Starting seeds indoors : Yard and Garden : Garden : University of Minnesota Extension

The calendar shows us that we have turned the page to Spring 2018. But take one look out your window today or listen to the forecast, and we all know it sure doesn’t look or feel like spring. Realistically, it’s going to take good week or more of steady spring like temps to get the snow melt going and start to see plants turning green.

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But, like many folks, if you are anxious to dust off your shovels and dig into the garden, we found a great article for you to read. The University of Minnesota Extension has a fully detailed article about starting your seeds indoors. Click here to read the full article.
At Parkway Lawn Service, we are anxious for Spring 2018 to arrive as well. We look forward to help get your lawns back in shape just as soon as the weather safely permits.

Source: Starting seeds indoors : Yard and Garden : Garden : University of Minnesota Extension

Perfect Timing for Pruning Your Apple Tree

Produce more apples

By Gail Hudson, Extension Communications Specialist for Horticulture

Photo courtesy: Julie Weisenhorn
By the end of the winter, most gardeners are itching to get outside and start doing something! You certainly can–by pruning your apple tree(s). Extension Educator Annie Klodd, a fruit and vegetable specialist, says late February, early March is just about right for Minnesota gardeners. The trick is to do it at the end of winter just as the temperatures are rising a bit, but before the tree’s buds emerge.
Pruning an apple tree is an important task for home growers, she says, for several reasons:
  1. It’s a good time to get rid of diseased, damaged and dead wood on your tree.
  2. It gives the apple tree a nice shape and allows more light to get to the buds and fruit.
  3. The tree will be healthier, produce more fruit and grow better overall.

Tools to use

Line up the right tools before you begin pruning. Depending on the size of your apple tree, you’ll need at least a pair of hand clippers for a small one.  For a large tree, large loppers work as well as a pruning saw.

For more information about growing and maintaining apple trees, read this article by University of Minnesota Horticulturist and fruit expert Emily Hoover: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/fruit/apples-in-home-garden/index.html#seasons

“Kind of a big deal” Facts about this week’s snowstorm by National Weather Service

Click on image below to enlarge.

Get Your Lawn Minnesota Winter Ready in 10 Steps

frosty lawn

It’s official – Minnesota winter is right around the corner. Before the snow starts falling, make sure your yard is ready to weather to foul weather all season.

1. Rake All Leaves

Any stray leaves left through winter will suffocate your lawn and can invite in disease. Now that the leaves are mostly done falling, it’s time for one more clean-up.

2. Check Gutters

Now is the perfect time to make sure your gutters are properly fastened to your house, so the weight of snow doesn’t tear them away. Clean gutters before winter starts and make sure downspouts extend away from your house by five feet or more.

3. Clean Patio

Leftover leaves can pose serious damage to your patio. Do one final sweep and apply a protective finish to help your deck guard against winter damage.

4. Shut off Outdoor Faucets & Remove Hoses

Drain water from all outdoor pipes, valves and sprinklers before shutting them off to prevent burst pipes. Bring in the garden hose for the winter so it doesn’t crack or become damaged.

5. Prune Shrubs and Trim Trees

Before the weight off winter snow pulls down a loose branch, take a proactive approach by trimming your trees and pruning your shrubs. 

6. Wrap Young Trees

If you have any young trees in your yard, help them flourish come spring by wrapping them in burlap this winter to protect them.

7. One Final Mow

Before the ground finally freezes, continue to mow your lawn as usual to promote growth. 

8. Repair Bare Spots

Now is the time to fix a patchy lawn. Treat any bare spots before winter hits to give your lawn the best shot come springtime.

 9. Aerate and Reseed

If you haven’t already aerated your lawn for the season, there’s still time to get it done. Aerating and reseeding your lawn now will promote growth.

10. Enjoy Some Apple Cider

After all that hard work, reward yourself with a fresh, hot cup of cider.  

The experts at Parkway Lawn Services are ready to help you with all your MN lawn care needs, questions, and concerns. Our Minneapolis Lawn Service is bar none. Get a free estimate today.

What is Lawn Aeration?

 

aerating

Is your lawn getting thin, turning brown or developing spots that just don’t look as good as they should? Over time, most soil becomes compacted or hard, and your turf has trouble filling in those thin and browning spots. Drought, disease and insects can also take their toll. If any of this sounds familiar, aeration and overseeding might just be what you need.

Getting Your Lawn Back on Track

All lawns, regardless of their condition, can benefit from some level of renovation every year or so. One of the best means of rejuvenating turf is to combine the power of professional aeration with overseeding.

During aeration, a machine known as a core aerator pulls plugs of soil and thatch up from the lawn to break up compacted soil and create more room for air, water and fertilizer to reach the roots. This results in expansion of the root system for thicker, healthier grass. Aeratiion also helps to break up thatch, which can prevent water, fertilizer and insect controls from reaching the soil if it gets too thick.

Following up aeration with overseeding is a great way to thicken up a thin lawn or add a hardier, more drought-resistant grass variety to your property. Good seed-to-soil contact is essential for seeding success, and the new grass seed will have an easier time growing in the holes left behind by aeration. Keep in mind that if your lawn has been seeded, the soil should be kept moist with light, frequent sprinklings until the new grass is well established.

For more information on lawn renovation, or to schedule aeration and overseeding, give us a call today at 612-869-5878.

The experts at Parkway Lawn Services are ready to help you with all your MN lawn care needs, questions, and concerns. Get a free estimate today. Click here to see what our customers are saying about our Minneapolis Lawn Service.

Wow, Boxelder bugs are all over my house!

Here is timely garden news from our good friends at University of Minnesota.

Prepare for boxelder bugs

 Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

Boxelder bugs are starting to congregate around the outside of buildings. Take action now if you wish to minimize problems with them later, especially if you have had a problem with them in the past. Although boxelder bugs are just a nuisance, they can potentially enter homes in large numbers. People can see them in their homes not only in the fall, but also during the winter and early spring.

Watch out for boxelder bugs trying to get into your home.
Photo: Jeff Hahn, University of Minnesota Extension

It is not effective to spray the boxelder bugs found in the landscape. Adults have wings and can easily fly onto your property from adjacent areas. It is much more effective to take steps to help prevent boxelder bugs from entering a home to begin with.

There are two basic ways for dealing with boxelder bugs (and other insects, like lady beetles) that try come into your home seeking sheltered areas for the winter: sealing cracks and spaces and timely insecticide sprays. These are steps you can take yourself or hire a professional to do for you.

For more information on boxelder bugs, including control, see Boxelder bugs.

 

Got Buckthorn? Everything you ever wanted to know about Buckthorn but were afraid to ask

Here is a great article posted by the City of Edina.

 

 

https://www.edinamn.gov/260/Buckthorn-Removal-Month

When to Seed Your Lawn In Minnesota

picture of grass - When to Seed Your Lawn In Minnesota

Not sure when to seed your lawn? According to the U of M, the best time to seed your lawn in Minnesota is in early fall. That means there’s still time to get your lawn ready for the fall and enjoy a beautiful lawn before winter comes.

U of M Extension offers some fantastic tips on starting your lawn:

Seed options

In Minnesota, Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescues, turf-type tall fescue and some of the perennial ryegrass varieties are recommended. Your local seed distributor, garden center, or county extension educator can help you to determine the best varieties for your lawn.

  • For shady locations, look for seed mixtures specifying shade tolerance. These will contain fine fescues along with some common and shade-tolerant Kentucky bluegrasses.
  • For sunny areas that receive a lot of wear, mixtures of 50% improved Kentucky bluegrasses and 50% perennial ryegrasses are best.
  • For low maintenance turf, mixtures of Kentucky bluegrasses and fine fescues or newer tall fescues will offer a durable lawn.

Sod options

Most of the sod grown in Minnesota is a mixture of Kentucky bluegrass varieties. Occasionally, some perennial ryegrass, improved varieties of tall fescue or fine fescue are available in the mixture. A retailer or installer should know what varieties are in their sod; if not, they can get this information from the sod grower.

Soil preparation: seed and sod

Soil preparation should be the same for seeding or sodding.

  • Do a soil test. Follow sampling procedures for representative results.
  • Make amendments as prescribed by the soil test.
  • Firm the soil slightly with a roller or cultipacker.

Seeding

  • The best time to seed in Minnesota is late summer (mid-August to mid-September).
  • Seed should be spread at a half rate in perpendicular directions across the site. Follow up with a light raking allowing about 10–15% of the seed to show.
  • Use a roller or cultipacker over the area to ensure good seed-soil contact.
  • Water to a depth of 4–6 inches and then follow a light and frequent watering program by applying light irrigation up to 3-4 times per day.
  • After germination, reduce the watering frequency as roots grow into the soil.

Sodding

  • Ideally, fresh sod should have been cut no more than 24 hours prior to delivery. It should be laid as soon as possible, or within one day after delivery.
  • Lay the sod on slightly moistened soil, staggering the seams so they are offset.
  • On a slope, lay the rolls across the slope and stake each piece to hold it in place. Fill any cracks with soil to prevent edges from drying. Use a roller about one third full of water to ensure the roots of the sod have good contact with the soil.
  • Keep the sod moist but not saturated until it is firmly rooted in the soil (a few days), then gradually reduce watering. After approximately 10-14 days perform a tug test by gently tugging the sod in a few areas to ensure that it has firmly rooted into the soil. If the sod has resistance it is rooted in and can be treated as an established lawn.

 

The experts at Parkway Lawn Services are ready to help you with all your MN lawn care needs, questions, and concerns. Get a free estimate todayClick here to see what our customers are saying about our Minneapolis Lawn Service.

5 Lawn Care Myths Debunked

picture of a lawn at sunset - lawn care myths debunked

There are so many lawn care myths floating around it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. Here are the top 5 myths we hear from our customers that need to be cleared up, once and for all.

Lawn Care Myth 1: It’s a good idea to remove grass clippings after mowing

Reality: A common misbelief is that grass clippings contribute to thatch, but in reality clippings act as a natural fertilizer for your lawn. Clippings are mostly water and will easily break down into your lawn’s soil. Save yourself the extra work by leaving the clippings and using them to fertilize your lawn.

Lawn Care Myth 2: You need to water your grass every day

Reality: Watering too frequently is just as bad for your lawn, if not worse, than not watering at all! Watering daily creates a mushy, shallow-rooted lawn that needs more and more water to survive. Lawns are heartier than we think – you really only need to water once a week. Just make sure your entire lawn gets an equal amount of water (about one inch).

Lawn Care Myth 3: Wearing spiked shoes helps aerate your lawn

Reality: While it’s incredibly convenient to just walk around your yard and have all your aerating done, it’s also incredibly false. Spiked shoes simply don’t dig deep enough into the soil and cover too small of an area to be of any use. Don’t waste time and money – aerate your lawn right the first time.

Lawn Care Myth 4: The best time to replace your lawn is in spring

Reality: Spring seems like the perfect time – after all, that’s when just about everything starts blooming. In reality, sowing seeds in spring is a fantastic way to end up with a brown lawn in the summer as your seedlings struggle to compete with heat and weeds. Fall is actually the best time to do your seeding – most weeds are dormant and the temperatures are more consistent (especially here in Minnesota!)

Lawn Care Myth 5: Cutting grass short means you don’t have to mow as often

Reality: Seems tempting to just lower your blades…but beware! Lowering your blades actually causes more damage to your lawn – cutting too short can leave your lawn’s roots exposed to the harsh sun. Suddenly your beautiful green lawn turns into a patchy brown nightmare. In fact – guidelines actually recommend raising your blades in summer by one inch, to help your lawn stay healthy.

The experts at Parkway Lawn Services are ready to help you with all your MN lawn care needs, questions, and concerns. Our Minneapolis Lawn Service is bar none. Get a free estimate today.

6 Ways To Get Rid of Weeds

6 Ways To Get Rid of WeedsThere’s nothing more demoralizing than seeing your beautiful yard overrun by weeds. Our weed control services will keep full-scale infestations in check, but there are also a couple of methods you can use to remove the occasional weed or cluster.

The Family Handman has some fantastic tips on getting rid of weeds. Read the full article on their website, or read on for the highlights:

Strategy 1: Practice prevention: Mow to the ideal cutting height

Each type of grass has an ideal cutting height for good health and strong growth. When cut no lower than that height, and when cut before it gets too long, the grass will usually out-compete weeds as long as it’s also fertilized and watered properly. Longer grass helps prevent weeds in a couple of different ways. The taller growth shades the ground, keeping it cooler and retarding weed seed germination. And once weed seeds sprout, they don’t have as much sunlight as they need for hardy growth.

The chart below shows the range of cutting heights depending on the grass type. If you don’t know your grass type, take a plug of turf to a garden center and ask the staff to help with the identification.

It’s also important to mow your grass when it needs it. That’s when the grass is one-third above the ideal cutting height. Depending on the weather conditions and the time of year, that can mean mowing every week or two, or every four or five days. Keeping the height in check also means you’re clipping off weed seed heads before they can mature and seed your lawn.

Ideal Mowing Height Ranges

Cool Climate Grasses
Bent grass – 1/4 to 3/4 in.
Chewing hard or red fescue- 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 in.
Tall fescue – 1-1/2 to 3 in.
Kentucky bluegrass – 1-1/2 to 3 in.
Perennial ryegrass -1-1/2 to 3 in.

Warm Climate Grasses
Bahia grass – 2 to 3 in.
Bermuda grass – 1/2 to 1 in.
Blue grama grass – 2 to 3 in.
Buffalo grass – 2 to 3 in.
Carpetgrass – 1 to 2 in.
Centipedegrass – 1 to 2 in.
St. Augustinegrass – 1 to 3 in.
Zoysia grass – 1/2 to 1 in.

Strategy 2: Identify the weeds before planning the attack

Before you start any weed control program, you need to determine which of the three types of weeds you’re controlling. Each requires unique products and application methods. Some treatments are very time sensitive, while others can be done anytime during the growing season.

Strategy 3: Control broadleaf weeds with the least amount of herbicide possible

The key to controlling broadleaf weeds is to use a broadleaf herbicide (see “Getting the Most from Broadleaf Killers,” below) and distribute it with the smallest applicator necessary to do the job. That’ll not only save time and money but also keep you from needlessly introducing chemicals into the environment.

Spot-kill weeds with a small pressure sprayer

No matter how lush and healthy your lawn is, a few isolated weeds will pop up. That doesn’t call for whole-yard treatment. Instead, spot-treat the weeds with a small, trigger- controlled, pump-up pressure sprayer (Photo 1). After pouring in the diluted herbicide, you pump up the pressure with a little plunger and then pull the trigger to release the spray right on the culprits.

Strategy 4: Kill perennial grassy weeds one by one

Quack grass is the widest spread example of a perennial grass that comes back year after year just like your lawn. They spread through seeds and extensive underground root systems and are unaffected by broadleaf killers. Pulling grassy weeds only gets some of the roots, and the remaining ones will quickly sprout new plants. The only effective solution is to use a “nonselective” plant killer like Super Kills-All or Roundup. You can apply non-selective killers with sprayers, but you’ll kill everything in the area, including your lawn and any other nearby plants. The best way to kill these weeds while protecting surrounding plants is by wiping the grass blades with the non-selective herbicide. Wear a cheap cloth glove over a plastic or rubber chemically resistant (they’re labeled as such) glove to protect your skin. Dip your gloved hand into the herbicide and then simply grab the blades near the base and pull the herbicide over the grass blades. Don’t worry about coating every single blade. The chemical will absorb into the plant, make its way down to the roots and kill the entire plant. Most will die in a few days, but survivors may need more treatments.

Strategy 5: Control crab grass with a “crab grass preventer” in the spring

Crab grass is the best example of an annual weedy grass. It doesn’t over-winter like perennial weeds. Instead, it dies at the end of the growing season and depends on producing thousands of seeds to propagate new clumps in the spring.

The best way to keep crab grass under control is to apply a crab grass preventer between the first and third mowings in the spring. Timing is everything. The treatment prevents the seeds from germinating. If you wait too long, the seeds will sprout. Apply too early and the preventer will dissipate and late germinating seeds will sprout.

Make notes in the fall about where your crab grass seems to thrive. That, of course, is where the seeds are concentrated, so you don’t need to treat the whole lawn, just the areas that are infested. Crab grass loves areas where the ground warms quickest, especially near driveways or sidewalks where the asphalt or concrete helps warm the soil. That’s the profile of most other annual grassy weeds too. They’re treated much the same way as crab grass, but read the directions on preventer bags to find one that’ll be effective for the annual weeds you want to eliminate.

Strategy 6: Don’t fight weeds where grass won’t grow

Poor light or soil conditions can make it all but impossible to grow grass in some areas. If you’ve tried more than once to nurture grass in an area and failed, it might be time to throw in the towel and treat the area with a landscaping alternative. The obvious choices are stone, mulch and attractive ground cover plants that tolerate the same conditions grass can’t handle. Kill any weeds with a nonselective herbicide (re-treat survivors after 10 days). The herbicide will break down within two weeks and the ground will be safe for new plants. If you’re covering the ground with a decorative material like stone or mulch, consider laying a weed-control fabric on the ground first to keep weeds from getting another foothold.

The experts at Parkway Lawn Services are ready to help you with all your MN lawn care needs, questions, and concerns. Our Minneapolis Lawn Service is bar none. Get a free estimate today.