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Everything listed under: Fall

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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: 

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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.


  • How To Avoid Lawn Damage from Kids, Pets and Parties


    Summertime is great for many reasons. You get to have family get-togethers, invite the neighbors over for grilling, your kids have the run of the yard to enjoy the nice weather, and your dog can burn off all his or her energy playing all day! 

    As fun as these activities are and as pleased we Minnesotans are to enjoy them, they can wreak havoc on your yard. You don’t have to skip the warm-weather fun, however; just take some precautions to minimize the damage to your lawn.

    • Mulch the area under swing sets to avoid bare spots.

    • When not in use, store corn hole boards, slip n’ slides, small pools and other yard games to prevent the grass underneath from turning brown.

    • Make sure your children know where it’s okay to dig and play and where it is not. It might be a good idea to add a sandbox to your yard if your kids are fans of digging and getting dirty.

    • If you have a flower bed or garden that your pets like to run through, add a decorative fence or edging to deter them from tearing it up. Bushes and shrubs work well, too.

    • Watch where your dog urinates. Rinse the space with a bucket of water or a hose. Male and female dogs mark their spaces differently; females tend to stick to one spot, while males like to mark the entire space. Learn more about dog spots in this article from heritagelawnskc.com.

    • Every so often, move your lawn furniture around to prevent killing the grass.

    • Prep your lawn for a party by planning your watering schedule, mowing schedule, and cleaning any debris a few days before the party. Learn more at Thegreenstufflawn.com

    These simple tips will ensure your lawn is healthy and happy all throughout summer and fall. As for lawn maintenance, leave the rest to us! For a FREE quote, visit our website. 


  • Low Maintenance Fall Projects from Ehlinger Lawn Service

     

    As summer winds down and the weather begins to get brisk and cool, not too many people will want to spend weekends doing labor-intensive yard work when they could be out and about at the football game or pumpkin patch. If this feeling sounds familiar to you, check out some of our simple and low maintenance lawn ideas below:


    Prepare Your Lawn

    Prevent your yard from dying this winter by taking preventative steps now. Add a winter fertilizer and grass seed to promote healthy growth and protect your yard from frigid temps this winter. Mow and rake regularly to keep your yard in tip-top shape. For more tips, check out our Fall lawn care tips blogs - part one and part two


    Add Stepping Stones

    To add a beautiful pop of personality to your garden or walkway, place stepping stones to personalize your yard. Make creative shapes like leaves or grab your kids for a fun weekend painting session. Get creative with stones, gravel, moss, and more natural elements.


    Decorate Your Front Porch

    Whether you want to repaint for some extra shine or add a simple but elegant wreath of dried flowers and pinecones, small changes to your front porch can make a big impact. Plan a small project that will add some curbside appeal to your home. Decorate pumpkins, gather corn stalks or create a fun Fall scarecrow. For weekend projects, check out this article from midwestliving.com. While you are decorating for the fall season, make sure to check your porch lights and screen doors for damage. Fix them now to prevent problems and future maintenance in the winter. 


    Get a New Fire Pit

    For all those late night post-game bonfires, create a fire pit that you can be proud of. This project can be relatively inexpensive, and it can create a wonderful atmosphere for cozy Fall bonfires. You can purchase one from a home improvement store, or build your own with surfacing blocks, large rocks, and a variety of other methods. Head over to Pinterest to find a ton of DIY fire pit ideas!


    Start Composting 

    With your old compost pile most likely depleted from the summer’s work, start a new compost pile to use for next season’s plants. If you don’t have a composting bin, you can use a bare-ground compost pile. Lay plastic sheeting on the ground to prevent tree roots, weeds, and other undesirable plants from disrupting it. On top of the plastic, lay a few inches of straw, corn stalks, or dry leaves. Continue adding compost to the pile throughout the year. You can add kitchen waste, like veggie peels, eggshells, and table scraps to the pile, but did you know that grass clippings, wood ash, and dryer lint make great additions as well? Check out eartheasy.com to find more compost-friendly materials. 


    Weatherproof your home

    To protect your house from the elements, you can start inspecting your home. Check the weatherstripping around your windows and doors, HVAC system, attic, and basement to make sure your home stays warm and safe throughout the winter. Don’t forget to change air filters and flip your fans to spin in the opposite direction to promote healthy airflow during the cooler months.

     

    Working on smaller, low maintenance fall projects can make a big impact on your home without draining you of energy or taking up too much of your weekend. For more resources on lawn care, or to get a jumpstart on your winter maintenance, visit Ehlinger Lawn Service


  • Fall Lawn Care Tips: Part 2

    Fall can be the most crucial time of the year to care for your lawn. It is important to provide your lawn with the nutrients to last the cold winter months ahead. Now is the perfect time to follow these 4 lawn care tips to assure that when spring comes around you will have a lawn that will be the envy of all your neighbors. 

     

    Fertilizing your Lawn
    As fall rolls in and winter approaches, it is a smart idea to think about laying some fertilizer on your lawn. When the weather begins to get colder, we notice that grass begins to grow slower; However, the roots are continually growing. It is important to make sure you fertilize your lawn to give the roots the nutrients they need to last over the winter months and grow back healthier in the spring.

    Seeding and Sodding your lawn
    Although it’s not until spring comes when people realize they need to seed or sod their lawn, fall is actually the best time to do it. Seeding and sodding have shown to be the most successful when done anywhere from late-August to mid-September. During this time, the weather is not too hot, nor too cold, making the perfect growing weather. Once you have seeded or sodded your lawn, the fertilizer will take over to provide the new grass with nutrients to grow back thick and full in the spring.

    Broadleaf Weed Control
    Fall is a good time to evaluate your yard for broadleaf weeds like dandelions, plantain, and creeping charlie. Just like the grass roots are storing up nutrients for the winter months, so are weeds. The best solution for getting rid of weeds is to do a spot treatment with herbicide. The weeds will absorb the herbicide, and when spring returns they will be gone. Be careful when you choose to add herbicide; most need time to do their work before the weather gets too cold.

    Recycling your Leaves
    It is really important to remember to clean up your leaves in the fall to prevent the leaves from collecting the morning dew and matting down your lawn. Some smart recycling tips for your leaves include using them as mulch, adding them to a compost pile, or shredding them and letting them decompose back into the grass.

    Be sure to read our first blog about fall lawn care to learn more. For all your fall lawn care needs, Ehlinger Lawn Care Services is here to help. We are honored to have the opportunity to provide you with exceptional lawn care.