Weekly Home Help with items on how to properly mow your lawn, a deal between Netflix and Miramax, how to use an area rug and more.

There’s probably no more common American practice than mowing the lawn. But University of Missouri Extension specialists warn against overdoing it.


“Folks think that if they mow short, they can mow less often, but that’s not the case,” said Brad Fresenburg, an MU Extension turfgrass specialist. “By mowing short, you’re actually creating stress on the plant, and that creates a shorter root system.”


“Taller grass gives a shade effect that prevents annual weed seed germination, and just taking mowing height from 2.5 to 3.5 inches reduces annual weed populations by up to 80 percent,” Fresenburg said.


To determine mowing height, don’t trust preset adjustments on your mower. Instead, Fresenburg recommends using a tape measure from the ground to the bottom of the cutting blade.


Blade sharpness can also contribute to a healthy of a lawn. Sharp blades create more of a scissor-type cut, which reduces turfgrass diseases.


“If you notice that clippings or the leaf tips themselves start to look shredded or jagged, that’s a good indication that blades need to be changed out or sharpened,” he said.


Some people also make the mistake of keeping too neat of a lawn. By always raking or bagging clippings, homeowners can significantly deplete important nutrients.


“We always like to say, ‘Mow tall and let the clippings fall,’” Fresenburg said. “There’s tremendous benefit to not raking, and if you return clippings to a lawn, you can return up to 30 percent of your seasonal nitrogen as well as 50 percent of your seasonal potassium.”


Home-Selling Tip: Pay attention to the outdoors


When you’re home is on the market, pay as much attention to the outdoors as you do the indoors. Keep your lawn clean and maintained. Flowerbeds can add color to your front yard, and they are a great way to cut down on the amount of grass that needs mowing. Talk to a garden expert about what plants, trees or shrubs will enhance your home’s outdoor appeal.


-- EnergizedSeller.com


Going Green: UPS continues to experiment with trucks


UPS is experimenting with new lightweight delivery trucks that are made of a plastic-like composite material and are about 1,000 pounds lighter than their traditional models and feature a smaller, more efficient diesel engine. Cities in Nebraska, Arizona and New York are among the test sites, the conclusion of which will be in December. According to Earth911.com, the company already has 2,000 alternative-fuel vehicles that include natural gas, propane and hybrid electric vehicles.


Did You Know …


Risk of exposure to lead, asbestos particles, radon gas, carbon monoxide and other harmful contaminants is far greater inside a home than outside.


-- HUD.gov


Home Improvements: Area rugs add color, depth


Area rugs are a low-cost way to add more color and depth to any room in the house. Such rugs provide a frame to an area where things happen, like a dining area, sitting area or bedroom. Remember, it’s more about complementing colors rather than matching. Also, don’t be afraid to use an area rug on top of carpeting.


-- HGTV.com


Garden Guide: How and why to grow beans


Beans are an ancient crop that is considered to be a staple. It is grown extensively throughout North and South America. The culture is pretty simple, and that is why, for the home gardener, this is one crop that is easy to grow and rewards the gardener with an ample supply of produce.


Beans prefer a full sun location and soil that is well drained and crumbly. Because beans are a warm-season crop, they do best when planting is delayed until the soil has sufficiently warmed in the spring, which usually is well past the frost-free date in an area.


-- University of Illinois Extension


New Product: Netflix, Miramax team up


Netflix is teaming up with Miramax in a deal that would allow users to stream “several hundred Miramax movies, with dozens of titles being added on a rotating basis.” Starting in June, users will be able to stream movies to their TV, computer, tablet or mobile phone. Earlier this year, Netflix announced a deal to stream CBS shows.


-- Consumer Reports


GateHouse News Service