the toolbox

Spikes keep pavers tight

Contractor Jeff Goodman has built what he says is a better paver edging spike.

Goodman, who installs landscaping and hardscaping such as walks and patios, got tired of dealing with brick pavers that separated because the edging spikes moved in the ground. So he designed one with an angled tip that stays in place better.

The tip causes the Edgetite spike to be driven into the compacted base at an angle, so the head of the spike pushes against the edging and keeps the bricks in place. Freezing and thawing of the ground only forces the spike tighter against the edging rather than pushing it away.

The spikes can be ordered from suppliers listed at the Orland Park, Ill., company’s website: One dealer, MCP Supply, sells them for $65 a box plus $30 shipping and also offers volume pricing.

Controlling poison ivy

Q: What is the best thing I can buy to kill poison ivy?

A: Goats are sometimes used to control poison ivy and oak because they’ll eat the plants without suffering any ill effects. But a goat isn’t a practical solution for many people.

Unfortunately, there’s no product you can spray on poison ivy to make it go away quickly and easily. It’s a tough plant to eradicate.

The Ohio State University fact sheet on Poison Ivy Identification and Control says that for a small infestation, you can pull or dig the vines by hand. Be careful to cover your skin, wash your clothing and gloves immediately afterward and rinse the washing machine thoroughly after the clothes have been cleaned. If you’re prone to bad reactions from poison ivy, it’s best to avoid this.

The fact sheet says you can also use glyphosate or triclopyr to control poison ivy, but either of those herbicides needs to be applied repeatedly. Glyphosate is found in products such as Roundup. Triclopyr is found in products including Ortho Brush-B-Gon Poison Ivy Killer.

You can apply the herbicide to the leaves or cut the vine and apply it to the cut stems. If you use glyphosate, be careful not to let it touch any part of other plants, because it can kill whatever it touches.

Keep applying the herbicide to new shoots that emerge from the base of the old plant.

Never burn poison ivy or poison oak. Breathing in the smoke can cause a severe, even deadly, allergic reaction.

Akron beacon journal

Getting rid of ants

Should you hire a pro, or tackle this job yourself? Chip Wade of HGTV’s “Elbow Room” weighs in.

Q: Ants have invaded my kitchen. Now what?

A: Hire a pro. You can try a repellent like Raid first. Spray it along the baseboards around the perimeter of your kitchen, as well as along the outside perimeter of your house. But if the ants keep marching back, call an extermination service, which should cost about $75 per session.

The pros will target the problem area, and they’ll treat the perimeter both inside and outside your house to prevent the pests from returning. In fact, you should have a service come at the start of each season. Different types of bugs show up at different times, and this will ensure that you stay protected.

HGTV Magazine via MCT