Posts tagged ‘rake’

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! |


Product Highlight: Roof de-icing cables

Roof de-icing cables

The product highlight for the last week of January is Wrap-on roof de-icing cables.  The reality is that this is a product that should be purchased when you don’t have two feet of snow and ice on your roof but nobody thinks about it when it’s warm out. Roof de-icing cables are a device that is applied when there is no ice or snow on the roof and are used when the snow and ice are present. They are a heat cable that will melt snow and ice in your gutters and on the first few feet of roof to prevent ice dams from forming. It is not designed to totally clear a roof of snow nor is it meant for a flat roof. It works to create channels for the water to flow so that when a roof naturally thaws it has a place for water to flow. Packages range in length from 40′ to 120′ and each package comes with shingle clips to hold the cable in place and instructions for how to properly install the cable.

Ice dam prevention

This is a highly recommended product that we suggest you buy now while the image of ice dams is still fresh on you mind. If you wait until spring, summer or even fall the memory of that ice dam will fade until you have another issue next winter.

For more about ice dams and ice dam prevention check out these blogs:

Get your home ready for winter, How to prevent and get rid of ice dams, and Get a roof rake to prevent an ice dam

To purchase heat cable or if you have other questions call 763-553-1222

LeVahn Bros Hardware and Plumbing is located at

12700 Bass Lake Rd Maple Grove, MN 55369

visit us on the web at

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Get a roof rake to prevent an ice dam

Metrodome roof collapse due to snowfall

With 2 feet of snowfall occurring in the metro area of Minnesota you need to make sure you stay on top of the accumulation of snow on your roof. Take the collapsing of the Metrodome as a sign that snow accumulation on a roof is not a good thing. Snow accumulation on your roof isn’t going to collapse your roof but it can cause damage.

Ice dam

The biggest issue with snow accumulation on a roof is the forming of ice dams.
Ice dams occur when heat from your home melts the snow that is in direct contact with the roof surface. This melted snow then re-freezes and builds up an ice dam, normally at the gutter. As time goes by and water continues to feed the dam, the ice dam grows. If you have icicles forming, that is usually an indication that a dam may be forming.

Water bubble formed by a roof leak

The problem that arises due to ice dams is that the water that is backing up at the ice dam can find its way into your home. The water finds cracks and openings in the roof and makes its way into your attic space. From there it will make its way down walls or through ceilings. It can cause major water damage in your home.

Remove the first few feet of snow with a roof rake

To avoid having an ice form on your home use a roof rake to pull snow from the roof. A roof rake is essentially a really shovel that is turned on its side so that you can pull snow from the roof surface. When removing the snow you don’t need to worry about clearing the whole roof. All that you need to remove is 2-3 feet of snow from the roofs edge. The first couple feet of roof is where the dam forms and you need to keep this area free of snow to avoid having the water accumulate here.

Avalanche snow rake

The are a number of different roof rake options out there to purchase. The models that we carry are all around the same price (around $50-$55). A new unique version is the Avalanche snow rake. It slides under the snow allowing the snow to slide off the surface of the roof. There are also different length options so be sure to look at what length you need. If you have a really tall roof and need to extend your rake make sure you buy one that has that option. A five foot extension runs about $10.

“Roof Melt”

If you have an ice dam already formed do not attempt to chip or pull the ice up with your roof rake. They are meant to pull down snow only and they will break if you attempt to use them as an ice chipper. Remove the snow on top of the dam and as much as you can reach behind the already formed dam. As a last resort use a product such as Roof Melt ice dam remover. Roof Melt is a large pellet of ice melt. It is magnesium based so it doesn’t harm the surface as much as a sodium based product. I can’t say for sure that it doesn’t harm the shingles but I’d rather replace shingles then have to deal with gutting a room due to water damage.

If you have an issue with ice dams on your home you should strongly consider installing roof and gutter heat cables on your roof. Once installed, the heat cables can be plugged in anytime to melt an ice dam from your roof and/or gutters. They also can be placed on a thermostat that activates the cable at a certain temperature. It’s something that needs to be installed before there is snow and ice on the roof. We have dozens of customers (and this year hundreds of customers) that come in every year for ice dam issues. We always recommend the roof cables and hardly anyone remembers to come back and buy the cables in the summer or fall. I would recommend buying the cables now while it’s on your mind. If you have them on hand you’ll be much more likely to remember to install them in the warmer months. Cables can be purchased that are between 60′ and 120′.

Check out cable 12 for a story that they did on ice dams in the twin cities. They will be airing the story at 4:00 and 6:00 on Friday the 17th.

For more info on roof rakes and ice dams check out the blog “how to prevent and get rid of ice dams”

For more information call us at 763-553-1222

Stop in and see us at 12700 Bass Lake Rd Maple Grove, MN 55311

Or visit us on the web at

Check us out on Facebook and “like” us

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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How to prevent and get rid of ice dams on your roof

Ice Dam

Is this winters snowfall going to cost you thousands of dollars?

Removing heavy snow from your roof can prevent expensive water damage caused by ice dams. Water from melting snow on your roof can damage your walls roof and ceilings costing you a lot of money as well as being a huge inconvenience to you.

Water leaks from ice and snow are caused by the heat of your home melting the snow on your roof. Water then refreezes and builds at your gutters. Soon you will have an ice dam. This ice dam builds and prevents water from escaping the roof. The water will then take the path of least resistence under shingles or flashing and finally into your home.

The best fight against ice dams is to prevent them from forming. Using a “roof rake” is one option. A roof rake is generally an aluminum blade on the end of a long extension pole. Often times the poles are extendable or extensions can be purchased for them.
Take your roof rake and remove the first two to three feet of snow from your roof. You DO NOT need to remove all of the snow from the roof. As long as the water has somewhere to go it will be fine. Be careful when removing snow. BE GENTLE. Do not damage your shingles. Also, stand back away from the roof as far as you can in case a large section of snow gives way. Do not stand on a ladder while removing snow. If you need extra length see if extensions are available for your rake.

Another option for prevention of ice dams is heat cable. This is electrical cable that can be attached to your roof and in your gutter. It can be plugged in when needed and will thaw and melt ice dams away. Ideally you would want to install a product such as this when it was a little warmer (shingles can be real brittle when they are cold). It can’t be installed after the ice dam has already formed either.

So what if an ice dam has already formed?
Ice dams that are already formed are difficult to remove without damaging your roof. Remember your shingles are brittle. The last thing you want to do is put holes in your shingles by scraping and chipping the ice off your shingles. Using heat such as a torch may start a fire or even cause more water at a faster rate to enter your home under the shingles. Some contractors recommend rock salt but this could also cause damage to your shingles. Most manufacturers of shingles do not recommend this approach. Unfortunately, the only truly safe recommendation is prevention.


Roof Melt

If you need to do something to prevent a flood and a little damage to your roof is considered collateral damage then use a roof deicer that is mostly if not all calcium chloride based. In terms of ice melt chemicals calcium chloride does the least amount of harm to your shingles. A good option is to use Roof Melt ice dam melter. It comes in a 14 pound tub with 60 tablets that you can safely throw on the roof from the ground level. Ideally you want to land the pellets a few feet behind the ice dam. Remember ice dams form due to the heat of your home melting the snow on the roof. More than likely spots that form ice dams are forming them due to heat loss occurring through your roof. Make sure that you have proper insulation in the attic of your home and the ice dam issue should go away.

Visit LeVahn Brothers Hardware and Plumbing 12700 Bass Lake Road in Maple Grove to pick up a snow rake, roof melt, or roof & gutter heat cable. Visit our web site for more info






Call us at 763-553-1222

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