Tick-proof your yard

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Tick-borne diseases are on the rise and now is when ticks are most active. Since they can transmit a variety of diseases and infections, keeping ticks at bay is a smart idea. Consumer Reports’ experts reveal chemical-free ways to limit the number of ticks crawling through your backyard.

First, trim tall grass and weeds and keep the lawn short. Ordinarily, Consumer Reports advises letting your grass grow a little bit on the long side but if you have ticks in your area it’s not a bad idea to cut it down to about two to two and a half inches in height.

Next, get rid of leaf piles with a leaf blower or rake. And pay attention to the trees on your property. Ticks really love the shade so if you have trees with low hanging branches it’s not a bad idea to clip them off about 18 inches from the ground.

Another trick, which may sound odd - make a mulch moat. This can be really effective. Ticks really prefer densely wooded areas over open grass so running a border of mulch around your property creates one more physical barrier for them. Consumer Reports says sure to use the wood chips or bark and not the shredded mulch, which ends up creating the kind of damp areas they like.

Always do a tick check on your family before coming back into the house after being outside and when in the woods remember to use a repellent. Consumer Reports recommends OFF! Deep Woods Insect Repellent with 25% DEET.

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