<![CDATA[KPN Lawn Care services Commercial and Residential Customers in St. Louis - Blog]]>Sat, 23 Sep 2017 07:29:27 -0600Weebly<![CDATA[ Dealing with the joys of gumballs from the Sweet Gum Tree. ]]>Sat, 13 May 2017 16:02:12 GMThttp://kpnlawncare.com/1/post/2017/05/-dealing-with-the-joys-of-gumballs-from-the-sweet-gum-tree.html
Oh, the joys of spring are in the air, you step out your front door to enjoy the morning air and almost bust your butt after slipping on a gumball. This is the time of year when the gumballs start falling after new buds are forming on the tree. Homeowners are always trying to figure out ways to clean this pesky little fruit up after it has fallen. From raking to blowing there are several ways to help with this task.

Gumballs come from the Sweet Gum Tree (liquidambar styraciflua) after the female flower has been pollinated in the spring. They are the fruit that this shade tree creates. Not only are they not very showy hanging on the tree but create a hazard once they hit the ground. We have tried different solutions over the years on how to clean them up. They are usually too heavy to be picked up by a lawn mower or get thrown around by the blade like you’re in a batting cage. Raking them is a better solution but can be a timely endeavor. The best thing we have found is to use a leaf blower to blow all the gumballs into a pile. Then go about cleaning them up by placing on a tarp or in a trash can and disposed of in the yard waste cans. This varies from different municipalities as some provide yard waste cans or require them to be put in paper bags. If you use the leaf bags I recommend getting a funnel to help hold the bag open, then placing the bag in a trash can to help it stand up straight. These items can be found at your local home improvement store.

Some tree companies are now providing a spraying application that can reduce the amount of fruit that the tree will produce. The name of the product that is used is called Florel, it is a synthetic growth regulator. It is a safe effective way to control gumball production on the tree, it is safe around pets and humans too. I recommend calling a certified arborist to find out if this solution would work for you. They have the expertise and proper equipment to get the job done right.
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<![CDATA[What are some New plants coming to the market?]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:06:16 GMThttp://kpnlawncare.com/1/post/2017/02/what-are-some-new-plants-coming-to-the-market.htmlPicture
Every year new plants hit the market for the upcoming growing season. Greenhouses and nurseries always trying to come up with the next popular plant. This is a benefit to gardeners as new species or cultivars of a plant can make it more resistant to disease & pests  Plants can come to thrive and adapt to changes in the environment too these days as evolution has come a long way. Thanks to advances in technology gardening is becoming a popular thing for people of all walks of life.

            People may be pouring over pages of seed catalogs to see what they may plant this spring. Keep in mind that not everyone plant is suitable for the St. Louis climate. It may grow well in Alabama but can`t survive our cold temperatures around here. Reaching out to local garden centers & nurseries is always a great idea instead of the catalogs. They are familiar with what grows around here. Plus, I always recommend supporting a local business helping to keep the money in the area. If you have any seed left over from last year it may be a good idea to dispose of it than keep it. Seeds will die off after a certain lapse of time and not sprout anymore when planted. A great way to test the seeds is to put them in a wet paper towel and keep it moist. This will tell you if the seed will germinate if planted in the spring. I recommend this technique if you have more than one seed of the plant as I don`t want to see you test your only seed you have.

            The University of Missouri Pest Management has released their list of new bedding plants for 2017. Here is the link: https://ipm.missouri.edu/MEG/2017/2/new_bedding_plants_2017/

You can try purchasing some new plants at your favorite local nursery. 

However, if you plan on selecting plants for this season do it with an open mind and have fun with it.


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<![CDATA[What climate changes can mean for your gardens in St. Louis.]]>Tue, 10 Jan 2017 21:30:59 GMThttp://kpnlawncare.com/1/post/2017/01/what-climate-changes-can-mean-for-your-gardens-in-st-louis.html
The debate of global warming is still one between many people if it`s a true thing or not. We have seen some wild weather patterns over the last couple of years. Rain has been around a lot in the summer months and the fall has been tending to be on the drier side. This is usually the opposite as rain is hard to find sometimes in the summer months. Fall is an ideal time to re-seed parts of the yard with the cooler weather and more abundant wet weather. Temperature swings in the atmosphere also tends to confuse some plants on when to go into dormancy and when to perk up for the spring.

We had a late fall color transition this year in the immediate St. Louis area with the warmer months. This is the latest I can remember for doing leaf clean-ups in January since starting my business 6 years ago. Some plants that shut down for the winter, were starting to bud up early with temperatures being in the 80`s in November. This is very bad as it will open the plant up to winter injury since it hasn`t sealed itself up for the season. Newly installed plants like to have warm weather and good watering’s in the spring. Heavy amounts of rain and early mild weather can make it hard for the plant to develop a good root system before the hot summer months arrive. Try and water newly installed plants daily for the first 2 weeks to help them establish this root system.

Pests have also been very bad the season as the warmer months allow them to live longer and feed more. Spider mites could feed late into the season and cause a lot of damage on evergreens and ewes. Usually this bug is finding a place to bed down for the winter months. We were treating plants late into November to help control the problem. Summer annual weeds and grasses took over early as the ground did dry out early in June. Even with the treatment of putting down a pre-emergent crab grass was running a mock in yards around St. Louis. This is due to the ground cracking early in the season breaking the barrier created by the pre-emergent. Along with a lot of rain that will help it dissipate the chemicals in the pesticide.  I believe that the climate is changing and this may have a big impact on the green industry as a whole. Try and plan and follow a good regimen for keeping your lawns and gardens happy this spring. Following watering recommendations and applying a good fertilizer to feed them. Always remember to follow the label on the fertilizer for best results.

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<![CDATA[Gardening can be like a good sweat at the gym.]]>Tue, 02 Aug 2016 14:27:41 GMThttp://kpnlawncare.com/1/post/2016/08/gardening-can-be-like-a-good-sweat-at-the-gym.html
I recently read a post on how gardening matches up to going to the gym. Working out in the yard can burn a lot of calories just like your regular visit to the gym. Here is the post from Turf Design & Build.
Do you have clients who are bored with their summer workout routines?

Suggest they have you install a garden as part of their backyard landscape.

Why? Researchers from Konkuk University and Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea, claim gardening is just like going to the gym.

Here’s how:

  • Turning compost is like lifting weights.
  • Raking is like using the rowing machine.
  • Pushing a mower is like walking on a treadmill.
In fact, in measuring 10 gardening tasks against gym favorites for men and women in their 20s, their research classified planting transplants, mixing growing medium, watering, harvesting, sowing, hoeing, mulching, raking and weeding as moderate-intensity activities and digging as a high-intensity activity.

Looking at specific calorie burn, the Royal Horticultural Society calculates that a half an hour of digging burns 150 calories, raking a lawn burns 120 calories and pushing a lawn mower burns 165 calories.

While past studies have focused on the health benefits of gardening for older adults, this study set to prove that gardening can provide similar benefits for younger adults.

Credit:Nicole Wisniewski: Turf Design & Build

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<![CDATA[Maintaining a beautiful landscape adds value to the home. ]]>Wed, 02 Mar 2016 15:20:52 GMThttp://kpnlawncare.com/1/post/2016/03/maintaining-a-beautiful-landscape-adds-value-to-the-home.htmlPicture
With the economy still improving these days, some may be thinking about selling their home these days to either upgrade or down grade. Adding or improving your curb appeal can improve the home`s value by up to 12%. A study done by Virginia Tech looked at different homes with no landscape compared to one`s that did. Results showed that by adding a landscape your value can increase from 10%-12%.

            Dr. Niemiera, a horticulturist for Virginia Tech, took a survey from 7 states at multiple home and garden shows to see what the trend was for landscaping a home. The survey looked at types and sizes of plants, type of design in the landscape that would affect the home.  A large sophisticated design would bring in more of a value to the home in the selling price compared to adding a little of color with a small garden. A home worth $150,000 with no landscape (turf grass only) could be worth $8,250 to $19,050 more with a large designed landscape. A simple design with small plants detract from the value of the landscape according to the survey. The entire survey can be read by clicking the link at the bottom of the page.

                As with anything else when making changes around the house or putting it on the market takes time to plan and budget. Most of things that I see these days is that clients will add the value and landscape but not keep up with the maintenance over time. We can help with either redoing the landscape or maintain what you have in place.

Reference from: Virginia Extension Office (http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/426/426-087/426-087_pdf.pdf)

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<![CDATA[Snow Shovel Safety]]>Mon, 11 Jan 2016 01:42:01 GMThttp://kpnlawncare.com/1/post/2016/01/snow-shovel-safety.htmlPicture
With the first snow we just saw in St. Louis, I wanted to pass along some safe snow shoveling tips from the SIMA website. SIMA is the national Snow & Ice Management Association.

Safe Snow Shoveling

  • Stay on top of the snow. No we aren't suggesting that you make snow angels but when there's a heavy snow, the best advice is to stay ahead of the storm. SIMA recommends that to prevent snow and ice from adhering to the sidewalk or street, clear the snow every few inches instead of waiting for the snow to stop falling before you head outdoors. 
  • Wear breathable layers. Layering is typical cold winter weather advice. We suggest wearing layers of loose clothing so you can peal a layer off if you get hot. Avoid wearing heavy wools, manmade materials or other materials that don’t allow perspiration to evaporate. Better choices are cotton and silk.
  • Watch your feet. No you aren't on Dancing with the Stars, but nonetheless, you need to pay attention to what's on your feet when heading outdoors to shovel snow. SIMA suggests wearing quality outdoor winter wear such as waterproof boots with good traction. Good traction is critical to ensuring that you don't slip and fall.
  • Take a few minutes to stretch. Shoveling snow is a workout so you need to stretch to warm up your muscles particularly because you are shoveling snow in the cold weather. Stretching before you start shoveling will help prevent injury and fatigue. 
  • Push don't lift. Sounds like something a high school wrestling coach may say but if you push the snow to the side rather than trying to lift the snow to remove it, you exert less energy thereby placing less stress on your body.
  • Drink up! Water that is. SIMA recommends taking frequent breaks and staying hydrated. You should drink water as if you were enduring a tough workout at the gym or running five miles. 
  • Don't play in traffic. Sometimes people get so focused on the task at hand they don't pay attention to their surroundings. When shoveling snow near streets, pay attention to the traffic since vehicles may not have good traction in the snow and ice. 
  • Call and text. We're not suggesting that you make calls and text while shoveling snow, but it is important to have your cell phone on you so you can make a call in event of an emergency.
Resources: http://www.sima.org/discover-sima/public-safety/safety-tips/safe-snow-shoveling
Photo Credit:consumerreports.org


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<![CDATA[Last minute steps to prepare for winter around the garden.]]>Tue, 17 Nov 2015 21:02:20 GMThttp://kpnlawncare.com/1/post/2015/11/last-minute-steps-to-prepare-for-winter-around-the-garden.html Seasons are changing around the area with us deep into fall and winter right around the corner. Doing a few things now will help to keep the gardens clean once winter hits. This may also give you a head start next season as some of the things will be completed already. Cleaning out the garden before snowfall happens around here will help to avoid pests and diseases finding a home in the garden for the winter.

            Once a good hard freeze sets in one night, a lot of perennial ground covers can be cut back to a couple of inches above ground the level to get rid of the dead top growth. This would include mums, hostas, day lilies, etc. It is advisable to let the growth stay on some plants like lariope and pompias grasses to protect the crown over the winter from snow and ice collecting on them. I will usually cut back the long reeds on the grasses and leave the remaining growth to protect the crown. Covering up roses and the cut back ground covers will protect them from the winter weather and keep the soil at a constant temperature to help avoid thawing and refreeze which can sometimes pop plants out of the ground if they are fairly young and don`t have an established root system. A good winter mulch can be pine needles, or mulched up leaves. Just make sure to remove your winter mulch in the spring once the chance of frost is gone which is usually by April 1st. Keep the leaves cleaned up as they fall. I know this can be a never ending battle as a lot of trees are late this year to drop their leaves with the mild temperatures that we have been having. A few things can go a long way to help out the garden this winter.

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<![CDATA[Dry conditions in St. Louis means a deep fall watering is needed for plants this fall.]]>Sun, 11 Oct 2015 17:02:02 GMThttp://kpnlawncare.com/1/post/2015/10/dry-conditions-in-st-louis-means-a-deep-fall-watering-is-needed-for-plants-this-fall.htmlPicture
With fall usually being the time that plants can recover from the summer heat with the cooler temperatures and increased rain fall, this isn`t the case this year as dry conditions have been around lately. Plants will require a deep watering to prepare them for winter dormancy.

A well deep watered plant will be ready for the first freeze better than nothing at all. It is always advisable to keep plants watered regularly during the growing season as well as the fall months. In dry conditions woody plants especially should be watered to wear the moisture will reach 8-10 inches below the soil line. Lawns should have a deep watering of 4-6 inches below the soil line. Plants will soak up the water to survive winter conditions. Once the ground freezes the moisture in the ground can turn to ice particles to wear the roots can`t absorb it. Cold air and winter winds can remove the moisture from plants as well. It is best not to prune any shrubs past August as cutting the plant in late fall or early winter can cause the loss of moisture in the plant and cause winter injury if the temperatures get that cold as the plant can`t heal itself properly from the pruning. Remember to keep the hoses out and water before old man winter arrives.


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<![CDATA[Rose Rosette is making its appearance around the region. ]]>Fri, 14 Aug 2015 17:09:31 GMThttp://kpnlawncare.com/1/post/2015/08/rose-rosette-is-making-its-appearance-around-the-region.html
Roses around the area are falling victim the virus “Rose Rosette” which will eventually kill the whole plant. There are no treatments or no resistant varieties at this time. The virus is spread around by a small mite called “eriophyoid mite” which is about only a quarter size of a spider mite that most gardeners may be familiar with to compare the two insects.

                The virus was first found on wild roses which are known as a noxious weed in most states. There was joy that there was a natural control for the wild roses until it set its sights on the prized garden rose. Once the plant is infected it is too late. It is a systemic to the plant which means it will spread all the way down to the root system. There is now way to prune out the disease. One bite from the eriophyoid mite and it`s all over. The disease is also being spread by the means of grafting which a lot of greenhouses do to cross bread different variety of roses. Make sure to purchase your plants from a reputable nursery. The only means to control the disease is to remove the whole plant along with the root system once discovered.

                Symptoms are very noticeable on the plant once it is infected. Leaves will become malformed as if the plant has an herbicide burn from pesticides. Large thorns will be produced up by purple stems that would naturally usually bloom as flowers. This is usually known as “Witches Broom” on the plant. The plant will eventually stop flowering and eventually die. There is no known control of the virus at this time. So keep an eye on your garden these days and keep your fingers crossed the virus passes you by.




Photo Credit:
University of Missouri Extension - Chris Starbuck
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<![CDATA[St. Louis lawns have had a wild ride this summer with the weather.]]>Tue, 11 Aug 2015 04:23:23 GMThttp://kpnlawncare.com/1/post/2015/08/-st-louis-lawns-have-had-a-wild-ride-this-summer-with-the-weather.html
The typical summer heat is here along with heat stress for your lawn. With all the moisture we saw in May and June root systems haven`t had time to grow deep enough to counter balance the heat. The lawn may of looked great on top but down below the roots were not able to prepare for the heat. An infection of Brown Patch too has been seen around the area. This has caused a lot of lawns to be stressed out long with the heat. These are favorable conditions for weeds to flourish in.

            There are a couple of things that can be done to help your lawn through these hard times. Avoid fertilizing cool season lawns in the summer like Tall Fescue & Kentucky Blue Grass. Fertilizing in the summer promotes shoot growth on the turf grasses which in turn can harm the lawn. Try to water in the early mornings to wash off the morning dew and long deep watering's are better than short frequent bursts of moisture. A lawn usually requires about 1-2” of moisture per week. Watering for longer periods causes the root system to grow towards the moisture in the ground giving the lawn a better resilience against the hot months. Deep watering’s spread out every 7-10 days are advisable. Make sure to keep a clean, sharp blade on the mower that provides a clean cut across the lawn. Typically a blade will need to be sharpened about 3-4 times during a growing season for a homeowner. If you run across rocks and sticks more sharpening’s will be needed. A dull blade will leave the lawn with torn up leaf blades which can invite in fungus & disease on the lawn.

            Just a couple of things to help your lawn through these rough times with the heat and a decrease in rain. A fall over seeding will help to fill in bare spots in the lawn. Aeration of all lawns is recommended as the ground has been more compacted as homeowners and lawn care operators got out when they could to cut the lawn during the breaks in rain we saw in May & June. Cutting in wet conditions causes ground compaction as the mower went across it. For any questions or help just let us know.

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