Summer Lawn Care Guide for MN

Tips and Tricks for your lawn and landscape this Summer

By Garrett Anderson

As the 4th of July comes and goes, we begin to settle in for the warmer month of MN. Many of us have gotten our first sunburn out of the way, and are well on our way to a solid farmers tan. Our lawns, just like us, have already been hammered by high heat and some drought over the last month. Stay with us while I give you some top pointers to keep your lawn and landscape looking its best.

Summer time Mowing

The single most important thing you can do at this time of year is to use proper mowing techniques. Doing this will help keep your lawn green, help prevent disease and drought stress, and cut down on your watering bill

I can’t stress enough how important it is to raise your mowing height throughout the summer. If there was one thing you should take away from this blog, it would be to MOW AT 3.5-4″! As the summer heats up, your lawn begins to take a beating from the heat. Mowing the lawn short creates all sorts of problems at this time of year. Cutting low allows much more sunlight to hit the soil which promotes crabgrass and other weeds to germinate. In additional, your soil will dry out MUCH faster from this extra sunlight, causing you to spend more money on watering. Lastly, mowing tall helps immensely with diseases and stresses that all MN lawns face in summer.

Mow Often

Another thing that is sure to burn up your lawn is mowing too much off at one time. During summer, mowing once a week is about right for a lawn that is green, sometimes that can even be pushed to once every 10 days. If you allow your lawn to get a foot tall then cut it down to 3″, you will essentially burn your lawn out, often times for the remainder of summer.

Remember the 1/3 rule: only mow 1/3 of the grass blade off at any given time.

Mow when it needs it

This goes with the above statement; only mow the lawn when it needs it. If it only grew 1/2″ last week, your probably safe to hold off another week. There’s no reason to mow if it doesn’t need it, that will just create more stress then needed. Another important note is to no mow when it is over 85deg. and to stay off any areas that are heat/drought stressed.

Sharpen your Mower Blade

Now that spring has come and gone, make sure you are mowing with a sharp mower blade. We usually recommend sharpening it 2-3 times a year for the average house. Once before spring, once around the 4th of July, and possible once toward the end of summer. Mowing with a dull Mower blade can stress out your lawn and create disease issues as it essentially “rips” the grass blade instead of cutting it clean. 

Best Watering Practices

This is important, so important that I created a special blog that goes in great depth about how to water. Check out that blog by clicking HERE..

Check for Grubs
If you notice big areas that did not come back and are either completely dirt, or pretty close to it, you may have some grub issues. Once it has warmed up, go to the outer most area, were the lawn meets the dirt, and start pulling back sod. If you have grubs, you’ll find these little buggers feeding on your grasses roots, about 1-2″ down.
Take a stop at our Grub Blog HERE or our page dedicated to Grub Control.

Take care of Mosquitoes!

The 4th of July marks the beginning of summer for many lawn care companies like us. It also is our unofficial start to the Mosquito Season. Mosquitoes are not only annoying, they can be vectors to many diseases such as Encephalitis and Zika.

Protect yourself

One of my favorite things to do is go backpacking and canoeing in the BWCA. Mosquitoes are bad up there, REALLY bad. I’ve generally used 2 different sprays to protect myself, Jungle Juice (which is 99% deet) and Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Spray. While the Jungle Juice works, I’ve honestly found the organic Eucalyptus Spray works better, it also has a nice smell to it.

Protect your clothing

It should go without saying that long sleeves and pants are a good option if your getting eating alive. In MN, this is really only a good option at night due to the heat. Want to know a great little secret?

A little camping tip I’ve picked up is to soak my clothes in a product called Permethrin prior to going out. I actually do this to my hammock as well. It works really really well. Most outdoor stores, like REI, will carry a specific product that is labeled for this exact use. Make sure you follow the label instructions for it, and don’t worry too much about using a chemical on your clothing. Permethrin has been around for ever and if you have dogs, you may find your “Flea and Tick control” that you use on him has Permethrin in it.

Protect your landscape

The best thing you can do around your house it to get rid of any breeding and harborage areas that Mosquitoes like. When it comes to breeding, Mosquitoes only need 1″ of standing water to hatch. If they get that 1″ of standing water, coupled with some high temperatures, a new brood of Mosquitoes can hatch in a matter of days. That’s why it is important to practice the tip and toss method to anything that can hold water.

Harborage areas

Mosquitoes generally like to rest in cool/damp areas around the landscape. This could be underneath a deck, in tall grasses, the undersides of leaves, stick and wood piles, clogged gutters, or even tree holes. If possible, get rid of these areas by any means possible. By taking care of their breeding grounds and harborage areas, it will drastically reduce their numbers.

Have the Pros take care of them

If all else fails, or you just want some help, we can help. Our Mosquito Program creates a barrier around your property, protecting you and your loved ones. We visit 6 times throughout the year, every 3-4 weeks. We also give you specific tips for your property, as well as treat no only the adults, but the larvae as well. Give us a call today to find out more.

Prune Trees and Shrubs

While Summer is not the best time to trim certain things, many plants can be taken care of at this time. The general rule of thumb is to trim flowering shrubs right after they get done flowering. This promotes growth in the right ways without harming next years flowers. Usually, it is best to not remove more than 1/3 of the plant. For hedges and non flowering shrubs, I usually like to wait until after the spring flush of growth to do any trimming.

Trim Trees

For many trees, pruning right now is just fine. Any low hanging limbs should be taken off, as well as diseased and dead branches. Certain trees, such as maples and Oaks, have certain time periods when you should not touch them so it is important to always contact a tree professional before hand.

 

Watch for Moles and Grubs

Turf damage

Grubs

If you have had Grub issues this spring or in the past, it is VERY important to get a grub application down ASAP. Grubs are BEST controlled before they become a problem. By using a product that has the active ingredient Chlorantraniliprole in the late spring/ early summer, you are effectively preventing new infestations from ever forming. This is the best way to handle grubs if you are concerned! We like to get all of our grub applications done by the 4th of July, before the adult beetles lay their eggs in the soil. Later in the season, products that have a quick effect, like Arena or Dylox, are the best options. However, they are fast acting and have very little residual.

Check for Grubs

If you notice big areas that did not come back and are either completely dirt, or pretty close to it, you may have some grub issues. Once it has warmed up, go to the outer most area, were the lawn meets the dirt, and start pulling back sod. If you have grubs, you’ll find these little buggers feeding on your grasses roots, about 1-2″ down.

Take a stop at our Grub Blog HERE or our page dedicated to Grub Control.

Moles

A long standing myth is that if you have Moles, you have grubs. This can sometimes be true, but Moles feed on MANY things other than grubs. While we do not offer any type of Mole control, I’ve personally found traps to work the best. Pellets can also work, but there are many circumstances where you may not want to use poison pellets on your land, specifically if you have small pets.  Grubs

 

Right plant, Right place

Summertime is generally the time when most of your landscaping gets done. Planting in the summer is OK as long as it is getting enough water. Before you go to Gertens on a planting spree, take note of the areas you are planting. Are they sunny? Shady? Wet? Dry? Underneath a tree?

As a Landscape Designer, the main thing I always look for are those things. A successful planting starts with using the correct plants. If you plant a shady plant in full sun, it WILL burn out eventually. Same goes for a sunny plant. If this gets planted in a shady location, it will slowly decline and eventually die-out.

If there is one thing to do before choosing plants, it’s to see how much sun that area receives throughout the day. 

Keep up with the landscape weeds

After the spring flush of growth, it’s easy to let the landscape get out of hand. I would say 50% of your weeds in the landscape come in spring, with the rest throughout the growing season.

Now is the time to keep up with these as once they mature, they will start to seed out and cause even more issues. For most homes, simply spending 10-15 minutes a day, or even week depending, is enough to keep things looking good. When I do it, I tend to go area by area. One day I may do 1/2 of the front, the next maybe the other 1/2.

For areas that are wide open, with minimal plantings, using a herbicide and small pump sprayer can be your best friend. Just make to read the label on whichever product you use carefully and STAY AWAY from good plant materials. Generally, a non-selective herbicide is going to be what you want to get.

Don’t forget the Pre-Emergent either. Using a product like “Preen” right now is a good choice. This should be your 2nd application of it, with the first being in the early spring. Now that the spring rains are slowing down, this application should get you through the season.