Tips of the Month

Hot Weather Tips for your Home

It's August and cooler temperatures are still only a memory. Below are some tips to keep your home cool with minimal (or little) air conditioning use:

• Reduce as much as possible the amount of sunlight coming into your home. Install curtains, blinds, or shades. You can even supplement with paper shades or solar film. Installing awnings or shutters outside is another option to interrupt the sunlight. • Turn off the oven and switch to stovetop cooking. Also consider switching to cooler foods and drinks, e.g., cold brew coffee, iced tea, smoothies, cold soups, etc. • At night, use a fan to remove hot air from your home and draw in cool air from outside. You can open windows and doors on opposite sides of the room to cross ventilate. • Plug any gaps around your doors, windows, and window AC units, which will prevent cool air from escaping outside. • Use large appliances at night. Dishwashers, washing machines, clothes dryers, etc., emit a lot of heat. Turn them off during the day and use them at night when it's cooler outside.

From the City's Committee for a Better Environment Committee.

Keeping Vines from Damaging our Canopy Trees

Many of us enjoy walking, running, and bicycling around College Park. The next time you venture out for exercise, challenge yourself to count the number of trees you see with vines growing on the trunk and into the tree canopy. You may be surprised at the large number of trees in the City suffering from the competition of climbing vines.

What can you do as a resident of College Park to prevent vines from damaging trees on your property? Start by making good landscape plant choices. Before purchasing plants, learn as much as you can about selecting the right plant for the right spot. The Maryland Department of Agriculture classifies invasive plants by Tier; both Tier 1 and Tier 2 plants are invasive. While the sale of Tier 1 plants, such as amur honeysuckle, is banned by the state, Tier 2 plants, such as wisteria, are available at many nurseries and retail stores. To protect biodiversity, avoid buying and planting Tier 2 designated invasive plants.

Other vines threatening our trees include English Ivy, Mile-a-Minute, Porcelainberry, Poison Ivy, Wild Grape, and Virginia Creeper. Removing these vines from trees will help maintain the trees in your yard and prevent costly tree trimming and removals.

To control vines, take the following steps: • Wear gloves and use sharp hand clippers to cut the vines around the base of the tree. Remove vines within six feet of the tree trunk. • Wear thick leather gloves when pulling Mile-a-Minute. Pull young vines early in the season and do not allow to go to seed. • Wear gloves and protective clothing when pulling poison ivy shoots early in the season. The urushiol oil in the leaves and stems can cause an itchy allergic rash. Do not burn to control. • After cutting thick vine stems, an herbicide can be applied to cut stems that are rooted in the ground. Read all product labels before applying and follow storage, mixing, application, and disposal instructions. The label will have instructions as to what personal protective equipment should be used when mixing and applying the herbicide.

From the City's Tree and Landscape Board Committee.