Growing Bananas in the Frozen North? Here’s How

Bananas are a tropical fruit—there is no arguing that. However, it is very possible to grow banana trees in colder climates. Some species of banana plants actually come from cold places, like the Himalayas. If you live in Wisconsin, but you want to grow tropical trees in your yard and maybe even harvest some bananas, here is how you can do that.

Find Cold-Hardy Banana Plants for Sale

There are a handful on online plant and flower sellers that also sell banana plants. Once you have found these sellers, you will want to buy plants that are from the Musa family of bananas. These are the only species of banana plants that produce fruit. It may be a little more difficult to produce fruit in Wisconsin, but if you buy and plant at least four trees together, there is bound to be enough cross-pollination of a male and female tree to get some bananas once in a while. If you experience an exceptionally wet spring and a very hot summer, you might find some bananas waiting for you in early fall.

Create the Right Soil for These Plants

To get these banana plants to grow properly and grow very tall, follow the planting instructions very closely. Make sure that the soil has the right pH, texture and mix of sand, loam, top soil, and under soil. If you follow the directions to the letter and keep nurturing the banana plants, they will grow very tall and maybe even produce some fruit for you.

Grow the Plants Close to Each Other

Banana plants and trees often have one tree or plant that is female and one that is male. Since it is very difficult for the plant companies to sex the plants and trees in their immature state, it is just easier to plant the trees close together. That way, if you have a male plant and a female plant in the grove, cross-pollination can occur, and you can get bananas! (Even if you do not get bananas, you will get some very beautiful, banana-smelling flowers for your efforts.)

Twenty Below Is No Problem

Wisconsin can get some very vicious winter weather. Between the blizzards and the below-zero temperatures, the winter gets quite uncomfortable for all living things. Toss in an ice storm or freezing rain, and you might be concerned about the survival rate of your banana plants. If you buy the right ones that can withstand the cold and are of the fruit-bearing species of Musa, you have nothing to worry about. These trees will stand temperatures as low as twenty below.

Talk to professionals such as Martha Monroe for more information.

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3 Services That Can Be Performed On Your Trees

If you have trees on your property, it is important that they are properly cared for. A great way to do this is to hire a tree professional that provides several different services for your trees. This article will discuss 3 services that can be performed on your trees. 

Tree Trimming 

A routine service that a tree professional can perform for you is tree trimming. Trees need to be trimmed for a variety of different reasons and can greatly benefit from being trimmed. Trimming trees can remove any dead branches or leaves, thus allowing all of the tree’s nutrients to go to the healthy areas of the tree that really need it. Trees that are overgrown can be a hazard if you need to see around them, and they are also quite unsightly. Trimming these trees can make them much safer and help them to look much cleaner and more uniform. 

Tree Removal 

There are several reasons why you may need to have a tree removed. It may be dead and falling over, it’s roots may be causing damage to the surrounding area, or you may simply no longer want the tree. In any situation, it is going to be safest and most effective to hire a tree professional to remove the tree for you. They will come in with chainsaws, a crane, straps, and other materials to safely cut your tree down without harming anyone or anything in the surrounding area. 

Tree Planting And Transplanting

If you currently have some trees that you are growing in a pot or other container that you need transplanted, you can have this service performed by a tree professional. First of all, they will look at your tree or trees for you and tell you if they are ready to be transplanted. If they give you the go ahead, then the next step is going to be to help you find a place on your property where the tree can grow and thrive. It will need a place where it’s roots can expand without hitting anything that they may damage, such as the foundation of your home. The soil will also need to be nutrient rich so that the tree can get all that it needs from it. A tree professional can also help you out by planting small trees that are fresh from the nursery in your yard for you. They will given them the proper nutrients and water, as well as any support that they may need in the form of posts, wire, etc. 

For more information, contact local professionals like Tree Sculptors.

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Tips For Troubleshooting Your Air Conditioner’s Poor Cooling

The peak of the summer often brings the most significant heat waves. If you’ve found that your air conditioner isn’t keeping up with the high temperatures as well as you’d like, it could mean that the compressor is having a problem. For example, leaves and other outdoor debris may clog the compressor. You can easily remove these to restore airflow and compressor function. If this doesn’t fix the problem, it may be the result of ice building up inside the compressor. Here are some of the things you should know about ice buildup and how to deal with it.

How Does Ice Accumulation Affect The Compressor?

Your air conditioner’s compressor unit relies on a coil to cool the air that passes through. The refrigerant that passes through the coil chills the outer surface of the coil so that the air that passes through can draw from it to cool it. The air draws just enough of the cold temperature away from the coil to keep that coil above the freezing point. This is part of why moisture drips into the tray beneath the compressor. When the system doesn’t function the way that it’s supposed to, the coil will get too cold, causing the moisture that forms on the surface to freeze.

When the coil develops a layer of ice, the air cannot draw cold away. That reduces the efficiency of the air conditioner. Over time, the persistent freezing can actually cause the coil to crack. This may prevent the air conditioner from cooling at all.

What Can Cause The Coil To Freeze?

One of the most common causes of compressor problems is a blocked fan. This hinders airflow, allowing the coil to freeze. You can check the fan by pulling the access panel off the side of the condenser. This gives you direct access to the fan. Test the fan to be sure it spins properly and remove anything that might be clogging it. If it isn’t bound up by anything obvious but it still doesn’t spin, you may need to have a new fan installed.

Another common cause is insufficient refrigerant in the system. When the refrigerant is too low, your air conditioner can’t regulate the temperature and transfer the cold to the air that passes over. This causes the coils to freeze. Your air conditioning technician can test the refrigerant pressure in the system and recharge it if necessary. He or she may also want to do a leak test to help you determine where you’re losing refrigerant.

If your central air system isn’t keeping up, there are many potential causes. A frozen coil is a common one, and usually an easy fix. Talk with your air conditioning technician (like those at A Bailey Plumbing) if this doesn’t help you keep your home cool and comfortable.

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Tips For Designing A Bohemian Kitchen

If you’re looking for a modern, but unique design for your kitchen renovation, you might consider going bohemian. Modern bohemian style conveys a bright, energetic, natural space that celebrates a person’s individual style. Here are some practical design tips to help you carve out a bohemian style that will bring a smile to your face whenever you walk into the kitchen.

Move Away From White

White kitchens are definitely in vogue right now, but with a bohemian kitchen, you’ll want to make a statement with your kitchen cabinets. Choose a colorful alternative that can still act as a neutral palette for finer and more patterned finishing touches. For example, navy blue can function as a neutral in a kitchen space. If you’re hoping for a lighter space, you can choose a light green, creamy ivory, or natural wood that is not stained, but simply varnished to highlight the grain.

If you do like the versatility that a white kitchen affords, be sure to pour customization into other elements to help bring more individuality to the space. For example, choose colorful glass door knobs instead of simple stainless steel or black pulls. Instead of upper cabinets, display your working tools, colorful dishes and jars on open shelves. If possible talk to your contractor about adding natural light by removing an upper cabinet to install a window, because light is very important for brightening bohemian designs. 

Make A Statement With The Tiles

Bohemian designs celebrate patters and contrasts. Your tiled backsplash can be the focal point of your design with a built in pattern. Instead of choosing a basic square tiled backsplash, consider choosing an alternative pattern. Herringbone patterns remain classic, but with a colorful glass tile, you can make the pattern stand out. Mosaic tiles or tiles with painted patterns are also great choices.

Finish With Unique Elements

The bohemian style allows for the kitchen and the person living in it to be on display. Consider hanging your pots on the wall, placing your beans and rice in glass jars, and leaving wooden utensils in an old can on the counter. Another classic element of bohemian style are putting real living things into a space. Try to make room on your open shelves for fresh herbs, potted plants, flowers or succulents. You might find a vintage light fixture at a thrift store and finish with a colorful rug on the floor in a geometric, floral, or Moroccan pattern. 

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3 Options To Give Your Home More Storm Protection And A Classic Look With Shutters

If you want to protect your home and your family from potential dangerous storms, adding shutters to your home can be a great investment. You may want to preserve a certain look for your home, which may mean that you want a classic shutter for your home, such as a colonial shutter. Here are a few options that you may want to consider for having new shutters installed on your home to protect your family from storms this summer:

1. Bahama Shutters For A Multi-Purpose Solution For Your Home

Many coastal homes feature Bahama-style shutters. These are like colonial shutters, but the difference is that they can be opened vertically to cover windows with shade and act like an awning. These can be a great look for your home and give you shutters that not only protect your home from storms, but they can also help add shade and improve ventilation in your home when partially opened. You do not have to live on the beach to enjoy these shutters; Bahama-style shutters are usually louvered and can come with a variety of different looks to give your home a classic look.

2. Traditional Colonial Shutters That Keep Your Home Safe From Storms Outside

Colonial shutters may be one of the most common shutters installed on homes. These are the traditional shutters that are installed outside the window and have louvers on them. They are a great affordable solution to add storm protection for your home. You can get these shutters in a variety of different materials, including wood, metal and even composite materials. If you choose to use composite or vinyl materials, make sure that your shutters are reinforced and have a rating for wind resistance.

3. Plantation Shutters For An Interior Design Look And Storm Protection

The shutters you have installed on your home can also be interior design solutions. Plantation shutters are a classic shutter solution that can be installed inside your home and give your home a unique interior look. These shutters can be wood or composite materials and usually have a louvered design. This type of shutter may not protect your glass, but it can prevent damage inside your home and give you a way to control natural lighting by simply adjusting the louvers on the shutters.

These are some more traditional options that you can choose from to have shutters added to your home. If you are ready to have a traditional look with more storm protection for your home, contact a shutter installation service such as Budget Blinds Of Coachella Valley and talk with them about some of these options for your home. 

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3 Specialty Railings To Consider When Updating Your Home’s Stairway

For many home owners, stairways play a prominent role in the floor plan of their homes. Stairs serve a useful purpose, but can easily become an eyesore if the right type of railing isn’t installed.

If you are thinking of updating your home by swapping out your dated railing for something new, here are three types of decorative railings that you might want to consider.

1. Glass Railing

Although many people associate glass railing with outdoor decks, this type of ornamental railing can be used to help prevent visual barriers from breaking up your living space. If you want a lot of natural light to filter through your home, glass railing could be a great solution.

These types of railings are especially useful for loft areas that are open to the living space below. With glass railings, you will be able to eliminate the visual barriers that can make your home seem small and really open up your living space to create the feeling of grandeur you are looking for.

2. Wire Cord Railing

If you are looking to maintain your home’s industrial feel while you update your stairways, then investing in wire cord railing could be the answer. This type of railing features very thin wire cording that is connected by a series of metal posts.

Since the wire cord is so thin, it doesn’t obstruct your views. The metal cording is durable enough to allow an adult to lean against it without breaking, but a small child could fall through the space between each cord so this railing is not suggested for young families. Installing wire cord railing will help lend a more industrial vibe to your living space.

3. Carved Wood Railing

When you want to add some artistic touches to your living space, investing in carved wood railing can be a great idea. Carved wood railings can be customized to blend with the unique decor that exists within your home, and they make a great architectural feature.

Railings that are made from wood that is left in its natural state will help you incorporate more of the natural world into your living space, while wood that is finished with intricate detailing in the carved design can create a conversation piece your family and friends will enjoy.

Finding the right railing can play an important role in helping you establish the right mood in your home. Consider glass, wire cord, or carved wood railings when updating your home’s stairways in the future. Contact a company like Tampa Bay Hand Railings for more info.

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The Usual Suspects: Three Tree Species That Frequently Require Removal

Unlike humans, not all trees are created equally. Some species are celebrated for their tendencies to reliably exhibit good growth form and produce sound branch junctions. Others are infamous for their weak wood and characteristically fragile nature. Over time, tree-care professionals become intimately familiar with those in the latter group, as they are the ones that require the removal most frequently.

It is very important to keep a close eye on these three tree species. Solicit the assistance of an arborist, like those at Edmonds Tree Service, who can assess the tree’s safety profile and make recommendations accordingly.  

Bradford Pears

A cultivar of the Callery pear, Bradford pears (Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’) are one of the most popular pears used in ornamental settings. Beloved for their round, picturesque canopies and gorgeous spring blooms, the trees do have several things going for them. The problem is that they are incredibly short lived – they rarely make it to their 30th birthday – and the vast majority of their branches attach to the trunk at weak, v-shaped angles, rather than strong, u-shaped angles.

Bradford pears commonly suffer from broken branches following ice storms, as the additional weight proves too much for the trees to handle.

Lombardy Poplars

The Lombardy poplar (Populus nigra ‘Italica’) is an Italian cultivar of the black poplar. Thanks to their columnar growth form, which makes the trees well suited for row-style planting, these male clones became popular soon after their development. However, the trees are short lived and their branch structure is very poor – the branches all attach to the trunk at very narrow angles, which reduces the strength of the union.

Additionally, Lombardy poplars planted in areas with high humidity often suffer from a variety of fungal and bacterial pathogens, further weakening the trees.  

Coast Live Oaks

Coast live oaks (Quercus agrifolia) are hardy trees that are well-adapted to living in arid regions. Newly transplanted trees require supplemental water, but once mature, coast live oaks are very drought tolerant and they are not susceptible to many insects or other pests. However, because they have evolved mechanisms for surviving in areas with little rainfall, coast live oaks are more likely than many other oak species to suffer from root or trunk rot. This is particularly true of trees growing in temporarily flooded areas.

Additionally, like most other members of the red oak group, coast live oaks are highly susceptible to oak wilt, which can also cause the trees to die prematurely, necessitating their removal. 


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