Posts from the ‘GRASS SEED’ Category

It’s prime lawn care time |

It’s the perfect time to attend to your lawn.

As garden chores wind down, you can turn your attention to improving your grass — now and next spring.

Star Tribune photo galleries

Early fall is a time of active growth for grass, both above and below ground. That means regardless of the current condition of your grass, it’s prime time for lawn care. Any effort you put into your yard now will pay dividends not only this fall, but also next spring and summer.

Here’s how to keep your lawn looking great:


fall fertilizer

Because turf grasses are growing so actively now, they’re able to take up and make use of fertilizer most effectively.

Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer in early to mid-September, then water the lawn lightly afterward to make sure the granules reach the soil and don’t wash away. (Nitrogen is always the first of three numbers that give the nutrient analysis of any fertilizer.)

The University of Minnesota no longer recommends a second application later in autumn, because grass is less able to absorb nitrogen then. One fall application will do.


Though we often receive plenty of rainfall in autumn, it’s not unusual to run into a dry spell.

If we haven’t had rain for a week or so, you should water the lawn, especially if it’s been warm or windy. It best to water deeply, rather than lightly, but how often you need to water depends on the weather. As the temperatures drop, you can water less frequently, but as long as grass continues to grow it will need water — whether from the sky or your sprinkler.


Keeping the grass taller during summer (2 1/2 to 3 inches) results in deeper root growth. But once the weather cools off, you can gradually reduce the height of the grass. By the final mowing, your lawnmower blades should be set so the grass is only about 2 inches tall. If the grass blades are left too tall going into winter, they can pack down, which makes the grass more prone to disease.


Scotts ez Seed shaker


Early September is the best time to overseed thin patches of grass. Soils are still warm, there’s usually more rainfall, and nights are longer and cooler — all favorable conditions for grass seed to germinate and grow rapidly. Plus, few weed seeds are programmed to sprout now, so there’s less competition.

Scruff the soil so seeds make good contact rather than sit on a hard-packed surface. Aerifying the lawn before overseeding loosens the soil and creates an excellent surface for planting. Fertilize with standard lawn fertilizer or one formulated specifically for use when planting grass seed. Then water lightly as often as needed to keep the soil moist. Water more heavily and less frequently as the young grasses grow. Mow the areas that are overseeded when existing grasses grow too tall. Most important, do not use any form of herbicide in these areas until next year, including fertilizer/herbicide combinations.


An abundance of crabgrass has been one of this year’s most common complaints. The repeated heavy spring rains interfered with pre-emergence herbicides. So even lawns that were treated for crabgrass may have lots of it.

Because crabgrass is an annual weed that dies over the winter, there’s no point in using weed killers on it now. Instead, plan to apply a pre-emergence herbicide to infested areas next spring.

Natural products containing corn gluten meal also prevent crabgrass, but they take several years of spring and late-summer applications to be the most effective.



Creeping Charlie Herbicide

Ortho herbicide for creeping charlie

By the latter part of September, temperatures will have cooled enough to begin using broad-leaf herbicides on dandelions, plantain, creeping Charlie and other perennial weeds, which spring back from the same roots year after year.Because perennial weeds are storing nutrients in their roots now for next year’s growth, they’ll take in herbicide more readily in the fall. On really tough weeds such as creeping Charlie, you can add a second herbicide application two weeks after the first.

If you prefer not to use herbicides, manually dig out perennial weeds. And remember, the weeds you remove this fall won’t be around to produce seeds next year.


If your soil is hard or you have a thick buildup of thatch (more than 1/2 inch), your lawn will benefit from core aeration in September. Aeration takes small plugs out of the soil, which allows water, fertilizer and oxygen to penetrate below the surface and encourages good grass growth. (The small cores of soil should be left on the surface of the grass, so they break down and top-dress the soil.) You can rent an aeration machine (it’s hard work) or hire the job out.

Power rake

If the thatch is really thick, rent a dethatching machine, also known as a “vertical mower.” (Again, this is hard work you may wish to hire out.) The machine slices through the grass, bringing up lots of thatch, which will have to be raked up and added to your compost pile.

Aerating and dethatching may be done on the same day, but they will dry the soil rapidly, so be sure to water the lawn once you’re done.

Deb Brown is a garden writer and former extension horticulturist with the University of Minnesota.

via It’s prime lawn care time |

Other posts that you may enjoy:

Lawn dethatching | Lawn gardening | Home lawn care: Gardening.

LeVahn Brothers Hardware is located at 12700 Bass Lake Rd. Maple Grove, MN 55369

Find us online at and also on Facebook at

You can aslo call us at 763-553-1222



When should you dethatch or aerate your lawn?


There is a debate going on among our employees about when to dethatch a lawn. Some the guys here say you should do it in the spring when the grass has established its root base. They base their opinion off of what golf courses do for their grass in the spring. Others, like myself, believe it should be done in the fall. If you dethatch your lawn late in the summer/early fall lawns are less succeptible to weeds and crabgrass establishing themselves. Whether you dethatch in spring or fall you need to make sure to give your lawn a healthy drink afterward. At least a 1/2 inch of watering should be done. If you dethacth in the spring you are going to want to make sure to use a fertilizer with a weed killer or crabgrass killer in it after you are done.  Here are a few articles I have found to support only my argument. If the other guys in the store want to defend themselves they’ll have to start their own blog:)

Late summer lawn care:

Lawn aerification: If your lawn has significant compaction problems, the period right around Labor Day and through the early fall is an excellent time to do some core aerification. Lawn aerification machines are usually available through most rental businesses.
Photo 2: Lawn aerifier. Note the hollow tines for removing soil cores. Bob Mugaas.

Be sure to rent a core aerifier, one that actually pulls cores out of the soil and redeposits them on the lawn or soil surface. The extra aeration in the soil will encourage more active root growth as well as benefit the soil microbial community. Healthy plant roots and a healthy soil microbial population make for a healthy, vigorous grass plant better able to withstand stress along with normal wear and tear of lawn activity. The cores can be left on the soil or lawn surface to naturally decompose. This will also help control the buildup of thatch in the lawn. It is best to make two or three passes over the lawn to increase the number of holes needed to maximize the benefit.

Thatch control: Occasionally, a thick layer of brown fibrous material will build-up between the soil surface and where the grass plant shoots begin to turn green. This brown fibrous mat is known as thatch. It is actually composed of both living and non-living material. Thatch develops from the regular sloughing off of plant roots and other dead and decaying parts of the grass plant. It is however, NOT composed of any grass clippings. While there may be some grass clippings left on the surface, they are not part of the true thatch layer. So, whether you pick up your clippings or not, it will make no difference on the build-up of thatch. The living component of thatch consists of some roots, rhizomes and, of course, the many microorganisms and other living creatures.
If thatch develops at a faster rate than can be broken down by microorganisms, it can accumulate to undesirable levels. Generally, thatch greater than half-inch is undesirable. Cultural practices that contribute to thatch buildup are excessive nitrogen fertilizer, overwatering, infrequent mowing, compacted soils and simply the genetics of the particular grasses. Some grasses are more prone to thatch build-up than others.

Photo 3: Vertical mower or dethatcher; sometimes referred to as a power rake. Bob Mugaas.

Late summer (i.e., early September) is a good time to work at removing excess thatch build-up. Machines known as vertical mowers or de-thatchers can be rented and used to mechanically remove some of the thatch build-up. Leaving the soil cores on the surface will also help begin to break down thatch. In fact, where very thick thatch layers exist, using both a vertical mower and core aerifier may be helpful. If this is the case, thoroughly aerify the lawn, than perform vertical mowing. This operation can be done back to back on the same day if desired. It’s a good idea to follow-up with a quarter to half-inch inch of water to reduce lawn stress incurred from the dethatching and aerification processes.

Taken from the University of Minnesota extension page—ea.html

Dethatching Drought Damaged Lawns

August 7, 2012

If your lawn has been damaged by the recent drought conditions, chances are that you will have to do some lawn repairs come fall.  Depending on the extent of the damage it might be beneficial to dethatch your lawn.  There are several ways to remove thatch from a lawn from manual removal to using power equipment.  Thatch rakes are found at most home improvement stores.  These rakes have sharp, claw like tines that grab thatch and remove it from the lawn.  This is the most labor intensive way to remove thatch.  If you are dethatching a small patch of lawn it might be easier to dethatch the lawn by using a thatch rake.  Anything over a couple of hundred square feet is best left to power equipment.  Most folks do not have hours to dedicate to the manual removal of thatch.

The most effective way to remove thatch in a lawn is through the use of a power rake.  Most home owners do not own a power rake, but they can rent one at most rental stores.  Power rakes are about the size of your average push mower and can be used by almost anyone.  Most power rakes on the market are constructed using metal blades that spin on a drum.  The blades are usually serrated, which allows them to grab the thatch in the lawn.  Power rake blades spin continuously while the machine is being propelled forward.  Most units come with a bagging system to catch the removed thatch.  There are adjustable settings on most machines which allow the user to choose the depth of the blades.  You only want to set the blades low enough to remove the thatch.  If your blades are removing chunks of dirt and living grass, then your machine is set too low.  Any rental store should provide instructions on how to properly use the machine prior to renting it out.

taken from clean-cut property services

Here’s a few more articles about lawn care, seeding, dethatching and aeration:


Sharpening a lawn mower blade

Dull mower blade

 Why do you need to sharpen your mower blade? A sharp mower blade keeps lawns healthy. If you cut your grass with a dull blade the grass is beaten down and the cut is rough. Grass that is shredded by a dull blade is more susceptible to disease, insects, heat stress, herbicides, chemical burn (from fertilizers), and it requires more water to maintain growth. The grass is weakened because it is trying to repair itself form the damage you caused with the dull mower blade. 

Make sure that your mower blade remains sharp all season long. This means that you may have to sharpen it more than just once in the spring time. Check your blade for dullness regularly. You can sharpen it yourself or if you prefer to you can have it professionally done for a reasonable price (We charge $7 off the mower $14 if it’s on the mower and we do it while you wait, it takes about 5 minutes). 

Corbin sharpening a blade

 Make sure if you are sharpening it yourself that you also balance the blade. Leaving a blade unbalanced can damage your mower. (We always balance our blades here at LeVahn Brothers). 

For more Info contact us at 763-553-1222 

Visit us in person at 12700 Bass Lake Road Maple Grove, MN 55369 

See us on the web at 


Fall lawn care tips

What is it about fall that makes me want to be outside? I can’t get enough of this time of year and yet this seems to be the shortest season we have around here. What makes fall great is that there’s no shortages of things to do. With that being said it is also one of the most important times of the year for your lawn.After a summer in which we got little to no rain around here we need to give our lawns a little TLC. Before the big freeze happens it’s a good idea to prepare your grass for the LONG harsh winter that lies ahead. There are a few things you can do to help your lawn combat the effects of old man winter.

Now is the time to aerate your lawn. Aeration works to help your lawn breath. The best form of aeration would be a core aerator. A core aerator pulls plugs of thatch out of your lawn and in the process pulls microorganisms up with it. These microorganisms help break down thatch that has built up on your lawn during the summer months of mowing your grass. Core aeration also allows you to treat your lawn at its roots. using a fertilizer after aeration is a great idea because the fertilizer can treat the grass right at the roots.
You can also use a power rake or lawn de-thatcher at this point. A de-thatcher is meant to rake out thatch that has built up on your lawn. It pulls up dead and decaying grass that can choke out a lawn if it gets too thick. How do you know if the thatch on your lawn is too thick? Take a
shovel and dig out a small sample of turf. If the thatch layer is more than 1/2″ thick you can consider de-thatching. You can find aerators and lawn de-thatchers for rent at LeVahn Brothers Hardware
Fall fertilizers:
A fall fertilizer or “winterizer” is meant to be put down late in the fall. The purpose of a fall fertilizer is that it will treat the lawn in the spring time when the lawn needs it the most. As the snow melts your lawn will need nutrients to re-establish it’s root base. A winterizer feed gives your lawn the food it needs. If you put a winterizer feed down too early the lawn soaks up the nutrients before the ground freezes and becomes dormant. If this happens your lawn will not have the nutrients in the springtime. Fall winterizer fertilizer treatment is the most important
feeding for you lawn.
Weed Killing:
If you still have some pesky weeds that you want to get rid of before the season is over you can still do so. Ortho makes a killer for just about anything you want to kill. What you need to keep in mind is what kind of shape your lawn is in. If your grass is dry and tired looking it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to treat it with a weed killer. This summer was real dry and it took its toll on lawns. If you really want to kill weeds I would suggest making sure the lawn is well watered for about a week before hitting it with a weed killer.
This fantastic product can do wonders for the health of your lawn. It should be used in areas that have a hard ground pack. It’s purpose is to loosen and to balance out PH levels in the soil. Because it balances out Ph levels it is also good for putting on grass near the road and driveway that gets hit with street salts.
Grass seed:
If you are wondering whether you can still put down some grass seed before winter arrives the answer is yes. At this point in the year you aren’t going to get anything to spring up before the ground freezes. However, if you put down seed after the ground is frozen and before the snow flies the seed will wait to germinate until spring when the ground thaws. Like the winterizer fertilizer you have a window of opportunity that you need to hit. If you put it down to early and it starts to germinate you won’t have any luck getting anything to grow. This is because it won’t have enough time to establish a root base before the ground freezes and the cold will kill it off.
Check out these other blogs on lawn and yard care tips:
Find LeVahn Brothers Plumbing and Hardware at 12700 Bass Lake Road in Maple Grove
Call us at 763-553-1222
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Which Grass Seed to use for your lawn

Spring in Minnesota reveals many things. Unfortunately, one of the things revealed is dead spots on your lawn. What do you do about it? First you need to determine what caused the problem. There are a number of reasons why grass dies. The main reasons are: Salt damage (from winter road salt), Dog urine, Pine trees, over fertilization, and not enough water. Often times if you fertilize and water your grass, in time, your grass can repair itself. However, summers in Minnesota don’t last that long. Here are some of the main causes and what to do about them.
Let’s start with a common reason for dead grass in Minnesota; salt damage. Salt damage occurs when road salt is shoveled or plowed on top of your grass. It raises the PH level in the soil making it impossible for your grass to grow. If left alone crabgrass and other hardier weeds will infest these areas of your lawn. You will often see this type of damage done along the edge of your yard along the street and also along the edge of your driveway (like the picture to the right). To combat the effects of salt you need to improve the drainage of the soil in the areas where the damage occurs. Improving drainage allows the salt to be washed away easier with spring rains. You can improve drainage by adding gypsum to the soil. Have your soil tested to determine the Ph level. You can add lime to the soil to reduce the imbalance. You can also try a different blend of grass seed that isn’t as susceptible to the damaging effects of salt. Try something like NK’s Salt Survivor seed (you can find it at our store).
Next let’s tackle pet spots:
Pet damage looks like spots all over the lawn or it can be a concentrated area that your dog likes to frequent as his personal bathroom. Pet spots are caused by the high nitrogen concentrate and high Ph level in a dogs urine. Nitrogen is good for your lawn in doses (it’s a main ingredient in most fertilizers). The problem with dog urine is that it has too high of a concentrated dose and ends up “burning” the grass. You will find the issue occuring more often with a female dog than a male dog. This is because when female urinates it’s concentrated in one spot. When a male dogs urinates it’s usually on something (like a tree) and is usually not as concentrated in one spot. This problem is amplified if you use a fertilizer on your lawn that is high in nitrogen. There are supplements that you can give your dog but unfortunately they may cause other health issues. It’s better to just treat the lawn. Treatments are relatively easy. For one you can hose down the area immediately after they pee, essentially watering down the dose of nitrogen. This is a little tedious but it is effective. If the grass is too far gone and needs to be replaced you should repair it with a specific pet patch. A good product to use would be a product called Dog Patch by Amturf. It is a fast acting grass seed and mulch mixture specifically designed for patching dog spots.
Dead grass due to pine trees:
The solution for this problem is a difficult one and may not be worth fighting. The soil underneath pine trees is acidic and won’t allow grass to grow. There’s also the added issues of high shade and water competition. The easy solution: put in mulch and/or acid loving plants such as hydrangea or ferns.

If you must have grass under that pine tree here are some steps that can be taken to improve your chances. Clean the area of needles and continue to do so for as long as you want the grass to grow. Apply lime to the soil to reduce the Ph levels. Remove all tree limbs below ten feet. Use a shady area seed (or something high in fescue) under the tree. A good seed would be Scotts dense shade or sun and shade mix. It is designed for shaded areas of a lawn and has the added benefit of scotts water smart technology that allows for less water for seed germination.
Over fertilization:
Unfortunately, the solution for this issue is to water and wait. The only other option that you can try is to cut out the section of dead grass and remove the top 1″ of soil and then reseed. Have your soil tested for Ph levels prior to reseeding to determine if the new seed will have issues germinating.
Heat stroke grass:
Use a de-thatching style rake to remove the old grass and thatch. Once the thatch and grass are gone loosen the top soil with a bow rake. The next step would be to put down a good top soil. A good option is to use Scotts Seeding Soil. It has black good black dirt and starter fertilizer already mixed in. Next you need to choose your seed. There are different blends of seeds for different lawns. Determine what would work best for you based on the amount of sun, shade, and traffic that the grass is going to get. Scotts should have an option that will meet most of your basic needs.
You can always take the route of a patching mixture. Scotts has a new product out that is making some pretty substantial claims. It is called EZ seed and Scotts claims that it grew grass on concrete with this seed-mulch mixture. It mixes seed, fertilizer, and a “super absorbent growing material”. This allows the seed mixture to be watered less and still grow. Scotts also has it’s old line called Patch Master. It uses recycled material as a mulch to hold moisture in on the seed and fertilizer. It also works but will also leave you with a blue patch of mulch on your lawn until the grass is established enough to rake it away.
All of the products mentined above are available at our store
For More Information visit our store located in the Bass Lake Shopping Center at:
12700 Bass Lake Road Maple Grove, MN
you can also reach us by phone at 763-553-1222
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