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Homework: Keeping dogs and lawns happy; Zelienople garden talk

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A top dog trainer says his grass holds up well against his dogs when he maintains a 4-inch height and applies organic fertilizer.

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, April 4, 2014, 7:32 p.m.

Tips to keep a healthy lawn with dogs

If you want a dog and a lush lawn, you're not out of luck.

Dog urine can damage grass, but highly rated experts in lawn care, landscaping and dog training tell Angie's List that there are several ways your pet and your property can coexist pee-cefully.

The cheapest and easiest way to reduce doggie damage is to hose down and dilute urine right after the dog relieves itself. Then, commit to re-seeding damaged areas of grass as needed.

A top dog trainer says his grass is better able to withstand the effects of multiple dogs when he maintains a 4-inch height and applies organic fertilizer.

Another option, if your dog uses a specific area of the yard, is to cover the grass with pea gravel or artificial turf.

Many dogs can be trained to urinate and defecate in a designated spot. It may take four to six weeks of effort. Flag off a sizeable portion of lawn to create a large target zone to start. Leash your pet and take it to that area every time it has to go. Always clean up after the dog. Over time, as the pet responds, gradually shrink the flagged-off area to your preferred size.

Free home show

Nearly 100 exhibitors will take part in the Butler County Home Show from April 11 to 13 at the Family Sports Center on Route 68 in Connoquenessing.

Besides home-product vendors, the show will feature sessions on pet care from the Seven Fields Veterinary Hospital, decorating and home improvements.

The show will be from 4 to 9 p.m. April 11, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 12, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 13. Admission is free.


Garden talkin Zelienople

The Zelienople Historical Society will have its second annual garden talk event from 10 a.m. to noon April 5 at The Strand Theater.

This year's guest speaker is Trib garden writer Jessica Walliser, who is a horticulturist and faculty member at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. She will discuss “Forgotten Garden Combinations,” followed by a Q&A and book signing.

Tickets are $12.

Details: 724-742-0400 or

Kits test for meth production

A company called Meth Lab Cleanup is selling kits that tell you quickly whether a site has been used as a meth lab. The results take only four minutes.

The AccuMeth test kits are intended for use by anyone who needs that information, such as child protective services, police and landlords. It also can be used by real-estate agents or prospective renters or buyers to ascertain whether a home is a safe place to live.

The kit is designed to be easy to use and employs components that are considered regular household waste, not hazardous waste. Kits cost $24.95 each, plus shipping.

— Staff and wire reports

Send Homework items to Features in care of Sue Jones, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, D.L. Clark Building, 503 Martindale St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212; fax 412-320-7966; or email

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