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Home and garden checklist

Published: Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 7CALIFORNIA LIFE

HOME CHECKLIST

Goodbye, incandescent bulbs! You're history.

At least in California, where the three-year mandatory phaseout is now in its last leg.

This month, discontinuation of the remaining 40- and 60-watt incandescent bulbs began in California, which is a year ahead of other states in adopting energy-efficient lighting. The old 100-watt bulbs were phased out in 2011 and 75-watt bulbs went away last year.

During this phaseout, retailers have discovered that customers like their light bulb decisions simple. Considering the rapidly multiplying alternatives, that's not always easy.

"It's been a big change for our customers in California," said Mark Voykovic, The Home Depot's national light bulb merchant. "We want to help our customers make that transition."

Before recent innovations, light bulbs had changed little for a century.

"People didn't have to think about light bulbs for 100 years," Voykovic said. "They don't want to think about it now. The message we've heard from customers: (Retailers) have got to make it simple."

Three factors play into light bulb choices, he added. "What do you want in a bulb? That's No. 1. The other factors are energy savings and price points."

Halogen bulbs, which look just like the incandescents they replace, are 28 percent more efficient than the old bulbs. They're also the cheapest of the alternatives. That's made them a favorite during this transition.

Compact fluorescent bulbs last 10 times as long as incandescents and offer 75 percent energy savings.

"CFLs are the most cost- effective, energy-saving lighting right now," Voykovic said.

But CFLs contain mercury, which makes disposal difficult.

LEDs – light-emitting diodes – are rapidly gaining in popularity. These are the most efficient alternatives so far with bulbs capable of lasting many years, but these new LED bulbs remain expensive; the most popular models are priced at $20 or more apiece.

"We'll see those prices drop as demand continues to rise," Voykovic said. "Ideally, every six to eight months, we'll see better pricing as sales rise and pricing goes down."

The Home Depot has noticed a trend in purchasing the new LED bulbs, he noted. "Customers will buy one or two, then they'll come back for eight or 10. They try it out, they like it and decide to replace more bulbs in their homes."

Whatever California decides will influence the rest of the country, he noted.

"The more use drives down costs and leads to higher mass acceptance," he said. "California is already ahead of the curve. It will give us an idea for the rest of the country."


GARDEN CHECKLIST

Clean up leaves and debris around fruit trees and rose bushes to prevent the spread of disease.

Apply oil to fruit trees soon after a rain to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective. Don't apply on foggy days.

Prune hybrid tea, floribunda and grandiflora roses for April bloom. For more flowers this spring, prune less severely for a taller bush. Prune canes to 24 to 30 inches tall instead of 12 to 18 inches.

Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

Cut back chrysanthemums to 6 to 8 inches tall; divide if necessary.

In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

Plant bare-root roses, shrubs and fruit trees.

– Debbie Arrington

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