and vinyl siding can both be very easily repaired by most homeowners. Things like dents can be popped out of aluminum, and cracked or broken boards can be removed and replaced without needing to disturb too much around them. Wood siding, masonite, brick, and fiber cement siding, however, should be left to professionals for repairs, as should any major repairs that appear widespread.

Paint Your Front Door

Just like the paint on the rest of your home, your front door can be subject to things like peeling, cracking and fading over time. The freeze/thaw cycle in the winter can make this even more obvious, as can things like salt or ice melt getting splashed on the door by slush as people make their way indoors. Repainting your door is fairly easy and inexpensive, and can really give your home’s curb appeal a big boost.

Cost
The average cost of painting a front door is about $100 per door. The total cost ranges from about $20 for a DIY job to $300 for high-end doors and paint jobs.

Money-Saving Tips
The best way to save money on front door paint jobs is to invest in high quality enamel paints for the job. They’re less likely to need touch ups as frequently as other paints, which means you need to paint less often. If you’re comfortable painting the door yourself, tackling this job DIY can really save you a lot of money as well. Just be sure to use a primer and two coats of paint to ensure you’re doing it right.

DIY Considerations
Most people can comfortably tackle the job of painting themselves. The only time you may want to leave it to the professionals is if you have a door with windows, glass inserts, or a lot of carvings and features that may take a specialized approach.

Stain Your Deck

All that snow, ice and freezing rain hitting your deck this winter could have done a lot of damage to the stain and finish of the wood. Stain is necessary not only to keep your deck looking great, it also helps prevent the wood from absorbing moisture and rotting over time. So if your deck has begun to peel and show the wood through in places, it’s time to put on a new coat of stain. Doing so will not only help protect your deck from the elements, it will also improve your home’s curb appeal.

Cost
The average cost of staining a deck is around $2 a square foot, assuming a deck of around 500 square feet. In most cases the cost will not be any higher than $400 for the total job.

Money-Saving Tips
Your deck will need to be power washed before it can be stained, and this needs time to dry before the stain can be applied. Save time and money by doing the power washing yourself; schedule the professionals to come in after the deck has had a chance to dry. If you’re comfortable with tackling the job yourself, DIY can also save you professional fees, as most pros will take about 4-5 hours to do the job, and charge for their time.

DIY Considerations
Most able bodied homeowners will be able to tackle this job on their own. Keep in mind that you will need to rent or purchase a power washer to thoroughly clean the deck. You’ll also need to remove old, peeling stain, and apply at least two coats to ensure good coverage.

Air Duct Cleaning

After running your furnace all winter, it’s a good idea to get your air ducts cleaned come spring. This is particularly crucial if you’ve had any work done indoors over the past year, as construction dust and debris can build up in your ducts, reducing your HVAC system’s efficiency. Likewise, if you or your family suffers from allergies, cleaning out the ducts periodically can help improve your air quality.

Cost
The average cost of having your ducts cleaned is between $300 and $500 for a professional cleaning. The total range of costs is between $200 for cleaning the ducts in a small house to $900 for older ductwork that may need some upgrades done at the same time.

Money-Saving Tips
Change your filter regularly on your HVAC system to help prevent dust and dirt build up in your ducts. You should change these seasonally at a minimum, but some brands recommend changing them monthly. Remove your filter and hold it up to the light; if you can’t see through it, it’s time to replace it. Clean and wipe down your grates periodically as well to help get rid of buildup that could be falling into the ducts, necessitating their cleaning.

DIY Considerations
Special equipment and knowledge is required to clean out the ducts properly. While you could possibly clean around the openings and the grates, cleaning the ducts themselves should be left to the professionals.

Fertilize Your Lawn

Help bring your lawn back to life after a cold, snowy winter with fertilizer. Fertilizing your lawn helps feed it with nutrients it needs to grow. Some fertilizers can also help eliminate weeds, and improve the overall quality of your lawn at the same time, so it requires less water or maintenance in the future.

Cost
The average cost to fertilize your lawn is around $.03 a square foot, assuming a 6,000-square-foot lawn. The total costs range from around $.02 a square foot for a DIY job to $.04 a square foot during the peak season.

Money-Saving Tips
Make the most of your lawn fertilization by ensuring that you water your lawn either early in the morning or late in the evening to prevent the sun from drying out both your grass and the fertilizer at the same time. If you have your lawn professionally serviced regularly, ask about bundling in fertilization with other services such as mowing to help reduce costs.

DIY Considerations
Nearly any able bodied homeowner should be able to tackle this job. All you need is a spreader and the ability to traverse your entire lawn. If you have a lot of steep hills or other issues, however, it may be better to hire a professional.

Keeping your home looking and functioning well in the springtime doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Follow these tips to help ensure your home looks and functions its best this year. For more cost savings, visit these Cost Guides.