Maintaining Your Lawn in a Minnesota Drought

Maintaining a lush lawn can be a chore during these long heatwaves- even more so if there are watering restrictions. Your once beautiful green lawn may now be crunchy and brown. Here are a few tips and tricks for keeping your lawn healthy during this Minnesota drought.

Mowing during a drought: We suggest avoiding mowing during a drought. Your lawn is likely under stress and will have a hard time recovering from mowing. If you must mow be sure to set your deck higher, to around 3 inches. Taller grass will be able to shade its fragile root systems and keep the soil moist.  Avoid mowing areas that have a “dead” look to them. 

Be sure your mower blades are sharp. When a lawn is cut with sharp blades, healing takes place quicker. Dull blades tear the plant rather than cutting it, which leads to more damage and stress to the grass.

Watering your lawn in a heatwave: A lot of Minnesota is under a watering ban so be sure to check your local regulations before getting your sprinkler out. If you’re allowed to water be sure to get started before 8 AM; optional water times are 5:00 AM and 5:00 PM. The cooler temperatures help slow evaporation and minimize extra stress on your grass. Water enough to wet the roots and don’t water again until the grass has dried.

If you are under a watering ban prepare for the next rain by setting up a rainwater collection system. For every inch of rain, you can collect more than 500 gallons of water per 1,000 square feet of the catchment area. There are commercial systems and DIY options- do some research to find which would be the best option for you.

B&B Hoffman Sod Farms grows natural Kentucky Bluegrass sod which is well-known for its ability to maintain its beauty and adapt to changing temperatures and watering practices. Starting out with a strong, low-maintenance lawn like Kentucky Bluegrass will make a big difference when drought or poor conditions strike. To learn more about summer lawn care and the products that B&B Hoffman Sod Farms offers, visit them online at bbhoffmansodev.wpengine.com or call 763-434- 6572.

Summer Lawn Care Tips for Your Minnesota Lawn

Our Minnesota “spring” has been rare with record-setting 90 degree days. And as the 4th of July comes and goes, the heat will continue. Our lawns have been hammered by high heat and drought over the last couple of months and as you drive around the countryside it shows. Check out a few of these pointers to keep your lawn looking its best.

Soaking sessions. Most lawns need 1 to 1.5 inches of water every week. Since the rainfall has been sparse, we suggest watering occurs through irrigation, ensuring water soaks 5-6 inches deep into the soil. Watering for a longer duration, less often, is preferred over daily watering. This routine prepares your grass for potential or continued drought and creates a hardier grass cover.

Timing is everything. The most efficient time to water your lawn is in the early morning hours, prior to 9 a.m. At this time, there is the least amount of sunlight and wind, and the lower temperatures allow for equal water distribution. Watering at night is not recommended as the lawn then sits with no sunlight, often causing moss, different types of weeds, algae, and possibly diseases to grow and spread. Always check with local watering restrictions in your area.

Adjust your clipping. Mow your grass to its specified type height, usually around 2 ½ to 3 inches. Taller grass is a natural weed repellent and allows deeper root growth. Shorter grass drys easily, often turning brown and spreading disease.

Fine-tune your tools. To ensure an efficient irrigation routine, make sure all sprinklers are aimed at grass, not pavement or hard surfaces. Repair hoses, fittings, and nozzles as needed to eliminate leakage and save on water waste.

To learn more about summer lawn care and the products that B&B Hoffman Sod Farms offers, visit us online at bbhoffmansodev.wpengine.com or call 763-434- 6572.

Be Prepared for Leaves

Minnesota offers beautiful fall colors every year but it also means- leaves, leaves everywhere! They can be a hassle, but these tips will help you deal with them this fall.

No one enjoys the back-breaking work of raking. Here is how you can get the job over quickly:

  • Let gravity help you out by raking leaves downhill if possible.
  • Skip raking and move straight to mowing. Chopped leaves can allow for vital nutrients to return to the soil.  
  • Use a leaf blower to create piles to pick up and bag.

Homeowners want to avoid more than 10-20% of their grass to be covered in leaves when the snow falls. Excessive leaf matter going into winter may smother the grass and inhibit growth, as well as promote mold diseases, and encourage turf damage from critters like voles and mice.

Is it beneficial for your lawn to spend time raking and bagging leaves, or should you plan on mowing over everything and mulching the rest? Or simply leave them be?

Raking. Improve your arm strength by raking (or using a leaf blower) to gather a pile, then bag for disposal, or deliver to a compost site. Depending on the size of your lawn and number of trees on site, this may take an hour or a full day. In order to rake efficiently, lawns should be dry and trimmed. Additional bag fees or compost facility charges may deter people from going this route, but the excitement of jumping in a large leaf pile has its benefits too.

Mowing and mulching. Chopping grass and leaves into small pieces (also known as mulching) so they incorporate into your lawn canopy via a lawnmower benefits the soil in a number of ways. Nutrients and organic matter may add nitrogen to the lawn and assist in root growth. Some leaf types have even been shown to reduce weed germination over time. Mulching may require more frequent mowing in the fall, but specialized attachments and mulching mowers can also be purchased to make this job easier.

Leaving it be. If you have no trees and the wind blows away more than 10% of your lawn coverage, you may be off the hook for raking and mowing. Use your extra time wisely before the Minnesota winter hits!

Consult with our experts, purchase sod and find winterizing fertilizer at B&B Hoffman Sod Farms in Elk River by visiting us online or calling 763-434-6572.

Avoid These Common Fall Lawn Care Mistakes

Even though the temperatures are starting to drop, it’s important not to abandon lawn care yet! Help ensure that your lawn is healthy and beautiful this spring by avoiding these common fall lawn care mistakes. 

Leaving Fallen Leaves

Minnesota autumn brings a vibrant display of leaves in hues of red and orange that are beautiful to view. However, once these leaves fall to the ground it can set your lawn up for trouble. You may be tempted to ignore them but too much leaf cover can suffocate your grass and prevent oxygen from reaching its roots. Leaf cover can also trap moisture and prevent oxygen from reaching your lawn, creating a good environment for lawn disease to thrive. Cleaning up fallen leaves or mulching them with your mower will help promote your lawn’s health.

Watering as Usual

As the weather gets cooler and the days grow shorter, your lawn will not need as much supplemental water to survive. Cutting back on how much you water in the fall will help prevent fungal growth and prepare your lawn for winter. However, if you have just installed your sod make sure you are watering adequately. Water your new sod every day for 1 week and long enough so that when you step onto the sod it’s squishy. Then after one week, (in the fall only) you can water every other or every three days; just don’t let it dry out.  Squishy isn’t necessary.  

Forgetting to Fertilize

While many homeowners may think fertilizer should be applied in the spring, fall is an ideal time to refresh your lawn before going dormant in the winter. Fall fertilization will assist in storing food and ensuring strong roots throughout the winter, and greener grass after the spring thaw. Apply fertilizer around the first week in October for the best results. We recommend a blend of 20-10-10, which can be purchased at our shop.

DON’T Avoid Planning Ahead for Spring

If you’ve been holding off until spring to lay sod, there is still time yet this year. Cool temperatures and regular rainfall this time of year encourages our natural sod grass to retain moisture. Consult with our experts, purchase sod, and find winterizing fertilizer at B&B Hoffman Sod Farms in Elk River by visiting us online or calling 763-434-6572.

Can I Install Sod in the Fall? Learn What you Need to Do

Your time outside this summer may have you planning for how you can update your lawn for next year. If your grass is on the list for an upgrade, why not start this fall?! Due to the warm weather, it is often thought that summer is the best time to install sod, but this isn’t true! Sod can be installed at any time throughout the growing season. However, there are a couple of factors to consider when installing sod in the fall. 

Cool fall temperatures.

Fall usually brings cooler temperatures and the occasional rainfall. Not only are these cooler temperatures easier on your new grass, but it is also easier on you or the laborer laying the sod. By laying sod in fall weather, you have less risk of your sod overheating. You still have to water your lawn regularly, but you will need less water as it isn’t evaporating as quickly. You can still be successful when laying sod in the summer, however, summertime is usually busier and if you’re planning on going to the cabin every weekend, it is probably best to wait for the fall to lay sod. 

When is it too late to Install?

It’s never too late to install sod if we can harvest it in our fields. There are some things to keep in mind when it comes to watering your sod. If you are blowing out your irrigation system, you will still need a water source (think garden hose & sprinklers). If it’s JUST before winter, give it a good soaking and if it freezes it will go dormant and take off in the spring. However, if it warms up again you may need to drag out the hose/sprinklers. This usually occurs in the late October/early November timeframe. We do harvest sod up until the ground is frozen or the snow is too deep, but the rule of thumb is to try and have your project done by end of October as our Minnesota November weather is very unpredictable.

Fall is a great time to lay sod. Follow these steps when installing and caring for your sod in the fall, and don’t forget to fertilize your lawn (mid-October) with a 20-10-10. If you have any questions regarding the installation of sod feel free to contact us at 763-434-8231.

How Often to Water New Sod

As the intense heat of summer starts, be certain you’re tending to your new lawn to ensure that it will flourish going forward. Getting sufficient water onto new sod, and keeping it moist throughout the next few weeks is critical. Below is a breakdown of what your watering schedule should look like.

The day of installation.

As you install your new sod, be sure to have the sprinklers going right away. Start your sprinklers once you have an area installed large enough that you won’t get wet as you continue to lay your new sod. In dry or windy conditions, move your sprinklers often so no area goes too long without water.  Be sure to water long enough that when you lift a roll of sod, the water has penetrated through the sod and has saturated the ground underneath…. Bog like.

The next three weeks.

Keep the below-turf soil surface moist with daily (or more) waterings. Your sod is like a wet sponge– it is moist when it’s laid down and if it’s not watered immediately, the sod will shrink which can lead to cracks between each roll. If your sod looks dry or has a bluish look, water immediately! When you water every day it takes less water to keep the sod moist. Plan to water your new sod two to four times each day for the first seven to ten days after it is laid.

Tip one.

Water long enough so that when you step onto the sod it’s squishy, or set a tuna can out by the sprinkler and when it’s filled, move your sprinkler to a new area. If you use a pulsating sprinkler or a sprinkler system, it should take approximately 45 minutes. An oscillating sprinkler will take about one hour.

Tip two.

Water as early in the morning as possible. The morning usually has lower wind speeds and has less loss of water evaporation.

Tip three.

If you have issues with runoff on sloped areas before the soil is adequately moist, turn off the water when runoff begins, wait 30 minutes and restart the watering on the same area.

Tip four.

Make SURE that the areas being watered over-lap. Corners and edges are particularly vulnerable to drying out faster than the center of new sod.

 

Always monitor your lawn for signs of dryness. If you find there are spots your sprinklers aren’t reaching, use a handheld sprayer to spot-water those areas. Your vigilant work will be worth it when you have a lush green lawn to enjoy for years to come. B&B Hoffman Sod is available to answer any questions at 763-434-6572!

Summer Lawn Care Tips

Minnesota summers are short, sweet and the best time to live life outdoors. But, what fun is your yard if the grass is patchy, weedy, and uncomfortable to walk on? The basis for enjoying the outdoors and your yard is a lush lawn. Spending some time maintaining your grass requires a little more than watering and mowing but it will pay off. To enjoy soft green grass all summer long you will need to manage weeds and pests, and make sure your lawn has the nutrients it needs to handle the summer heat. Below are a few tips on how you can help your lawn flourish this summer and next.

Early Summer

  1. Treat for Pests & Weeds: Check with your local lawn care company about applying weed control and spraying for pests. You can also find weed and pest controls at a local hardware store to tackle it on your own.  
  2. Mow: Mow your grass high in the early summer and leave the grass clippings to break down and help feed the grass.
  3. Feed: Feeding in the early summer helps strengthen your lawn so it has a better chance to fight heat and drought conditions. We recommend a blend of fertilizer similar to 5-14-42 in the summer.

Mid Summer

  1. Water: Water deeply to ensure strong root growth. The goal is to water long enough to have the water penetrate the soil between 4-6 inches deep.
  2. Mow: Mow your grass to its specified type height, usually around 2 ½ to 3 inches. Taller grass is a natural weed repellent and allows deeper root growth. Shorter grass dries easily, often turning brown and spreading disease.

Late Summer

  1. Sharpen your Mower Blade: Dull blades can tear grass causing it to lose moisture more readily.
  2. Water in the Morning: Watering between 6 and 10 AM helps lessen the chances of water evaporation due to the summer heat.
  3. Watch for Weeds: If weeds reemerge, continue to spot spray.

If your lawn is looking less than desirable and you’re tired of it, give us a call to chat about installing natural turf grass for an instant transformation. Each piece is grown in uniform thickness and bred to be dark green, soft, and durable to withstand harsh climates. As a locally owned business with years of service, we can help you achieve a green, lush lawn that you can enjoy all summer long! Call us today at 763-434-6572 or email us at sales@bbhoffmansod.com

Fall cleanup: rake, mulch, or do nothing?

A common question this time of year is the best way to complete fall yard cleanup. Is it beneficial for your lawn to spend time raking and bagging leaves, or should you plan on mowing over everything and mulching the rest? Better yet, spend a couple of extra hours at the apple orchard or pumpkin patch–and do nothing at all?

The truth is, it’s up to you and depends on your lawn and landscaping needs. Essentially, homeowners want to avoid more than 10-20% of their grass to be covered in leaves when the snow falls. Excessive leaf matter going into winter may smother the grass and inhibit growth, as well as promote mold diseases, and encourage turf damage from critters like voles and mice. Read on for the three most common fall clean up techniques and the pros and cons of each.

Raking. Improve your arm strength by raking (or using a leaf blower) to gather a pile, then bag for disposal, or deliver to a compost site. Depending on the size of your lawn and number of trees on site, this may take an hour or a full day. In order to rake efficiently, lawns should be dry and trimmed. Additional bag fees or compost facility charges may deter people from going this route, but the excitement of jumping in a large leaf pile has its benefits too.

Mowing and mulching. Chopping grass and leaves into small pieces (also known as mulching) so they incorporate into your lawn canopy via a lawn mower benefits the soil in a number of ways. Nutrients and organic matter may add nitrogen to the lawn and assist in root growth. Some leaf types have even been shown to reduce weed germination over time. Mulching may require more frequent mowing in the fall, but specialized attachments and mulching mowers can also be purchased to make this job easier.

Leaving it be. If you have no trees and the wind blows away more than 10% of your lawn coverage, you may be off the hook for raking and mowing. Use your extra time wisely before the snow sets in!

Planning ahead for spring. Already dreaming of epic outdoor parties for next year? Don’t wait to upgrade your lawn! Apply fertilizer every fall to provide nutrients for grass to create deep roots and stay healthy in a dormant season. If you’ve been holding off until spring to lay sod, there is still time yet this year. Cool temperatures and regular rainfall this time of year encourages our Kentucky Bluegrass turf to retain moisture. Make sure to water regularly until the ground is frozen.

Consult with our experts, purchase sod and find winterizing fertilizer at B&B Hoffman Sod Farms in Elk River by visiting us online or calling 763-434-6572.

 

Improve your lawn with new sod, even in late summer heat!

If you’ve spent most of the summer trying to get grass seed to sprout, only to have a mud pit in your yard, consider trying sod. Available in multiple sizes, sod is easy to install and maintain, offering a lush, beautiful lawn before the leaves begin to fall.

Preparation. To create a thriving lawn, it is important to first prepare the soil. Loosen the top six to eight inches of soil by raking or tilling, adding any amendments your particular soil may need (such as clay, sand, or peat moss). Level the surface with a rake and grade toward walkways or driveways as needed. 

Installation. Sod can be installed anytime, but in August homeowners need to be diligent with watering. If you have the opportunity, lay sod on a cool, overcast day to minimize plant stress. Stagger rolls in a brick-like pattern and place seams together without overlapping. 

Water regularly. Moisten the soil to a depth of 4 inches or until you can lift the sod and see that the water has penetrated through and saturated the ground underneath. Remember to water at least once or twice a day for 8 days. After 8 days, the grass will tell you if it needs water by appearing bluish in color. After 8-10 days gently tug at the sod, if you feel a little resistance, then you know the roots are starting to anchor in the soil and it is safe to mow. 

Mowing and Maintenance. Mowing stimulates root growth; therefore, you want to mow around the 10 day mark. Ensure your mower is on the highest setting to help evenly distribute the moisture it receives and slow the spread of disease. Consider bagging the clippings the first few times to stimulate further root development. Allow your lawn about a month of growth, then feed it with fertilizer to counteract any nutrients that may have been lost due to heavy watering in the beginning of the process.

Turfgrass sod creates a soft, clean, and safe playing surface for children and pets, provides a great environment for  lawn games, and improves family entertaining. Learn more about sod and the products B&B Hoffman Sod Farms offers by visiting us online at bbhoffmansodev.wpengine.com or call 763-434- 6572.

 

Time to spring clean your yard

Spring is the ideal time to get your yard back in shape after a long winter.  As we turn our attention to lawn care, rather than snow removal, it is time to patch dead grass areas, de-thatch, and fertilize.  Check out our easy pro tips on improving the appearance of your yard.

De-Thatch to encourage growth. Remove dead layers of grass, roots, and debris that accumulates between the soil surface and the green grass blades by de-thatching. If not performed regularly, you  may notice portions of grass that form a thick mat, preventing water and air from reaching the soil. To prevent this, de-thatching should be done once a year in the early spring, before grass becomes bright green and thick. De-thatching, which can be done to smaller lawns with a special rake, allows you to get the thatch out of the grass, allowing air to get at the base of the plant and gives it a healthy start in the spring after a long winter. Those with larger lawns may choose to rent a de-thaching machine, which can be either be pulled behind a lawn tractor or there is a push version likely available at a local general rental store.

Replenish your lawn with fertilizer. Fertilizers are important to lawn care because they can expedite plant growth, making plants and crops grow quickly and appear greener, fuller, and healthier. Most nutrients for your lawn are water-soluble and, over time through snow, rain or irrigation, the water will carry nutrients out of your lawn and leave it nutrient deficient. An unhealthy lawn is susceptible to disease, and fertilizer can replenish those nutrients and keep your lawn healthy. Our experts recommend fertilizing early in the spring, following up every four weeks through the month of June.

Repair or replace your lawn with sod. For new lawns, sod is an excellent option to jump-start the growing process, as it gives you an immediate green lawn with mature density and a solid root system. Turfgrass sod creates a soft, clean and safe playing surface for children, lawn games, and family entertaining. Our easy-to-use small sod rolls make laying turfgrass yourself easy and efficient. There is no expensive machinery needed, making small sod rolls the do-it-yourselfers product of choice.

Prevent weeds and over-watering. Pre-emergent weed control should go down when the ground temperature reaches 50 degrees to avoid any seeds that may have dropped last fall to germinate. No need to water your lawn this early in the season just to expedite greening. Spring rains typically produce sufficient moisture for awakening lawns. Only irrigate if grass shows signs of dehydration.

To learn more about spring lawn care and the products that B&B Hoffman Sod Farms offers, visit us online at bbhoffmansodev.wpengine.com or call 763-434-6572.