RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Plant and Maintain a Tree This Earth Day

April 22, 2015 1:45 am

Did you know that trees can die quickly if planted too far into the ground? Even trees that are well cared for are vulnerable, says the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA). Before you plant a tree this Earth Day, follow these best practices.

Measure the height and diameter of the root ball or root spread.
Dig the hole just deep enough to allow the first structural root to be at level grade. The hole’s diameter should be two to three times the diameter of the root ball or root spread.

Set the tree on undisturbed solid ground in the center of the hole.
The tree should be planted so that the root flare, the base of the tree trunk where the roots begin to flare out, is visible and above grade.

Backfill with soil from the planting hole
, using water to pack or settle the soil around the root ball. Do not tamp soil by stepping on it.

Mulch the planting area
with 2-4 inches of an organic mulch, such as wood chips. Do not mulch up to or against the trunk. Start the mulch six inches away from the tree trunk. Fertilizing is not recommended at the time of planting.

Trees should be pruned after planting
to remove only broken, damaged, diseased or dead branches.

Stake or protect the trunk of the tree
if there is a real potential for wind damage or lawn mower injury. Remove the guy wires (string, rope, wire or other used with supports) when the staking is no longer needed or the tree could be injured or even killed from girdling by the wire.

Prune to develop a good branch structure
1-3 years after planting. Never remove more than 25 percent of total foliage in one year. Depending on the tree and its condition, some arborists advocate capping pruning at even a lower percentage.

If you’re new to purchasing a tree, look for these common forms of packaged trees:
  • Bare-Root Plants may be sold with the roots tightly packed in a moisture-retaining medium that is wrapped with paper or plastic, or with roots loosely covered by a moist packing medium. Roots must be adequately moistened prior to planting. Roots are spread out evenly in the hole when planting.
  • Balled and Burlapped (B&B) Trees are moved with a ball of soil protecting their root system. Soil balls are heavy, so professional arborists who have proper equipment should be hired to plant large trees. Smaller B&B trees should be carried with a hand under the ball. Carrying a B&B tree by the stem or branches can result in serious root damage. When planting, carefully remove the top layer of soil down to the first structural root. Set the root ball in the hole, position the tree, then remove twine and nails. Remove or fold back burlap from the upper third of the root ball.
  • Container-Grown Trees have the advantage of a root system that is relatively undisturbed at planting, but beware of "pot-bound" container trees. Do not buy container trees that have a large amount of roots completely circling the inside of the pot. These trees will take a long time to get established after planting because the roots have difficulty growing beyond the thick ring of circling roots. Immediately before planting container trees, prune any circling roots. Root pruning can cut up to 50 percent of the roots in container trees while still sufficient to permit plant establishment. Always remove the container prior to planting.
Source: TCIA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Financial Education at Every Age

April 21, 2015 1:45 am

Developing financial skills at a young age is essential to making smart monetary decisions in the future. According to a survey by the Council for Economic Education, just 17 states in the U.S. require personal finance classes in high school.

“Financial education is key to economic stability and success, and kids are never too young to start learning about money, budgeting and saving,” says Steve Trumble, president and CEO, American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC). “While extensive financial education resources are available, too often they aren’t included in students’ learning environments or school curriculum. This has lifelong financial consequences. If we want our kids to be smart financial adults, we need to introduce these core concepts at a young age.”

ACCC recommends educating children about finances, budgeting and the impact of money at various stages:

Preschool – Grade 2: Parents should introduce the concept of money to children in pre-kindergarten. Preschoolers can learn to identify, count and sort different types of coins, while kindergarteners can learn how much different coins are worth. First and second graders can begin to determine how to use the fewest number of coins to achieve different amounts, and whether they have enough money to purchase items at various prices. Second graders can also learn to make change.

Start by turning everyday activities into an opportunity to explain what money is and how it is used. For example, during a trip to the grocery store, parents can compare food prices. Your next trip to the ATM is an opportunity to make sure your child understands that money must be earned and does not just come from a machine.

Grades 3-6: As children progress through elementary school into middle school, they can begin learning about smart money choices. Distinguish between needs – items such as food, shelter and clothing – and wants – things like toys and candy. Children at this age can be introduced to the concept of budgeting, particularly if they receive an allowance, get birthday cash or gift chards or money from chores.

Introduce a budgeting worksheet that lays out sources of income and expenses so that children learn what money is being earned and spent. At this age, the concept of saving – putting money aside now to be used later – becomes important. The next time your child receives a birthday check, take them to open a savings account and explain how their money can grow due to interest.

Grades 7-12: By the time children reach middle and high school they are old enough to understand and utilize the concepts of earning, planning and saving. Most kids at this age begin to earn money, whether through a summer job, babysitting or other work. It is important that kids keep track of their spending and know where their money is going each month. Explain that a portion of each paycheck should be put directly into a savings account.

Children should set SMART financial goals by deciding what they are saving for and how much they are going to need. SMART financial goals include being Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
1. Specific: What exactly needs to be accomplished? Who else will be involved? Where will it take place? Why do I want to accomplish this goal?
2. Measurable: How will I know I’ve succeeded? How much of a change do I need to make? How many accomplishments or actions will it take?
3. Achievable: Do I have, or can I get, the resources needed to achieve the goal? Is the goal reasonable for me? Are the actions I plan to take going to bring me success?
4. Realistic: Is it worthwhile for me right now? Is it meaningful to me? Will it delay or prevent me from achieving more important goals? Am I willing to commit to really achieving this goal?
5. Timely: What is the deadline for reaching the goal? When do I need to take action? What can I do today?
Once kids get SMART about their goals, they can develop a detailed budget, utilize a bank account, and learn about what it means to spend and borrow smart without getting into too much credit card debt.

College Students: As children begin thinking about college and life post high school, their financial needs become more pronounced. During this time, it’s critical that students learn in detail how to choose a bank and credit card.

Students thinking about college should learn about various scholarships, how to earn money while in school, and apply the financial lessons they’ve already learned by finding ways they can save money on textbooks and other college expenses.

Source: ACCC

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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