The Nuts and Bolts: April 24, 2014

Select the Right Tree for the Right Place in Your Yard This Arbor Day!

A properly selected and planted tree can add beauty and energy efficiency to your landscape. A poorly selected and planted tree can become high maintenance, dangerous, and short-lived. The Energy Education Council has advice to help you select the tree that is best for your yard.

"This is an excellent time of year for tree planting," says Molly Hall, executive director of the Energy Education Council. "With some research and preparation, your tree will be a healthy and beautiful addition to your home for years to come."

Will your tree be needed for shade, a windbreak, or beauty? These considerations will affect what tree is suitable for you, and where it should be planted. Dense evergreens provide a good wind block, while leafy deciduous trees provide shade in the summer. It is always best to choose native trees. They require less maintenance and will live longer.

For a windbreak, plant trees to the north, northwest, and west. For shade, plant trees to the east and west of your home. Remember that fast-growing trees are more brittle and likely to be damaged in a storm. Plant these trees farther from your home to protect your home from damage.

The Arbor Day Foundation has a free tree wizard tool that will help you select the best tree for your needs. It is available at

Gardening Grows as Millennials Dig In

Gardening is growing as the #1 hobby in America, with 5 million more households digging in and planting than in 2010, driven by millennials' interest in edible gardening according to the 2013 National Gardening Survey. The edible gardening category, which includes vegetable gardening, herb gardening, fruit trees and growing berries, recently hit a six-year high in both participation and spending.

Looking to source locally grown food straight from their backyards, nearly 80 percent of gardeners aged 18-30 purchase vegetables to grow, according to the 2014 Home Garden Panel by Metrolina Greenhouses, the nation's largest greenhouse.

For more information, planting inspiration and how-to advice check out Lowe's spring tips videos, highlighting three easy steps to create a garden full of color and variety this season, at

Fired Clay Brick Exteriors Prove Superior in Green Benefits, Performance

The latest comparisons on home exteriors show that genuine clay brick offers greater sustainable value over its top competitors — including vinyl siding, concrete masonry, manufactured stone, fiber cement siding (faux wood alternative) and Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS), known as synthetic stucco.

"Fired clay brick is the greenest building material made in America, and made from abundant natural resources," said Ray Leonhard, president and CEO, Brick Industry Association (BIA). "A product that is so durable, it has a life span lasting generations, even centuries; colors that will not fade over time; superior sound reduction and energy performance; low maintenance; and high resale values are just some of the benefits of genuine clay brick construction. No other wall cladding material can come close to offering all these benefits," he said.

For more details, visit