How to Winterize Your Lawn Mower

Another lawn mowing season has come to an end, now it is time to prep your mower for the next season. Read on to learn how to winterize a lawn mower to prevent damage, enhance its performance, and ensure it will start up easily the next time you need it.

Why You Need to Winterize Lawn Mowers

Whether you have a gas-powered, riding, or electric lawn mower, it requires periodic maintenance to minimize repairs. We know it can be tempting to just store the mower and worry about it next spring. But, procrastinating can leave you in a pickle when your mower won’t start and your yard needs to be trimmed.

How to Winterize a Lawn Mower

  • Remove or stabilize the fuel: A mower used at the end of the season needs to be emptied of fuel. Leftover gas has the potential to oxidize, corrode the carburetor, or impede the fuel system. If the gasoline has a fuel preservative, you can save it until next spring or run it in your snow blower. If the gasoline has not had a preservative added, you need to use up the gasoline as soon as possible.
  • Remove the Battery: Remove its battery and store it in a cool, dry location away from flammable substances. Come next spring, use a 120-volt battery charger to bring the battery to full capacity, then reinstall it into the mower.
  • Change the Oil: Follow the instructions outlined in your mower’s owner’s manual to change the oil and give your mower a clean start next season.
  • Clean the Deck: Use a paint scraper, wire brush, or knife to carefully remove caked-on grass and debris from the deck. This step prevents moisture in the grass clippings from causing rust and corrosion to the underside of the deck.

These are a few necessary steps in winterizing your lawn mower and ensuring a smooth spring mowing start-up. Fortunately, this process also works on the other gas-powered tools that you use on your lawn. Stow your lawn tools away for the winter, and start looking forward to spring. Soon enough we will be hearing mowers starting up, seeing lush green yards, and smelling fresh-cut grass.

Don’t forget if you have installed sod late in the season, it does still need to be watered until the ground is frozen. It will need moisture every 3-4 days whether it is moisture from the sky, snow, rain, or a garden hose. 

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If you have a yard renovation on your mind for 2021, give us a call for a quote on high-quality Kentucky Bluegrass Sod. Each piece is grown in uniform thickness and bred to be dark green, soft, and durable to withstand harsh climates.

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.

 

Early Autumn Lawn Care Tips

 

As temperatures begin to cool and leaves fall, autumn brings ideal conditions to care for your lawn. Before thinking about dusting off that snowblower, here are a few tips to ensure your lawn will be beautiful next spring.

Lay Sod. If you’ve been waiting to lay sod, now is the time to do so. Cool temperatures and regular rainfall allows sod to retain moisture and root quickly. Since we are experiencing a rather hot fall so far, plan to install sod on an overcast day to avoid stress on the plant. Prepare your soil by removing debris on the surface and filling in any small holes. Use a rake to loosen the soil and add any topsoil you may need. Apply the sod in a bricklike pattern, using an utility knife to fit the sod together tightly. Once the sod is in place water it immediately. Typically, it takes sod 2-3 weeks to root completely; avoid mowing until roots are strong, approximately 14 days after installation.

Let your soil breathe. Aerate your existing lawns in the cooler fall season to reap the benefits year round. Aeration creates small holes into the soil, either by using a spike or a machine to remove a core of grass and soil from the lawn. Benefits of aerating are: stronger grass roots, reduced water runoff, improved air exchange between the soil, and less susceptibility to disease. Increase root growth by allowing your grass to breath and minimizing thatch build up by aerating prior to applying a fall fertilizer.

Apply fall fertilizer. 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 best results.

 

Purchase sod and winterizing fertilizer from B&B Hoffman Sod Farms in Elk River. To learn more about us and products we offer, visit us online or call 763-434-6572.

Lawn Maintenance in Hot August Heat

August often brings high temperatures and sparse precipitation, leaving homeowners wondering how to best care for their lawn. Here are some tips to keep your lawn healthy throughout the season.

Reduce lawn maintenance–for now

Help your lawn beat the heat and make sure your mower is on the highest setting. This will help evenly distribute the moisture it receives and slow the spread of disease (and maybe allow you an extra hour or two on the lake!). Since August is typically a hot, dry month, you may notice browning in some areas, which is natural. Established grass is able to survive during a mild drought and can quickly rebound when moisture levels stabilize.

Review your sod options

Sod can be installed in August however, homeowners will need to be very diligent on watering, doing so 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. 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. 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. 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 stimulates root growth; therefore, you want to mow around the 10 day mark.

To learn more about sod, 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.