Lawn Care Services in Milwaukee

Why You Should Avoid Mulch Volcanoes

‘Tis the season to get out your shovels and rakes and spread some mulch in your garden beds and around trees. Mulch has numerous benefits to your landscape, but beware! In this case, there can definitely be too much of a good thing and it can be deadly for your trees.

Benefits of Mulch

First, let’s talk about the benefits to establishing a layer of mulch around your trees:

  • eliminates potential injuries from mowers and string-trimmers 
  • separates major root zone areas from nearby sod areas, and 
  • breaks down, enriching the soil and providing nutrients to tree root
  • moderates soil temperatures
  • decreases erosion
  • aids in drainage

Issues with Mulch Volcanoes 

Mulch volcanoes are deep piles of mulch heaped around the base of trees and shrubs. Piling mulch against a tree trunk harms the tree in the following ways:

  • holds moisture against the trunk and roots of the tree, leading to fungal diseases and rot.
  • harbors insects, increasing pest disease; and can also 
  • harbor small rodents who chew on tree bark

Another issue is that mulch volcanoes encourage roots to grow laterally into the mulch. This causes roots to girdle the trunk, which weakens the tree’s support system. 

Correct Way to Mulch 

  • Apply mulch to a depth of 2-3 inches around a tree, leaving a space of 12-16” away from the base of the trunk clear of mulch. 
  • Ensure the mulch is spread level with the root flare (the point at the base of a tree trunk where the trunk expands and transitions into the root system)
  • Extend mulch area to the edge of the tree canopy, or at least several feet from trunk.
  • If mulch is piled against the tree trunk, rake away from the center.
  • Rake up compacted mulch to keep air and water flowing and reaching the roots.
  • In landscape beds containing multiple trees surrounded by sod, join the trees in one mulched bed rather than multiple “circles” of beds to create a more efficient design.

We have a team of certified arborists who can help ensure your trees are properly cared for and last for years. We’d love to help you preserve your valuable investment. Contact us today for a consultation.

How a Rain Garden can Save Your Lawn

A rain garden provides a healthy solution to drainage problems that can save you time and money in the long run. With winter slowly rolling in, you’re probably already hoping for spring to come sooner. But all the wet weather ahead may be disastrous for your lawn. Heavy snowfall and rain can lead to problems with drainage that impacts your lawn. Here’s how a rain garden can save your lawn!

What is a Rain Garden?

A rain garden is normally decorated with flowers, plants and other vegetation. Essentially, a rain garden is a depressed area in your lawn that mimics the look of a small pond. It is designed to absorb water and filter out pollutants, cleaning the water and soil. Rain gardens offer ecological and economic benefits while adding a touch of elegance.

Conserves water and reduces pollutants

The stormwater that runs off may leach pollutants into your lawn. A rain garden can help reduce the amount of runoff a lawn accumulates. According to a fact sheet from the United States Department of Agriculture, rain gardens can absorb thirty to forty percent more runoff than a regular lawn. This amazing benefit also helps water conservation and blocks the flow of pollutants from runoff into natural waters. The natural look and feel of a rain garden gives a warm welcome to wildlife.

How American Landscape can make your lawn more sustainable

Inhabits wildlife and drives out the pests

Your lawn should be open to all wild inhabitants. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, rain gardens provide a habitable place for butterflies and birds. Of course, you don’t want all the animals flocking to your lawn. Fear not; according to research from Penn State, the rain gardens drainage abilities prevent standing water, which often attracts mosquitoes. Creating a space for wildlife is only part of a rain garden’s ability to add biodiversity.

Biodiversity adds a touch of beauty

The vast amount of vegetation and plants that can be hosted in your rain garden adds beauty to your lawn. The most important part of choosing plants for your rain garden is making sure they can withstand wet and dry conditions. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, choosing prairie flowers that are native to Wisconsin may be your best choice; they can withstand long periods of dryness, which works well with our iffy climate.

Rain gardens require little to no maintenance

Taking good care of your rain garden is easy and adds longevity to your lawn. According to a fact sheet from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, simply weeding, watering and trimming your plants is the best practice for maintaining a rain garden. Rain gardens do a great job circulating water, allowing your plants to maintain good health over long periods of varying weather.

A Final Word on Rain Gardens

Rain gardens are fascinating, beautiful and ecologically beneficial. If a plain, green lawn isn’t cutting it for you, a rain garden may spruce up the liveliness of your home. Not sure where to start? American Landscape specializes in sustainable lawn care, and many other services. Give us a call for more information!

Dead Grass: How to Spot and Stop it

The harsh conditions during winter in Wisconsin can attribute to dead grass in lawns. To prevent this it would help to know what grass needs in order to grow and survive. The following factors will allow you to assess, spot and stop your grass from dying.

What Does Dead Grass Look Like?

Any shade of color that isn’t green can suggest there is something wrong with your grass. Grass that is turning brown or pink in small and large patches and mold growth suggests that your grass is dying. Dead grass will likely grow in patches across your lawn. If you suspect your grass is dying, it’s important to narrow down the potential cause.

What Types of Climates are Susceptible to Dead Grass?

For homeowners, lack of water is usually the cause for poor grass quality. While sunshine and warm weather can help keep your plants stay alive, it’s important to provide them with enough water that will allow them to thrive. Cold and dry weather can negatively affect grass and soil quality. With spring around the corner, you can access your lawn’s health to get ready for warmer months.

What Causes Dead Grass?

There are a number of potential causes that can kill your grass:

  • Too little water: Soil needs water to survive and thrive. Too little water affects the soil’s ability to absorb water. On the opposite end, too much water can flood your lawn, causing further issues with draining.
  • Disease: Diseases such as Rhizoctonia Solani cause grass to turn brown while Microdochium Nivale
    causes grass to turn pink.
  • Weeds: The saying “like pulling weeds” is as painful as it sounds. Likewise, an abundance of weeds in your lawn absorbs the essential nutrients that grass needs to be healthy.
  • Using too much or too little fertilizer: If you don’t use enough fertilizer, you won’t preserve your lawn. Whereas if you use too much, you’ll affect the soil quality.

How Do I Fix Dead Grass and Prevent it in The Long Run?

You can revive dying grass by pinpointing the cause and acting fast.

  • You should have professionals assess your lawn if you suspect Rhizoctonia Solani or Microdochium Nivale. However, you can prevent the occurrence of disease by mowing your lawn often and using the right fertilizer. There are a lot of fertilizers out on the market, so be sure to look for a product specified for your intended use.
  • Pull weeds from your lawn as often as possible. It allows grass to grow properly and healthily when weeds do not take up an abundance of nutrients.
  • Water your lawn if the climate is dry. A post from The Ground Guys suggests that you water your lawn in the morning.
  • If you have pets, make sure you clean up after them. Dog urine and feces contain levels of nitrogen that are harmful to the soil.

You should act fast if you see grass starting to turn brown. Assessing the problem before it starts will take you time and money in the long run. Need a hand with maintaining your lawn? American Landscape proudly serves southeast Wisconsin with all of your landscaping needs.

Lawn Care Tips for Winter In Wisconsin

When snow drops by the tons, you may not be thinking about winter lawn care. Taking care of snow and ice is the foremost priority for homeowners during winter. Knowing some helpful tips will free up a lot of time when spring cleaning comes around. Here are some winter lawn care tips that make spring cleaning a little easier.

Keep the Plants Covered

There are a number of things you can do to preserve your plants during winter. The first thing you should do is take as many plants as you can inside. Place plants in areas that are exposed to as much sunlight as possible. Second, anything you can’t take inside should be covered. A post from The Spruce advises homeowners to use mulch to maintain plants throughout winter. After you get your plants in check, take a look at your trees.

A Little Bit of Tree Service Goes A Long Way

Homeowners can benefit greatly from tree service throughout the year. According to a post from Accurate Tree Services, trimming or removing dead tree limbs puts your tree in optimal condition when warmer weather comes around. Removing weak and dying branches on trees reduces the chance of them scattering around your lawn and causing damage to your home. Homeowners should remove any branches and debris from trees from their roof as well. Keeping your roof clear of debris can improve the drainage system outside of your home.

Make Sure Your Drainage Systems Are In Check

Your drainage system is essential for keeping your lawn well kept all year-round. When drainage systems aren’t working right, they can negatively affect the soil and water quality. Ice dams and blocks of ice that form in your gutter can increase runoff. You can minimize the occurrence of ice dams by removing snow and ice from your roof. When it comes to keeping your lawn protected, homeowners should also be aware of how rock salt affects soil and water quality.

Watch the Salt!

Before you deice your driveway, be sure you know how products can affect your lawn. Calcium chloride or rock salt is generally safe for concrete. Although, rock salt can negatively affect the quality of water and soil. Consider using environmentally safe products such as potassium chloride or urea. For pet owners, be on the lookout for products that are labeled pet-safe. For more information, see our post on the alternatives to rock salt!

A Final Word on Landscaping in Winter

Winter lawn care keeps your home looking great and saves you time and energy when nicer weather comes around. You can also use the downtime to brainstorm projects for spring and summer. For tree trimming and other winter services, give American Landscape a call. We offer a range of services for all four seasons.

 

 

 

Summer Lawn Care Tips for Keeping Your Grass Green in Milwaukee

Summer is the most active period for your lawn. And, with the right summer lawn care tips, your lawn has the potential to look full and green all season and provide the perfect outdoor environment for you and your family. However, giving your lawn a good mow every week isn’t enough to keep it healthy. There are a number of other necessary steps you’ll need to take.

Excessive heat and drought can wreak havoc on your lawn. But there are some simple summer lawn care tips that can help protect your grass and keep it looking healthy. Here are some of the most important ones.

Summer getting their lawn mowed on a summer day

Use a Slow-Release Fertilizer

You may have applied fertilizer last spring, but that won’t last forever. Now it’s time for another application of slow-release fertilizer to help give your lawn the nutrients it needs to get through the summer.

Slow-release fertilizers work by releasing a small amount of nutrients each time you water. This means you won’t need to fertilize as frequently as you do with other lawn care products.

In addition to applying fertilizer, consider leaving your grass cuttings instead of bagging them when you mow. This will provide extra fertilization and help strengthen your lawn.

Get Rid of Grubs

After a wet spring, many lawns in the Milwaukee area get infected with grubs. These are beetle larvae that feed on the root system of your lawn.

There are a few signs you may have a grub problem. You may start seeing dead patches where they’ve chewed on the roots. You may also notice rodents such as raccoons in your yard foraging for the grubs.

If you have an issue, you’ll need to perform grub control as soon as possible. Garden centers sell grub control you can easily apply to get rid of the problem.

Proper Watering

You’re most likely aware of the importance of watering your lawn. However, doing it incorrectly can do more harm than good.

It’s better to perform heavy watering less frequently than it is to water on a regular basis. Of course, if you’re dealing with a serious drought, your grass will show signs of damage. In this case, you can increase the frequency.

It’s also better to water in the early morning before the sun is at full strength. This reduces the amount of evaporation that occurs in hot weather.

Regular Mowing

Mowing on a regular basis helps keep your lawn as healthy as possible. If you’ve been getting lots of rain, you may even consider mowing twice a week.

The most important thing to remember when mowing is to never cut your grass too short. Summer lawns need to protect their root system from the heat, so be sure to raise the blades on your mower.

A good rule of thumb is to never cut more than one-third of the length off your grass. This will keep your lawn looking full and green.

Perform Smart Summer Lawn Care for Greener Grass

Protect your grass from the harsh summer heat using these easy tips. Remember these summer lawn care basics and you can enjoy a healthy, great-looking yard all season—and ensure your grass is healthy heading into next fall.

Don’t have the time or energy to keep your garden up to snuff? We can help! We provide a full range of lawn care and landscaping services to the Milwaukee and Southern Wisconsin area. Contact us today.

Autumn Lawn Treatment Checklist for Milwaukee

Autumn is here. So, what are you doing to prepare your lawn for the cooler months? When you live in a region where the weather gets cold, it’s important to have some type of fall lawn care plan. For instance, the frequency of mowing your lawn and how you manage your plants will all change. But, if this is your first time taking care of your lawn on your own, it’s not too late to learn.

Read on for some top tips for autumn lawn treatment.

man mowing the lawn

Find Out What Type of Grass You Have

What most homeowners hate about fall and winter is the idea of losing their plush, green lawns. You worked hard all spring and summer to grow your lawn to what it is today, and don’t want to lose it over the winter. You can maintain it, however, by learning proper autumn lawn treatment based on the type of grass you have.

For instance, if you have warm-season turf grass, then it won’t fare well in Milwaukee. In fact, these are preferred in the South. Cool-season turfgrasses tend to thrive in colder weather. Some examples include ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, the fescues, and bentgrass.

Whatever the type of grass you have, you should use the following tips:

  • Get rid of broadleaf weeds using herbicides.
  • Test your soil and adjust the pH level accordingly.
  • Remove thatch from your lawn by raking.
  • Remove leaves with a rake or leaf vacuum.
  • Perform regular maintenance on your lawn equipment.

Adjust the Height of Your Lawn Mower

Grass still grows during autumn, but just not as quickly for warm-season grasses. However, if you have cool-season grasses, then there’s no need to adjust the height of your lawnmower. You can increase the height by a 1/2 inch. Then, to minimize the amount of work you have to do (such as picking up grass clippings), you can wait until your lawn grows between 3 in. to 3 1/2 in. tall.

Other tips include:

  • Avoid mowing your lawn more than 1/3 of the leaf surface.
  • Leave small amounts of grass clippings on your lawn.  They’re actually good for the lawn, since they provide nutrients to your grass.

Following this philosophy will ensure you’re not leaving behind a large bulk of clippings. And, in a sense, it’s like mowing and fertilizing your lawn at the same time!

Get Rid of the Dead and Dying Plants

Autumn isn’t the best time to prune your plants since it will only encourage them to grow. At this time of year, your plants should be dormant. However, you still want to maintain a neat appearance, which you can do by removing dead annuals, lightly pruning your dying tree and shrub branches, and carefully removing any blossoms from hydrangea. As you do so, avoid removing dead stalks because this is where new buds will sprout during the spring.

Get Professional Autumn Lawn Treatment

Fall is when your yard work should come to a halt. However, if you want to keep your landscape looking great all year, then certain tasks must be done.

If you’d rather enjoy your lawn than work on it, we can help. At American Landscape, we offer seasonal lawn maintenance services. So, our pros can work on your yard throughout the entire year or at specific times of the year. Contact us today to learn more about our services and to see how we can maintain your lawn this fall!