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Serving Central Minesota and the North Twin Cities Metro Area

Everything listed under: EHlinger Lawn Care

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    Treating Your Yard with Ground Limestone: What You Should Know Beforehand

    For our yards, fall is a time for fertilization, aeration, and also a great time to test your soil before winter sets in. As advised in Gardeningknowhow.com, “Working lime into the soil in the fall gives it several months to dissolve before spring planting.” Testing your soil will tell you the ph levels of the soil in your yard and let you know if adding nitrogen or lime will benefit your yard. 


    When Should You Add Lime to Your Yard? 

    Adding ground limestone - or lime - is a common practice for less than favorable yards. Lawns that have a low ph levels benefit from the addition of lime. 

    A neutral is ph level is around 6.5 to 7, depending on where you live. In warmer areas, lawns tend to like a more acidic levels. Adding lime to your yard can be a yearly event - and it is relatively simple to do. Just add the lime to a hopper - which you can find at many home improvement stores - and spread it across the yard. 

    It generally takes 20 to 50 pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet to get an acidic lawn back on track. Afterward, it’s a good idea to get a new ph test about every 2 years.

    Bare Spot

    Treating Discolored, Thin, or Bare Growth Spots

    The hardest part of treating discolored spots can be diagnosing the cause. Some dead or brown grass spots can be a symptom of one of the following: 

    • Pet Stains
    • Dull Mower Blades
    • Heat Damage
    • Drought Stress
    • Soil Compaction 
    • Funguses

    Determining your issue is the main focus in treating your specific issue. Lime can assist in solving pet stains and can help your lawn recover from soil compaction – along with aeration treatment. If your lawn is overly dry or is not being properly maintained, you may need to alter your watering and trimming routine.

    Pet Spots

    Eliminating Pet Spots

    One of the most common complaints from homeowners about their yard are pet stains - either from your own pet, or from other “visitors” in the neighborhood. Yellow or Brown Spots from pet stains are very high in acidity and prevent grass from absorbing nutrients from the ground. Lime will help you cleanse your soil and restore a deep color to your grass.


    Tree Species: Myths and Facts

    There is a commonly accepted idea that large trees - especially pine trees - can cause discoloration in your yard. As landscape designer and contractor John Watkins states, “It is a common myth that grass will not grow around pine trees because the accumulated needles make the soil so acidic nothing will grow.” Watkins goes on to say, “Needle drop from pine trees can produce a thick mat that forms a physical barrier, either retarding grass growth or killing it entirely.” 

    Basically what John is saying is it’s not the acidity of the tree, it’s the accumulation of needles that prevents grass growth. 

    This idea carries over to other trees, as well. Certain species of trees may have a dense canopy that will block out sunlight and drop needles, acorns, or other natural barriers onto your lawn. Dead or dying grass in these cases result in a bad pairing of grass and tree species or an incorrect amount of standard maintenance. 

    Instead of adding lime or other fertilizers to your soil, be sure that you have the correct seed type for your space. Your lawn may also need more sunlight, air, and/or water to reach its full potential.

    Mushroom and Moss

    What About Moss or Mushrooms?

    Excessive moss growth or the presence of mushrooms comes from having an overly alkaline soil, or lawns that are overly shady, too wet, or compacted. 

    To get rid of moss and mushrooms, you’ll want to skip the lime and instead reseed the area with shade-friendly grass seed, aerate the soil, and fertilize for nitrogen deficiency. It may also help to thin the trees to reduce shade, water less, and cut your grass higher to encourage stronger roots. If a stump or dead roots are present, remove them and keep the area well-drained.


    While adding Lime to your lawn can even out PH levels and balance acidity, lime can be harmful as well. As it says in the Think Green Blog, “Just as soil that’s too acidic will inhibit your lawn’s ability to absorb nutrients, one that’s too alkaline will prevent your grass from getting enough nitrogen, potassium and iron.” 

    Sometimes the most important step you can take to creating a healthy lawn is to contact the experts at Ehlinger Lawn Care

    For more information on Fall Lawn care prep, visit a few of our past blogs: 

  • Planting in July: Boost Your Growing Season

    While May through June is the ideal time to plant flowers and vegetables in the garden, nothing is stopping you from planting in July. 

    Provided you are willing to water frequently, you can boost your growing season by making a couple last minute additions to the gardens. Your garden is an integral part of your home’s landscape; why not make it the best it can be?


    Flowers for New Growth Next Year

    For many flowers, July is the peak of growth and blooms. Take advantage of this with geraniums and take cuttings to start new plants for indoor winter blooms. According to hunker.com, July is also a great time to dig, divide, and replant iris for increased blooms next year. You can plant chrysanthemums and asters in July to provide fall bloom and healthy parent plants for next spring. Lastly, short season annuals like pansies can fill in empty spots of the garden as spring blooms die.

     

    Vegetables and Herbs for Quick Harvest

    Root vegetables are a great option for July planting because they can withstand frost and snow - in fact it makes them sweeter! Try beets, carrots, rutabaga, kohlrabi, and radishes. Radishes have a short growing season, so it is recommended to plant in spring, early summer, and mid summer for a crop that keeps on giving. 

    According to thespruce.com, another easy addition to the gardens in July are herbs. Basil, cilantro, and parsley all have short enough growing seasons that they will yield in late September if you plant in July. Just remember to water herbs as the heat of summer sets in!

     

    It is not too late to plant flowers and vegetables to enjoy in the gardens at home! Planting in July can boost your growing season well through late fall. Pick up some seeds today and get outside to plant!

  • Get Your Backyard BBQ Ready in Time for Summer

    Summers are made for getting family and friends together in the backyard for a barbeque. There’s no better way to stay connected and enjoy a summer evening than gathering all your loved ones for food and fun.

    But is your backyard ready for cookout season? Up your landscape appeal with some quick tips to transform your bare backyard into the social center of the neighborhood.

     

    Start at the Root 

    The first step to any great yard party is having a great lawn. Get any problem areas taken care of, including dead grass patches or weeds.

    Spruce up Your Grass 

    Get your yard looking its finest before you have company over. Mow the grass, use fertilizer, repeat.

    Fine Tune and Prune

    How are the hedges looking? Give them a trim and prune to give them shape and defined edges.

    Plants to Polish Up 

    Add something extra to a basic yard by decorating with planting pots. Disperse across the yard to add pops of color and scent to a bare yard.

     

    Extend the Party: Add Outdoor Lighting 

    Keep the party going all night by adding outdoor lighting to your backyard setup. Take advantage of a full summer’s day with parties under the stars and string lights.

    Check the Deck 

    Is your deck up to snuff? Check over the surface for any imperfections such as loose parts, decayed wood, or stained areas. Then give it a good cleaning to make it look its best. 

    Prep the Grill

    It’s likely been a while since you’ve fired up the grill. Make sure it is running its best by doing a deep cleaning and inspecting all the parts. Then it’s on to the grub.

    Buffet and Beverage Station 

    Setup an island or table to serve as a buffet for food and beverages. This saves time so you don’t have to serve all your guests and gives a polished impression.

    Seating and Furniture 

    You have the guests, now how are you going to seat them? Be sure to have enough seating for everyone that is clean and in good shape. If you’d prefer a lawn-style party, provide blankets so that guests can comfortably sit in the grass. 

    Heat Things Up 

    There’s no better way to finish off a party than sitting around a bonfire on a warm summer’s evening. Escalate your summer shindig by installing a fire pit.

    Add Delightful Décor

    A backyard without décor is a missed opportunity. Your backyard should be an extension of the style and refinement that you use to decorate your home indoors. Add colorful dining sets, rustic furniture, or DIY accents to personalize your outdoor space.

     

    Games and Entertainment

    Keep the fun going for guests of all ages with backyard games and activities. Corn hole, Bocce, Twister, Jenga, or simply a deck of cards can transform a boring event into an extraordinary party that brings people together.

    Pest Control 

    No one wants to stay at a party when they’re constantly swatting away pests and insects. Get your backyard under control by checking your local home goods store for insect repellant solutions or contact a local service. You and your guests will be glad you did.

     

    Need help preparing your lawn for your summer soirees? We’re happy to assist. At Ehlinger Lawn Service, we’ve cared for the lawns of residential and commercial properties for over 20 years. We’re a family owned and operated company that knows the value of quality time spent with loved ones in the backyard. Let us help make your next get together great!


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    Is Your Deck Ready For Spring?

    You already know how important it is that you keep your lawn looking great, but what about the other aspects of your exterior landscaping? Decks take a lot of upkeep, but it is worth every minute! 

    Having a deck expands the usable living space of your home in the warm months, invites guests into your backyard to enjoy the green grass and fresh air, and provides a gathering space to get you in the yard more often.

    Here are some things to consider when getting your deck ready for spring:


    Safety

    Of course, safety is a top concern when talking about decks. Some decks can be twenty feet in the air! Most are constructed of wood which can rot away over time. Decks are also a common DIY project which can often be done poorly by a previous homeowner. The safety regulations surrounding decks are important to know. 

    When assessing if your deck is ready for spring, check if there are any loose or warping boards. Look for rot and insect damage, especially near the posts that hold the deck up and have wood near the ground. Ensure your deck has proper footing and flashing installed to prevent future safety problems. Lowes.com provides a comprehensive list of areas on your deck to check for safety reasons each spring.

     

    Maintenance

    Besides checking for safety concerns, you should also keep your deck appealing by performing maintenance each spring. Start by cleaning the whole deck! Move the grill, move all the furniture – move everything off and give it a power wash. It is suggested to stain your deck every 3-5 years, so chances are you will need to buy some stain and block off a weekend to get it done. 

    Make sure it is above 50 degrees when you apply stain. Once the deck is fully clean and freshly stained, consider any other upgrades you might want to add this season. Do you need more shade on your deck? Do you need some lighting to enjoy your deck in the early morning or late evening? Do you need a deck heater or more storage? Decking out your deck will only add to the enjoyment of your yard this year!

     

    Get your deck ready for spring by inspecting its safety, maintaining its beauty, and upgrading its functionality. Then get outside and enjoy your lawn and yard more than ever this season! 

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    The Importance of Pruning Your Trees and Shrubs in March

    Why Prune in March?


    Summer is when you enjoy your trees and shrubs – early spring is time to get them ready! That means pruning, which helps plants grow strong and healthy, retain their natural shape, and develop full foliage.

    Here’s how to do it:

    1. Start With the Right Tools  
      Using a sharp, clean pair of pruners will make the job easier, and you’ll be less likely to damage your plants. One-hand pruning shears with curved blades work best. 

    1. Be Smart
      The best plants to prune while it’s still cold outside are woody, non-spring blooming plants. That includes crape myrtles (which bloom on new growth) fruit trees and bushes, and rose bushes and liriope which, when cut, will ensure maximum growth. If the tree or shrub flowers in the spring, you may want to wait until after it blooms before pruning. 

    1. Visualize It 
      What do you want your plant to look like? Know why you’re removing each branch. During winter, most – if not all – of the leaves should have fallen off, so you should easily be able to see each plant’s existing structure. When you prune, you should aim to keep a plant the same size, remove dead, weakened or crossing branches, stimulate growth and remove branches that are otherwise in the way.

    1. Thin the Plant
      This means removing an entire branch, which helps promote the health of the plant. However, be careful. Don’t cut into the area at the base of the branch that you are removing, which can slow down the healing process.

    1. Head Back the Plant 
      This isn’t as extensive. Simply shorten the length of the branch to a bud. Cut at a slight angle above the bud, and never leave a stub.

    1. Stick to the One-Third and One-Fourth Rules
      Don’t remove more than one-fourth of a tree’s crown in a season. Side branches should be one-third smaller than the diameter of the trunk. 

    1. Let the Experts Do the Big Jobs
      For high branches, big trees, or a large volume of trees, it can be best to hand the job off to a trained professional. Ehlinger Lawn Service can help you there. We’re professionals who care about what we do. We’ll take care of your tree and shrub pruning, so you can worry less.

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    Did You Know That Snow Actually Helps Your Lawn?

    It’s been a brutal winter. Minnesota had record-breaking cold temperatures for New Year’s Eve – as low as 36 degrees below zero! 


    There’s still a lot of winter left to weather. So, what does all this cold and snow actually do to your lawn? Extreme cold can cause your lawn to lose moisture, putting it at risk of dying. But snow isn’t all bad. It actually has a number of benefits:


    1. Snow Acts as Insulation

    An inch or two of snow literally shields the grass from the weather. It prevents moisture from evaporating due to extreme cold and dry winds and allows the roots to keep growing.


    2. Snow Helps Fertilize Your Lawn

    Nitrogen is an essential ingredient in the soil. It’s also a main ingredient in fertilizer. However, a wet, warm winter can cause it to leach out of the ground through runoff.

    On the other hand, snow naturally contains a bit of nitrogen. That means when snow collects on your lawn, a small amount of nitrogen does, too. A winter cold enough for snow means there’s less runoff, keeping all of that nitrogen in one place. That way, when the snow melts in the spring, the extra nitrogen feeds your lawn.


    3. Snow Waters Your Lawn

    Heavy snow will melt slowly and release water into the ground. This will gradually water your grass throughout the winter. However, too much snow can also run the risk of snow mold. Risks of snow mold in our neck of the woods is rare, as the grass in Minnesota goes dormant in the winter, but this problem is seen in the Northwest region, where snowfall and harsh colds are less common. 


    4. Snow Can Help You Grow New Grass

    Seeding can be a pain. However, snow can help with the process. Sprinkle seeds over the top of the snow. When the snow melts in the spring, those seeds will be pulled into the ground. You don’t even need to worry about watering! 


    So the next time you look at the snow on your lawn this winter, you can smile knowing the snow is working behind the scenes and improving the quality of your lawn.

    Snow does not, however, help improve your driveway – that’s where Ehlinger Lawn Service comes in. We can help with reliable, cost-effective snow removal for your driveway or business. We’ll be there after every snowfall, 1 inch or more.


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    Cleaning and Preparing Your Yard for Winter

    You can’t ignore your lawn in the fall, even if it is growing slower and you’re distracted by gorgeous Minnesotan autumn foliage. Grass is actually busy under the surface during these last few months before winter dormancy - it’s absorbing the energy and nutrients it needs to grow back green and lush in the springtime. Now is the perfect time to take a few extra steps to ensure your lawn is the envy of the neighborhood.

    Aerate Your Lawn

    After a long summer of yard games and backyard barbecues, your lawn is hardened and compacted. Aeration is critical to the health of your grass, and fall is the perfect time, as you won’t kick up the seeds of noxious weeds. Look for a plug aerator, not a spike aerator, as it will actually remove the plug of soil instead of just punching a hole and potentially further compacting the soil. It's also important to watch out for in-ground sprinkler heads, as aeration equipment can do major damage. If you are concerned about the process, hire a professional to tackle this step for you.

    Once you’ve aerated, consider adding a layer of compost and even applying a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. If you’re unsure of your lawn’s specific wintering needs, consider taking advantage of our free Lawn Analysis service.


    Prepare Your Trees For Winter

    Nothing elevates your landscaping more than your trees. They’re practically members of your family! It’s critical to take care of them so they remain healthy for generations. 


    Preparation for winter can involve:

    • Stem Protection: To avoid trunk damage from animals, consider wrapping hardware cloth around the trunk. There should be at least one inch of space between the tree bark and the hardware cloth. 

    • Snow Protection: Heavy snow can break or injure delicate trees like junipers or birch. Consider wrapping trees or binding them to help protect them from snow and ice damage. 

    • Root Protection: Roots don’t go dormant as quickly as the rest of the tree, and can be injured or killed by frost. Mulch your trees with wood chips or straw to help insulate the roots and raise the ground temperature. 

    Other winter preparation needs vary by the tree, location, and the yard. You can learn more about how to protect your trees for winter at the U of M’s Yard and Garden blog, or request a free quick quote from our experts.


    Winterize Your Sprinkler System

    If water freezes in your irrigation system, it will break your sprinklers. That’s why it’s necessary to prepare your sprinkler system for winter. It’s a delicate operation, but it’s necessary for the longevity of your sprinklers and lawn.

    Both air volume and air pressure are critical to the process. If you don’t use enough air, some water will remain in low spots of the system and could still freeze. If you don’t use the right pressure, you could blow the sprinkler nozzles off or cause other damage to your system - and the right pressure varies with the type of pipe your sprinkler system uses. As such a delicate process that can potentially ruin your sprinkler system, this may be another step best left to the professionals. 


    Other Winter Lawn Preparation Tips

    Fall is the best time for a number of other lawn maintenance to-dos, including filling in the bald spots in your lawn, applying herbicide to control weeds, and raking regularly so you don’t suffocate the lawn. 

    Fall is an important time for your lawn. Ehlinger will evaluate your fall lawn care needs with a free Lawn Care Analysis. In lawn care, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’ll ensure that when spring comes, you’re ready to grill, play, and lounge on a beautiful lawn.


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    Don't Get Caught in The Cold! Schedule Your Snow Removal Service Before Winter


    Ehlinger lawn service has had another successful summer helping hundreds of happy customers get their lawn thriving. Believe it or not, snow is already on our mind. Snow!? Yes, it is entirely possible we see snow this month and it is time to get ready. Ehlinger does not just do grass, we also handle snow removal! Here are some reasons to schedule snow removal service for the upcoming cold season.


    The Old Farmer's Almanac

    This last year, we had a winter with cold temps, but no polar vortex and snowfall and no record-setting blizzards. This year, it is hard to know what to expect, but one resource that boasts an 80% accuracy rate is the Old Farmer's Almanac. According to this age-old predictor of weather patterns, snow will arrive before Halloween this year. It also says snow might interfere with your holiday travel; mid to late December is predicted to be the snowiest period of the season. We can help by handling the headache of what to do when snow falls on your doorstep.


    The Benefits of Snow Service

    Even if these predictions do not come true and we have a very mild winter, there are still a few great reasons to secure snow removal service. Stop checking the weather and worrying, put this aspect of home maintenance in our hands. Our snow removal service will stop by to clear every time it snows 1 inch or more. If you are elderly, lead a busy lifestyle, own a rental or commercial property, or are not around often (if you are a snowbird), our snow removal service will meet your needs. No matter what the special situation, it is worth your time to give us a call and get a quote


    You already know and love Ehlinger lawn service for your turf, try us for snow removal as well! Learn more about our services and pricing here.


  • The Real Cost of Professional Lawn Care

    Many people think the cost of professional lawn care for their home is out of reach. However, it might be surprising when you consider the real cost-benefit analysis. Hiring out your lawn care can make a lot of sense and actually save you money depending on your situation.

     

    Location Dependent 

    If you are the owner of a property far away from where you live such as a cabin, summer home, rental property, or business property, hiring your lawn care to a professional will undoubtedly be cheaper than doing it yourself. The cost of gas and oil to maintain your mower and drive your vehicle to the lawn's location adds up. The headache you can escape by leaving the lawn to the professionals is priceless.

     

    Equipment Costs

    Maintaining equipment for your lawn is expensive. A healthy lawn includes de-thatching, aerating, mowing, and fertilizing. All of these processes require different tools which you need to pay to maintain, sharpening blades and such, as well as store. The initial costs of purchasing a mower can even be intimidating, with most costing upwards of $1000. Also, that mower likely will not be as high-performing as a professional grade riding lawn mower a service would use. 

     

    Time Savings

    For most people, time is a valuable commodity. If you lead a busy lifestyle, there is no way you are giving your lawn the attention or time it needs to be lush and healthy. Consider the cost per hour of time your lawn service spends maintaining your lawn. Now consider the cost per hour you make at your job. If the amount you make per hour at your job is higher, the lawn service is a better value. If you would rather be spending your time elsewhere, hire the professional for your lawn. 

     

    When taking into account time savings, equipment costs, and the location of your lawn, professional lawn care is more cost-effective than you thought. After a cost-benefit analysis, it is clear that the real cost of a lawn care service is a great value.

  • 8 Things Your Lawn Needs This Spring

    As winter fades, many of us get excited about warm sunshine, grill-outs on the patio, swimming, and lawn parties! With the weather warming up, it’s high time to start thinking about your outdoor living space. Ensuring beautiful, lush greenery and a well-kept homestead starts with early preparation. Here are the top 8 activities you need to be doing now:


    1. Rake, Feed & Seed Your Lawn
    Raking away dead grass, twigs, and leaves will help your grass get started on the healthy track. Notice where bare spots have appeared after the harshness of winter cold and start seeding your lawn to fill it in nicely. Don’t forget to fertilize!


    2. Begin Watering & Mowing

    Deep watering is important for greener lawns. Short but frequent periods of watering might seem superficial at times but is actually detrimental to growth. Likewise, avoid mowing your lawn too short as this discourages deep roots and increases the likelihood of burning your grass on hot days.


    3. Prune Perennial Plants and Trees
    Perennial plants and trees show their wear and tear most in early spring. Just after hard frosts have ceased is a perfect time to prune. You’ll want to encourage new growth, maintain shape, and remove dead limbs for great looking shrubbery. 


    4. Lay New Mulch 
    Not only is new mulch good for your greenery but it also gives that fresh spring look to your landscaping. If you’re just starting out, don’t dismay. Laying new mulch isn’t a complicated process and quickly adds a clean feeling to your yard.


    5. Aerate your Lawn
    Help your grass grow stronger roots this season by aerating your lawn. After the compression of all that winter snow and ice, your soil needs to breathe! Check out this great infographic for all you need to know about aeration.


    6. Clean Gutters & Downspouts
    Twigs and leaves that have fallen over autumn and winter get snagged in your gutter system. This process is only aided by the melting of any remaining snow. Free your gutters and downspouts of debris so spring rains can freely flow.


    7. Replace HVAC Air Filters

    Switching from a heat source to a cooling source as it warms up requires a filter check–just like furnace filters in the fall. A clean filter will leave you with quality indoor air this season.


    8. Inspect for Exterior Cracks or Issues

    Make sure to walk around your house, garage, and any outbuildings to visually inspect the structures. Keep an eye on the foundation, windows, and siding for any concerning issues.


    There are several other tasks you could be doing to landscape and groom your outdoor space as well as protect your home from winter build-up. 

    Spring is a very busy time! Many of the tasks on this list are jobs that Ehlinger Lawn Care can take care of with our spring lawn cleanup services? Save some time and hassle by calling the professionals!


  • Spend Some Time on the Greens this Spring

    For lawn enthusiasts in Minnesota, this can be the most challenging time of the year. It’s still bitterly cold and drab outside, but the snow is beginning to melt or has disappeared altogether. In place of bright white snow, we now look out our window to brown, lifeless grass. It can be hard to wait to get started on your spring landscaping!

    Part of landscaping requires creativity, and you don’t need to wait to do that! You can start dreaming about that perfectly manicured lawn, like you’d see at a golf course, immediately. Simply close your eyes, imagine the warm breeze on your cheeks and the smell of freshly mown grass as you stand with the driver in hand, ready to take that first swing of the season.


    The golf ball sails through the pleasantly warm air and lands on neatly kept turf without a weed in sight. Even if you’re not too fond of golf, the backdrop of rolling green hills, neatly trimmed edging, and perfect mowing patterns is beautiful scenery!

    If visualizing the gorgeous grounds of a golf course isn’t enough to get you in the zone, try stimulating your visual sense with the eye candy of these destination golf courses. Browsing photos or starting a Pinterest board is a great way to spark ideas for your upcoming lawn facelift. Or check out this article on achieving a golf course worthy lawn this spring. You’ll have your bare feet on luscious, green grass before you know it!

    The immaculate and vibrant golf courses out there will have you longing to get started with the lawn right in front of you. And since the color green has been studied to show an increase in creativity, you’re bound to have plenty of ideas after spending time on the fairway. 

    Let Ehlinger Lawn Care assist you in turning those ideas into the lawn of your dreams this spring!