Ask Adam! Spring Cleaning…

Now’s the time of year to start prepping your outdoor landscape for Spring.  Simple tasks like cutting back dead growth on plants, cutting down ornamental grasses, clearing the lawn of leaves and gumballs and applying a layer of mulch will make your property look cleaner and help with curb appeal.

As a green industry professional, I highly recommend regularly performing a Spring cleanup of your property.  Using a sharp pair of pruners or hedge trimmers, cut back all unwanted growth on ornamental trees, shrubs, and grasses.  Also, dead or brown debris from perennials like daylilies, can simply be pulled out of the ground and disposed of.  You will start noticing green growth coming up from the plant base, which is an indication that Spring is almost here!

Raking the lawn of leaves, gumballs, sticks and other debris is also a simple and beneficial way to prep your lawn for the Spring, as well as protecting the cutting blades on your lawn mower.  If leaves are left on the lawn and they are too thick, it could prevent sunlight, air and moisture to get to the turf, resulting in turf damage.

Lastly, apply a 2” layer of bark mulch on all existing mulch beds.  If you have been doing this already, year after year, and there is a significant built up, simply cultivate what you have.  This will enhance moisture intake into the beds and give the existing mulch a new look.  Don’t forget to apply a bed pre-emergent herbicide, such as Preen, BEFORE mulching, to help suppress any new weeds from emerging.

Lastly, check all your roof gutters to be sure they are clean and clear of any leaves or other debris.  Spring rains will be here soon!  Any clogged gutters can cause problems of your downspouts and could then overflow, causing water to collect at the base of your home foundation.

Ask Adam! Winter Seeding Your Lawn!

A common misconception is that grass seed needs to be planted in the Spring or Fall. While this is probably the most ideal time, Winter seeding your lawn is also a great way to help thicken it up for the next growing season.
In late December, January or early February, go out and remove any fallen leaves and twigs from the areas to be reseeded. Apply grass seed to your lawn or any bare spots at a rate of 4-5lbs per 1000 sq. ft. and go back inside and watch TV! Freezing and thawing occurs naturally in our region, causing the seed to have a natural seed bed in the ground. Fescue grass seed will germinate in Spring when the soil warms to the proper germination temperature, hence growing new seedlings and ultimately thickening up your lawn!
What about the freezing temperatures and snow? Well, believe it or not, a snow cover will actually insulate the seed in the ground and also water it into the ground when it melts!

Ask Adam! Garden Gold!

Whatever method of leaf clean-up you choose, don’t push the leaves to the curb for pick-up. Think of fall leaves as garden gold. Leaf mold, or rotting leaves, is high in nutrients and adds organic matter to your soil. You can create leaf mold very easily by simply piling all your leaves and letting them sit for a year or so. The bottom of the pile will begin decomposing first and can be used as a soil amendment or mulch.
Shredded leaves can also be used as mulch. The leaves must be dry to shred, but moisten them immediately after mulching or the wind will carry them all back onto your lawn. Do not use un-shredded leave as they will mat together and form a dense layer that won’t allow water to pass through. This in return will not allow Mother Nature to irrigate your lawn or garden where the leaves are located and promote water runoff.
Both shredded and un-shredded leaves can be used as the ‘brown’ component in your active compost pile. As I mentioned above, dry leaves piled alone will eventually decompose into leaf mold which is a great type of compost. But combining dry leaves with green garden waste will result in an actively decomposing pile and will speed the process of the breakdown.
Some people pay big bucks for this type of compost but with a little bit of effort, you too can create your own lawn or garden compost.

Ask Adam! Mums the word!

Chrysanthemums, also known as mums for short, are usually considered herbaceous perennials. However, if you wish to plant Chrysanthemum plants in your area as perennials, select a “hardy mum” not a “florist mum”!

Chrysanthemums come in a wide variety of colors, including white, off-white, yellow, gold, bronze, red, burgundy, pink, lavender and purple. Mum plants can grow to be 2-3 feet high, depending on the variety and growing conditions.

Plant chrysanthemum flowers in full sun and well-drained soil, enriched by compost and fertilizer. Don’t overcrowd chrysanthemums: good air circulation reduces the chance of disease.

As mentioned earlier, there are “hardy mums” and “florist mums.” Hardy mums put out stolons. Florist mums put out few or no stolons and are less likely to over-winter in cold regions, especially in the northern U.S.

Pinching chrysanthemums yields compact, bushy plants with more blooms. “Pinching” simply means removing the tips of new growth, thereby stimulating the chrysanthemums to send out side-shoots. Begin in the spring when the new growth has reached 4-6″ in length. Thereafter, every 2-4 weeks, pinch the center out of any more growth when it reaches 6″. Stop pinching chrysanthemums around the beginning of summer, or else bud formation will not occur soon enough to ensure flowering for your vibrant Fall display.

Ask Adam! Allow your lawn to breathe!

Aeration is beneficial and should be performed annually. 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. Core aeration can help make your lawn healthier and reduce its maintenance requirements through the following means:
Improved air exchange between the soil and atmosphere.

Improved fertilizer uptake and use.
Reduced water runoff and puddling.
Stronger turfgrass roots.
Reduced soil compaction.
Enhanced heat and drought stress tolerance.

Enhanced thatch breakdown.
Immediately after aeration, simply broadcast a good quality grass seed at the rate of 3-5lbs/1000 sq. ft. of turf over your lawn. This will help thicken up any thinned out or dead spots as well as fill in any bare areas. Having a good, thick stand of turf is always the best way to eliminate weeds in your lawn.

Ask Adam! Back to Reality…

As a green industry professional, I often laugh at the TV commercials and cable TV shows that are broadcasted to the public. The misinformation that is construed to the public is mostly false when it comes to showing pictures of lawns that are 100% weed free and perfectly healthy. Having a thick lawn in the first place is the best way to control weeds such as dandelions, clover, and henbit but, proper irrigation, fertilization, and ideal growing conditions are a necessity!
Have you ever wondered why from one year to another your lawn may look better or worse? If you relay on Mother Nature to water your lawn, this can be a big problem in the Summer, especially with the drought that we have had in our area the last two Summers. Air temperatures warm the soil and make the lawn and any weeds thrive. A neighbor mowing his lawn and blowing his lawn clippings into yours may allow for dandelions to germinate. Birds dropping seeds, while flying overhead, can germinate weed seeds in your lawn as well.
As a green industry professional, another issue that I see is simply cutting your lawn too short. This will encourage weed growth. Lastly, ever wonder why dead spots next to sidewalks and roads are usually dead in the Summer? The Summer heat warms up the asphalt and concrete and literally burns out the grass. While having high expectations is good, remember to think back to reality!

Ask Adam! Spring Cleaning!

Now’s the time of year to start prepping your outdoor landscape for Spring. Simple tasks like cutting back dead growth on plants, cutting down ornamental grasses, clearing the lawn of leaves and gumballs and applying a layer of mulch will make your property look cleaner and help with curb appeal.
As a green industry professional, I highly recommend regularly performing a Spring cleanup of your property. Using a sharp pair of pruners or hedge trimmers cut back all unwanted growth on ornamental trees, shrubs, and grasses. Also, dead or brown debris from perennials like daylilies can simply be pulled out. You will start seeing green growth coming up from the plant base, which is an indication that Spring is almost here!
Raking the lawn of leaves, gumballs, sticks and other debris is also a simple and beneficial way to prep your lawn for the Spring, as well as protecting the blades on your lawn mower. If leaves are left on the lawn and they are too thick, it could prevent sunlight, air and moisture to get to the turf, resulting in turf damage.
Lastly, apply a 2” layer of bark mulch on all existing mulch beds. If you have been doing this already, year after year, and there is a significant built up, simply cultivate what you have. This will enhance moisture intake into the beds and give the existing mulch a new look. Don’t forget to apply a bed pre-emergent herbicide BEFORE mulching, to help suppress any new weeds from emerging.

Ask Adam! Apply Crabgrass Preventer Early!!!

Crabgrass is a common weed that infests home lawns in the Midwest. Crabgrass is a summer annual weed that germinates when soil temperatures reach and stay at 55 degrees F for 7-10 consecutive days. It begins flowering and setting seed in July and dyes with the first frost of fall.

Crabgrass has tremendous survival reproductive capabilities. Because of this, it is unrealistic to expect a 100% crabgrass free lawn. You cannot eradicate crabgrass fully unless you either chemically control the weed and/or mechanically pull the weed by hand. Also, by mowing your lawn at the proper height, keeping a dense stand of turf and watering properly will all help with keeping crabgrass out.

Pre-emergence herbicides prevent emergence of crabgrass plants. These products must be applied prior to crabgrass emergence which could occur as early as March 1, pending mother nature’s weather pattern.

Common chemicals used to help control this pesky weed are Benefin, Oxadiazon, Benefin/Trifluralin, Pendimethalin, Dithiopyr, Prodiamine, or Corn Gluten. Almost all of the crabgrass preventer products on the store shelves contain one of these chemicals. Also applying split application of the chemical with 4-8 weeks in between will help the lasting power of the chemical and help keep the crabgrass out. Always read the manufactures specifications and follow the directions on your products bags.

Ever wonder why crabgrass and other weeds seem to emerge more along sidewalks, driveways and house foundations? Well, there are two reasons. One reason is because hard surfaces such as the above described hold in heat from the sun and break down the pre-emergent barrier faster along these areas. Secondly, most people tend to trim or weed-eat very short in these areas, thus offering an area for crabgrass and other weeds to easily emerge and not be choked out by your thicker lawn.

Happy Holidays!

The team at Linnemann Lawn Care & Landscaping, Inc. would like to say thank you for this years business. We had originally thought that we were about to have one of the worst years in history but it turned up being one of the best! Congrats to our team members for working hard and making it through this record breaking Summer. Happy Holidays! Adam Linnemann – President

Stressed plants may look like early Fall!

To state the obvious, many of our landscape trees and shrubs really show the signs of excessive heat and extreme drought. Some trees are losing leaves and may be turning color before they drop. Others have turned completely brown while still remaining attached.
Early fall color and/or defoliation is common when plants are under stress and this season has been quite challenging for many trees, shrubs and turf. The intense heat made it difficult for plants to keep up with water and cooling requirements, even in areas where moisture was adequate. Combine extreme heat with drought, and it is a wonder any plants survive.
We can also expect that next year’s foliage and early spring flowers will be impacted by the stressful summer. The buds for next year’s foliage and early spring flower buds have already been formed with likely inadequate carbohydrate reserves.
Deciduous plants (those that lose their leaves each winter) may look brown or defoliated, but may still have viable buds that will leaf out next spring. Cut through a few buds to look for green tissue inside. If buds are brown and crispy, that branch is not likely to survive.
All evergreens shed needles at some time, but healthy plants do not shed all needles at once as deciduous plants do. White pine and arborvitae dramatically drop older needles in late summer or early fall, which might happen earlier this year. However if evergreens are completely brown now, they are not going to leaf out again.