Tackling Turf in Edina: Lawncare Tips and Tricks

Edina’s Phil Mero knows what it takes to nurture a lush lawn.

Green grass may be the hallmark of the home, but terrific turf doesn’t just happen. Take charge. Armed with the right tools and proper plans, any homeowner can turn lawn-care duty into a stress-relieving hobby.

It’s time to rethink lawn care and put some pleasure back into yard work. New, timesaving, easier-to-use tools garner more time for family and outdoor recreation.

A cordless, battery-powered lawn tool makes an ideal Father’s Day gift. Consider the latest in outdoor power equipment by Stihl. The experts at Jerry’s Hardware believe cordless, battery powered tools are worth the investment. Higher horsepower, hassle-free starting and other technology advancements make them better than ever, manager John Connolly says. The grass trimmer ranks as the most popular of Stihl’s cordless tools. Other customer favorites include the handheld leaf blower and hedge trimmer. In keeping with Stihl’s reputation for fine quality, efficiency and convenience, the same battery pack and charger are interchangeable on all three tools.

The grass trimmer will run 20 to 30 minutes on a single charge. It’s a snap to tame brush, weeds and unwanted grass. Stihl cordless trimmers start easily without gas spills, yet cut with the same level of performance of traditionally powered tools.

Extended lawn use requires another leaf blower. Jerry’s has backpack blowers and other tools designed for the job whether for a homeowner, cabin weekender and even kids.

For tidy hedges, why go to all the trouble to hand-trim? The Stihl hedge trimmer works quietly and fast. Straight edges are easy to do.

This is the second season for the Stihl AK cordless line. Last year interest outpaced expectations. Stihl product power tools are going toward the pollution control and greener side of the equation, Connolly says. “We sell more gas powered than electric, but we anticipate that changing over the next three to five years.”

As a courtesy, Jerry’s preassembles lawn-care tools for customers. If the tool’s a gift, the recipient can always come into the store for a demo.

Turf Toys For Tikes
The love of lawn care knows no age. Leave it to Stihl to come up with a toy chainsaw. The compact size stands out against other models. Adults do a double take, wondering if the chain saw is real. Yes, it works with a rotating silver-beaded chain and powered by a battery. “It’s truly a toy, but it makes them feel like there’s something they can do,” Connolly says. Stihl also has a kid-sized weed whiper tool. Either makes a fun birthday or Christmas gift for the young lawn-care enthusiast.

Growing Of The Green
Warmer weather brings barbecues, graduations, garden parties and more. A nice lawn makes a good foundation. The key to a great looking lawn is regular maintenance, weekly mowing and scheduled product applications. Organic lawns undergo a similar regimen with an environmentally friendly bent. So dig into the turf and reap the benefits with handy tips from local experts.

DIY Seeding and Sodding

How to minimize the use of chemicals and water:
Maintaining a healthy lawn requires less work than repairing a neglected one, and lawn-care duties go beyond the summer season. Skip a step and the lawn remembers.

Growing grass in shade, hillsides, boulevards and other problem areas: Use the right kind of grass seed for the conditions. Grass dies under pine trees because fallen needles turn the soil acidic. Mulch or rock makes a durable yet attractive alternative.

Buy quality seed designed to achieve desired results. Edina-based Twin City Seed has a full range of top quality seed. Cheap seed can cause more problems with weeds, owner-president Paul Kubista says. “Do your homework before making a decision. There’s a lot of good information online. It’s hard to sift through it once you’re in the store,” he says. Avoid rye in grass seed mixes and read labels. Plant grass seed before September 15, because night temperatures below 30 degrees kill grass seedlings.

No sodding after October 1.

Dealing with insects:
Turf-eating grubs grow into foliage-destroying beetles. Address pests early to avoid bigger problems. “Grubs eat the roots of grass and other plants, then they turn into beetles that defoliate,” Connolly says.

Rabbits, deer, mice and moles thrive in Edina’s sheltered suburban landscape. “They’re cute until they eat your stuff and then they’re not so cute anymore,” Connolly says. Critters and pests can become a destructive force, but fear not! Hardware cures abound, and there’s even a “flower mixture designed to deter deer and rabbits from your yard. That’s about as natural as you can get,” Connolly says.

Consider Going Organic

Hire A Lawn Care Service?
Mowing, watering, fertilizing, weeding, seeding, sodding, aerating—if this all sounds like too much for one Minnesota summer, it’s time to call a lawn service. A professional service takes the ongoing burden away leaving a homeowner more time to enjoy the fruits of a fabulous lawn.

With a professional resume stretching back to 2002, Organic Grass Care (OGC) owner Preston Kroska knows his turf. From his Edina-based business, he shares tips helpful for the homeowner.

Why go organic?
“Healthier for the lawn, family, pets and the environment. Using organic fertilizer causes less chemical run off into Minnesota’s many lakes, rivers and streams.”

What inspired you to open an organic lawn-care business? “To meet the growing demand of organic versus chemical lawn treatments. OGC prides itself in meeting the individual needs of each client’s lawn.”

What does an organic lawn program involve?
Standard Program A is 90 percent organic. Weed control is chemically based using a spot spraying method. The cost is $60 to $80 per application for an average sized lawn. Granulated fertilizer used every five to seven weeks. Weed control done with spot spraying is effective for creeping Charlie and crab grass and uses far less chemical than normal weed control applications. Organic Program B uses 100 percent organic fertilizer and weed control. Granulated fertilizer used every five to seven weeks. (Creeping Charlie and crab grass are not completely controlled under this program). Cost runs 40 percent more than the standard program about $90–$100 for an average sized lawn.

What about fertilizing?
“The first fertilizer application is done once the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees (generally early to mid-April). Last application usually applied in September or October depending on weather.”

When to mow?
“Mowing and trimming should begin as soon as soon as snow is gone and the lawn is dry. Don’t overcut the grass; we suggest no more than ½ to ¾ inch at a time. Overcutting can damage the turf and lead to disease. Cut to 3 to 3 ½ inches during hot months. Cut to 2 ½ to 3 inches during the cooler months. Changing the cutting pattern every other cut helps prevent thinning of grass and diseases.”

What about weeds?
“Weed control should be applied every time you fertilize. This will save time! (Or as needed.)”

Is aerating necessary?
“Spring and fall aerating helps to establish deeper stronger roots, resulting in a healthier thicker lawn with less weeds and less watering needed.”

Water Wisely
City of Edina watering restrictions apply in an odd even system for residential lawn watering. Homeowners with addresses ending in odd numbers water on odd numbered days, and homeowners with even numbers water on even numbered days. No watering from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some exceptions apply, including watering with a hand-held hose or watering new sod plantings. (Call about a permit.) The city has no authority over private well water use or water from the city of Minneapolis. Water restrictions apply year-round. Surcharges for violations align with the number of violations issued to a property owner during a three-year period. The first offense is $50, second $100, third $200 and fourth $300.