Winter-weary boxwoods may find relief just a snip away
Boxwood trees are great foundation plants and also can be used for privacy screening, but they are susceptible to winter storm damage, said horticulturalist Mark Viette.
“The shrubs are often damaged by heavy, wet snow. A couple of winters ago we had a bad storm, and it flattened out our boxwood hedge,” Viette said. “Luckily, evergreens have the ability to maintain color after damage, but after two years, the branches become damaged. Boxwoods can rebound from damage, but in this case, the tree has been damaged for too long, and it will require pruning.”
Boxwoods should be pruned in the spring, using lopping shears or a handsaw.
Scratch the branch with a penknife to see if the branch is dead or alive. If it is dead, it is important to cut it where the new growth starts at the base. More branches could die if you prune only a few of them, Viette said.
“As you pull apart the plant, you can see where it is dead. Prune to where the nice, green growth is at the bottom of the tree, about 12 to 18 inches from the ground.”
Once that’s done, the plant will begin showing new growth, taking about three years to reach its former size.
Kale, Chickpea and Barley Soup
Want to add more veggies to your diet this year? Try this delicious and healthy Kale, Chickpea and Barley Soup. You will want to add this recipe to your family's dinner menu rotation.
Kick-start the new year with hearty, healthy soups
The cold winter months call for a steaming-hot bowl of healthful soup.
Broth-based soups filled with beans and vegetables provide vitamin-rich meals, and soups made with lean meats provide protein-packed meals that are low in fat and calories.
If you add tomatoes to your soup, you’re adding lycopene, an antioxidant that may help reduce the risk of cancer, according to Penn State University. And adding vegetables high in vitamins A and C can help you get the required minimum serving amount per day.
Consuming broth-based soup at the beginning of a meal can help you feel full, which can help you eat less of the courses that follow. And you can always make the soup the main part of the meal.
Soup is a versatile medium, and ingredient lists can be tailored to suit even picky eaters! Virginia Cooperative Extension suggests adding leftover vegetables from other meals or allowing children to add their favorite vegetables to a soup to increase the chances of them eating it.
Even cream soups can be healthy with the right substitutions. The University of California Cooperative Extension Service recommends using skim milk in place of heavy cream or pureed white beans in place of milk to thicken soup. To further reduce a soup’s fat content without sacrificing flavor, chill it and skim off any fat before reheating and serving.
Study shows teens likely to drive less-safe vehicles
A teenager’s first car is often a hand-me-down or an inexpensive older, smaller model, and that could be making an already high-risk segment of drivers even more unsafe.
A study published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety revealed nearly two-thirds of teen drivers killed in crashes between 2013 and 2017 were driving vehicles six to 15 years old. More than a quarter were driving micro, mini or small cars.
For many, it’s seen as a rite of passage to give an old, used family car to the newest driver. But older cars often lack modern safety technology like side airbags and electronic stability control that can help protect new, inexperienced drivers.
According to the study, teens are more likely to drive models that don’t offer those safety options. Since 2012, electronic stability control has been mandated for all new vehicles.
Additionally, smaller cars pose a risk because their lighter mass takes the brunt of collisions with larger vehicles. The shorter front end in a small car also offers less protection than that of a larger one.
Research has shown that compared to older drivers, teens drive less yet crash about four times as often. The IIHS study revealed that among drivers killed in fatal crashes from 2013-17, less than 4% of teens killed were driving vehicles under 3 years old compared to 9% of adults. Also, 38% of teens were killed when driving vehicles 11 to 15 years old compared to 32% of adult drivers.