Posts tagged ‘home’

Even if the snow melts, dont rake! (at least not yet) from StarTribune.com


 

Metal bow rake

By deb brown • Special to the Star Tribune

Raking won’t make the snow melt. It won’t thaw the ground. Or give the temperatures a boost. What will it do? “More harm than good,” said Brian Horgan, a turf grass expert and associate professor at the University of Minnesota. While we may have come out of hibernation, our grass has not. “It’s still fragile,” said Horgan. “It can’t withstand wear and tear — and that means raking.” He expects the grass to be rake-ready by the first of May. “It kind of pops up,” he said. “You’ll be able to see it.” What can you do until then? “Go to a park,” he advised.

 I may be stating the obvious, but it’s too early to get your yard and garden ready for the growing season. Although the timing of spring chores can’t be dictated by the calendar, jumping the gun can be a waste of effort, and sometimes a waste of money. Here are some guidelines for what to do, and when:

Lawn care

Try to stay off the grass as much as possible while the soil is still moist and spongy underfoot. Because we had so much snow late this winter, we might have quite a bit of snow mold. If you see matted areas in the lawn, use a lightweight leaf rake to break them up. Usually, letting air and sunshine penetrate is all that’s necessary for grass to recover from snow mold.

If you fertilized the lawn last September, you probably won’t need to fertilize again this spring. However, if you do plan to fertilize the lawn, wait until it’s growing actively enough that you’ve had to mow it a couple times. Only then will grass plants be able to make best use of the nutrients.

If you’ve had a lot of trouble with crabgrass or other annual weeds in your lawn, you can use a product combining fertilizer with a pre-emergence herbicide in the affected areas. If you’d like to try a greener product, use one containing corn gluten meal. It prevents many annual seeds from sprouting and provides a natural source of nitrogen. It does take several years of applications to be most effective.

Pre-emergence herbicides should be applied and watered lightly into the lawn two weeks before crabgrass is expected to sprout. Typically, that means waiting until the last week of April or the first week of May. Because their effectiveness wanes over time, there is no reason to apply crabgrass preventers early. Don’t use these products if you plan to seed, unless you find one designed specifically for use with newly planted grass seed.

Gradually remove mulch

If you mulched your spring bulbs and other perennials, gradually remove the mulch as it thaws. You may choose to leave the mulch between plants, where it will keep the soil moist and help prevent annual weeds from sprouting.

Tender, hybrid tea roses are usually uncovered or lifted around mid-April most years. This year, however, you might want to wait. The canes of hyrbrid tea roses may be damaged or killed if nighttime temperatures drop into the teens.

Unwrap trees

If you used paper or plastic tree wrap to protect young trees from sunscald or animal damage, remove it immediately. The wrap holds moisture against the trunk, which can promote diseases.

If you’re concerned about rabbits and other critters gnawing on the thin bark, create a more permanent barrier. Make a cylinder of hardware cloth or chicken wire and place it around the base of your tree. Be sure to leave an inch or two of space between the cylinder and the trunk. Be sure to remove the cylinder if it begins to constrict the trunk’s growth.

Stay out of the garden

Wait until soil dries sufficiently before working in the garden. You can test for dryness by lifting some soil with a shovel, then making a small ball in your fist. If the soil is dry enough, the ball will be crumbly. If it stays together tightly, it is still too moist. Wait a few days and try again.

Prune with caution

Hold off pruning forsythia, lilacs and other shrubs that bloom in spring or early summer. If you prune now, you’ll sacrifice this year’s flowers.

A few shrubs bloom on new stems that are produced this spring, such as old-fashioned snowball hydrangeas and pink-flowering spireas, for instance. Those may be pruned in spring as they begin to grow, and they’ll still flower this summer.

Wait to prune evergreen shrubbery such as junipers, yews and arborvitae, until you see new growth. Then, you can cut them back as long as you don’t remove all the new growth. These plants will keep growing all summer; you can prune them again in early to mid-July if you want to limit their size. Wait, too, to shorten the new growth of spruce and pines.

Hire an arborist if your shade trees need pruning. It’s not a job homeowners should tackle. To avoid oak wilt disease, oaks can’t be pruned in April, May or June. And though it’s not harmful, some trees — notably maples — will drip lots of sap when they’re pruned in spring.

Keep strawberries covered

Strawberries can be killed when night temperatures fall to the mid-teens, so don’t be too eager to uncover them. When you do, keep the mulching material close by, so you can rake it over the plants if we get a cold spell.

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

Even if the snow melts, dont rake! | StarTribune.com.

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Business Matters: Maple Grove company celebrates 90 years


The Original LeVahn Brothers Plumbers

The original LeVahn Brothers Oscar, Ed, and my Great Grandfather Art

LeVahn Bros. Plumbing and Hardware is a fixture in Maple Grove today. But you have to go back to 1923, when Warren G. Harding was president, to discover the origins of this local company that’s celebrating 90 years in business in February.

At their retail shop in Maple Grove, LeVahn Bros. is the kind of place where you come to get answers. A fourth-generation family owned business, the hardware store has an old-school feel with aisles of tools and parts and employees that can answer questions about that doodad that you need to fix a leak or to install something.

“We try to stress the service and the expertise that we’ve got,” said store manager Andy LeVahn. “People keep coming back because they know they can come in and get something and get out quickly and get the right thing the first time.”

Andy LeVahn is the fourth generation of LeVahn’s to run the business, but it was his great–grandfather, Art, and his two brothers who started LeVahn Bros. Plumbing in North Minneapolis back in 1923.

At the Maple Grove store, old black and white photographs adorn a wall depicting the early days of the business. Back then plumbers used a horse and buggy and later a Model T Ford to answer service calls, and a receipt from 1923 shows outfitting an entire house in Minneapolis with plumbing cost $68.14.

A Plumbing bill from 1923 or $68.23

A LeVahn Brothers Plumbing bill from 1923

Today, the prices and the modes of transportation have changed, but LeVahn Bros is still a plumbing business. Andy’s father, Loren LeVahn, the current business owner, added a hardware store to the business in 1994. The retail business brought the company to Maple Grove, and the plumbing/hardware store pairing has helped sustain the business.

“When the hardware store gets slow, the business in the plumbing seems to be a little bit better, so they can help each other out that way,” said Andy LeVahn.

It’s customers like Dennis Peterson of Maple Grove that help explain the company’s true longevity though. Peterson is one of many loyal customers who frequent the shop on a regular basis.

“I’m sure I come in here at least once a month for something,” said Peterson. “Some things I really need some help on, I come here cause they can help you more than the big stores can.”

LeVahn Brothers Plumbings retail Hardware Hank Store

Our retail Hardware Hank store located In the Bass Lake Shopping Center

The roots of good customer service go back 90 years for LeVahn Bros., and the younger generation believes that’s just as relevant today as in 1923.

“My great-grandfather started it in Minneapolis. They always try to put the customer first, and that’s what we try to do also,” said Andy LeVahn.

Alexandra Renslo reporting
arenslo@twelve.tv

Here’s a link to the video  from Channel 12 TV: Business Matters: Maple Grove company celebrates 90 years.

LeVahn Brothers Plumbing and Hardware is located at 12700  Bass Lake Rd in Maple Grove, MN 55369

Find us on the web at www.levahnbros.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/levahnbrothers 

It’s prime lawn care time | StarTribune.com


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:

FERTILIZE

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.

WATER

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.

MOW

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.

SEED

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.

WEEDS CRABGRASS

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.

PERENNIAL WEEDS

 

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.

AERATE AND DETHATCH

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 | StarTribune.com.

Other posts that you may enjoy:

 https://levahnbros.wordpress.com/2009/10/02/fall-yard-care/

https://levahnbros.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/grass-seed/

https://levahnbros.wordpress.com/2009/04/14/spring-lawn-care-thatch-aeration-and-fertilizers/

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

https://levahnbros.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/lawn-dethatching-lawn-gardening-home-lawn-care-gardening/

https://levahnbros.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/when-should-you-dethatch-or-aerate-your-lawn/

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

Find us online at levahnbros.com and also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/levahnbrothers

You can aslo call us at 763-553-1222

 

Lawn dethatching | Lawn gardening | Home lawn care: Gardening


Here’s a link to a great website with all sorts of good information on lawn and garden care. This particular post is talking about thatch in your lawn what it is and what you can do about it. Lawn dethatching | Lawn gardening | Home lawn care: Gardening.

For more info on what you can do here are a few blogs that we wrote on lawn care:  https://levahnbros.wordpress.com/2009/10/02/fall-yard-care/

https://levahnbros.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/grass-seed/

https://levahnbros.wordpress.com/2009/04/14/spring-lawn-care-thatch-aeration-and-fertilizers/

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

Adventures In Gardening Vol. #4: Our First Harvest


Josey was very excited about her first harvest

Up until this point the garden has fun but has been mostly work. There has been the excitement of seeing the plants sprout and then grow but my daughter likes to cut to the chase, she wants results. About 2 weeks ago we finally got those results from our peas and beans. Now, it wasn’t a “bumper crop” but it was something tangible that she could see, touch and eat. That’s right, my daughter the picky eater ate her vegetables without sitting at the table for an hour and actually LIKED them. She even asked for more! My son was also impressed. I would have had more pea pods but he kept picking and eating them right out of the garden.  Vegetables do taste better right out of the garden, but there is also something to be said for putting in the effort to get something that makes it taste that much better.

I was thinking…  she also doesn’t like to eat meat. Maybe next year we’ll get a cow in the spring. She could help feed it and take care of it. We’ll fatten it up all summer and then together we could slaughter it  in the fall. That’ll get her to eat hamburger.

Adventures in Gardening Volume #3: Rabbits, Fencing and 94 Degrees


Peas Behind Bars

For weeks I’ve been attempting to protect my garden from attack by spraying Liquid Fence and for weeks it’s been working;  until now. It says right on the directions that you need to occasionally re-apply the stuff to ensure that it remains effective, like after a heavy rainfall. What they don’t take into consideration is the general laziness and excuse making of the user. Unfortunately for my garden, I was the user.  In the beginning I was fairly diligent about spraying the garden. But that stuff smells and I kept telling myself “I’ll do it later tonight before I go to bed”. You know how it is, one thing leads to another (watching the Twins can make a guy kinda sleepy these days) and it never got taken care of. You get a little sloppy and a bit careless and that’s when they strike. The little furry devils took them right down to the stems. It was just a few plants but I was  nor going to let that happen again.

I sprayed the garden down with more Liquid fence and decided that I needed to get a bit more drastic with my defenses. The next day at work I picked up some chicken wire and stakes in order to build my fortress wall. I should have done this from the beginning but I hated the idea of how it was going to look. After all, I didn’t want to get too crazy with building a fence without knowing for sure if anything was going to grow. Things have changed since my plants sprung-up and I’ve grown attached to my pathetic little garden.

On my day off I recruited Josey, my 3-year-old slave laborer, and we set off to fortify our garden. The day we decided to build our fence it was 95 degrees out with 70% humidity. Not exactly optimum conditions for yard work but if my 3-year-old wasn’t complaining, either was I. Sometimes it feels good to be outside breaking a sweat doing some hard work. I had Josey help me as best as she could with the fencing but it became apparent that she was getting too hot and frustrated. We took a break and got out the “Crazy Daisy”. While Josey played in the Crazy Daisy sprinkler I continued to work on the fence.

Josey playing with the Crazy Daisy

After working at a hardware store for over 18 years I’ve learned some cardinal rules to follow if you want to purchase the right item at the store. One of those rules is measure so that you know how much to buy. I did not do this… I guesstimated… I was wrong…  By about eight feet. I told Josey that I was done and asked her what she thought about our fence. She looked at it and said, “Dad, won’t rabbits still get in?”  Three year olds think they’re so smart.

Rabbits couldn’t get through, right?

For more information contact us at 763-553-1222

Stop in and see us at 12700 Bass Lake Rd. Maple Grove, MN 55369

Visit us on the web at levahnbros.com and like us on Facebook

Bathroom Remodel


Before Picture of Bathroom

LeVahn Brothers Plumbing recently helped on a bathroom remodel for a customer in Minneapolis for general contractor Sawdust Memories. Here are a few images of the job and what Sawdust Memories had to say about the project.

via Sawdust Memories website:

Bath Remodel, Minneapolis:

“How very lucky to find new customers that not only open their arms and house to your dog but share books and music as well. We pushed out the back wall of the tub in order to accommodate a new wider whirlpool style tub. Adom Kruger custom built a perfect cabinet. Dave Ivers did his usual magic with tile and Stafford Electric and Levahn Bros plumbing came through in their usual professional ways. ”

via Interiors.

Here’s a few shots of a bathroom remodel job in Minneapolis that we did in partnership with general contractor Sawdust memories.

Bathroom Demo

Bathtub /Shower before picture

Bathtub/shower after

Bathroom After

Other posts you may want to check out https://levahnbros.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/kitchen-remodel/

For more Information call 763-551-8990

Stop in and see us at 12700 Bass Lake Road Maple Grove, MN 55369

Visit us on the web at levahnbros.com and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/levahnbrothers

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