The Lawn Care Guide
The Minneapolis lawn care team would like to go through a couple things that often come up, like weeds. Things like proper mowing of your lawn, how often and how much should I water my lawn. What should I be doing during spring & fall, and how to get rid of all the weeds in the lawn.
We forget that people don’t know the ins and outs of turf care like we do; but not anymore! So, in this article, you’ll get access to some great information for the layman and even better, it’s all free!
If you have any questions, be sure to leave a comment at the bottom, or get in touch with us directly on 612-405-2660 or click here. We offer free quotes and are more than happy to chat about your lawn maintenance problems.
When to schedule lawn maintenance in Minneapolis?
If you live in Minneapolis, here is a quick and easy rundown of important lawn care and maintenance dates, assuming you’ve got cool season turfgrass:
Late April to early May
Activities include: Crabgrass weed control.
August to September
Activities include: mowing, watering, and sodding.
What are the benefits of a well-maintained lawn in Minneapolis
Apart from the visual appeal of a well-maintained lawn, there are economic and environmental benefits too, which are as follows:
ECONOMICAL BENEFITS OF A WELL-MAINTAINED LAWN
House values Does a nice lawn help when trying to sell a house?
Well-maintained lawns and landscaping help increase the value of personal or rental home and properties in the neighboring area.
Whether you’re an individual homeowner, a head of a homeowner’s association, town home complex owner or something else, this is an important factor to consider in the value of a property or complex.
The added value of a well-maintained lawn and landscaping can often far surpass the actual cost of the services needed to maintain these lawns and landscapes, making the use of a professional lawn maintenance business a simple decision.
Do nice Lawns Lower Vacancy Rates?
Well-maintained lawns and landscaping help lower vacancy rates, because the area becomes more desirable and you often have an increase in the demand of tenants per property available.
For large developments, such as commercial complexes, condo or townhouse associations, or other large property developments, this can be a large factor in both the reduction of vacant properties and the lease you can charge for them.
What ARE THE ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS OF A WELL MAINTAINED LAWN
1.) Improves water quality and prevents erosion
Having a lawn is one of the most effective ways to prevent:
- Frozen ground
- Saturated soil
- Compacted soil
- Erosion on steep slopes
The deep and dense network of roots found in the most desirable Minneapolis cold season grasses reach deep into the earth and help remove pollutants from the water as it moves through the soil, which improves your water quality.
Runoff water also moves much slower through turf-grass, which means any sediment that’s carried in the water can’t go as far or in as large an amount. For grass on a steep slope, this can be the difference between a green, healthy turf or a slippery pile of mud on a hill.
2.) Your lawn improves the soil consistency
As your grass sheds during its normal cycle of growth, it adds different organic materials back into the soil over an extended time. This creates a healthier, greener, and thicker turf grass by improving the structure of your soil.
It also helps improve water filtration and the root depth, giving your grass more access to nutrient rich soils and improving microbial activity throughout.
Your lawn helps cool the air
Air temperatures can drop by as much as 14°F from many of the different plants in your home garden including lawns, trees, and shrubs. This can help reduce the cost of running your air conditioning system during the hot summer months thanks to the reduced temperatures around your property because of that beautiful green grass. It also offers a cooler outside area to relax in compared with asphalt or concrete.
3.) Your lawn increases your neighborhood air quality
A lush and healthy lawn, plus other plants in your garden improve air quality by trapping dust and other airborne particles. It stops soil particles from blowing around into the air which can irritate your family or pets, which often is an issue during the drier summer months if you haven’t maintained your lawn care routine.
Your lawn also reduces carbon dioxide in the air while producing oxygen, and 25 square feet is estimated to give enough oxygen for one adult for a day.
4.) Your lawn offers a better quality of life and looks great
Landscaping, including lawns, reduce neighborhood noise levels by absorbing and reflecting sounds, in addition to reducing glare and light reflection.
A healthy, well-maintained lawn creates a pleasing view for you and your neighbors and can increase the attractiveness of your other landscaping elements.
Well-maintained lawns and gardens contribute to social connections within a community and can also improve relationships with your neighbors.
Give the Lawn Care Minneapolis team a call on 612-405-2660 or click here if you would like us help you maintain your lawn. We have experience with family homes all the way through to housing complexes & sports grounds.
What grass types are in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, our most common desirable grass types are:
- Fescue grasses
- Perennial Ryegrass
- Kentucky Bluegrass
Lawns in Minneapolis experience the stresses of our harsh winters, so lawns of cool season turfgrasses are ideal.
Growing rapidly in the cool seasons of spring and fall, they tend to become inactive during summer when heat drought can strike.
Lawns of cool season turfgrasses make your maintenance routine easier to keep up as their growth cycle mirrors the temperature changes of each season.
What are the most common undesirable grass types?
- Quack grass
These grasses are considered undesirable because of characteristics like weak plant structures, coarse texture, clumping, and their unsightly light green color scheme.
Grasses like Crab grass leave thin or bare patches in your lawn when they die every fall. These patches will then need renovation, and it can take several years to get under control if you allow them to get well established.
Our local Lawn Care Minneapolis professionals can help you with a knowledge on how to reduce or eliminate undesirable grasses in your lawn, just call on 612-405-2660 or click here.
Treating or killing weeds in Minneapolis
Why do we get weeds in the lawn?
Severe weed problems occur when your lawn is not maintained properly or when your lawn isn’t healthy. This is why it’s so important to properly mow, water, fertilize, and aerate your lawn to a regular schedule throughout the year.
All the information you’ll need for a healthy lawn is here, so make sure you keep reading!
Now, before we go any further, we want to make it known that when we say weeds, we simply mean any plants that aren’t in the right place – a weed in one garden may be desirable in another.
What is the definition of weeds?
Any plants that aren’t in the right place – a weed in one garden may be desirable in another.
Is it OK to have Weeds on my property?
In most situations, weeds on the property are considered as a lack of care by the homeowner to others. Fundamentally, they are just plants that spread aggressively. However, some weed plant do cause soil erosion, improper runoff as well as physical pain for pedestrians, home owners and pets as several weeds give off burrs as a method of seed transport.
Weeds compete for available space, water, and nutrients with your desirable plants, which can result in the thinning of desirable plant cover – this is why we try to remove them!
WHAT ARE COMMON WEED TYPES IN MINNEAPOLIS?
Weedy grasses and broadleaf weeds are the two common weed groups.
What are weedy grasses?
Examples of weedy grasses include:
- Tall Fescue
- Annual Bluegrass
What are Broadleaf Weeds?
Examples of broadleaf weeds include:
- Ground ivy
- Creeping Charlie
What is the difference between an Annual and a Perennial?
Plants and weeds are categorized by how long the lifespan.
If they live for more than two years, they are known as perennial weeds. Biennial weeds live for two years, but are considered a perennial for the purposes of weed control. Annual weeds live for less than one year, and are split into summer and winter annuals.
It’s important to know what weed you’re dealing with so you can effectively remove and control your weeds.
HOW TO PREVENT WEEDS IN YOUR LAWN?
The best way to prevent weeds in your lawn is to keep your lawn healthy! Weeds can be a sign that your turf cover is not well maintained.
Simple changes such as changing the mowing height of your lawn mower, the periods between watering, the amount of fertilizer you use, or aerating your soil can all help promote the growing of your grass rather than the weeds.
The most effective way to prevent weeds in your lawn is the combination of a proper lawn care routine and the use of weed control chemicals like herbicides. Remember, when you’re using herbicides, always read the instructions on the container and follow them!
What Lawn Care Companies Offer Pet Safe Products?
Our expert Lawn Care Minneapolis team uses weed control methods that are pet and kid friendly, helping remove over 250 kinds of weeds from your lawn while also reducing the chances of weeds growing again.
When using herbicides, there are two different kinds.
What is the difference between pre-emergent and post-emergent?
This simply means before or after the weed has germinated, or grown. Different weeds will need pre-emergence or post-emergence to effectively get rid of the specific type of weed.
With both preemergence and postemergence herbicides, they can be either selective or nonselective.
What is the difference between selective and non-selective herbicides?
Selective herbicides only kill selected weeds, so they are not as tricky to use.
Non-selective herbicides kill all plants, whether they’re weeds or your lawn, so you must be careful with these! They’re used when selective herbicides don’t work, and often on perennial grassy weeds.
Most postemergence herbicides are absorbed through the weeds leaves, so liquid sprays often work better than dry herbicides. For those who don’t use the services of a professional such as our team to give you proper advice and help with your green Turf Care in Minneapolis.
It is suggested you would use granular herbicides as they will be easier to apply to your lawn which can make it hard to fully get rid of weeds. Just remember the lawn must be wet for the herbicide to be activated properly – read the instructions, twice!
THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO PREVENT WEEDS IN MINNEAPOLIS?
As we now know, there are two main categories of weeds that most people will deal with: crabgrass and broadleaf weeds.Unfortunately, you need to treat them at different times around the year, and the best course of action is to maintain your lawn care routine every year so weeds don’t get established.
If you’re spraying the lawn yourself, and not using a lawn care professional like our Lawn Care Minneapolis team, don’t spray your lawn when the temperatures are over 85°F because this increases your chances of damaging it.
Aim to spray your herbicides when the temperature is around 60-80°F and when there is no rain forecasted for the next two days.
Also, avoid spraying your lawn on windy days, because you might damage plants around your lawn, which will not make you the #1 neighbor on the block!
Below we’ve put the two main times of the year you’ll need to keep in mind for your weed control schedule.
When do you treat Crabgrass?
The best time for effective weed control is during the pre-emerge phase in late April to mid-May. The use of preemergence herbicides should be used two to three weeks prior to when the seeds germinate, and will help kill these weeds as soon as they germinate in your lawn.
It is acceptable to utilize post-emerge product in mid-May to early July, but will not be as effective as during the pre-emerge phase.
What is the best way to control Broadleaf weeds?
The best time for effective broadleaf weed control is during September to late October during their growth phase. This is when you can directly apply herbicide to the leaves of growing broadleaf plants to kill them and help stop their reappearance next year.
Selective herbicide kills a large range of broadleaf weeds without damaging the grass, which makes this an easy choice for homeowners. Be careful though, as although they don’t damage your grass, they can severely damage trees, shrubs, and flowers in your garden.
It’s fine to use your herbicides in May to late June as well.
Lawn Care Minneapolis uses products that can be used all season long and only uses kid and pet friendly weed control methods. They have over 10 years of experience in the local Minneapolis area. Call us on 612-405-2660 or click here and we’ll help keep your lawn green and weed free.
Fertilizing your lawn in Minneapolis
Your lawns health depends on many factors such as proper watering, weed control, and annual aeration, just to name a few things. Another thing your lawn needs, and is essential for a healthy lawn no matter where you are, is good soil!
Why Should I Fertilize the Lawn?
If your soil isn’t offering the right nutrients for your turfgrass, you’ll need to use fertilizer to add these back into the soil and promote a good growing environment for your lawn.
For a healthy lawn, you’ll need to have the right mix of 18 essential elements – lacking in just one of them can stunt the growth of your lawn. Fortunately, you only really need to worry about 3 of these essential elements because the rest will occur naturally in most soils in the Minneapolis area.
Exceptions occur in soil that is very sandy, acidic, or basic (alkaline).
What is in Fertilizer?
- Phosphorus (use is restricted in Minneapolis – except in certain circumstances or unless a soil test shows you need it)
These are the three elements that you’ll need to know for most soil types.
They are also known as primary macronutrients, simply because you need more of them than usually occurs naturally for the best growth.
When buying a fertilizer, they will have a set of three numbers on their packaging which shows what percentage each nutrient makes up within the fertilizer. For example, ‘26.0.16’ would mean that this fertilizer has 26% nitrogen content, 0% phosphorus, and 16% potassium.
However, before you buy fertilizer from a home store for your lawn, you should always do a soil test. The product you Minneapolis team utilizes has been formulated for Minnesota. As far as soil tests they are inexpensive at around $20 per sample and will tell you exactly what nutrients your soil needs. Check with your local soil testing lab or university for more information.
This is the only way to accurately see what combination of nutrients your soil may be missing.
This is especially important if you think your lawn needs phosphorus, assuming you’re living in Minnesota like us. Concern about excessive phosphorus in lakes and rivers has caused a statewide ban on the use of phosphorus on established lawns. This is because it promotes algae growth, which is undesirable in Minneapolis lakes. But, we go into that in more detail below.
So, enough with the chemistry lesson, let’s see what each primary macronutrient does for your lawn!
WHAT DOES NITROGEN DO FOR YOUR LAWN?
If your lawn is rich green and grows vigorously, you most likely have the right amount of nitrogen in your soil – but here are some hints as to whether you’ve got the right amount:
What happens if I do not have enough Nitrogen in the soil?
Having too little nitrogen in your lawn can cause:
- Slow growth
- Increased chance of disease
- Plants turning yellow
- Turfgrass thinning out
What are some signs that I might have put down too much fertilizer?
Having too much nitrogen in your lawn can cause:
- Shoots and leaves to grow too fast
- Roots not growing properly
- Increased chance of disease
- Poor handling of stressful conditions
- Lawn Discoloration (bleaching)
Naturally, nitrogen is introduced through decomposing organic matter like your lawn clippings. But, the amount of nitrogen that is brought into the soil during the growing season isn’t enough to keep up the growth most homeowners are looking for.
So, we add nitrogen to the soil through fertilizer!
How much nitrogen to add for new lawns?
- ½ pound nitrate per 1,000 square feet is recommended for home and commercial lawns.
- If your lawn is established from seed, rather than sod, make sure you rake your fertilizer into the surface of the soil to a depth of ½ to 1 inch.
- If your lawn is established from sod, rather than seed, contact your sod company for specific instructions.
- 2 weeks after either your seedlings make an appearance or after your sod has been laid, you can apply another ½ pound of nitrate per 1,000 square foot area of your lawn.
How much nitrogen to add for established lawns?
This is on average, and your soil test will show you whether you’re in need of nitrogen for your lawn.
- For high-maintenance grass types – 3 to 4 pounds nitrogen per 1,000 square feet
- For low-maintenance grass types – 1 to 2 pounds nitrogen per 1,000 square feet
WHAT DOES PHOSPHORUS DO FOR YOUR LAWN?
Early root growth and plant life is based on the correct levels of phosphorus occurring in your soil. In Minneapolis, the use of phosphorus fertilizer is banned throughout the state due to the Minnesota Phosphorus Fertilizer Law.
Too much phosphorus in run-off water promotes algae growth in the lakes around Minnesota, which is why this ban now exists.
Always make sure you buy fertilizer with 0% phosphorus content in its mix, unless you have a soil test that says you need it.
Remember, this is easy to check, as all fertilizers will have three numbers on their packaging with full stops in the middle. e.g. ‘26.0.16’. This shows the content make up as a percentage.
The second number is phosphorus, so make sure it always reads ‘0’. The first is nitrogen, and the third is potassium.
Most lawns naturally high in phosphorus will continue to promote vigorous lawn growth for several years without the addition of extra phosphorus through fertilizer.
Having too little phosphorus in your lawn can cause?
- Slow root growth
- Slow early plant development
How much phosphorus to add for new lawns?
When applying phosphorus to new soil, you’ll want to add this to the top 4 to 6 inches which is within the root zone. Adding phosphorus in soil that is being newly seeded or sodded is important because it helps your turfgrass establish itself faster.
Your soil test will provide you with the indication of how much phosphorous you’ll need for your lawn.
- Using the Bray Phosphorus test
- 0-10 ppm – 5 pounds of phosphate per 1,000 square feet
- 11-25 ppm – 2 pounds of phosphate per 1,000 square feet
- 25+ ppm – 1 pound of phosphate per 1,000 square feet
- Using the Olsen Phosphorus test
- 0-7 ppm – 5 pounds of phosphate per 1,000 square feet
- 8-18 ppm – 2 pounds of phosphate per 1,000 square feet
- 18+ ppm – 1 pound of phosphate per 1,000 square feet
How much phosphorus to add for established lawns?
This is on average, and your soil test will show you whether you’re in need of phosphorus for your lawn.
- 0-10 ppm – 1 pound of phosphate per 1,000 square feet
- 11-25 ppm – ½ pound of phosphate per 1,000 square feet
- 25+ ppm doesn’t need any added phosphate
WHAT DOES POTASSIUM DO FOR YOUR LAWN?
Potassium is important because it helps your plant use nitrogen more efficiently, alongside many other processes the plant needs to stay healthy.
Having too little potassium in your lawn can cause?
- Increased chance of disease
- Poor handling of stressful conditions
Potassium doesn’t move much in most soils, so in lawns with high levels of natural potassium, it’s not always necessary to fertilize.
In sandy soils, potassium may move past the root zone over time, so you’ll need to have a professional provide you with an accurate fertilizing routine if you have sandy soil.
How much potassium to add for new lawns?
When applying potassium to new soil, you’ll want to add this to the top 4 to 6 inches. The amount of potassium you add to the soil before planting a new lawn is very important. This is because potassium, much like phosphorus, is quite immobile in many soil types.
Fertilizing to the correct levels prior to establishing your lawn allows these essential nutrients to be found in the root zone, which means your turf will establish itself faster.
Your soil test will provide you with the indication of how much potassium you’ll need for your lawn.
If you have sandy soil, please refer to a specialist to get a more accurate idea of how much potassium you’ll need to fertilize your lawn with.
- 0-50 ppm – 6 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
- 51-100 ppm – 4 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
- 101-150 ppm – 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
- 151+ ppm doesn’t need any added potassium.
How much potassium do I add for established lawns?
Your soil test will provide you with the indication of how much potassium you’ll need for your lawn if already established. Just make sure you know if your turfgrass is low or high-maintenance and you’re ready to apply the right amount of fertilizer.
Also, please remember that you should only ever apply more than 1 pound per 1,000 square feet in a single application.
- 0-50 ppm – for high-maintenance lawns 3-4 pounds per 1,000 square feet; for low-maintenance lawns 2-3 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
- 51-100 ppm – for high-maintenance lawns 2-3 pounds per 1,000 square feet; for low-maintenance lawns 1.5-2 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
- 101-150 ppm – for high-maintenance lawns 1-2 pounds per 1,000 square feet; for low-maintenance lawns .5-1 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
- 151+ ppm doesn’t need any added potassium.
Give Lawn Care Minneapolis a call on 612-405-2660 or click here if you would like us to fertilize your home or commercial lawns. We have over 10 years’ local experience and can manage the fertilization of lawns both big and small. Using golf-course grade fertilizers that are both pet and kid friendly, we can get your lawn looking healthy and green – plus keep it like that!
Dethatching your lawn in Minneapolis
Before you try and dethatch your own lawn, know that many people ask us to fix their lawn after they’ve tried to do it themselves.
So, we recommend aerating your lawn instead and letting the aeration process dethatch it naturally.
But, if you’ve got your mind set, here is everything you need to know if you’re thinking of dethatching your lawn in Minneapolis.
WHAT CAUSES LAWN THATCH?
Thatch is made up of a combination of both living and dead leaves, stems, and roots, all sitting above the soil and is a natural process of grass growing. But, if too much thatch builds up, causing a barrier between grass and the soil, your lawn can become unhealthy.
Here are some issues that can occur with too much thatch:
- Water, fertilizer, and insect or disease controls can’t reach the soil
- Sunlight can’t reach the lower grass blades
- Encourages disease because moisture is held against the grass blades
- Roots grow into thatch instead of nutrient-rich soil, encouraging a shallow-rooted lawn
Rapid thatch build up can occur when you have overfertilized with too much nitrogen, overwatered, consistently mow too high, or have soil with a high, heavy clay content.
This is why it’s important to keep your lawn well maintained throughout the year.
DOES YOUR LAWN NEED DETHATCHING?
If thatch is between ½ an inch to ¾ of an inch, this is normal and fine.
Here’s a quick and easy way to check if your lawn needs dethatching:
- Feel it. Spongy and or springy, it’s got too much thatch.
- Look at it. Can you see the soil under the grass? If not, can you easily push your finger through the thatch layer?
- Measure it. Cut a segment of turf and measure the layer.
We strongly recommend aerating your lawn instead of dethatching it. We’ve seen too many perfectly good lawns ripped up early in the Spring because people were too eager or overzealous.
Aerating your lawn in Minneapolis
Aeration is our preferred way to keep your lawn healthy and green, and is an excellent way to naturally dethatch your lawn.
WHAT IS LAWN AERATION?
Lawn aeration is a process that creates small holes in your lawn. These holes allow air, water, and nutrients to reach the grass roots, encouraging deeper root growth and a stronger, more vigorous lawn.
A deep root system is necessary if you want to have a healthy lawn during the drier summer months, where most lawns go dormant and stop growing because of a shallow root system.
Aerating is also an excellent way to ease soil compaction, which is where there are too many solid particles in an area to give the proper circulation of air, water, and nutrients in the soil that your grass needs to stay healthy.
It’s also the best way to naturally remove excess lawn thatch, which can stop the roots from reaching the nutrient-rich soil below.
Our specialists with Lawn Care Minneapolis aeration crew uses specially designed aeration equipment that is rolled over your lawn to puncture the soil, removing small soil plugs in the process and helping to maintain your lawn’s health.
The thatch and soil plugs pulled up from our aeration equipment ‘disappear’ in just 7-14 days.
These by-products are valuable for your lawn too, as they have beneficial micro-organisms that help break down the rest of that pesky thatch layer.
DO YOU NEED TO AERATE YOUR LAWN?
Your lawn may need aeration if:
- It’s often used. Children and pets running around the yard all compact the soil. Public spaces such as playgrounds or racetracks are all prime candidates for aeration.
- If you live in a newly constructed home. The movement of people and vehicles around a construction site can leave soil heavily compacted.
- Your lawn is dry or feels spongy. This may mean your thatch layer is larger than an inch and needs some natural dethatching.
- Your lawn was sodded. Soil layering may occur if your lawn was established by sod, which leads to compaction and poor root development.
- Drought, disease, or insect damage damaged your lawn.
THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO AERATE YOUR LAWN IN MINNEAPOLIS
While aerating is fine to do in May, the best time to aerate your lawn if you live in Minneapolis is in mid-August to mid-October. This is when the soil is moist and results are the most impressive.
But, like all things, your soil type and lawn condition will dictate whether you aerate once or twice a year.
Lawns with lots of thatch or that are heavily compacted would be prime candidates for two aerations per year and will see some excellent improvement in the quality of your turfgrass.
Give us a call on 612-405-2660 or click here if you would like us to aerate your lawn. It’s an excellent way to increase the health of your lawn, keep your grass green, and dethatch your lawn naturally.
Watering your lawn in Minneapolis
Let’s get some of the lawn watering basics out of the way.
When should I water my Minneapolis Lawn?
The best time to water your lawn for amazingly healthy, green grass is between the hours of 4 and 8 a.m. during May to late October.
This is simply because less water is lost to evaporation in the morning and it doesn’t encourage lawn problems like disease. As a bonus, the water also gets distributed evenly as it’s usually less windy.
Even distribution is important, or you could find that you’re under or over-watering your lawn, which can cause a whole range of annoying problems you don’t want to deal with.
Midday watering is inefficient and wasteful as most of the water evaporates while watering in the evening encourages lawn problems like diseases. So, best to stick to the early morning routines here.
Now onto some of the trickier aspects of watering your lawn…
HOW MUCH WATER TO APPLY TO MY LAWN?
You probably have a family member or neighbor that remembers the ‘rule of thumb’ if they’ve been in Minneapolis for long enough—the ‘rule of thumb’ is 1 – 1.5 inches of water per week throughout the growing season.
This of course depends on whether it’s rained recently or not. Well, it turns out the old ‘rule of thumb’ needs a bit of updating!
Recent research has shown us that in Minneapolis, we can water our lawns less depending on the grass variety you have.
Kentucky Bluegrass, a ‘big drinker’, grows fine on ¾ to 1 inch of water for example, and drought tolerant grass varieties can stay healthy and green on just ½ to ¾ of an inch of water per week.
Soil type and moisture content of the soil will also influence the amount you need to water per week to keep your lawn green and healthy, so don’t water too often if your soil is heavy in clay and if your soil is sandy you’ll need to water it more often.
A space of 2 to 4 days is common between watering, but only if you follow these handy tips below!
You’ll want to water your soil to a depth of 3 to 4 inches.
You can check this easily yourself by using a screwdriver or garden trowel and pushing into the soil.
Little resistance means the soil is wet, and some resistance means you’ll need to soak it for a bit longer.
If you can manage this, you won’t need to water for 2 to 4 days depending on the weather thanks to the reserve moisture levels in the soil.
But what if it hasn’t rained in a while, or you’re following everything and your lawn still doesn’t look as lush and green as you’d like?
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU WATER YOUR LAWN IN MINNEAPOLIS?
Well, it depends on many factors, but having a look at your grass will often tell you if your lawn needs a good watering.
Here are some quick and easy ways to see if your lawn needs a good soak:
- If there is some slight wilting;
- A change in color to greyish or bluish-green shades; or
- When your grass doesn’t rebound when you’ve stepped on it (known as footprinting, to those in the industry).
If you don’t move quickly, your grass will die and turn to a straw color, so if you see any symptoms of drought be sure to water it straight away, regardless of the time of day.
Now, you must remember this next bit. It’s important.
Try to water as infrequently as possible without letting your lawn go into water stress to make grass develop strong, deep root systems that can draw water from a bigger area of soil.
Frequent light watering will encourage shallow root systems which you don’t want and if too much water is applied daily, it can cause disease problems during the summer.
Keeping a healthy lawn throughout the year helps keep your grass living during the more stressful summer months.
Summer is also when most people find their lawns have gone into dormancy—a period of no growth to cope with the extreme stress.
Dormancy is easy to spot—everything is going brown and looks like it’s dying. It’s also avoidable, so make sure you’re aware of what you need to do throughout the year to keep your grass healthy and green.
If all of this is sounding like a bit too much work, or you think you could handle it if you just had someone to tell you exactly how much to water, and when, for your own lawn, well, we’re here to help.
Give the Lawn Care Minneapolis team a call on 612-405-2660 or click here if you would like a local business to help you keep your lawn healthy and green or provide an overall check-up on the health of your turfgrass.
Mowing your lawn in Minneapolis
Mowing is an important part of your grass care routine and is a year-long activity that you shouldn’t put-off.
But first, some quick tips about mowing your lawn before we get into the finer details.
Best Mowing Tips?
- It’s best to mow your lawn when the grass is dry.
- When mowing, alter the direction each time. This encourages straight growth and helps reduce weed infection.
- Mower blades should be sharpened 2 – 3 times per year. Usually at the start of spring and again halfway through the summer.
WHAT HEIGHT SHOULD I MOW MY LAWN TO?
Depending on the type of grass you have in your lawn, you’ll have to set the height of your lawn mower blades differently. We’ve set the heights for common grass types below to make it easier for you.
A good thing to understand is that the length of the grass blade is around the same depth as the roots. So, if you want stronger, healthier grass that doesn’t need as much maintenance you’ll need to increase your mower blade height.
Best Mowing height for cool season grasses?
- Kentucky Bluegrass: 2.5 – 3.5 inches
- Perennial Ryegrass: 2.5 – 3.5 inches
- Tall Fescue: 2.5 – 4 inches
Best Mowing height for warm season grasses?
- Common Bermuda: 2 – 3 inches
- Hybrid Bermuda: 2 – 3 inches
- Augustine : 2 – 4 inches
- Zoysiagrass: 1 – 2.5 inches
- Centipede grass: 1 – 2 inches
If your lawn is significantly higher than the ideal heights listed above, you’ll need to mow your lawn in two-parts.
This is because your grass will be under too much stress if you mow more than 1/3 of the blade in a single cutting.
So, if you’ve just come back from a trip away and the lawn is excessively long, remember to set your mower blade height as high as it can go, coming back for round 2 the next day. This will avoid a brown lawn, which will usually recover over time with some extra water.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU NEED TO CUT YOUR LAWN?
As often as it takes to keep your recommended lawn height – pretty simple!
Generically speaking for most Minnesota lawns between 3" - 4" inches in height.
During the growing season with cool season turfgrass you may need to mow your lawn as much as twice a week. During summer where growth slows significantly you might need to mow your lawn as little as every two weeks.
If you have Southern grasses, the opposite would be normal.
Always make sure you have sharp mower blades which make clean cuts instead of rough ones which take longer to heal. Mowing with dull blades leaves you at risk of a turfgrass disease attack.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR LAWN CLIPPINGS AFTER MOWING YOUR LAWN?
You should leave them on the grass!
It’s called grass cycling and it’s great for the environment. As your clippings decompose they add nutrients back into the soil, helping you keep your grass green and healthy.
However, you should remove the lawn clippings if they are long and could potentially smother your grass as this encourages turfgrass disease.
Seeding or sodding your lawn in Minneapolis
Establishing a new lawn in Minneapolis? The first question you’ll be asking yourself will most likely be…
SHOULD I SEED OR SOD MY NEW LAWN?
Well, like many things in life, it depends on a couple of things. Namely, your budget, your timeframe, and the area you’re looking to lay new lawn.
The biggest distinction between seeding or sodding your new lawn is the time difference between developing mature turf.
Sodding is the quickest choice as you’re transplanting turf that is already mature.
Sodding is also more expensive and labor intensive, often with a smaller choice of available turf to choose from. You can access an area that has been sodded immediately.
The best time of year to seed your lawn is between August and mid-November, but you can sod your lawn as early as May.
Seeding takes much longer, but establishes your turf from an earlier stage.
Seeding is also less expensive, with a wider range of grass varieties to choose from, and gives your lawn with a deeper root system. But, you can’t access an area that has been seeded until it’s fully established.
The best time of year to sod your lawn is between May and October.
Lawn Care Minneapolis has a range of services around seeding, and can help you improve your existing lawn’s health or replace old and worn out lawn with a renovation program. Call on 612-405-2660 or click here to see how we can help!
Lawn Care Guide
How Much Nitrogen Should I Add to My New Lawn?
For typical residential and commercial lawns, you should add about a half-pound of nitrate for every 1,000 square feet. If your lawn came from seed, rake the fertilizer into the surface until it reaches at least 1 inch in depth. If your lawn came from sod, you’ll need to ask the sod company what they recommend. Whether you seeded your lawn, or it came from sod, add another half-pound of nitrate per 1,000 square feet a couple of weeks after you first introduced the nitrate.
How Much Nitrogen Should be Added to My Established Lawn?
It depends on whether your lawn is high maintenance or low maintenance and after a soil test reveals what is needed.
- High Maintenance: 3 or 4 pounds of nitrate per 1,000 square feet
- Low Maintenance: 1 or 2 pounds of nitrate per 1,000 square feet
How Does Phosphorus Work for My Lawn?
How grass roots grow and thrive depends on the amount of phosphorus in the soil. Not enough phosphorus means that your roots will grow slowly, and the development of plants will be slowed as well.
Does the Soil Need Testing to See if Phosphorus is Needed?
Yes. There are two basic types of tests that you can have performed to see if more phosphorus is needed for your lawn.
- 0 to 10 ppm: Five pounds per 1,000 square feet
- 11 to 25 ppm: Two pounds per 1,000 square feet
- More than 25 ppm: One pound per 1,000 square feet
- 0 to 7 ppm: Five pounds per 1,000 square feet
- 8 to 18 ppm: Two pounds per 1,000 square feet
- More than 18 ppm: One pound per 1,000 square feet
There is no such thing as an average lawn, but a soil test will tell you the amount of phosphorus that is needed.
How Does Potassium Affect My Lawn?
Potassium does not work directly, so much as allow the nitrogen to be used more efficiently by the grass and plants that are in your lawn. Not enough potassium means that your lawn may have an increased chance for disease and not be able to handle the stress of extreme temperatures and other environmental conditions.
In addition, potassium tends to stay put in most soils found in the greater Minneapolis area, so under normal conditions you will not have to fertilize with additional potassium. However, if the soil is sandy, then you may need a soil test to determine if more potassium is needed.
If My Lawn is New, How Much Potassium Should I Add?
For those with new lawns, you’ll want to add potassium to the top five inches of the soil. Because the potassium will stay in place, you will want to use the right amount which should last for a very long time. A soil test will determine what you need, but if it is sandy soil, then you’ll want to follow this guide;
- 0 to 50 ppm: Six pounds per 1,000 square feet
- 51 to 100 ppm: Four pounds per 1,000 square feet
- 101 to 150 ppm: Three pounds per 1,000 square feet
- Over 151 ppm: No additional potassium is needed
If My Lawn is Well Established, How Much Potassium Should I Add?
This will be determined by a soil test and the only qualification is whether your turfgrass is low or high maintenance.
- 0 to 50 ppm: High Maintenance – Four pounds per 1,000 square feet
- 0 to 50 ppm: Low Maintenance – Three pounds per 1,000 square feet
- 51 to 100 ppm: High Maintenance – Three pounds per 1,000 square feet
- 51 to 100 ppm: Low Maintenance – Two pounds per 1,000 square feet
- 101 to 150 ppm: High Maintenance – Two pounds per 1,000 square feet
- 101 to 150 ppm: Low Maintenance – One pound per 1,000 square feet
For all lawns that have more than 151 ppm, no additional potassium is needed. Plus, you do not want to add more than a single pound of potassium in any one application. Always wait before adding the next pound.
What Causes My Lawn to Thatch?
This is when leaves, grass clippings, roots, stems, and other materials are building up on top of the soil t the point where it interferes with the health of the lawn. Some of the issues that might cause thatching to take place include the following;
- When sunlight can no longer reach the soil
- When water, fertilizer, or pest and disease products cannot reach the soil
- When trapped moisture creates disease to the blades of grass
- When roots grow shallow and turn into thatch
Essentially, you will want your lawn to be well aerated so that thatch does not have a chance to build up to any great degree.
How Will I Know Whether to Dethatch My Lawn?
Normally, your lawn will have about ½ to ¾ of an inch of thatch which is normal. If it goes over an inch, you might start seeing warning signs. However, there are other ways to know if dethatching is necessary.
- If you cannot see the soil under the grass.
- If you cannot easily push your finger through the thatch
- If the grass feels springy or spongy, then it has too much thatch
You should measure the turf and see if it is over ¾ of an inch. If so, then you should start making plans to take action.
Is It a Good Idea to Dethatch My Lawn?
If you mean that it is a good idea to let a professional company in Minneapolis dethatch your lawn under certain circumstances, then yes if it needs the service. Unless you have experience in dethatching lawns, it is best to aerate instead, so the dethatching process can take place naturally.
How Will Aerating Help My Lawn?
Aerating will create holes in the thatch so that sunlight, water, fertilizer, and any pest or disease control products can get to the soil. It will also encourage the roots to grow deeper which means having a healthier lawn.
In addition, aeration will reduce the compaction of soil so that your lawn will stay healthy and better resist disease. This means that more nutrients reach the soil and your lawn will look better as a result. Besides, aeration is often the best way to dethatch the lawn because it achieves the goals of reducing thatch without damaging the grass or plants.
How Often Will I Have to Aerate My Lawn?
It depends on how your lawn is being used. If you rarely step out on your lawn and the thatch level is within normal limits, then you should not have to aerate that often. However, if your lawn sees heavier usage, you may need to aerate more often. The industry recommendation is 1 time per year.
- If your lawn is a playground for children and pets, the soil will be more compacted which results in more thatching.
- If your home is newly constructed, the area around your home will probably be compacted from the people, vehicles, and machinery used when building your house.
- Too much sod which can cause thatching to occur will need to be aerated.
- Disease, insect damage, and drought all contribute to the buildup of thatch
When is the Best Time of the Year to Aerate My Lawn?
For those living in the greater Minneapolis area, the best time of the year starts in the late summer and runs well into the fall. From about mid-August to mid-October is the best time because the soil is moist and will react well to aeration.
However, you may aerate in the spring if your lawn needs the work. It pays to know your lawn so that you can aerate it at the first sign that the thatch is getting too thick.
When Should I Water My Lawn?
The easy answer is that you should water the lawn when it needs the moistures, but not everyone is going to know when that condition arises. It is better to say that those living in the greater Minneapolis area should water their lawn from May to the 1st of November from 4 pm to 8 pm.
Watering the lawn in the evening means that less moisture is lost due to evaporation. Plus, it is often less windy which means that the water can be evenly distributed which helps ward off disease.
However, in Minneapolis, the use of fertilizers with phosphorus is banned, so do not plan to purchase any under the law because too much of it promotes the growth of algae. You’ll want to check any fertilizer you purchase to ensure that it does not contain any phosphorus.
How to Read the Amount of Ingredients in Fertilizer?
All fertilizer bags will have three numbers representing the percentage of ingredients, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The second number should read “0” because that is the only type that is legally for sale in Minneapolis.
Lawn Care Minneapolis has a range of services around seeding, and can help you improve your existing lawn’s health or replace old and worn out lawn with a renovation program. Call on 612-405-2660 or click here to see how we can help!