It’s Never too Early or too Late to Start Thinking about Moles & Voles

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on here, so I wanted to write a bit on something that has caused me and my lawn a lot of problems in the past.

It’s unfortunate, but with moles and voles it’s never possible to say, “it’s that time of year again,” because with these little creatures, it’s always that time of year. Though you may have never heard of them before, voles are little mice like creatures that bury themselves in your lawn in order to protect themselves from predators. Like moles, voles have a propensity for not caring how much time and effort you’ve put into your front yard or garden.

If you’re in the Denver area like me, you may be more familiar than the average person about the mole and vole populations here, that have gotten a good deal of publicity during the last few years on account of the havoc they have wreaked on yards around the city. Though, I’ll be honest when I say that when I first encountered the surface trails of chewed vegetation and small holes at the end of the trail, I had no idea what I was dealing with. Only after doing some research online did I speculate that I had a vole problem on my hands, but decided to call up my local Denver lawn care and landscape company to make sure I knew exactly what I was dealing with.

Because voles do the most damage during winter when food is scarce, it’s important to start thinking about vole management before that, even before you see the first sign of them if you’ve been known to have vole problems. While I’ve neglected to do this in the past and learned my lesson the hard way, don’t let that make you think it’s too late either. Last year I called the good people at Mountain High Tree, who were able to give me the professional help to get a handle on these ungracious little guests and get my yard looking like new again.


Thirsty Trees & Winter Watering

Experts say 2015 is the warmest year on record. Here in Denver that is not difficult to believe. Normally we would be buried under feet of snow right now, but no such luck.  It looks like the temperatures on Christmas day will be near the 50s. In fact, so far this year we have had only two significant snows, and neither of them reached much more than a foot. If you check the ten day weather forecast, as I like to do every day, you will see there is absolutely zero precipitation predicted.  It looks like it’s going to be a dry winter, at least unless El Nino kicks in…

But, the question is, what does this have to do with lawns? Well, dry, cold temperatures causes grass to become incredibly weak. This leaves it open to disease, yellowing, or even death. It might be a good idea to get worried now. One of the worst blights winter can bring is mites. Mites are little red bugs. They are hard to see, but they do a lot of damage.  Mites love dry conditions, and if your lawn is not watered, will absolutely move in and start damaging you grass. You can and should find more information on mites here or here for more about winter watering.

Now, I myself have had some problems with these little critters, and after some research, maybe too much research, I found there is one simple way to get rid of these little red pests: winter watering. It sounds weird, I know. Like many, I turn my sprinklers off in the winter. My grass is yellow and dormant, and I’m happy to leave it there until spring. However, since this winter has been so dry, I to just run the hose out and put on a manual sprinkler. No need to fire up the system and then have to blow it out again after watering.

Now, the problem with winter watering is you cannot just pour tons of water on your grass like in summer. The grass is still dormant and cannot handle that much water. Also there is a danger of freezing. There is a certain art to winter watering any lawn owner should follow. First, only water during the day. The best time is mid-day. Second make sure the temperature is 40 degrees or above.  Third, it can be easy to just want to water every day to get rid of the mites. This is a bad idea. You should only water about twice a month. Don’t worry, the water will do its work on its own. Follow these easy steps and you’ll wash those mites away. Not only that, but you’ll have healthy, stronger grass.  I’m dreaming of Summer already.

Some Fall Fertilizing


I have been hearing it is very healthy when doing Denver lawn care to keep your lawn fertilized in the fall. I have never done this, believing spring to be the most essential time to fertilize. However, I have been seeing many of my neighbors fertilizing, and thing it might not be a bad idea to do it myself.

Of course, first I wanted to do some research and see if fall fertilizing really was healthy for Denver lawn care. It turns out it is! As temperatures drop, the blades of the grass weaken, which is no surprise. However, this makes fall the perfect time to fertilize. With weaker blades the fertilizer can be more effective, giving nutrient not just to the grass blades, but the deeper roots. The deeper roots will hold the nutrients all the way into spring, making sure when temperatures rise in the spring, the grass starts growing strong again. Of course, if the fertilizing is going to get down into the roots it is important to mow your lawn first. It’s also a good idea to rake up any leaves in your yard.

Now things are picking up at work and unfortunately I do not have the time to get out in the yard and fertilize. My wife also will not do it, because, well, she really doesn’t do much of anything. I’ve been looking into Denver lawn care services that specialize in lawn fertilization. I found a great one with decent prices. Also, since I’m thinking towards lawn in the spring now, anyway, I’ve lucked out and found that they have a special fifteen percent off deal for spring fertilizing if you agree to sign up in the fall. It sounds like a pretty great deal to me, and I know my lawn will be taken care of when spring rolls around.

If anyone has any other fall Denver lawn care tips, please feel free to share them.

Fall Watering

Because of the arid climate, Denver lawn care is difficult year round. Watering is the easiest solution to many of the problems Denver lawns face throughout the year. Fall is an especially important time to keep your lawn hydrated, however, it is also one many overlook. Winter is coming, as they say on television, and it is extremely important your lawn is ready for winter, when it will be getting significantly less water and go into dormancy. I, for one, know for a fact that my lawn is currently dehydrated thanks to a simple tip I learned from a neighbor. It turns out, if you walk onto your lawn and leave footprints and it takes longer than an hour for your footprints to go away, your grass is definitely thirsty. My footprints were there for quite a while, so I know it is time to increase my watering cycle.

Beyond just getting your lawn ready for winter, watering will also make your grass more resilient as the dangers of fall arrive. One of the biggest and most consistent dangers is the vole. Voles love to sneak into your yard and munch on your plants or grass. They can do quite a deal of damage to the dehydrated Denver lawn. However, plenty of water means a few nibbles from these pests may do some harm, but your grass will absolutely have the strength to bounce back as strong as ever. There are also bacterial and fungal diseases to worry about as fall rolls on. These too will completely desiccate a dehydrated lawn, and the grass will not be strong enough to fight these infections. However, with healthy watering, once again the grass has the strength to fight back.

Does anyone else have some good Fall Denver lawn care tips? Please share! Otherwise, remember to continue watering.

Some Summer Lawn Tips

I believe I’ve written before on how to avoid the stresses of the summer on grass. Most grasses in Denver grow best in temperatures ranging from the 60s to the 70s. We do tend to get those temperatures here at night in Denver, but during the day it’s quite different. Once it hits the 80s, your grass is in trouble. Since it has been a particularly hot and sunny summer, keeping my grass healthy throughout this summer has been difficult. However, this is just another hurdle of Denver lawn care, and as always, there are solutions.

The biggest and best solution is to keep watering. Water will keep the roots from drying up in the sun and heat. It also keeps the grass healthy so it will resist the heat and sun more effectively. Along with this, it is best to adjust your mower so you grass stays longer. Longer grass holds more nutrients and thus can better withstand the heat and sun. Watching out for weeds is also important and the arid climate will produce better conditions for weeds to grow, especially here in Denver. Make sure you have a good weed killer, or that you are out there plucking the weeds yourself. This sounds like a lot, but Denver lawn care is a never ending process.

While these tips should help keep your lawn healthy in this Denver heat, it is important to understand they are not fool-proof. Summer dormancy may happen, grass may turn yellow and your lawn may start to look a little ragged. There is no reason to panic. Grass that has gone into dormancy from the heat is not dead, but unfortunately there is little you can do about it. The good news is that as fall rolls around, the grass will come back to life and start growing green and lush once more.

If anyone else has some summer tips for Denver lawn care, please share! We’re all in this together.

Mother’s Day Winter Damage

On Mother’s Day there was a great snowstorm here in Denver. It cause downed trees and damaged cars, and there was a great deal of clean-up needed after the storm. It was late in the season for snow and many, including myself, had already started planting for summer. Unfortunately the effects of this snow storm are persisting even into July.

I like to keep my yard neat and tidy, I think I’ve made that clear often enough, and when I don’t my wife gets on my back. Some plants surrounding the yard are not growing as strong as they should due to the winter damage. Likewise, my neighbors have a vegetable garden in their backyard, and their crops just aren’t growing as strong as last year. They told me they usually have plenty of ripe tomatoes this time of year, for example, and this year they are still small and green. This is known broadly as latent winter kill. The winter damage from Mother’s Day is absolutely affecting everyone, and it is not an easy thing to overcome.

The most important thing you can do to fix winter damage is to prune dead leaves and branches. These are sapping energy from the healthy parts of the plants due to their damage and their attempts to recover. Trimming will give the still healthy parts of you plants more sunlight and more energy to grow strong. While pruning is the best thing you can due, extra fertilizing can also ensure you plants can get the extra minerals they need to grow strong.

Winter kill is extremely hard to fend off as it can without any warning and not even show for months. Once you notice winter kill has affected your plants it is important to act immediately to keep them safe and healthy. Sometimes this means even calling in professionals. There’s no shame in admitting you can’t do it yourself (although I really want to get this all fixed myself, that’s just my thick head).  If anyone else is going through the same thing with winter damage please feel free to ad suggestions and help in the comments. It would help me, at least, I know.

Return of the Mushrooms

panaeolus_foenisecii_02bigI just got off work, and my immediate concern was to change into a t-shirt and shorts, grab a cold beer from the fridge and sit out in my lush beautiful Denver lawn. Here in Denver we’ve been experienced our wettest spring in years, and finally, as we’ve entered June

, we’ve had a couple weeks of sunny days, though I am sad to say the rains have returned. Anyway, it was a beautiful day and I was in my lawn chair enjoying a nice PBR in the shade of my old Oak in the backyard. It was going to be a perfect evening, until I looked down, and sawn mushrooms had once again invaded my lawn.

It has been very wet of late, and I know the life cycle of mushrooms is very quick, so it was not entirely surprising to see them returned. Once again I was left with the question of how to get rid of mushrooms, this time more permanently. I think I’ve written before mainly on how to prevent mushrooms growing in the yard, but now I’m obsessed with getting rid of the ones right here and now.

I’ve already done plenty of fertilizing and aeration, which help break down the organic materials mushrooms use to grow. I think a more direct approach is now necessary. Mushrooms generally prefer shade, and are killed off by direct sunlight. Seeing as they are growing under my tree, I figured the first immediate step was some light tree trimming so my lawn would receive more sunlight. Also, due to the wetness, I’ve decided to decrease my watering cycle.

Beyond that, with the sprouting of mushrooms in the grass, I’ve found I’m just going to have to get down on my hands and knees and pull them out. This is hard work, for sure, but essential to maintaining my beautiful lawn.

Through my amazing research skills, I also found an amazing new trick to get rid of mushrooms in the grass. I’m not entirely sure how healthy it will be for my lawn, but I am willing to experiment. The idea is to poke holes around the mushrooms in the yard. Then you take two gallons of water and mix it with about three teaspoons of dishwashing soap. You pour the mixture into the wholes and it is supposed to kill the mushrooms at the roots. Then you just pluck them up. I just worry about the damage the dish soap will do to the surrounding grass.

It seems like every week in Denver lawn care a new problem arises. This strange weather is causing all sorts of problems for lawn care in Denver. Anyone else having some tricky problems?

Some Link Blogging

Some Link Blogging

I’ve been looking at other blogs and articles, and come up with a few that I think would be interesting to readers of this blog. While I know I focus primarily on Denver lawn care, many of these articles go beyond that, as I seek out interesting posts.

JOHN DEERE ZTRAK MOWERS: MAKING LARGE PROJECTS SEEM SMALL: Personally, I don’t have a lawn big enough for this type of equipment, but I know many do. This article definitely takes a deep look into the usefulness of these tractors for tending to a large lawn.

Artificial Grass Vs. Real Grass: I will always go for real grass, but I understand with the arid climateh ere in Denver, artificial grass may be an interesting option. Even as a real grass enthusiast, this article definitely offers much to think about.

How Much Does Lawn Aeration Cost?: I know I’ve gone over the importance of aeration before, but I think this article goes over well, as well, albeit in a different way, especially if you are looking to hire professionals.

May Lawn Tips: Some good lawn tips for the month from some experts right here in Denver.

The Well-Manicured Yard as Contemplative Retreat: A great article on a topic I feel very passionate about: the psychological effect having a nice lawn can have. Also, how rewarding it is to have a beautiful backyard.

Mulching in the Rain

Always looking for advantages for lawn care in Denver, I’ve decided to use this odd spell of rain here in Colorado by doing some mulching. Mulch is a natural sponge, and by laying it now, I am ensuring it will soak up water to its fullest. All the rain has absolutely brought my lawn to its greenest and fullest, but I know Denver lawn care requires a lot of long term thinking. While it may be rainy now, I now the summer sun will soon bring with it dry conditions, and possible sun damage. Mulching now should take care of this. It will soak up water my lawn can later use to keep itself hydrated.

My wife was interested in dyed mulch, and bringing extra some color to our lawn. I have to admit, some of them looked pretty nice. There was orange mulch and red mulch that looked particularly interesting. However, because the mulches are dyed they do not soak up water as easily, and are made to be more decorative.

In the end I decided to go with an organic lawn and bought recycled mulch. From there it just took some investigation into where to buy mulch in bulk. Buying mulch in bulk meant spending more, but ultimately saving money in the long run, as it usually is with buying things it bulk. After looking over some bulk mulch prices, I bought the mulch, and even got bulk mulch delivery thrown in, and started doing my lawn mulching.

It wasn’t amazing working out in the rain laying the mulch, but I managed to find some nice weather between the storms to get out in the yard and get the work done. I have to say, even with the brown recycled mulch, the lawn has more color. I know how tricky Denver lawn care can be, and I am very glad to have gotten this done, and to know I have put down some great protection for my lawn as summer approaches.

If anyone else has some great summer Denver lawn care tips, I would love to hear them!

Getting Rid of That Pesky Yellow Spot

Denver lawn care is quite the adventure. The constantly changing weather here in Denver, not to mention the intense sun and arid conditions, means it is difficult to really know what to expect when it comes to lawn care in Denver. I recently did some early spring watering and lawn care, and I saw my grass rejuvenated. Here in Denver we’ve also had about a week’s worth of early May rain and snow (it is not uncommon to get snow in Denver in May). With all this my whole lawn is looking very lush and dark green and healthy. The only problem is there is one yellow patch in my backyard I cannot seem to get rid of, and it’s been vexing for the past week or two.

During my spring Denver yard maintenance, I used the revive soil treatment, as well as a healthy amount of yard fertilizer. The lawn revive and the fertilizer definitely showed results, with my lawn growing very lush. These treatments should have taken care of the yellow patch, as well, but clearly they were not doing the trick. Since I know Denver lawn care is strange, I decided to delve deeper.

It seems the problem may not have been as simple as the grass not getting enough nutrients, but could have been damaged by some sort of chemical, or I don’t know what. The solution seemed to be to tear up the yellow patch and replant new grass. So, being a do it yourself kind of guy, I went out and pulled up the yellow spot. I then put down fresh soil, yard fertilizer and compost (now I’m kind of happy my wife insists on composting). I have a friend who did his own sod instillation in Colorado Springs and it didn’t sound too difficult so I laid some local bought Denver sod and made sure to keep up with my sod watering. After that it was just a simple matter of reseeding. Apparently I should see growth in eight to ten days, which sounds good to me.

Has anyone else doing Denver lawn care had trouble with yellow spots? How did you fix them?

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