Earth-friendly tips for au­tumn

South Shore Breaker - - Wheels - CON­TRIB­UTED

Au­tumn is here and with the change of sea­sons comes the fall to-do list that must be com­pleted be­fore the ar­rival of win­ter weather. Many out­door jobs are best com­pleted be­fore tem­per­a­tures drop, while oth­ers can be tack­led in­doors to help save en­ergy and pre­pare for in­creased time spent in­side the home.

Out­door cleanup

Au­tumn means leaves are fall­ing from trees and lit­ter­ing land­scapes. Clean­ing up leaves can be a time-con­sum­ing task, but it’s nec­es­sary to pro­mote the health of lawns and other plants. Grass that is com­pletely mat­ted down with leaves can be­come starved for light and mois­ture and lawns may even rot when forced to spend win­ter be­neath fallen leaves.

One eco-friendly time­saver is to shred leaves with a mower (a man­ual mower is prefer­able) and leave them as top­dress­ing for the lawn. As long as the grass blades can be seen within the leaves, the lawn should be fine. Shred­ded leaves will de­com­pose and add nec­es­sary nu­tri­ents and or­ganic mat­ter to the soil nat­u­rally.

Leaves also can be used in an­nual flower and veg­etable gar­dens to im­prove the soil. Mulch made from shred­ded leaves can be placed on the soil around trees and shrubs. This helps to re­duce weed prob­lems and pro­tects root sys­tems from harsh tem­per­a­ture fluc­tu­a­tions.

Cloth­ing do­na­tions

It’s time to pack away sum­mer cloth­ing and once again fill clos­ets and draw­ers with sweaters and jeans. Be­fore pack­ing away your sum­mer wardrobe, con­duct an in­ven­tory to de­ter­mine if there are any items you no longer use. Do­nate th­ese items or use them as rags when clean­ing.

Keep some short-sleeved shirts ac­ces­si­ble so you can layer them un­der sweat­shirts and sweaters. The heat from lay­er­ing will be trapped against your body and keep you co­zier, re­duc­ing your reliance on HVAC sys­tems to stay warm.

Home re­pairs

Check the roof for any miss­ing shin­gles. In ad­di­tion, look for spots where an­i­mals or in­sects may be able to gain en­try into your home. Seal th­ese ar­eas and re­pair any leaks. This will make your home more ef­fi­cient later on when win­ter hits its stride.

Re­move win­dow air con­di­tion­ers for the win­ter. If they can’t be re­moved, seal them with caulk­ing or tape and cover them with an air­tight, in­su­lated jacket. If you have forced-air sys­tems, move fur­ni­ture away from the vents so that air can flow bet­ter around the home and keep it com­fort­able.

Check weath­er­strip­ping around win­dows and doors and make the nec­es­sary ad­just­ments. In­stalling ad­di­tional in­su­la­tion also can help re­duce en­ergy con­sump­tion.

Con­trib­uted

A few tips can help home­own­ers pre­pare for au­tumn in eco-friendly ways.

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