How to prep your yard for a tick-free summer

Spring has sprung, and so have ticks! Consumer Reports experts reveal chemical-free ways to limit the number of ticks crawling through your backyard.

Your yard should be a place of sanctuary for you, not ticks. While not all ticks carry the same diseases, at least one variety of disease-transmitting tick can be found in almost every state.

The trick to stopping ticks is to make your yard less hospitable. 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 and clear out your gutters. It’s also important to pay attention to the trees on your property. Ticks love shade, so if you have trees with low-hanging branches, it’s a good idea to clip them off about 18 inches from the ground.

Another is because your home is your castle - protect it with a moat - a mulch moat. Ticks 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 to use wood chips, bark, or even gravel, but not shredded mulch, which makes the damp areas they like.

Always check your family for ticks before returning to the house after being in the woods or any grassy areas—and remember to use a repellent. Consumer Reports’ Extensive testing of insect repellents found that 25 to 30 percent of products containing deet provide the most reliable protection against ticks and mosquitos.

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