Posts tagged ‘lawn and garden’

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


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! |


Fall lawn care practices may be different this year : Extension news : University of Minnesota Extension

Here is an article from the University of Minnesota Extension about our drought conditions in Minnesota and what to do about your lawn and garden this fall.

Fall lawn care practices may be different this year

Media Contact: Catherine Dehdashti, University of Minnesota Extension, office 612-625-0237, cell 651-329-2427,

ST. PAUL, Minn. (9/18/2012) —Fall is the preferred time for many important lawn care practices. From fertilization and weed control, to aeration and seeding, there is no better time for cool-season turfgrass maintenance in the Midwest. But this year is different, according to University of Minnesota Extension turfgrass educator Sam Bauer.

“The lack of precipitation in August has caused many of our Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, or fine fescue lawns to turn brown and cease growing,” said Bauer. “In order for your lawn to recover, you will need to begin irrigating regularly.” This means more than just one or two cycles, but enough water to wet the root zone sufficiently to sustain turfgrass health.

If your lawn is stressed from lack of moisture, typical fall maintenance practices that have been recommended in the past may add additional stress. “Concentrate more this fall on creating the best possible growing environment for your turfgrass, and you will reap the benefits during next year’s growing season,” said Bauer.

Here are some tips from Bauer for drought-stressed lawns:

  • Aerate after the lawn’s health has been restored. While aeration is a great fall practice, it further stresses drought-stressed turf and may actually cause the lawn quality to decline.
  • Don’t dethatch or use a vertical mower. This process tears turfgrass leaves and crowns, and should only be conducted when the lawn is healthy.
  • Don’t spray herbicides on a brown lawn. Systemic and contact herbicides used for weed control are more effective when weeds are actively growing.
  • Choose fertilizer sources with at least half of the nitrogen component present in the slow release form. High rates of quick release nitrogen fertilizers can have negative effects on drought-stressed turf. There is also a greater potential for environmental loss of nitrogen when the lawn is not actively growing.
  • Raise the mowing height and mow less frequently to encourage turfgrass recovery.
  • Maintain soil moisture to promote turfgrass recovery.
  • Spot seed and fertilize thin, weak areas with a high-quality turfgrass seed mixture.
  • Perform a soil test to determine fertilizer requirements of phosphorus and potassium.

For more information on lawn care, visit

Fall lawn care practices may be different this year : Extension news : University of Minnesota Extension.

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


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:

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

Dead trees stand as proof that weed killer Imprelis went awry |

Dead tree killed by Commercial fertilizer ingredient Imprelis

Dead trees stand as proof that weed killer Imprelis went awry |

Here’s more information from Star Tribune regarding the commercial fertilizer ingredient Imprelis. Good information about what you should be doing for your dead or affected trees. For more info on the problem check out my blog on Imprelis:


How to get rid of Japanese Beetles

Japanese Beetle

Japanese Beetles are  a pest that were accidentally introduced to the eastern U.S. in the early 1900’s. Now they are sprouting up everywhere including in Minnesota. This year in the twin cities metro area they are as bad as they’ve ever been and they are devouring everything in their path. Japanese Beetles cause damage in multiple ways.

GRUBS- Grubs are present in your lawn during spring and early summer from eggs that were laid and hatched the previous fall. The grubs devour roots of plants (including: trees, grass, plants, flowers and ornamental shrubs). They cause stress on your lawn by not allowing roots to establish causing large patches of grass to die in the heat of summer. Pull up the dead turf and roll it up until you reach the edge of the green. If it is grubs you will find them here at the edge of the green turf eating away at the roots. Another issue that may arise out of having these grubs in your turf is the fact that other pests eat these grubs. Grubs in your turf will attract moles, shrews, and even skunks that all feed on the larva.

Lawn damage due to grubs

ADULT JAPANESE BEETLE -From about the beginning June through the end of August they mature into the beetle and they emerge hungry. They attack plants of all kinds but they seem to like roses, ornamental shrubs, and fruit trees. The beetle emits a pheromone that attracts other beetles to the spot resulting in an infestation on a single tree or garden.

Beetle Damage

They retreat to the grass in the evening to lay eggs in your lawn/garden. The eggs will hatch in the late summer and the larva will immediately begin the cycle again feeding on roots before winter arrives.

TREATMENT– There are a number of products out on the market that will help control Japanese Beetles. You can attack them in a few different ways. The first is to use a systemic treatment for your trees and shrubs. Infuse by Bonide is a systemic treatment for trees that will help protect them from a number of different insects including Japanese Beetles and Emerald Ash Borer. To kill grubs it’s best to apply a granular insecticide with a spreader from July-September. At this point in the grubs life-cycle they are weak and can be killed off easily.

Grubex Granular grub killer

To kill adult Japanese beetles proves to be a little more difficult. Removing the Japanese Beetles as soon as they are present is key due to the fact that having beetles present attracts more beetles. Use a spray insecticide and thoroughly treat the infested area. You may need more than one treatment to completely kill off an invasion. Be careful to use an approved insecticide when treating  a fruit producing plant and follow the instructions on the bottle.

Bonide Fruit Tree Insecticide

Use of traps to capture Japanese Beetles have mixed results. Some people who use them say that they’ve had great results in controlling the infestation. However, traps use a pheromone that attracts beetles to that spot which may result in attracting more beetles to a spot without actually capturing them.

For more information on Japanese Beetle control and prevention check out the Univeristy of Minnesota Extension page.

For more information on insect control check out these blogs: What to do for Emerald ash Borer, How to get rid of wasps, hornets and yellow jackets, Summer lawn care: how to get rid of moles grubs and ant control, How to get rid of ants in your home and in your yard

All the products listed above can be found at:


For more info call us at 763-553-1222

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

Check us out on the web at and also on Facebook

Spring Bird Feeding Tips

Bird feeder

Spring is a great time to establish or re-establish your bird feeding station. During the spring you have the return of birds that have been away for the winter. You’re feeder is also going to get a lot of migrating birds that are just passing through that you wouldn’t normally see in our area. If you haven’t been seeing many birds there are a few things to consider.

The first thing you need to do is to check your feeders. Are they clean? If you have old, wet, moldy seed your birds are not going to eat it. Clean out your bird feeder with a anti-bacterial soap or a mild bleach solution. Use a tube brush to clean out your tube feeder. Make sure they are thoroughly dry before you refill them. You also need to clean up any seed piles that are on the ground. These can become a real source of disease as well as being an eyesore under your feeder.

Tube bird feeder brush

The same needs to be done for bird houses and bird baths. Make sure they are clean and are in good working order. Make sure that bird houses  haven’t become mouse hotels over the winter. Repair any damage caused by winter and/or rodents. If the feeder, bird house or bird bath is too damaged you should replace it.

Offer a variety of seeds in different feeders. This will allow birds that can dominate a feed station, such as Grackles, a spot to eat as well as having an option for other birds. Try putting out nyjer thistle or safflower seed to attract cardinals, chickadees, finches and titmice.

Black Capped Chickadee

Offer a fruit option such as orange and apple slices, raisins, and grapes for migrating Orioles and other fruit-eating birds.

Put out nesting materials for birds. This can be as simple as pet hair, or yarn. You can also purchase all natural bird nesting material that can be hung near your feeding station.

All natural bird nesting material

Offer mealworms for insect-eating birds. Spring (especially in Minnesota) can be very unpredictable for insects and a sudden cold spell can keep insects from appearing. Offering mealworms is a good supplement for birds such as orioles, warblers, and tanagers that are looking for insects.

If you are looking for bird feeders, premium bird food, and bird feeding accessories stop in to LeVahn Bros Hardware Hank

We are located at 12700 Bass Lake Rd Maple Grove, Mn 55369

Call us at 763-553-1222

Visit us on the web at

Visit our Facebook page and “like” us

For more info on Bird feeders and Bird food check out these posts

Product Highlight: Wild Delight Bird Food

Winter Bird Feeding Tips

Bird Feeding Tips

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