Spotting and Treating Turf Damage from Winter

Is that grass I spy finally emerging? We’ve had some heavy snowfall this winter! Because of the thick snow cover we’ve had this season, many of you will probably look out one day and see damaged areas in your turf. Let’s address some of the things that may be the culprit:

Moles and voles:  These will look like little trails through your lawn.  The animals burrow right under the soil surface and move through your yard.

Snow Mold:  This is a fungal issue and will manifest as 2’-3’ large bleached out looking areas in your turf.  

Salt and plow damage.  These are obvious reminders of what we endured over the winter and are found along the edges of driveways and walkways or where snow piles containing salt have been sitting. Turf may also be torn up from plows or snow blowers, or it may be brown and dead from excessive salt.

Restoring Damaged Turf

Now the good news! Turf is tough and generally easy to restore. In most cases raking out the dead areas and allowing nature to take its course is enough, although with plow damage, you do want to replace any divots to allow the turf to root back in.  As the weather warms and grass starts growing, these areas will repair themselves.  A light over-seeding after raking can also be beneficial.

In more severe cases you may want to add topsoil and do a more thorough patching with seed and straw, straw mat, or Penn Mulch.  Make sure to wait until the ground is warm enough to do your seeding in the spring.  For best results, daytime temperatures should be at least in the 60’s for a period of time before you put down new seed.  

Preventative Measures to Take in Fall

While there is no guaranteed prevention against damage each year, you can mitigate damage in the fall by doing a few things:

  • Contact a pest control specialist regarding moles and voles in your yard and follow their recommendations.
  • Use plow markers to indicate the edges of your driveways and walks.
  • Use ice melt products in moderation per manufacturer’s instructions.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about snow mold as we can’t control our weather conditions.  Thankfully with a little TLC the turf will recover quickly on its own. If you would like some professional help with your lawn and garden maintenance, get in touch today for a consultation and quote. Call us today! (262) 252-4260.

Before & After: Patio/Fire Pit Installation Despite Cold Temps!

Given the challenging winter conditions we have in Wisconsin, knowing how to complete hardscape installations even as colder temperatures begin is key. We’re sharing a behind-the-scenes look at the installation of a patio, walkway and fire pit for a client that we worked on well into January! The key for this installation was to lay frost blankets down on the work area well before frost and snow hardened the ground. Our team was able to complete almost all the installation and this client will now be top of the schedule for finishing off their project in spring.

You can watch our video of the project as it took shape, or read about the daily progress below.

Patio Installation: Day-by-Day Progress

Day 1
Orange frost blankets were placed weeks before the project was due to begin. Blankets had to be shoveled off, then lifted off the turf.  The area for the patio was then measured out and lines marked for crews to begin.


Day 2
Patio base excavation is completed and installation of the gravel patio base begins, along with the construction of the seat wall using Rosetta products.

Day 3
Building of the wall continues and on the other end of the patio, laying the gravel base is finished up.

Day 4
You can see the project really taking shape! The wall has been completed and Belgard pavers are being installed.

Day 5
The team continues laying pavers. Notice that any areas that are not being worked on are kept covered to protect the ground from freezing.

Day 6
The fire pit, using Rosetta products to match the seat wall is built. Work continues on leveling base and laying pavers.  In preparation for the installation of a pavilion in spring, the team inserts Sonotubes that will be filled with cement to create footings.

Day 7
Time to fill the Sonotubes with concrete! The last of the patio pavers are installed.  The team is careful to keep areas not being worked on covered so the project can keep progressing in the cold temps!

Day 8
Final day of this cold weather patio/firepit/walkway installation! The team used EdgeCrete to keep pavers in place and completed the walkway connecting the patio to the garage. The entire area was then cleaned and covered until work can resume in spring.

Extending the season for hardscape installations is one of the ways we deliver on our commitments to our customers. If you are ready to talk about your own landscaping project, get in touch with one of our talented designers today! (262) 252-4260


Finding the Right Snow Removal Company in Milwaukee

If you live in Milwaukee, you get to exposed to all four seasons. Unfortunately, winter can be a pain when it comes to removing tons of snow. The lake effect from Lake Michigan can bring on storms that are too much to handle on your own. Having a reliable landscaping company that specializes in snow removal can save you time and ensure your winter is a smooth ride. Here’s what you need to look for if you are thinking about hiring a professional snow removal service.

1. Find a company with certification

When you’re paying for snow removal services, it’s important to find a reliable company with the right credentials. Look for companies that carry certifications such as the Snow and Ice Professional Certification from Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA). Did you know that American Landscape is one of two companies in Wisconsin that carries national certification for snow and ice removal? Credentials say a lot about your business, but positive communication trumps all in the name of good service.

2. Having positive communication

If you own a business or manage multiple properties, you may not have the time to check the weather. What happens when you’re unprepared for an incoming snowstorm? Time to clear the schedule and pick up a shovel. American Landscape provides clients with pre and post-weather updates to keep you in the loop. Did you know that in 2016, there were 129,051 car accidents in Wisconsin? According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, 19,450 of those crashes were speed related. Knowing you have a reliable snow removal company comes with good communication, but also knows how to prevent accidents from different causes.

3. They don’t just deal with snow removal

While snowfalls can be a real drag for getting around, ice can pose as something more than inconvenient. When you throw poor weather conditions in the mix of driving, sometimes being a cautious driver isn’t enough. Another statistic from the Federal Highway Administration shows that 24% of car crashes are weather-related.  Having a company that can tackle all fronts to ensure you can drive safely is essential. With the harsh conditions that come with winter, it’s also important to have a snow removal company to turn to for additional services.

4. You can turn to them for services for any season

The winter limits the opportunity to do the necessary maintenance on your lawn and home’s drainage system. The moist and temperate climate that we live in gives way for ice dams to develop in a home’s drainage system. If a home’s drainage system is compromised, it puts a damper on your lawn’s ecological quality. It’s never a bad idea to consult a landscaping company that offers services to improve your lawn in time for spring. American Landscape offers a wide range of landscaping services that can improve your lawn’s sustainability.

Choosing a Landscaping Company for Snow Removal

There are many things to consider when looking for the right snow removal company. Good credentials, communication and a broad range of services are the most ideal candidates. A snow removal company may also be your best bet if you own multiple properties or don’t have the time to shovel and salt. For quality service in the Milwaukee area, call on American Landscape to get it done right.

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.




Rock Salt Alternatives for Ice Prevention

It can be very dangerous to drive around on icy roads or during a snowstorm. In order to take proper safety precautions, many people use rock salt as a go-to solution since it rapidly increases the melting time of snow and ice. Luckily, there are many alternatives to rock salt that work just as well and are more environmentally friendly. Here’s what you need to know about the alternatives to rock salt.

How Does Rock Salt Affect The Environment?

Calcium chloride, the chemical name for rock salt, is a staple product for de-icing concrete. Even though it does a good job keeping ice off of the road, rock salt can have negative effects on the environment.

Water Quality

There’s evidence that shows rock’s negative effects on water quality. According to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, rock salt is often introduced to water sources and soil due to runoff. High concentrations of chloride can alter the chemical balance in the water. This can make the water unsafe for drinking and affects animals that inhabit in these water sources.

Wild Life

Rock salt alters the chemical structure of water. The chloride in calcium chloride affects the production and distribution of oxygen in the water, making it potentially unsafe for human consumption. Even more, it hinders the habitable waters that fish and plant life live in. While rock salt is good for de-icing our roads, it can affect our infrastructure.


Studies have shown that excessive use of calcium chloride poses negative effects on infrastructure. A study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that concrete reinforced with steel may deteriorate when it’s exposed to excessive amounts of rock salt. Bridges may be susceptible to corrosion when steel is exposed to a lot of rock salt.

Why Should I Look for An Alternative for Ice Prevention?

While rock salt can be an effective and safe material for de-icing, there are many alternatives that are safer for concrete and the environment. Here are a few reasons why you should look into alternatives to rock salt.

They Are Safer for Vegetation

Finding an alternative to rock salt can be better for soil and water quality. A blog post from Facilities Net points to potassium and magnesium chloride as being a safe alternative for deicing. Urea, a fertilizer, is also a great deicer and promotes agricultural growth. You can also use items from your everyday life for de-icing!

They Can Be Cheaper

Did you know that you can use household products to get rid of the ice? According to a post from Huffington Post, you can use coffee grounds for de-icing. Granted you can’t spread coffee grounds across the street, it works well for driveways and your front steps. Kitty litter and sand can also provide traction on slick surfaces.

Final Word on the Alternatives

Rock salt is a staple product for de-icing because it can tackle larger amounts of ice. However, there are alternatives that are effective and safe for the environment. If you have a large stretch of land that needs assistance with de-icing maintenance, give American Landscape a call!


Winter Landscaping: Planning Your Landscape for Snow Removal

In the immortal words of Ned Stark, “Winter is coming.” You might be rejoicing right now that you no longer have to mow your grass, but pretty soon you’re going to be outside with a shovel or snowblower—and maybe wishing you were pushing a mower instead!

Before the white stuff starts really hits, make sure you and your lawn are prepared for the inevitable snow removal. Here’s how to winterize your landscape so that winter takes a minimal toll on it.

Snow on Driveway leading to home

Protect Your Plants From Salt

Rock salt is an effective snow melting agent, but it can also wreak havoc on your grass and other plants. It can cause your plants to suffer from dehydration and will inhibit their growth once the warmer weather returns. Take precautions to protect those plants now, before the snow starts to fall.

Wrap trees, shrubs, and other plants around the base with burlap or plastic to prevent snow from seeping in. When it comes time to apply salt to your driveway or walkways, take care to keep from strewing it on the grass or plants.

You might also want to cut the salt with sand. This stretches it and dilutes its effect on greenery. Alternatively, switch to sand or kitty litter altogether. These don’t melt the snow and ice as effectively as salt, but they do provide traction on slippery walkways.

Prep Your Property for Snow Removal

If you contract with a plowing service (or even if you do it yourself), mark your driveway with reflective poles. This can prevent your yard from being damaged if the plow operator can’t tell where the driveway ends and the grass begins.

In general, a snowblower is a gentler way to clear snow than shoveling. A snowblower also makes it relatively easy to direct the snow into an area where it won’t cause damage, like the end of the driveway, for example.

If you do shovel, shovel early and often. When you wait until the end of a storm to commence clearing away the snow, it will be harder to remove. A buildup of snow also obscures the dividing line between sidewalk and lawn.

When shoveling, try not to pile the snow onto bushes, shrubs, or grass. Heavy, wet piles of snow damage plants of all types. Sometimes, of course, there’s no other place to pile it. If this is the case with your property, take advantage of sunny spring days by spreading the melting snow evenly across the lawn. That way, no one area risks incurring all the damage.

Don’t Forget Your Hardscaping

Fountains, statues, and outdoor appliances like grills can be damaged by snow and ice. Prevent problems down the line by bringing them inside, if possible, or securing them with heavy plastic or taps.

If you’ve recently had a driveway or walkway makeover, double check that it’s protected by a sealant. It’s also a good idea to inspect paths for loose or uneven bricks or stones, or any type of hole or crack. These can catch shovels’ blades or make for a tripping hazard.

Before the winter hits, take a good look around and patch up any problem areas.

Protect Your Winter Landscaping and Enjoy the Season

Once you have taken precautions to protect your lawn, garden, and hardscaping from damage caused by snow removal, you can sit back and enjoy the winter! Skiing, anyone?

Of course, you can always leave the hard work to the experts and call us for safe, effective snow removal services instead. Contact us today!