<i>Protect your plants during home renovations</i>

Beth Wilson

Warm weather brings out the renovators in many of us. New sidewalks, a new deck or porch, new windows, even an addition to the house often happen while the weather is warm and dry. While your home may glow under the extra attention, your plants and trees might take a beating from workers, materials and equipment.

Workers can trample plants without realizing it. Even taking out old trees can damage plants beneath them if it's not done carefully, not to mention removing the shade those understory plants might require. While some plants can survive abuse like this, it's always best to take precautions before the work begins.

If you're having a new roof installed or your house painted, often just covering the plants with a sheet can protect them from toxic chemicals or wayward materials falling on them. Sheets are light enough to allow light and air in. If your plants are particularly delicate, you can set up a temporary scaffold to hold the sheets.

Root damage often happens from heavy machinery, which can compact the soil. Also, getting machinery into a yard with mature landscaping can sometimes pose problems. Always discuss this with your contractor well ahead of the work commencing. It may be necessary to prune plants prior to the work beginning. This could even entail pruning the roots of some plants. Sometimes you might have to remove an entire tree or shrub to allow large machinery to enter the property. A certified arborist can help ensure that these tasks are done correctly. If the plant is too large to be moved, you can cordon it off with stakes and fencing. Try to protect as much of the area around the tree as possible from traffic to avoid damaging the root system.

If you have vines that will be in the work area, either tie them out of the way or, if they're self-attaching like English ivy, cut them back. They'll regrow.

You can dig up smaller plants and bundle their roots in burlap. If you keep the burlap moist, they can survive that way for several weeks. If you need to move larger plants, it's best to bring in professional help to lift the shrub or tree and heel it into a prepared bed out of harm's way.

For more information, call the Pulaski County Cooperative Extension Service at 606-679-6361.

Become a fan of Pulaski County Horticulture on Facebook and follow @hortagentbeth on Twitter, kyplants on Instagram, and follow us on YouTube at Pulaski County Horticulture.

The Pulaski Co Extension office is open to the public on a regular basis, Monday through Friday 8am to 4:30pm.

The Lake Cumberland Master Gardeners have pine straw mulch for sale at the Pulaski County Extension office. It is sold in bales for $7 per bale (50 and over, $6 per bale). It can be purchased during office hours 8am to 4:30pm Monday - Friday.

Educational programs of Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

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