The previous owners of Rhonda Marko’s stucco home in Naples, Fla., loved climbing jasmine growing around the front door. Rhonda, however, isn’t a big fan of the venturing vines.
She’s carefully removed the vines, but some small pieces are left behind. Now, she’s wondering how to eliminate them once and for all.
Here’s our advice: As tempting as it might be, don’t tug on the vine’s roots. These climbing plants’ roots can penetrate deep into the stucco.
If the vine is still a little green, and not completely dead, you could rip away chunks of stucco along with the vine — and be left with a bigger repair job.
To remove these plant pieces without damaging the stucco, spray them with soapy water and scrub with a stiff-bristle nylon brush. Wait until the vines are dead and sun-dried out before scrubbing them.
You can also try pool shock, or calcium hypochlorite, to kill the vines. Dilute the pool shock with some water and spray it onto the vines. This will dehydrate the roots and stop any further growth.
If any stucco chips away while you’re removing the vines, repair it with caulk. While it’s still wet, dab it with a small piece of carpet or paper towel to match the surrounding stucco texture. Finish off this repair with a coat of paint to blend it in.
Skip to [8:36] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Podcast.
Also in this episode:
- A caller’s tip for fending off squirrels
- Ridding a yard of rodents
- What to do about cracked caulk
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DIY Soil Test — Each year, it’s important to test the pH value of the soil in your garden and lawn to make sure it’s not too acidic or too alkaline. You can buy a soil test kit or make your own with baking soda, white vinegar and water.
Start by adding a little soil to a clean container, then pour in a half-cup of vinegar. If it starts to fizz and bubble, then the soil is alkaline and you must add sulfur. If there’s no reaction, take a second clean container, add some soil, pour in half a cup of water and mix well.
Then, add half a cup of baking soda. If it starts to fizz, then the soil is acidic and you must amend it with pulverized lime. If there’s no reaction after conducting both tests, then the soil has a neutral pH and there’s no need to add any amendments.
Scrap Bucket for Cut Offs — Here’s how to convert a plastic five-gallon bucket into a convenient cutting station. Start by using a jigsaw to cut two shallow V-shaped notches into the top lip of the bucket, one directly across from the other.
Then, rotate the bucket 90 degrees and cut two shallow rectangular notches, each about one inch deep and 3-½ inches wide. Again, position the notches across from one another.
Now when making cuts, you can use the V notches to securely hold round pipes and wooden dowels, and the rectangular notches for cutting flat boards up to 3-½ inches wide.
Watch: How to Make a DIY Cut Bucket
Question of the Week
Q: How can I create a balanced tile pattern around my kitchen peninsula?
A: Generally, the rule in installing a floor that has a pattern is to start in the middle and work toward the edges.
Sometimes, you might have to start at the more prominent areas and work from there to get a balanced finish.
Do some dry fitting, which is putting the tiles in place without any mortar. With a little trial and error, you will get a pattern that works for your kitchen.
For more expert advice on tiling, read Joe’s book, “Stanley Tiling: A Homeowner’s Guide.”
Skip to [33:21] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Podcast.