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.

General Mowing Guidelines

From the University of Minnesota Sustainable Urban Landscape Information Series

Summer heat can take a toll on your lawn. If you mow too low, water too much or too little, or ignore early signs of pests, your grass could quickly become lackluster or even completely die in small or large patches. The general rule of thumb for mowing grass is to mow high, mow as frequently as needed, and allow the clippings to return to the lawn. Follow these mowing guidelines from the University of Minnesota for a lush, green lawn all summer long.

Mowing Height

Height of cut plays a very important role in determining the maintenance needs of a lawn. Generally, the higher the height of cut the less the maintenance required. This is primarily due to the fact that higher heights of cut promote deeper root growth into the soil.

Shorter heights of cut promote shallower root systems. Deep root systems have naturally greater access to soil water and nutrient reserves thereby increasing their ability to tolerate environmental stresses. Shallower root systems require greater attention to supplementing soil water and nutrient needs to keep the plants healthy and minimize negative effects of adverse environmental stress.

In addition to larger and deeper root systems, higher heights of cut restrict the amount of light reaching the soil surface. Since many lawn weed seeds require light for germination, the increased shading from a higher height of cut will actually suppress weed germination and growth thereby cutting down the need for herbicide use or other weed control measures. This can be particularly helpful in controlling warm season annual grasses such as crabgrass. In turn, this can reduce the dependence on pre-emergent herbicides for their control. For most lawn areas, mowing at a height of 2.5 – 3.0 inches will provide a good quality turf.

Mowing Frequency

Mowing frequency is based entirely on the growth rate of the grass. In spring and fall when grass is growing more vigorously, mowing should be more frequent than during mid-summer when growth rates slow.

Mowing frequency is also increased with shorter heights of cut. For example, if the lawn is maintained at 1 inch, then only 1/2 inch of growth is needed before mowing is required assuming that no more than 1/3 of the top growth is removed at each mowing.

On the other hand, if the height is maintained at 2.5 inches, then about 1 inch of growth could occur before mowing would be required. In general, the more growth allowed (following the 1/3 guideline) before mowing is required, the longer the time interval between mowing.

Mowing too infrequently damages the lawn by removing too much of the plant at once. A substantial amount of leaf tissue is removed with infrequent mowing, while proper mowing removes a much smaller portion of leaf tissue. Cutting too short will expose the lower portions of grass stems which are yellowish in color due to less chlorophyll present compared to the greener leaf blades above. Grass plants will now need to use food reserves to remake the necessary chlorophyll before normal growth can resume. This is an unnecessary use of food reserves and further weakens the plants ability to withstand and recover from other weather and environmental stresses.

Continually scalping the turf can seriously stress and weaken the grass plants inviting unwanted weed invasion and competition.

While most walk-behind rotary mowers adjust mowing heights by resetting the four wheels to the desired height, it is a good idea to occasionally see how close that setting really is to the actual height of cut. To do this, take a ruler and gently push it through the turfgrass canopy until it rests firmly on the lawn/ground surface. Then look across the grass plants just in front of the ruler and see what the height is. For example, if the ground is firm then mower wheels will ride higher and consequently the height setting will more closely approximate the actual cutting height. However, where the ground is soft or there is a significant thatch layer present, the wheels will sink more deeply into the lawn surface and hence, the mowing height is actually less than the wheel settings would indicate. Where there is significant thatch present, mower wheels can ride much lower than the lawn surface between the wheels resulting in scalping.

Remember to take the time to adjust your mower correctly, periodically verify that the mower height settings are actually providing the desired height of cut.

Other Factors to Keep in Mind

Following are some additional mowing tips to help keep the lawn healthy and actively growing.

  1. Increasing the mowing heights by an inch during mid-summer will improve the lawn’s ability to tolerate stress caused by heat and drying winds.
  2. Continue to mow throughout the fall until growth stops. The weather is usually warm enough for continued grass growth until late October in the Twin Cities area.
  3. Excessively tall grass in fall frequently mats down during winter, making it more susceptible to winter disease problems such as snow mold and invasion by meadow voles (mice-like creatures that create serpentine paths in the lawn surface and are covered by loose grass clippings; they become visible as snow melts from the lawn in the spring).
  4. Change the direction of mowing frequently to promote upright shoot growth. If possible, mow at right angles every other time. For example, alternating mowing patterns will prevent continuous scalping and soil compaction.

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!

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.