Fertilizer

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Why Aerate Your Lawn?

Why Aerate Your Lawn?

What Are The Benefits of Aeration?

Core aeration can help make your lawn healthier and reduce its maintenance requirements through these means:

  • Improved air exchange between the soil and atmosphere.
  • Enhanced soil water uptake.
  • Improved fertilizer uptake and use.
  • Reduced water runoff and puddling.
  • Stronger turfgrass roots.
  • Reduced soil compaction.
  • Enhanced heat and drought stress tolerance.
  • Improved resiliency and cushioning.
  • Enhanced thatch breakdown.

 

Equipment Affects the Outcome

The type of aeration equipment can determine how effective the treatment will be. In general, turf responds best when core holes are close and deep. Equipment with hollow tines removes soil cores. Equipment with open tines divots the soil surface. Aeration equipment also varies in tine size up to 3/4 inch diameter and in depth of penetration up to 4 inches, depending on the manufacturer’s specifications. In most home lawns, fertile topsoil may have been removed or buried during excavation of the basement or footings, forcing grass to grow in subsoil that is more compact, higher in clay content and less likely to sustain a healthy lawn.

Why Is Aeration Necessary?

In most home lawns, fertile topsoil may have been removed or buried during excavation of the basement or footings, forcing grass to grow in subsoil that is more compact, higher in clay content and less likely to sustain a healthy lawn.

Walking, playing and mowing will compact soil and stress lawns. Raindrops and irrigation further compact the soil, reducing large air spaces where roots readily grow. Compaction is greater on heavy clay soils than on sandy soils, and it is greatest in the upper 1 to 1 1/2 inches of soil.

Aeration can help relieve soil compaction, allowing your grass to grow deeper roots and make better use of water and fertilizer.

ROOT GROWTH – Core aeration allows air, water and fertilizer to better reach the root zone. This stimulates root growth to create healthier, stronger turfgrass plants.

Relieve Thatch Accumulation

Most home lawns are subject to thatch accumulation. Left unmanaged, it impedes water, fertilizer and pesticide effectiveness. Core aeration combines soil with the thatch debris, so soil organisms are better able to break down the thatch and reduce its accumulation.

How Often Should Lawns Be Aerated?

Most lawns benefit from annual aeration. Heavily used lawns, or those growing on heavy clay or subsoils may need more than one aeration each year. Again, turf responds best when tine spacing is closer and penetration is deeper.

When is The Best Time to Aerate?

If you have cool season turfgrass such as Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass, both spring and fall are ideal times to aerate. In spring, aerate between March and May. Perform fall aeration between August and November. Aeration before or at the time of late season fertilization enhances root growth and improves spring greenup and growth.

Warm season turfgrasses such as zoysiagrass and bermudagrass should be aerated in mid-spring to summer. Avoid aerating when warm season grasses are dormant – it may encourage weed competition. In addition, avoid aerating warm season grasses during spring greenup, and not until after their first spring mowing.

Herbicides, Fertilizers & Aeration

It’s best to aerate before you apply pre-emergence herbicides, rather than after. Aerating after a herbicide application can reduce the chemical barrier formed by the herbicide, allowing weeds to germinate. Applying fertilizer after aeration helps the lawn compete against weeds. Water the lawn after aeration, particularly in areas where drought and high temperatures are common.

What can you expect?

Immediately after aeration, your lawn will be dotted with small plugs pulled from the soil. Within a week or two, they break apart and disappear into the lawn.

About 7 to 10 days after aeration, the aerification holes will be filled with white, actively growing roots – a sign that the turfgrass is receiving additional oxygen, moisture and nutrients from the soil.

On compacted soils and on lawns with slopes, you should see an immediate difference in water puddling and runoff after irrigation or rainfall. After aeration, your lawn should be able to go longer between waterings, without showing signs of wilt. With repeat aerations over time, your lawn will show enhanced heat and drought stress tolerance.

Remember, most lawns benefit from annual aeration. And while you shouldn’t expect miracles, especially with poor soil, lawns that receive this care will be healthier, more vigorous, easier to maintain and have fewer pest problems.

How To Care For Cool Season Lawns In Minnesota During The Summer Heat

How To Care For Cool Season Lawns In Minnesota During The Summer Heat

Once temperatures get into the 80s and above, lawns will begin to struggle a little, with cool-season grasses having the hardest time. Growth will slow, color may fade, and lawns will show signs of wear and tear as they are less able to recover from stress and traffic. Some cool-season lawns will even go dormant in the summer, looking brown and brittle until early fall.

Water Wisely

  • Lawns need at least one inch of water per week, and more when the heat is severe. Use a rain gauge or straight-sided can to keep track of the amount of water received from rainfall and irrigation.
  • Water deeply and less frequently to encourage drought-tolerant roots.
  • Water early in the day to reduce evaporation and fungal growth.
  • Either water your lawn regularly and deeply, or don’t water at all. Don’t let your lawn go brown and dormant, then try to “water it back to life.” If your lawn goes dormant in summer, it should stay that way until fall – don’t worry, it should recover once the weather changes.

Mowing Tips

  • Raise your mower blade in the summer. Taller grass is more drought-tolerant, grows deeper roots, and helps shade the earth to prevent weed seeds from germinating. Cool-season grasses should be mowed at 3”- 4” during the summer, or as high as your blade will go, while warm-season grasses should be mowed at 2”- 3”.
  • Mulching grass clippings helps keep moisture levels steady.
  • Mow regularly, to prevent cutting more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time. This keeps your grass healthier and prevents the clippings from smothering the grass.
  • Keep mower blades sharp. Make sure your mower is cutting your grass, not tearing it, to minimize stress during hot temperatures.

Don’t Over Fertilize

If your lawn is looking straggly in midsummer, resist the urge to fertilize. In fact, it’s best to stop fertilizing about 30 days before your area’s summer temperatures arrive. Applying extra fertilizer in the heat of summer can burn your lawn and create a flush of tender growth that will struggle in the hot summer weather. Never fertilize dormant lawns – wait until they green up in the fall.

High-Traffic Areas

By summer, many lawns begin to show signs of wear, especially in a few popular pathways. Consider installing stepping stones to minimize damage to your grass, and try to minimize traffic on dormant, brittle lawns. If you’re getting plenty of rainfall and your lawn is actively growing, you can apply a bit of fertilizer to these areas to help the blades recover faster.

Control Weeds

Summer is the season to get those growing weeds removed before they bloom and disperse seed for next year. Targeted postemergent herbicides are designed to kill broadleaf weeds without harming turf grass, but they must be applied when temperatures will be below 85° F for a few days. Keep in mind that during the heat of summer, ANY product can be damaging to already-stressed lawn grasses, so use sparingly or hand-pull weeds instead.

Insects and Diseases

  • Dormant or drought-stressed summer lawns can be more susceptible to insect infestations, such as chinch bugs, cutworms, armyworms, sod webworms, fire ants, fleas, and mosquitoes. Minor infestations often take care of themselves, but severe problems may require attention.
  • Summer is also the time for fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew and brown patch. Apply fungicide if needed, and avoid watering in the evening to keep nighttime moisture at a minimum.
  • Grubs will begin hatching in your lawn over the summer. If grubs typically cause problems in your lawn, you can begin applying grub control around midsummer.

 

5 Most Common Lawn Care Mistakes

5 Most Common Lawn Care Mistakes

Having the greenest lawn in the neighborhood takes a lot of work and a lot of knowledge to accomplish.  To help your lawn get started on the right track, we have provided you with the 5 of the most common lawn care mistakes homeowners make when trying to get their lawn on track.

Cutting Lawn Too Short

Mowing grass too short is very harmful to the plant and can actually put it into shock. Cutting off too much of the grass blade will limit its ability to absorb sunshine, which allows it to perform photosynthesis through its leaves and make food. It also weakens the root system.

Set the mower height to about 2 1/2 inches and never cut off more than 1/3 of the grass blade at any one time. The grass will develop a deeper root system to support the longer blades and need less water.

Watering Wrong Time Of Day

Don’t water between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. It is best to water between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. There’s usually less wind, less sun, and your lawn has all day to dry.

In the middle of the day, water evaporates too quickly. And in the evenings, water can cling to the blades of grass overnight, which can cause lawn diseases.

Fertilizing Out Of Season

It is best to apply fertilizer when the grass is rapidly growing, not during the hot summer when the grass wants to go dormant anyway. Fertilizing at this time will require more water to support the increased growth.

Fall fertilization is important for root growth and will give the lawn a boost next Spring. Late spring, late summer, and after the last mow of the year are ideal times to fertilize.

Not Testing Soil

Most homeowners just plant grass willy nilly. Grass thrives in soil with a pH of 6 to 6.5. 

Send a soil sample to your local extension service for testing and they’ll tell you what your soil needs to make your grass healthy.

Mowing With Dull Mower Blades

Dull mower blades actually tear grass blades leaving them looking brown on the tips and making them more prone to disease and insect damage.

It is recommended to sharpen your lawnmower blades at the beginning of each season and possibly once more about mid-way through the season.

5 Fall Lawn Care Chores That Promote Healthy Growth During The Cold Season

5 Fall Lawn Care Chores That Promote Healthy Growth During The Cold Season

Fall colors are beginning to show up here in Minnesota which means that you need to get your lawn ready for the cold season.  Completing these 4 fall lawn care chores will help promote a healthy lawn while it buried underneath the snow this winter.

Aeration

The first task you will want to complete this fall is core aeration.  Core aeration is the process of punching small holes throughout your lawn to decompress the soil.  This process allows water and nutrients to soak deeper into the soil so you lawn can soak them up.

Overseeding

Overseeding is the process of adding new grass seed to your lawn.  Combined with core aeration, overseeding allows the seedling to set roots deep in the soil for a healthier, stronger growth.

It’s important to overseed every few years because overtime individual blades of grass begin to weaken and die off.  Overseeding helps fill in bare spots and keeps your lawn looking full.  Additionally, overseeding will promote a healthy lawn and help prevent unwanted weeds from growing in your yard.

Fertilizer

Fall fertilizer will help provide water and nutrients to your lawn even as it is buried under a foot or two of snow.  We recommend using a slow release nutrient program so your lawn can continue to receive the nutrients it needs throughout the long winter months of Minnesota.

Leaf Clean Up

Leaf clean up is an essential part of any lawn.  Some may argue that leaves will decompose and are healthy for your lawn.  This may be true, however piles of leaves on your lawn covered by snow will ultimately lead to the smothering of your lawn and provide the right conditions for disease.

Gutter Cleaning

Finally, gutter cleaning is a task nobody likes to do but it has to be done.  Cleaning your gutters in the fall is best after the leaves have mostly fallen off of the trees.  Clear gutters will keep the water moving away from your house and prevent damage such as roof leaks and flooding.

There you go, there are 5 fall lawn care chores that you should complete this fall to keep your lawn and home in good condition.  If you need help with any of these chores, please give us a call at (763) 595-1440 or request a free estimate from us today.

What To Expect From Your Lawn Mowing Service Company

What To Expect From Your Lawn Mowing Service Company

Lawn Mowing Service Company

Choosing a lawn mowing service company can be quite challenging.  The options almost seem endless between well established companies, small growing companies, startup companies and even the neighbor kid down the block who is trying to make some extra cash. 

With so many choices, how do you know what lawn mowing service company is right for you?

When considering a lawn mowing service company, you need to consider how well you want your yard to be maintained.  If you are simply looking for somebody to stop by once a week, cut the lawn and be on their way, the kid down the block may be the right choice for you.

However, if you are looking for a professionally well-kept lawn that is mowed, weed whipped and the debris is cleaned up, you are going to need to hire a company with all the tools.  Well established, small and startup companies are going to be the best choices in this scenario.

Finally, if you are looking to have the greenest lawn on the block, you are going to want to hire a lawn mowing service company that does more than just mowing.  Check with well-established and small growing companies who provide weed control, bush trimming and many other services alongside their lawn mowing services.

Once You Hire A Lawn Mowing Service Company, What Should You Expect?

Besides the simple expectation of having your lawn mowed on a regular schedule, your personal lawn mower should have a good understanding of what your lawn is telling him.  After all, your personal lawn mower is on your lawn, and plenty of others, every week so they should be able to tell what is happening with your lawn.

Your personal lawn mower should be able to make recommendations for fertilizer, weed control, watering schedules and more.  The more detailed your lawn mower is, the healthier your lawn will be and the happier you will be.  Once you land a detail lawn mower who makes the right recommendations, you will want to hang on to them so be sure to get their business card just in case.

Start Researching Lawn Mowing Service Companies

I think it goes without saying, but before you hire just any company be sure to talk to 3 or 4 companies and ask them questions about what services they offer to ensure they will be able to offer you every service you think your lawn may need and then some. 

Once you have narrowed it down to those companies who have the services you need, get a free estimate from each one for all the services they offer.

Finally, head on over to the internet and check for reviews left on Google and Facebook.  The lawn care business is very competitive and you need to make sure you are hiring a reputable company.

Pre-Emergent Fertilizer in MN

Pre-Emergent Fertilizer in MN

It’s that time of year when your lawn needs special attention in order to grow strong and healthy for the upcoming year.  A pre-emergent fertilizer is crucial early in the spring because it helps deter weeds from growing in your lawn so your lawn can strive throughout the year.

What is Pre-Emergent Fertilizer?

Pre-Emergent fertilizer is simply a fertilizer that is applied to your lawn early in the season to prevent unwanted weeds from growing.  Pre-Emergent fertilizer only works if you apply it before the weeds start to grow.  Once the weeds have started growing, the pre-emergent fertilizer will not kill the weeds and you may be stuck plucking the weeds out of your lawn by hand… and that’s no fun.

When Should Pre-Emergent Fertilizer Be Applied?

Pre-Emergent fertilizer is applied early in the spring shortly after the snow melts and before weeds have a chance to plant their roots.  Generally, you want to apply pre-emergent fertilizer when temperatures reach above 55 degrees for five consecutive days.

Why is Pre-Emergent Fertilizer Important?

Besides the obvious fact of eliminating the potential for many weeds to begin growing in your lawn, pre-emergent fertilizer allows the healthy blades of grass in your lawn to absorb more water and nutrients to grow greener and heathier.

What types of weeds does Pre-Emergent Fertilizer Kill?

Some of the most common weeds that pre-emergent fertilizer kills include crabgrass, dandelions and plantain.  For a list of common weeds in Minnesota be sure to check out list of MN weeds here.

At Peter Doran Lawn and Landscaping, we offer a year round fertilizer program that is designed to eliminate weeds and promote a healthy lawn year round.  You can view our year round fertilizer schedule here.  If you have any questions about our fertilizing services, or other services we offer, please reach out to us at 763-315-0052

Spring Lawn Care Is In The Air!

Spring Lawn Care Is In The Air!

I know we are still in March and I know we live in Minnesota but, spring is in the air and it looks like it is here to stay… for at least a week anyways.  With the snow completely gone and the ground thawing out, now is the time to start thinking about spring lawn care for a healthy lawn in 2017.

Dethatching

Dethatching is by far one of the most important services to do in the early spring.  Dethatching essentially removes the dead blades of grass in your lawn.  This service allows the healthy blades of grass to absorb more water and nutrients to help it grow healthy and strong.

Combine dethatching with a spring clean-up service to remove fallen branches and other debris and garbage from your lawn.  We us Stihl backpack blowers with our spring services to get behind those pesky bushes and other hard to reach places.  When we are done with your lawn, you will be able to rest assure that your kids and pets can go outside to play in the yard without having to worry about trash and potentially harmful items that have compiled in the yard over the winter months.

Fertilizer

We also offer a fertilizer services in the early spring knows as pre-emergent fertilizer.  Pre-emergent fertilizer is designed to help your lawn absorb more water and nutrients while discouraging weeds and other unwanted plants in your lawn from growing.

We recommend applying a pre-emergent fertilizer on your lawn in early April for best results.  However, applying a round of pre-emergent fertilizer as late as June can still do some good for your lawn.

Gutter Cleaning

Gutter cleaning in the spring is another service we provide and can help you save hundreds if not thousands of dollars in repairs if your gutter back up.  Spring is the best time to clean your gutters because leaves and branches that fell over the fall and winter can easy create a clog in your gutters and down spouts.  With rainy weather due in the spring, why not get this out of the way early and avoid any potential disasters?

Is It Spring or Winter in Minneapolis?

Is It Spring or Winter in Minneapolis?

This week in Minneapolis has to be one of the most confusing weeks’ weather-wise.  The first couple days of the week provided us with spring like temperatures and a record for the earliest tornadoes in the state ever!  These last couple of days, and the forecast looking forward, we are back to winter like conditions and temperatures.

With crazy weather like this, your lawn and yard is going through some tough times as well.  With the warmer temperatures earlier this week, lawns throughout Minneapolis were experience thawing conditions which led to wet and sloppy yards.  Now, with temperatures dropping, the top of the ground is beginning to freeze again.

Dethatching

As temperatures fluctuate from hot to freezing, this spring is going to be a spring where you need to pay special attention to your lawn.  If you want your lawn to have a healthy start to the year, you will want to dethatch your lawn thoroughly.  Dethatching is the process of removing the brown damaged and dead blades of grass from your lawn.  This process will ensure the healthy blades of grass in your lawn will be able to collect all of the nutrients they need to be healthy and green throughout the year.

Dethatching your lawn will also help remove any snow mold that may have damaged your lawn throughout the winter.  Snow mold, left unattended, can spread throughout your lawn and cause damage that may require drastic repair to save your lawn.

Pre-Emergent Fertilizer

Once your lawn has been dethatched, you will want to apply an application of pre-emergent fertilization to encourage a healthy start to your lawn.  Pre-emergent fertilization will also discourage weeds from growing in your lawn which allows your lawn to absorb the nutrients they need to remain healthy during the hot summer months.

Peter Doran Lawn has served the local Minneapolis community for over 25 years and serves over 1,500 customers.  We use start of the art equipment and technology to provide the best lawn care services when it comes to maintaining a healthy lawn.

What to do for Best Fall Lawn Care Results

What to do for Best Fall Lawn Care Results

Fall is the most critical time to pay attention to your lawn because what you do now will determine how healthy your lawn will be come next spring and summer.  For the best fall lawn care results you should do your best to complete the following tasks in order.

Aeration

lawn-aerationAerating your lawn early during the fall season is the first step you should take for a healthy yard through the winter and into the spring.  Aeration encourages good root development before the upcoming winter by loosening compacted soil to create a better growing environment for your lawn. 

You want to aerate your lawn early enough in the fall when the air starts to cool but also while the soil temperatures remain warm.  This will allow the soil in your lawn to de-compact and allows your lawn to absorb water and nutrients before the snow starts to fall and the ground begins to freeze.

Seeding

seeding-lawnNext, you will want to apply seed to your lawn before temperatures get too cold so it has a chance to get deep in the soil.  It is recommended that you apply new seed to your lawn about every 4 or 5 years because, just like everything else in this world, your lawn is not immortal.  After 4 or 5 years your lawn will slow down its reproduction rate which gives an environment for weeds to take over your lawn.

You can tell the difference in lawns that have been seeded every 4 or 5 years by their thickness.  Well seeded lawns will reproduce healthier, thicker, greener lawns for years to come.  Plus, well seeded lawns look professionally maintained, even if they’re not, and helps your lawn maintain its health.

Fertilizer

fall-fertilizerOnce the new seed has been down and has had a chance to dig deep into the soil, it is time to feed it!  A slow release fertilizer is essential in Minnesota because once the snow falls you will have to wait months before you can do anything with it again.  A slow release fertilizer will ensure that your lawn receives the nutrients it needs through the winter to give your grass the strong deep roots it needs to be healthy.

When choosing a fertilizer for the fall, besides using a slow release fertilizer, you will want to make sure it contains nitrogen.  A high nitrogen fertilizer such as a 25-5-5 will promote lawn blade and foliage growth to help your lawn look greener for the upcoming season.

Leaf Raking

Fall Leaf Clean Up MNBy now, the leaves should be falling off the trees and its time for the most labor intensive job of the year, raking leaves. It’s not a fun job but somebody has to do it because your lawn needs to breath and a lawn covered in leaves and snow will simply suffocate and leave you with a mud pit once the snow melts.

There are several ways one can “rake up” the leaves from their lawn.  If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can always hire a professional service.  If you don’t want to hire a professional service, you can grab the rake and leaves and manually rake up all the leaves yourself.  Alternatively, you can run your lawn mower over your lawn and either mulch the leaves into the ground or use a bagging system on your mower to bag your leaves.

Winterize Lawn Fertilizer

winterize-lawnThe final step to preparing your lawn for the cold months ahead is to winterize your lawn with fertilizer.  This application of fertilizer, unlike early fall fertilizer, should contain a higher level of potassium.  Potassium promotes a cellular level that strengthens and hardens plants from top to bottom that makes them more tolerant to cold Minnesota winters.  Potassium also helps your lawn absorb nutrients which balances the feeding of your lawn.

If you follow the fall lawn care steps in the order listed above, your lawn will survive the winter and be ready to sprout once the snow is gone and the temperatures warm up.  Peter Doran Lawn is a year round, full service lawn care company based in Minneapolis, MN.  If you need help with any of your fall lawn care needs, we are here to help.  Simply request a free estimate and we will be in contact shortly.

Lawn Care Tips to Prepare Your Lawn for Summer

Lawn Care Tips to Prepare Your Lawn for Summer

Summer is only months away, which means the dry season is waiting to take a toll on your lawn.  Preparing your lawn for the upcoming dry season means taking the right steps towards the end of spring and beginning of summer are essential to your lawns health.  Here are 4 lawn care tips you can follow to ensure a healthy green lawn this summer.

Dethatching

Dethatching your lawn is by far one of the most important things you can do in the spring to help your lawn grow healthy in the summer.  Dethatching is the process of raking out the dead and damaged grass from your lawn.  Dead and damaged grass absorbs nutrients in your lawn leaving less nutrients for healthy grass to absorb and grow.

Late Spring Fertilizer

In the late spring/early summer, weed control that focuses on popular Minnesota weeds such as dandelions and creeping Charlie/ground ivy should be applied before they start to take over your lawn.  Once these weeds begin to take over your lawn, it’s hard to stop them as their seeds are easily spread across your lawn by wind and animals.

The second application of fertilizer in the late spring is a granular fertilizer that promotes healthy lawn growth.  This granular fertilizer should be a slow release granular fertilizer that releases nutrients that feed your lawn over time.  A slow release is phenomenal during the drier months of the late spring and early summer.

Lawn Mowing

Regularly mowing your lawn is ideal helps reduce of creating an ideal habitat for insects like mosquitos, voles, mice and snakes.  Furthermore, when mowing your lawn, it is important to keep in mind that shorter is not always better.   Proper mowing height is important to help your lawn strive during the colder, wetter months and the hotter, drier months.  During the hotter, drier months, you may want to let your lawn grow a tad bit longer so it can strive.

Below are the ideal height for grass based on the type of grass you have in your lawn…

Cool Season Grasses of Minnesota

Kentucky Bluegrass                : 2.5 to 3 inches (60-75 mm)
Perennial Ryegrass                : 2.5 to 3 inches(60-75mm)
Tall Fescue                             : 2.5 to 4 inches (60-100 mm)

Warm Season Grasses of Southern State

Common bermuda                  : 0.75 to 1.25 inches ( 20-30mm)
Hybrid bermuda                      : 0.5 to 1.0 inches (12-25 mm)
St. Augustine                          : 2.0 to 4 inches ( 50-100 mm)
Zoysiagrass                            : 1 to 2.5 inches (25-60 mm)
Centipede grass                     : 1.0 to 2.0 inches ( 25-50 mm)

Following the lawn care tips above should prove to give you the lush, healthy, green lawn you strive for this year.