Posts tagged ‘lawn’

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:


What to do for your lawn equipment when fall arrives

When fall arrives and it’s time to start thinking about putting your summer lawn care equipment away don’t just put it on the shelf and forget about it for six months. There are a few inexpensive and easy steps you can take to help ensure that your equipment is ready when you are when spring rolls around.

Here is a list of items to consider before storing your gas-powered equipment for a long period of time.

1.Take care of the gas that is left in the gas tank. There are differing opinions on what to do for this but I’ve found that the easiest method is to add a good fuel stabilizer (like Seafoam) to the gas tank. Add the stabilizer to the tank and let the machine run for a minute or two to allow the stabilized gas to make its way around. You can also run the machine totally out of gas but this is wasteful, time-consuming, and from what I’ve experienced not as effective. Make sure you also add stabilizer to your gas can as well. It won’t do any good to stabilize the gas in the tank and then come spring time add gas from a can that hasn’t been stabilized. Stabilizer should be added even if you have non-oxygenated gas in the machine.

Note: Stabilizer only works to prevent gas from going bad it will not revive gas that has already gone bad.

2. Replace the air filter. Air filters need to be periodically replaced and fall is good time to do it. Make sure that you bring in the filter from your mower so that you can match up an exact replacement for it.

3. Replace the spark plug. Spark plugs also need to periodically replaced and  replacing it before storing it is a good idea. You should also remove and bring in the spark plug to the store so that you can match up an exact replacement.

4. For lawn mowers and chain saws and powered hedge trimmers you should have them sharpened. Sharpening a lawn mower blade is important for the health of the grass. Using a blade that is dull can actually damage the grass allowing diseases to attack your lawn.  For more info on blade sharpening check out

Using a dull chain on a chain saw is not only ineffective but it’s dangerous. A dull chain on a chainsaw may cause the operator to try awkward and dangerous methods of cutting when using the saw. Make sure that when you really need your saw it’s in optimal running condition.

5. Change the oil. Oil should be changed at least once a year in equipment. For chain saws make sure you have enough bar and chain oil in your saw as well as having some extra on hand.

For more information on how to take care of gas-powered equipment check out these blogs:

Contact LeVahn Bros. at 763-553-1222

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

Visit us online at

How to get rid of Creeping Charlie

Creeping Charlie (A.K.A. Ground Ivy)

Creeping Charlie, also known as Ground Ivy, is an evergreen creeping weed that is found in the mint family. It is also a nuisance for homeowners that are looking to keep their Kentucky Blue grass lawns looking weed free. If left alone, Creeping Charlie can take over a lawn. If you are trying to identify Creeping Charlie it will have a square stem, paddle shaped leaves, and blue to purple colored flowers.

It was originally brought to North America for its medicinal qualities. It isn’t technically a weed but it is viewed and treated as a one. In some instances this ground covering ivy can look quite beautiful.

Creeping Charlie in bloom

If you have issues with creeping Charlie in your lawn and you want it killed off you can do it yourself. Lawn treatment companies (ie. tru-green) would like you to believe that Creeping Charlie is a menace that is going to destroy your lawn and that they have the only known cure. As a matter of fact I had 3 salesmen at my door arguing with me about how they were the only company that could treat my Creeping Charlie invasion that was occurring on my lawn.

What I told them and what I’ll tell you is that Ortho has a fantastic product that when used correctly can very effectively control Creeping Charlie for a fraction of what it costs to have a chemical treatment company treat your lawn. It comes in a green with purple labeled bottle. It also treats clover, chickweed, and oxalis as well as a number of other weeds. Ortho also has a product called Weed-B-Gon Max that works on Creeping Charlie and on broad leaves like dandelions.

Ortho Weed-B-Gon

It works best to use these products in either a hand-held pump sprayer or a Dial and spray sprayer that you hook up to your hose. Read and follow all directions on the package and give it some time to work. On Creeping Charlie it will take about a week for you to really see any real results. Make sure you don’t over apply the product because it can have an effect on the grass. The best times to apply a killer to Creeping Charlie are in the fall when it starts to go dormant (early October) and also in the spring during or after it flowers. Creeping Charlie is a perennial weed so you may have to do treatments yearly to keep it in check.

For more information call us at 763-553-1222

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

Visit us on the web at

Mold Growth on your lawn

Snow Mold

I woke up the other morning a thought that my lawn was covered in frost. When I arrived home from work that afternoon the lawn was still covered in white. The temperature was 58 degrees at the time and I thought something’s wrong. Upon closer inspection I realized that it was a grey/white mold that was covering my lawn. This mold is commonly called “snow mold”. It forms in weather conditions like what we’ve had this last year in Minnesota; wet cold weather for long periods of time. After a very wet fall, followed by a typical snowy winter and a rainy spring the conditions were ripe for snow mold. It can appear in two forms. Gray snow mold causes irregular dead , bleached patches in your lawn. The grey mold is clearly visible on your grass like the picture above. The other form is pink snow mold which produces circular, light brown patches that are sometimes blotched with pink fungus like the picture below.

Pink Snow Mold

Bonide Infuse

If left without treatment both forms can cause the grass in the affected area to die. Treatment involves lightly raking the area and then using a fungicide. Raking removes the mold and allows the grass to breath. Be careful not to pull out your grass with the mold. Your lawn is at a fragile stage right now and heavy raking will do some real damage. Fungicide kills the mold and helps prevent the mold from returning.  Bonide brands “Infuse” is a good choice of fungicide treatment.

You can also help prevent this  from happening by taking some measures in the fall. Do not use a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen in the late fall. Also you can aerate your lawn to improve drainage. DO NOT aerate your lawn right now. Aerating your lawn too early will do more damage than if you left the mold and did nothing else. Aerating too early tears up your grass and rips out the root base of the lawn. You need to wait until your lawn dries out before doing any aeration. See my Spring Lawn Care blog for more info on lawn aeration.

For more information  call 763-553-1222or visit us at 12700 Bass Lake Road Maple Grove, Mn 55369Check us out on the web at levahnbros.comCheck us out on Facebook and “like” us

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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summer lawn care: how to kill grubs, moles and ant control

July lawn care tends to be a battle against two things in Minnesota: hot dry summer days and insects. There are a number of insects that you may be battling at this point of the season in your lawn. One major culprit that can cause damage to your turf is grubs. Grubs will eat the roots of the grass killing it from the underside without you knowing that they’re even there. Grass can turn spotty and die in random spots even if the rest of the lawn is healthy. If left untreated it can cause some major damage to your grass. The main culprit is Japanese Beetle grubs. They attack your lawn feeding on the roots of the grass. The following summer they emerge and devour vegetation including shrubs, trees and flowers (especially roses).

Another issue that can arise with grubs is the fact that they attract moles. Moles eat grubs which sounds great for ridding your lawn of the pest however, they will also tunnel all over the lawn in search of a meal causing as much if not more damage to your lawn than the grubs. (note: getting rid of the grubs will not necessarily rid you of mole problems as they also will eat earthworms and other ground insects).

Another issue is ants. Ant hills can pop up in a matter of days and if left untreated will continue to grow killing the grass. Ant will also spread from one spot to another. Usually just a yard pest, you do have to be careful depending on which variety of ants that you’re dealing with. The most common variety of ants in our neck of the woods that are mound builders are either the “common” black ant or the “sweet” eating ant.

The ant that you need to look out for is the fire ant (pictured on the right). It is a very aggressive ant that will attack when provoked and can cause real damage depending on a persons reaction to its bite. It is more red in color and tends to be larger than the sweet eating brown ant. Be very careful when dealing with as fire ant hill.

Solution: for issues with lawn pests you have a couple of options. For grubs and a general ant control there is granules that you can spread with a fertilizer spreader over the entire surface of the lawn. Ortho, Terro and others make a lawn insect killer that can be spread this way. Scotts also has a summer fertilizer that has insect control in it that will work for ants and grubs. So if you’re in need of a feeding in the summer this could be used. If you use the fertilizer make sure the grass is getting enough water so that you don’t burn your lawn. Scotts has improved their line of fertilizer to allow you to water less but don’t let that you get careless with watering.

If you don’t feel comfortable using a chemical on your lawn you could attempt other methods for ridding your lawn of pests. For grubs there isn’t an easy solution that doesn’t involve chemicals. One method is to apply a milky spore to the soil. This method takes a few seasons (meaning a few years) to be affective. It is a spore that when ingested kills the grub over time. Another method is to attract more grub eating birds. Have water, feeders, and bird houses on hand to attract birds such as cardinals, blue jays, robins, grackles, starlings, purple martins, and crows.

For ant hills there are a few easy methods that you may have success trying. Boil 2-3 gallons of hot water and pour it directly on the hill. You can also try diatomaceous earth which works but is a relatively slow killer. The issue with these methods is that potentially you could have left over ants that will simply rebuild the hill or just move it somewhere else.

For more information contact us at 763-553-1222

Pay us a visit at 12700 Bass Lake Road in Maple Grove, MN
check us out on the web at
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