Remove Grass Clippings?

Here is great advice as published in Total Landscape Care magazine.

Myth: it’s a good idea to remove grass clippings after mowing.

Reality: There is a misconception their grass clippings contribute significantly to thatch. Grass clippings are mostly water and decompose rapidly, returning significant amounts of fertilizer to the lawn. Research shows that up to one-third of applied fertilizer can be recycled by simply returning clippings.

– See more at: http://www.totallandscapecare.com/landscaping/10-most-common-lawn-care-myths/#sthash.u8ADvFnQ.dpuf

Bob Kroth, Owner
Certified Turfgrass Professional

Late spring flowers for pollinators

The U of M Extension Consumer Horticulture Team

You can support pollinators by providing flowers throughout the growing season. Spring flowering plants like willows, maples, plums, and gooseberries provide bountiful nectar and pollen for bees that are active in spring. Many bee species in Minnesota are only out flying as adults during the first month of spring, taking advantage of these abundant floral resources to gather pollen to feed their young, which will be developing within the nest the rest of the year. After the early spring flowers have faded there is a gap before the next bounty of long-blooming flowers appears in early to middle summer. Flowers such as bee balm, purple prairie clover, and joe-pye weed, will continue sustaining bees throughout most of the summer.

In many landscapes, there is a lull between these two heavy blooming periods. Although the early spring bees have gathered all the food they need, there are other bees active throughout the growing season like bumble bees, sweat bees, small carpenter bees, and the European honey bee. These bees need continually blooming flowers from April through September. For bumble bees, late spring/early summer flowers are crucial for colony development as colonies start from scratch each year and the fledgling colonies need pollen and nectar to grow.

What can we provide for bees during this lull in bloom?

Here are a few great choices to fill in this gap:

Virginia waterleaf, Hydrophyllum virginiana, an easy to grow plant that can fill in shady understories. Two-spotted bumblebee, Bombus bimaculatus, photo by Heather Holm.

Wild lupine, Lupinus perennis, a great provider of nutritious pollen. Mason bee, Osmia sp., photo by Heather Holm.

Golden Alexander, Zizia aurea, tolerant of a wide range of conditions, provides pollen and nectar. Sweat bee, Halictus sp., photo by Heather Holm.

Prairie phlox, Phlox pilosa, a great butterfly plant preferring full sun.

Wild columbine, Aquilegia canadensis, an easy to grow bumble bee plant. Half black bumble bee, Bombus vagans, photo by Heather Holm.

Wild geraniums, Geranium maculatum, abundant flowers support a wide range of pollinators. Photo: Green metallic sweat bee, Augochlorella aurata, photo by Heather Holm.

Pagoda dogwood, Cornus alternifolia, a stately shade loving shrub. Photo: Brown belted bumble bee, Bombus griseocollis, photo by Elaine Evans.

Beardtongue, Penstemon spp., a bumble bee favorite with several species providing variety in planting conditions. Photo: Common eastern bumble bee, Bombus impatiens on Penstemon grandiflorus, photo by Elaine Evans.

Check on your garden weekly to see what is blooming. If you notice a gap at any point in time, fill it with flowers for our pollinators.

Frost Advisory !

Frost/Freeze Advisory – Cover plants or bring them in!


Hazardous Weather Outlook








Hazardous Weather Outlook
National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN
1105 AM CDT Thu Apr 27 2017 
Hennepin-Anoka-Ramsey-Washington-

1105 AM CDT Thu Apr 27 2017

This Hazardous Weather Outlook is for portions of central and
southern Minnesota...and west central Wisconsin.

.DAY ONE...This Afternoon and Tonight

Below freezing temperatures are expected tonight. Some lingering
cloud cover and wind could help minimize frost, but the sub-
freezing temperatures could be detrimental to tender vegetation.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...Friday through Wednesday

Accumulating snow is possible across the area Sunday night and
Monday.

How to Smooth a Bumpy Lawn

house with bumpy lawn

Dreaming of a smooth lawn? If your lawn is riddled with bumps, dips and holes don’t despair – you can still have the lawn of your dreams. Lawn Savers pinpoints some of the common causes of bumpy lawns and how to fix them.

What Causes a Bumpy Lawn?

Uneven lawns can be caused my many things, such as:

  • Frozen, dense soil that thaws unevenly in the spring
  • Pets and pests that dig holes
  • Children who dig holes or play heavily
  • Walking on lawns that are too soft, usually in the early spring or after it rains
  • Equipment that is used incorrectly, causing holes or other damage

How Can I Fix a Bumpy Lawn?

Fixing your lawn might take some work, but with a little effort your lawn will be back in shape in no time. For depressions less than an inch deep, gradually sprinkle them with top soil (compost-based soil works best). If depressions that are an inch deep or more, remove the top layer of soil to correct the sinking and fill it back with new, healthy soil. Add a little extra to allow for some settling. Be sure to remove any pests or objects that are causing the damage prior to any repairs.

Keep your lawn smooth by:

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.

Got Vole Damage In Your Lawn?

Parkway Lawn can help by overseeding this Spring. Click free estimate above.

Bob Kroth, Owner
Certified Turfgrass Professional    
 

Here is a great article published by UMN

Voles in the landscape

Jennifer Menken

Importance

Voles, also known as field mice, are small brown rodents very common in yards and fields. Their presence is most often observed in the late winter and early spring right after the snow melts, when their grassy trails are laid bare and areas of dead grass appear. Voles do the most harm to small trees and shrubs when they chew on the bark, often hidden below winter snows.

Identification

Voles are a group of small, brownish rodents about the size and shape of a mouse. They have small ears and a short tail, which give them a “stocky” appearance. They spend a great deal of time eating grasses and roots and making trails. These surface runways are one of the easiest ways to identify voles. Usually seen in early spring just after snowmelt, a series of criss-crossing trails can be viewed on the surface. There may be larger patches of dried grass that function as storage areas for extra food and nesting materials.

Voles will also make small holes about 1 inch across and underground tunnels to get to tubers and bulbs. They will even use mole tunnels. This often cause moles to be blamed for eating roots, instead of the white-grubs they actually eat.

Vole damage may also be noticed on trees and shrubs where they have chewed through the bark very near the ground. The vole’s front teeth will leave ¼ inch side-by-side grooves in the wood.

Biology

Meadow vole

Jennifer Menken, Univ. of Minnesota

Redbacked vole

Jennifer Menken, Univ. of Minnesota

Minnesota has several species of vole, the most common being the meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus) and the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogastor). Like most rodents voles have a short life expectancy but are very productive breeders. One female vole can have 5-10 litters in a year averaging 3 to 5 young. They may nest in shallow grass filled nests on the ground, or dig a small tunnel about 4-5 inches down to nest. Fortunately voles are a prime food source for many predators such as snakes, hawks, owls, foxes, and badgers. Vole populations cycle, and about every 3-5 years there will be a population boom. Mild winters with good snowfall can help to increase vole populations.

Prevention

Voles are extremely common and total prevention is probably impossible but general yard sanitation may help keep vole numbers down. Remove woodpiles and other debris from the ground that may allow hiding places for voles. Keep grass trimmed short and bushes trimmed up from the ground. Bird feeders are another attraction for voles and should either be removed or the ground kept very clean to keep vole numbers down.

Management strategies

Vole damage on juniper

Michelle Grabowski, Univ. of Minnesota

Vole damage on juniper

Michelle Grabowski, Univ. of Minnesota

While lawn damage is most visible in the spring it is rarely permanent. Simply rake up the dead grass and reseed the area. As the surrounding grass grows it will cover up the trails. Vole damage to tree bark is best prevented by encircling the tree with a light colored tree guard. The guard should be tall enough to reach above the snow line in the winter and the base should be buried in the soil or have a soil ridge around the base. Make sure that the guard is loose enough so that it doesn’t constrict the tree.

In small areas trapping may be an effective way of reducing vole populations. Standard mouse snap traps set along runways or near tunnels baited with peanut butter will catch some animals. You may want to cover the traps so that pets and children do not accidentally find them.

Large vole populations can most effectively be reduced with toxic baits. There are some pesticides available for home use. Be sure to read the label before you buy any pesticide and again before you use the pesticide. Vole baits should be placed inside bait stations to reduce the risk of non-target species ingesting the bait. Most pesticides recommended for voles are restricted and can only be used by Certified Pesticide Applicators. Contact your local Extension educators for more information about pesticide use.

Remember the voles are always there and for a great portion of the year they go unnoticed. In an average year it may not even be worth the effort to control the population.

Wait! It’s Still Too Early for Lawn Care!

Use This Handy Sustainable Lawn Care Calendar

This has been an unusual winter for Minnesota – very little snow and unusually mild temperatures. We’ve already enjoyed a couple weekends with temperatures in the 60s and everyone is looking forward to spending more time outside. But as much as you may be itching to get out in the yard and take care of those spring chores, DON’T! It’s still too early for lawn care, the ground temperature is too low and you may cause more harm than good to your lawn.

So when is it okay to get started on another season of lawn care? The University of Minnesota Extension Office published a lawn care calendar and guidelines for your reference.

Sustainable Lawn Care Calendar and Growth Cycle

Minnesota lawns of cool season turfgrasses bear the stress of changing weather and can survive harsh winters. These grasses endure throughout the seasons because they grow rapidly during spring and fall when temperatures are cool and then become inactive during the heat and drought of summer. A sustainable lawn care routine should support this natural life cycle of cool season grasses.

lawn care growth cycle

Cool season turfgrass growth cycle

Image Credit: Cornell University 

Seasonal plant growth cycle

In early spring, roots are long and full of nutrients stored from the fall. Shoots, the part of grass visible above ground, use this stored energy for growth.

In warm summer temperatures, leaf and root growth slow down. Plants rest during times of heat and drought. Roots can be damaged when soil temperatures are above 85°F.

In the fall months shoots start to grow again and nutrients are stored in the long roots for the winter. Optimal shoot growth occurs with air temperatures of 55 to 75°F.

Cool-season root growth is stimulated by soil temperatures above 32°F, and is optimal with soil temperatures between 50 and 65°F.

When to schedule lawn maintenance

It is important to schedule your lawn care maintenance during times that match the life cycle of the turfgrass.

Things to avoid:

  • Do not add fertilizer too early in the spring. This may encourage the grass to grow during a time when it should be slow or dormant.
  • Do not spray to control weeds when temperatures are warm. This increases the likelihood of damaging the lawn.
  • Do not fertilize in hot mid-summer months; this can cause irreversible damage to your lawn.
  • Crabgrass doesn’t develop until late spring or early summer, so don’t apply herbicide used to prevent pre-emerging crabgrass in the fall.
lawn care calendar

Sustainable Lawn Care Calendar and Growth Cycle

Image Credit: University of Minnesota Extension Office

Need help? Call the experts at Parkway Lawn Service!

free estimateNeed help with spring clean-up or aeration? Interested in our weekly mowing service? The experts at Parkway Lawn Service are ready to help you with all your lawn care needs, questions, and concerns. We have over 30 years of experience of serving customers in the Twin Cities. Click here for a free estimate, or contact us today at 612-869-5878 for all your lawn care needs.

Boxelder bugs inside homes during winter

Boxelder bugs inside homes during winter
Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologistboxelder-bug-jeff-hahn

With the recent mild weather we have experienced, some residents have been finding boxelder bugs and lady beetles in their homes. This is actually not unusual in the middle of the winter. These insects remain inactive as long as their hiding places in various wall voids, attics, and other nooks and crannies in and around buildings remain cold. However, if we receive mild, sunny temperatures, this can cause these overwintering insects to break their dormancy and become active. They then move towards the warmth inside the building where residents find them crawling around. Once active, they do not live much more than a few days to about a week.

Boxelder bugs do not damage property but can be very
annoying when found indoors. Photo: Jeff Hahn, U of M
Extension

Despite the circumstantial evidence; these insects are not laying eggs and reproducing indoors. All of the boxelder bugs or lady beetles that are seen indoors now entered buildings last fall. Unfortunately, there are not many good options for dealing with boxelder bugs and lady beetles at this time of year. It is not possible to prevent them from emerging from wall voids and other spaces. And once they become active in your home, they only realistic option is to physically remove them, e.g. with a vacuum cleaner.

The best time to deal with boxelder bugs and other insects that seek harborage for the winter is in late summer or fall before they start to move into buildings. The best methods for reducing these insects are seal up cracks and spaces that may allow them into your home combined with a timely treatment of an appropriate residual insecticide. Some insects will still get inside but you should be able to reduce the number that would otherwise get inside.

For more information, see the University of Minnesota Extension publication Boxelder bugs.
Posted by Jeffrey Hahn at 12:15 PM

The dangers of standing ash trees by Jim Walsh Board Certified Master Arborist

In January of 2017 I attended the Northern Green, an annual green industry get together, and it’s Master Classes for tree geeks.  The dangers of standing ash trees falling apart due to heavy emerald-ash-borerinfestations of emerald ash borer (EAB), was one of the main themes of the conference.  The effect of EAB, an agrilus beetle, feeding on ash tree stability is different from the damage done by other types of agrilus beetles such as two lined chestnut borer on oaks and bronze birch borer on birch.  In short, EAB killed ash are less stable and become safety hazards faster than trees killed in most other ways.  If you are not treating your green ash consider removal before it becomes a liability, ruining the enjoyment of your yard.  Make a plan to deal with your green ash early, before you have a major safety hazard in your yard. Hundreds of millions of ash have already died due to emerald ash borer mostly in states east and south of Minnesota as well as in Canada.  EAB is in Minnesota and is just beginning it’s lethal feast on Minnesota’s estimated 900 million ash trees.

 

 

Jim Walsh Board Certified Master Arborist

Vineland Tree Care

612-872-0205 (office)

www.vinelandtree.com

http://www.facebook.com/VinelandTreeCare

Take advantage of the warm weather and scrape down your parking lot!

Snow plow truck Parkway Lawn ServiceHello Commercial Customers

Looks like this coming week will bring the Metro area warmer than usual temperatures. A welcome break indeed!
I’m writing to you Commercial customers specifically, to get the word out that our plow crews will be out working this week. These warmer temps will spark a big softening of snow and ice. We plan to take advantage of this warm spell to scrape down snow and ice from parking lots.
The plan of action will be to either:
Option A. Just plow parking lotsOption B. Pre-salt the lots and return at later time to plow.
Either way, this week is a great time to take advantage of the warm weather and
get your parking lot cleared down to bare pavement. Normal pricing will apply.

Please email us if you would like to be included in the work we are doing and let us know if you want Option A or Option B.

Sincerely,
 
Bob Kroth, Owner
Certified Turfgrass Professional    
 

De-icing Tips For Your Small Business

De-icing Your Sidewalks to Keep Your Customers Safe

When freezing weather hits, sidewalks, driveways and parking lots can become dangerously slick. And if you’ve ever gotten out there with a shovel, you know how tenaciously that ice can cling! There are many different ways of de-icing your sidewalk, whether it’s using one of many chemical compounds to melt it or using more environmentally friendly products to provide traction and prevent slippage. Here are 6 tips from Today’s Homeowner for de-icing your sidewalk:

Ice Removal Tips

  • Go Easy: Use the minimum amount of deicer or anti-icer needed. Remember that it’s only supposed to break the bond to make shoveling easier; it’s not supposed to melt it all.
  • Sprinkle Early: The sooner you can apply an ice removal product, the better. Head out right as the snow or ice starts, and sprinkle a thin layer on sidewalks and steps to prevent a sticky buildup.
de-icing

Crystal de-icers work the fastest

  • Check Effectiveness: You should see the ice begin to melt within 15-30 minutes. If it isn’t melting, the temperature may be too low for your product.
  • Pellets vs. liquid: Pellets or crystals are best for applying on top of ice, so they can melt their way straight down. Liquids are best applied as preventative measures. Deicing flakes are less effective.
  • Be Aware of Risks: Deicers and anti-icers can be harmful to humans, pets, and your lawn, particularly if over applied. They can also interfere with the freeze-thaw cycles in concrete and damage your driveway, and the liquid layer can increase rusting of iron and steel. To protect your home and loved ones, use these products very sparingly. If deicers and anti-icers are applied properly, it doesn’t take much to get great results.
  • Let Parkway help! Don’t have the time or manpower to keep your business’ sidewalks, driveways and parking lots ice-free? Parkway Lawn Service will keep your customers, clients and employees safe with our commercial de-icing services. We apply salt and other melting agents that provide an abrasive surface with enough friction for easy walking and to ensure your comfort and safety. Then you won’t need to worry about it all day as the temperatures continue to get colder and can focus more on the production of your business and services. Let us worry about the snow and ice!

We offer services at all of your small business location needs including shopping centers, store-fronts, offices and restaurants. Our commercial snow removal service provides prompt, dependable clearing and de-icing of sidewalks, driveways and parking lots. Let our experienced team come and take care of your small business’ de-icing needs.

We’ve been family-owned and operated since 1980, and are fully licensed and insured. Serving customers in South Minneapolis, Edina, Richfield, Bloomington and Eden Prairie. Get a free estimate today!