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Over the past few days we have received a large number of calls from customers who are having trouble with their Christmas lights. Village Green is in the Christmas light business at this time of the year, so our customers (both business and commercial) are calling to tell us that large sections of their lights are not working. The culprit is Cleon (the recent winter storm that dumped all the ice in our area.) The issue is that Christmas lights have slight nicks or weak spots that allow moisture to seep into them. Your roof lights will usually be ok, but on trees and shrubs water from the melting ice will wick in from the limbs and can trip the GFI (Ground Fault Interrupter.) This is also true of any Christmas lights on the ground (like staked lights.) In fact, any long soaking rain can seep into the wire and trip the GFI outlet. Keep in mind that GFIs can be located in strange places. It’s not unusual for a bathroom outlet to trip and turn off the holiday lights plugged in on the front porch. If you are having issues look for GFIs on all outlets near water (think kitchens or bathroom and out in the garage.) Some newer homes will have the GFI built into the breaker switch in the breaker panel. Once you find the GFI, press the button until it clicks and your holiday lights are once again shining brightly. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, we tell our customers to wait a few hours (to allow the lights to dry out) and try the GFI again.
Finally, all cities in our area require a freeze sensor on sprinkler systems. If you aren’t sure about yours, the simple solution to preventing dangerous icing is to turn off your system.
Fall is here and so are the leaves! One of the questions we get during this time of year is what should our customers do with all their leaves? If they are in your beds we recommend you leave them alone. They eventually break down into the soil, providing great organic material for the roots of your plants. Your lawn however, is a different matter. Having a thick blanket of leaves can cause a few problems. One is that a thick layer of leaves can promote fungus. Another is that the leaves form an insulation barrier for your grass, which is great, until the inevitable gust of wind blows, leaving your lawn exposed to sudden cold. The inability to acclimate when this occurs is especially hard on St. Augustine and zoysiagrass. So, the original questions, what should you do with all those leaves? If at all possible mulch them. Most mulching mowers can mulch them finely enough after a couple of passes to dispatch the leaves back into your lawn. If, after after a couple of passes, you’re still left with a ton of leaves, or you don’t have a mulching mower, your best option is to go old school and grab the rake and trash bags.