Snow-covered trees and shrubs.

How to Protect Plants in the Winter

Freezing temperatures, heavy snowfall, and strong winds are a fact of life during the winter. But this drastic change in climate conditions can also spell trouble for outdoor plants.

Though you can transport many container plants indoors, landscaping plants like trees or shrubs aren’t meant to be household plants. Therefore, the question of how to protect your outdoor landscape comes into play.

How Does Winter Damage Outdoor Plants?

Some winters can be mild, but they often consist of ice, snow, and windchill, especially in the Midwest. Even the sunlight during the wintertime can cause severe damage to landscape plants, such as turning evergreens brown due to dehydration and killing branches and root systems.

Shrubs, on the other hand, can suffer from dieback, which kills shoots, branches, twigs, or root systems, starting from the tips of branches and spreading downwards. And let’s remember that shoveling piles of snow onto your grass, which likely contains traces of deicing salt, can be extremely harmful to your landscape area.

So, what are your options?

Protecting trees with thin bark or those recently planted is a good starting point, as these are the most vulnerable to damage during the winter.

Therefore, covering your trees with plastic tubes or tree wraps can help reflect sunlight and block winds. Furthermore, tree wraps can protect your trees from roaming wildlife, especially as food sources become scarce during the winter.  

Just remember to remove the wraps after the last frost of the year.

Should You Cover Plants in Winter?

Because we live in an area where temperatures drop below freezing, it’s essential to protect your plants from frost damage. Therefore, you may consider covering your plants, such as shrubs, using burlap to allow moisture to come in but also help keep the harsh winter elements out. 

What Do You Cover Plants With in Cold Weather?

In addition to burlap, there are several different materials you can use to cover outdoor plants during winter. You’ll need to choose one based on what type of plant you have and its sun and shade tolerance.

Popular covering materials include mulch, garden blankets, towels, sheets, cardboard boxes and other common household materials.

Mulching, for example, is one of the easiest ways to keep your plants safe during extreme weather. You can use straw, leaves, pine needles, hay, wood chips, or any other organic material that will help insulate your plants from the ground.

When Should You Cover Your Plants?

Covering plants is typically used to protect plants from frost. You can cover your plants before dusk to help trap warmer air inside and remove coverings during the daytime so the plants can get enough sunlight. 

Before covering your plants, remember to remove any snow accumulation from the day. You’ll want to do so carefully as not to damage any branches.

Protect Your Landscape This Winter

Every Minnesotan homeowner knows that lawns never take a holiday, not even during winter. So check out this helpful article for more tips on caring for your lawn this season.

And remember that winter is the perfect time to start planning your organic lawn goals for spring. To ensure you get in the books before the ground thaws, contact Organic Lawns by Lunseth today!

We’ll help you design and create an organic landscape you can be proud of in the New Year.

Frost on grass in front yard.

Treating Grass After a Frost

The first frost of the year has come and gone. Yet, temperatures continue to fluctuate as we head into the winter months. 

Depending on where you live in the Midwest, local temperatures can jump to 50°F (or above) in the daytime and fall below 32°F at night, causing frost to appear on your lawn during the fall season.

Like most homeowners, you’ve probably shelved your lawn equipment for the remainder of the year. But remember that frost on grass doesn’t mean your lawn has become dormant. 

In Minnesota, for example, grass will usually become dormant between late October and early December—once the soil drops below 50°F. So if your lawn still holds a green vibrancy and has not transitioned to a brown color—this is a good indication that it’s alive and growing. 

So what exactly is a frost? And how does it affect your lawn?

This article will address a few commonly asked questions about frost, so you know when and how to treat your lawn before winter.

What Causes Frost on Grass?

First, let’s cover what we mean by “frost.” Frost occurs when the water condensation on grass blades freezes overnight. For this to happen, temperatures need to dip below 32° F. If temperatures do not fall below freezing, dew will appear instead.

Light vs. Hard Frost: What’s the Difference?

A light frost occurs when the temperature at night falls to 32°F or below. During a hard freeze, the air temperature falls below 28°F for at least 4 consecutive hours.

A light frost is considered less severe than a hard frost since it won’t cause the soil to freeze, which can damage your grass’ root system. However, a hard frost makes it difficult for the roots to irrigate water and circulate its nutrients, eventually forcing grass to become dormant.

Does Grass Stop Growing after the First Frost?

Not quite. Frost is a good indicator that your lawn will eventually stop growing over the next few weeks. Once frost occurs regularly, the growing process begins to slow down and your grass prepares itself for survival during the cold winter months. 

Eventually, germination will stop entirely after the grass can no longer receive nutrients.

Can You Mow Grass after the First Frost?

Cool-season grasses can keep growing depending on your soil’s temperature. As a result, your grass may still need mowing. Remember that before you mow, you must thoroughly ensure the grass is thawed and dried. You never want to cut a lawn covered in frost. 

Ideally, if you decide to mow your lawn, you’ll want the temperature above 40°F. Be sure to also check future weather forecasts to ensure you have a few days before the next frost occurs as frost can damage your newly cut grass. 

Finally, avoid walking on your lawn after a frost, as this can also damage its blades.

Will Frost Kill Grass Seed?

Although new grass seeds can endure frost and will begin to germinate during the next growing season, it needs about 6-weeks to establish to overwinter successfully. 

Dormant seeding is a planting method that ensures the seed remains “dormant” due to the cold soil conditions. To get started, you’ll want to put down your seed while the ground is cold but not frozen. This ensures that germination of the grass seed will not occur until the following spring. In addition, sowing grass species that germinate more quickly and like cooler temperatures for germination is a good strategy for dormant seeding, in which fine fescues are a good option.

To learn more about dormant seeding and best practices, read this article from the University of Minnesota Extension

Is Your Lawn Ready for Winter?

Stay connected to our blog for more tips on caring for a lawn during the winter—and every season. And if you’re looking to get into the books for spring lawn care and landscaping in 2023, connect with our team today! 

We look forward to helping you plan and achieve your organic lawn care goals in the New Year!

Man using shovel to dig hole before planting a tree.

How & When to Plant Trees in Minnesota

With the dry heat and high temperatures of summer behind us, now is a great time to plant trees in your yard. 

Why is fall the best time to plant trees, you ask? 

During the fall months, trees can focus on putting down their roots vs. growing branches and leaves, as they would if planted during the springtime. Still, depending on the type of trees you want to add to your landscape, you may need to get a move on if you’re hoping to plant this season. 

For example, evergreens need to establish their roots before the ground freezes as they are more sensitive to drying winter winds; however, you can plant deciduous trees like oaks and maples well into October.

Best Tree to Plant in Minnesota

Now onto the next question: which trees thrive in Minnesota? To answer this, you first need to understand our state’s plant hardiness zones, as this information will help you determine which plants will survive and thrive in your area.

Depending on where you live, Minnesota’s hardiness zones range between 3 to 4, as our state’s lowest temperatures fall between -20° F and -30° F. Therefore, you’ll want to select trees that can survive the winters yet still grow and produce foliage. 

A few tree options you may consider:

  • Oak Trees
  • Maple Trees
  • Crabapple Trees
  • Fir Trees

Before you choose a tree, however, there are a few other considerations you’ll need to make, including the size and shape of the tree, its preferred location, and its purpose (i.e., add privacy, create property lines, offer shade, etc.)

To help you decide, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provides a helpful guide on choosing the right trees and shrubs for your home. 

Lastly, be sure where you want to plant your tree is free of underground utilities. You can do this by visiting Gopher One and submitting a ticket to ensure you have the green light!

Don’t forget your soil!

As you begin to break ground, you’ll need to determine whether your soil is clay or sandy if you don’t already know. A simple way to do this is by grabbing a handful. Clay soil sticks together like a ball while sandy soil falls apart. 

Testing your soil for nutrient deficiencies is also necessary for healthy plant growth. Understanding your soil’s nutrient levels, textures, and structure can ensure your plants thrive!

Okay, ready for the fun part?

How to Plant Lawn Trees

As you can already tell, there’s a lot of prep work and planning before you can fill your lawn with trees. But once you choose the location and type of tree that best serves your landscaping goals, it’s time to dig! 

Here’s a quick guide to help you get started.

Dig the hole

First, measure the width and height of the tree bulb (also called a root ball). Next, dig a hole at least 1.5x wider than the width of the bulb to give yourself room to work. Be sure the hole is deep enough so only a small portion of the root ball is exposed above grade. The root ball should be 1”-2” inches above grade in sandy soil and about 3”-4” above grade in clay soil.

Remove the container

If you’re planting a potted tree, you can remove the container before it goes into the hole. However, if you are planting a tree that arrived in a burlap sack, cut off part of the material, so it still holds the bulb together.

Put tree in hole

For trees in burlap sacks, lower the tree to one side, cut the rest of the container, and slowly roll it into the hole while unraveling the material. Next, slowly stand the tree upwards.

Straighten tree

Make sure your tree is completely straight before you begin filling in the hole. 

Fill the hole

Using fresh soil, begin filling the hole around the tree.

Install posts

Next, you’ll want to install 2 metal posts on each side of the tree and attach guy wires. This will help keep it straight during strong winds. Smaller trees can use stakes vs. posts. 

Use tree straps and wires

Secure a tree strap above the first row of branches of your tree. Next, use tree wire to connect the straps to the posts. Again, this will keep it in place.

Install fencing

If you share your property with woodland creatures (e.g., deer, woodchucks, etc.,) consider installing a fence around the posts to keep them away from the tree’s trunk and branches.

Water your tree

Trees need lots of water, so after planting your tree, water it every day for the first 1-2 weeks. When you reach the 3-6 weeks period, you can water 2x a week. Afterward, once a week should suffice. As with any plant in your landscape, be careful not to overwater your trees.  

Add mulch 

Mulch helps water stay around the tree, so it can quickly soak it up and keep moisture in that area. Use the mulch to create a dish shape around the tree. No mulch volcanoes!

Want More Lawn Care Tips?

Stay connected to our blog for more helpful articles and lawn care tips. At Organic Lawns by LUNSETH, we offer professional and experienced lawn care services to solve even the most challenging lawn issues.

Contact us with questions or to learn more about our organic treatment programs. 

Man laying sod on lawn.

Sodding vs. Seeding a Lawn

Wondering if it’s better to lay sod or seed your lawn? Each method can help you achieve a lush, green landscape. However, choosing the right option for your property will depend on several factors. This includes costs, maintenance, and your lawn’s existing condition.

To help you decide, we’ll review the differences between these two landscaping techniques:

  • Sod is pre-grown strips of grass with its roots intact. It traditionally comes in rolls of turf, which you lay (or roll) over your soil in even rows. Sod is typically grown from 100% Kentucky Bluegrass. Fescue blends are also available upon request as a specialty item.
  • Grass seed is the seed you plant into your soil, so it can germinate and take root to sprout fresh, thick green blades of grass. It is completely customizable to your site.

Benefits of Sodding a Lawn

Laying sod is a popular option for new home construction and lot development. The reason? Sod takes considerably less time to establish a new, attractive lawn. 

Sod is grown under ideal conditions at a farm, then cut, rolled up and sold in landscape centers and nurseries. For that reason, it may not adapt well to all sites. Especially sites with a lack of adequate sunlight. It is difficult to customize sod to your exact site conditions.

Once properly installed and maintained, sod will eventually take root in the soil. On average, you can enjoy a finished lawn in less than 3 weeks. And once the roots are established, your turf can start to handle regular foot traffic.

But there is another reason why you may consider this method. If weeds make up over 50% of your lawn, sodding (or resodding, if you’ve already laid sod) may be the best option.

Let’s review a few other benefits of sodding a lawn:

Controls Erosion: On slopes or lawn areas that experience erosion issues, sod works like a thick buffer to help keep topsoil in place.

Reduces Weeds: When you correctly install and maintain sod, your turf will develop a deep root system that quickly outcompetes weed seeds (already present in the soil) for nutrients. And when grass roots soak up the majority of the nutrition in the soil, weed seeds are less likely to thrive. 

Wider Window for Planting: You can install sod at anytime during the growing season, including the fall, as we typically experience cooler temperatures and seasonal rain to help sod root quickly.

Benefits of Seeding a Lawn

With grass seed, your lawn grows in the same place, undisturbed. This differs from sod, which must adapt to new growing conditions after installation. It’s important to note here that one of the most essential and labor intensive steps in laying sod is soil preparation. You need to give the sod a healthy foundation to take root and grow, so prepping the soil will require a significant amount of time, skill, and labor before the actual “sodding” part begins.

Homeowners typically use seeding in areas without grass or if the grass has worn away and needs repair. It is completely customizable to your site, however it takes much longer to fully fill in. For a thick, lush lawn, you’ll generally need 6-8 weeks or even one full growing season.

Here are a few other benefits of seeding your lawn:

Repair Existing Lawns: Though you can use grass seed to grow an entire lawn, many homeowners utilize this method to repair bare patches or damaged grass. 

DIY Friendly: Though seeding a lawn requires you to prepare the soil and water consistently, all while monitoring nutrient deficiencies for optimal growing conditions, the process is similar to other types of planting. 

Comparatively, sodding requires careful measuring and correct sod placement to prevent gaps or overlaps that could result in dead turf.  Therefore, the process is entirely different and may require experience from a landscaping company.

Lower Cost: As you may imagine, the cost of sod comes at a higher initial price point. This can range anywhere between $0.60 to $1.29 per square foot. As noted above, because there is a risk of installing sod incorrectly, preventing it from taking root, you may decide to hire a landscaping company to do the work, which will also increase costs. 

A quick note on seeding

Seeding should not be confused with overseeding. The latter involves adding new grass seed over your existing turf—without turning the soil. By overseeding a lawn, you can thicken grass density, introduce enhanced grass varieties to your lawn’s microclimate, and improve color to an ideal lush green. 

Sodding a Lawn vs. Seeding: Which Is Right for You?

Deciding which grass growing method is best for you will ultimately depend on the following 4 factors:

Budget—Whether you decide to DIY sod or hire a professional landscaping company, remember that this investment requires initial time, the use of equipment, and manual labor. 

Lawn goals—If you’re looking for other grass options, seed is available in more grass varieties and blends than sod. However, if you’re looking for an instant, pre-grown lawn, sod is the better option.

Seasonality—As previously mentioned, sod can be installed anytime during the growing season, while the ideal time for seeding is between late summer and early fall.

Lawn’s Condition—Finally, depending on the current state of your lawn, you may have no better option than to start over and reseed or resod your property. An experienced lawn care company can help you decide which method will offer you the best choice for your yard!

Find More Lawn Care Tips

Stay connected to our blog for more helpful articles and lawn care tips. At Organic Lawns by LUNSETH, we offer professional and experienced lawn care services to solve even the most challenging lawn issues.

We’re always here to answer your questions and help you find an organic solution to keep your grass in optimal condition—year after year!

Contact us with questions or to learn more about our organic treatment programs. 

Thermometer placed in heat stressed lawn.

Caring for a Heat-Stressed Lawn

When temperatures get too hot to stay outdoors, most of us find shade underneath a nearby tree or go inside our homes to cool off for a bit. Our lawns, however, don’t have this luxury.

Instead, they remain under the intense heat of the sun. And when they experience prolonged periods of high temperatures with little-to-no rainfall, the conditions start to take a toll on their well-being. 

Signs of a Heat Stressed Lawn

A common symptom of heat stress in lawns is discoloration. Depending on the severity of your surrounding weather forecast, you may notice a change of color on the tips or the entire blades of your grass. Colors can range from a light straw color or brown shade. 

Other common signs of heat stress include:

  • Soil compaction
  • Footprints or markings left behind
  • Grass blades beginning to curl

Is Heat Stress Permanent or Temporary?

When your lawn becomes stressed from extreme heat, its natural defense mechanism is to become dormant. When this happens, its root system will shrink underneath the soil to reduce the amount of water it needs. This process also allows it to conserve its energy, so it has a better chance of making a full recovery, once the high temperatures decrease and go back to normal. 

However, it’s essential that you continue to care for your lawn, even during a dry spell to avoid any potential damage that can become permanent and result in you needing to replace your turf.

How to Care for Your Heat-Stressed Lawn

Your natural instinct may be to water your lawn regularly. But this can actually cause more grass damage. Instead, you’ll want to focus on two essential steps to support your grass during the dog days of summer:

  1. Water deeply and infrequency
  2. Avoid further soil compaction

Let’s break these down even more. 

Watering Deeply and Infrequently

When your grass is heat-stressed, you’ll want to ensure the water reaches deep down into its root system. It’s recommended that you only water your lawn 1x per week, saturating it to 1″ depth.

Be sure to water your lawn during the early morning hours vs. afternoon or evening, as evaporation is low.

Why can’t I water more?

The reason you’ll want to avoid overwatering your grass is because you want to encourage its roots to grow deep underneath the soil vs. bringing them up to the surface. Remember, your grass is already using its natural resources to protect itself during unusually hot weather conditions. Therefore, your goal is to provide it with the water it needs (and no more) to stay in its dormant state until these extreme conditions change.

Signs of overwatering include puddles of water left over or run off. 

Avoid further soil compaction

If your lawn is heat stressed, be sure to avoid having people and pets walk over it. You’ll also want to avoid leaving heavy equipment on it, as well. You may also decide to remove any lawn furniture.

When soil becomes compacted, it makes it harder for air to circulate and reach your grass’s root system. Compacted soil can also reduce water filtration and drainage, resulting in you overwatering your lawn. 

Another important lawn care tip you’ll want to practice is knowing when and how often to mow your lawn, especially if it’s showing signs of heat stress. Just be sure not to mow dormant turf. 

To learn more about mowing during hot weather, read our recent blog article!

Still Feeling Stressed about the Heat?

Many of us enjoy the summer months, especially for its sunny days and warmer temperatures. But as a homeowner, it’s important to protect your lawn and provide it with the care it needs to once again return to its lavish color and texture. 

For questions about summer lawn care, contact us for more tips and organic lawn care solutions. Remember to stay connected to our blog for helpful how-to guides and articles to help you tackle common lawn issues both organically and responsibility. 

Man mowing his lawn on a hot day.

Is It Too Hot to Mow the Lawn?

Just last month, Minnesotans found themselves stuck in the middle of a heat wave—with some areas reaching 100° F. Though extreme temperatures are nothing new to those of us living in the Midwest region, it doesn’t make the experience any less stressful.

And that type of stress doesn’t just end with trying to keep our homes cool or our families and pets hydrated. Heat stress can also impact your landscape.

Like you, your grass, shrubs, trees, and plants are all living species. Which means when the heat goes up and the moisture goes down, they become thirsty, too. Also like you, they require a bit of TLC to make it through the dryer spells of the year.

Therefore, in addition to taking extra precautions for you and your family’s health needs during the hotter times of year, be sure you’re paying careful attention to your lawn’s needs, too.

Lawn Care During the Summer

As experts in organic lawn care, we often get asked for tips and best practices on how to maintain a healthy lawn during the dog days of summer. And one question on everyone’s mind is this: should I mow when it’s hot?

Before we can answer this common question, let’s first define what we mean by “hot” temperatures, or more specifically…what temperature is “too hot” to mow grass.

When temperatures go beyond 80°F, your cool-season grass may begin to struggle. And when high temperatures last for extended periods of time, it can cause your grass’ growth to slow down and its vibrant green color to fade. In fact, some cool-season grasses will go dormant during the hot summer months until early fall. 

During a heat wave—a period of abnormally hot weather that lasts longer than 2 days—it’s recommended that you do not mow your lawn.

When is it too hot to mow your lawn

You may think that noon is the hottest part of the day, since the sun is at its highest point in the sky. But according to the Almanac, 3 p.m. is actually hotter, as the sun is lower in the sky, allowing its outgoing heat to be much greater. 

You may also think that mowing your lawn in the early morning, when the temperature is cooler, is the best time to mow during the summer. However, that time of day should be reserved for watering your grass, especially during a heat wave or when your grass is heat stressed.

So, what’s the best time of day to mow a lawn in hot weather?

Plan to mow your lawn during the evening hours, after the heat of the day has passed. The temperature should be between 40°F and 80°F.

How to Mow Your Lawn During the Summer

Do you love the look of freshly cut green grass—with those perfectly parallel strips laying across the front of your yard? Most of us do. But it might surprise you to learn that when we enter those long, dry summer days, it’s best to keep your grass high and to change your mowing patterns. Mowing in different directions can help your grass grow straight up and stand tall vs. leaning one way.

Therefore, you’ll need to raise your mower’s blades, so you can allow your grass to stand tall and grow a deeper root system into the soil. This way it can access water and other nutrients. If you’re caring for cool-season grass, mow at a high setting, so your grass is at least 3″-4″ tall. 

Also, be sure your blades are kept clean and sharp to prevent tearing of your grass, which is common during high temperatures. 

How often you decide (or need) to mow your lawn will depend on many factors. For example, mowing every 4-6 days may be sufficient, but if your grass is experiencing heat stress or has become dormant, you won’t need to. The most important thing is to avoid cutting more than ⅓ of the blade off at a time. This is especially important in the heat of the summer.

Want more tips and ideas on how to keep your lawn vibrant and healthy all summer long? Contact our team today to learn about our services. Be sure to stay connected to our blog for more lawn care articles and resources. 

Golden Retriever laying in

Common Types of Lawn Problems

Most of us don’t mind spending the time, energy, or money it takes to achieve a healthy, well-manicured lawn. After all, it’s a labor of love. And seeing your landscape come to life makes all that extra effort worth it.

What most of us “don’t” like, however, is putting in all those long hours only to have to deal with unexpected, but all-too-common, lawn problems that compromise the look and health of our outdoor living space.

5 Grass Problems & Solutions

We understand the struggle. So, in this article, we’ll break down 5 lawn issues that are common among Minnesota homeowners. Right after, we’ll provide a few tips on how to solve these problems organically. 

Heat Stress

We’re certainly no stranger to extreme temperatures during the summer. In fact, 2022 has already demonstrated that we may be in for a long, dry season. When our lawns experience extended periods of high temperatures, sun exposure, and little-to-no rainfall (i.e., moisture), we can start to see discoloration (similar to the color of straw) on the tips, or the entire blades, of our grass.

Additionally, you may notice footsteps left behind on your grass, long after someone has walked over it.


If your lawn is suffering from heat stress, be sure to avoid having people or pets walk over it. Additionally, don’t leave heavy equipment on it either, as this can compact the soil, making it difficult for air to reach your grass’s root system. 

Be sure to water your grass early in the morning to help avoid high evaporation amid the hot afternoon sun. Watering in the evening can also leave your lawn vulnerable to fungus. 

Be sure to water your grass deeply and infrequently—1x per week and saturate it to 1″ depth. 

Compacted Soil

With the kids out of school, and friends and family coming over for backyard barbecues and other fun outdoor activities, it doesn’t take too long for all that heavy traffic to compact your soil. The result? Your soil won’t receive sufficient air, water, and nutrients to grow properly, leaving it vulnerable to weeds and other lawn issues.

Common symptoms of compacted soil include standing puddles of water, which are a tell-tale sign of drainage issues; heavy soil that is hard to puncture; and discoloration on grass and plants.


Prevention is the best defense against soil compaction, but if you’re trying to fix soil that has already been compacted, aerating your lawn can help.

At Organic Lawns by LUNSETH, we offer a comprehensive core aeration service that relieves soil from compaction and promotes natural plant and soil health. This service is often combined with seeding to help fill in and thicken your existing lawn and should be performed in the fall. 

To learn more about this service, contact us today!


Dandelions, Creeping Charlie, Crabgrass—these are all common types of broadleaf weeds that grow in our home state. Weeds can sprout up anywhere, and as you may have already guessed from the list above, they can result from other lawn issues.


Common herbicides (i.e., weed killers) you’ll find at the store contain harsh chemicals that will damage your grass and may be harmful if exposed to your skin, family members, or pets. Lucky for you, there are many organic solutions to weed control, including liquid iron and allelopathic grass species, which can be sown into your lawn during the fall.

For a pre-emergent weed control solution, check out our recent article on Corn Gluten Meal for tips and information. And as always, if you have questions about how to organically solve weed growth in your lawn, contact us for help!


Lawn grubs are very common in Minnesota, and they tend to prefer the flat, sunny parts of your yard. 

Grubs will often make their home in your soil, feeding on the roots of turf grass. When they mature into adults, they move onto plants and foliage. 

Common signs that you may have grubs feeding on your grass, include:

  • Brown patches of lawn (you’ll notice this during the fall/spring)
  • Increase in moles, skunks, or raccoons
  • Loose pieces of grass that lift off the ground like carpet
  • Dry, sponge-like grass


Think you might have a grub problem? Check out our article, where we list 4 effective, organic solutions to grub control for helpful tips and ideas. 

Lawn Disease

Hot temperatures combined with high humidity levels provide the perfect breeding ground for fungus to develop on your lawn. You may notice irregular patches of turf that appear dead and range from several inches to a few feet in diameter. 

Fungus can appear in different shapes, sizes, and textures, depending on the type of disease or fungi you have. 


It’s important to address the issue early on, before it develops and spreads to other areas of your lawn and plants. Typically, lawn disease can be prevented by regular lawn maintenance and care.

Changing the environment of your landscape, such as increasing and decreasing your lawn watering schedule or waiting for environmental conditions to change, for instance, may also help you prevent disease. 

Compost tea may be another alternative to prevention. According to the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides, compost tea has shown some promise in controlling diseases in plants when applied as root drench—helping against some soil-borne diseases.

Regularly watering and mowing your lawn can help control lawn fungus—just be sure your mower blades are sharp. In addition, make sure your lawn is getting enough air circulation and avoid fertilizing when the temperatures are high.

For more tips and ideas on how to prevent fungus from growing in your lawn, contact our team!

Find More Organic Solutions to Lawn Issues

At Organic Lawns by LUNSETH, we offer both professional and experienced lawn care services to keep your grass in optimal condition. 

We’re always here to answer your questions, help you identify any lawn problems, and provide you with the best, most effective solution, so your lawn looks greener and healthier every year.

Contact us with questions or to get started with your own organic treatment program. 

Homeowner holding dandelion in front of green lawn.

Liquid Iron for Lawns

Now that you’re spending more time outdoors cutting and maintaining your lawn, you may be wondering how your neighbor always seems to achieve that vibrant green color year after year. And why is it they never seem to have any dandelions or moss growing in their yard but you do?

The answer might be simply that they’re treating their grass with liquid iron. 

What’s Liquid Iron?

Good question! Liquid iron for lawns is an iron-based weed control that’s bound to a chelating agent, which disguises the iron as an amino acid. As a result, broadleaf weeds—such as clover, dandelions, and plantains—think it’s food. And while stubborn weeds end up absorbing too much of the iron, your grass takes in just the right amount, stopping when it’s had enough.

What happens next? Your weeds will end up dying off while your lawn receives the valuable micronutrients it needs to give you that healthy green color you’re after. 

Is Liquid Iron Good for Lawns?

When applied correctly, liquid iron can work wonders for your grass. In addition to killing off weeds, without the use of harmful chemicals, it helps mitigate iron deficiencies in your grass, resulting in healthier and greener lawns. 

Other Benefits of Chelated Liquid Iron for Lawns

  • Liquid iron is a non-toxic solution to weed and moss control
  • Through the process of iron oxidation, weeds quickly dry up, turn black, shrivel, and die within hours. 
  • Results can be seen within hours of first application

When to Apply Liquid Iron to Lawn

At Organic Lawns by LUNSETH, we recommend applying liquid iron around the time dandelions, and other common weeds, are starting to bloom. You may also be able to apply liquid iron in the fall, when the temperature is cool, and there is ample moisture. 

Homeowners often ask us how often to apply liquid iron to lawns. For best results, you may need to repeat the application in 3 to 4 weeks after the first spray. 

To address weeds, such as creeping charlie, clover, plantains, and thistle, 3-4 applications may be necessary; however, you don’t want to apply this treatment to the same area more than 4 times a year max.

Liquid iron may take up to 1 hour to dry, so remember to keep your kids and pets off the lawn until your grass is completely dry.

Note: Your lawn may experience some discoloration after the first application. However, unlike weeds, your grass will rebound.

How Do I Apply Liquid Iron?

Moderately spray the liquid iron in your turf while being mindful of desirable plants around the area and other non-target objects. 

If you or your plants do come into contact with the spray, be sure to rinse off with water, as it can be a mild skin irritant. 

A few words of caution:

Correct application of liquid iron for grass is key to its success. Therefore, be sure you follow these essential rules before you get started:

  • If grass has become stressed due to hot temperatures or a drought, avoid application.
  • Don’t apply if rainfall is expected within 3 hours of the time of application.
  • Don’t apply if the temperature is expected to exceed 85° F.
  • Always read instructions carefully before straying
  • Call an expert when in doubt!

Need Organic Help with Your Lawn Care?

As a homeowner, you already have enough on your plate. Why not get professional support for your lawn with some help from Organic Lawns by LUNSETH. We offer professional organic lawn care services, including chelated liquid iron applications! 

We’re always here to answer your questions and offer up our best organic solutions. Contact us with questions or concerns at any time. 

Here’s to a beautiful summer and a lusciously green yard ahead!

Woman pulling wagon filled with flowers for planting in lawn.

Spring Lawn Care Checklist

Don’t let the cold temperatures and light dusting of snow fool you! Spring is here, and it’s making itself known amid the lighter evenings, the blooming of flowers, and the early buzzing of bees. 

We hope you’re excited to welcome spring back into your landscape. Of course, this does mean it’s time to start planning your spring lawn care routine. 

In this article, we’ve compiled a quick checklist to help you get started!

Spring Lawn Care in Minnesota

For many landscapers and gardeners in Minnesota, you don’t have to tell us twice that it’s time to get to work! But starting your tasks too early can disrupt the natural life cycle of our region’s grass growth. Something as simple as raking or mowing your lawn too early, for instance, can damage or cause issues for your turfgrass later. 

The University of Minnesota offers a helpful lawn care calendar that details the right time to begin maintenance on your landscape.

Late April and early May are typically the ideal times to begin any type of lawn care or treatment. This is usually the time you’ll see your lawn begin to green, and it also puts us close to the last frost of the year. 

Preparing Lawn for Spring

Before you begin, make sure your lawn and soil are mostly dry. If it still feels damp, you’ll need to wait a bit longer to avoid pulling out any newly emerging grass or pulling up mud, which will leave you with bare spots.

When it’s ready, you can begin lightly raking your lawn, removing any dead grass or leaves left over from the season prior. This practice also helps lift up the grass blades in preparation for the season. 

Remember to Inspect the Area

Just as most homeowners will take the spring season to inspect their roofing systems for any damage caused by the winter, early spring is also ideal for surveying your lawn for signs of the following:

  • Snow mold
  • Salt damage
  • Bare spots
  • Standing water
  • Rodent damage

It’s important to remember that finding these common lawn issues doesn’t necessarily mean a remedy is always needed. For instance, most snow molds will recover on their own while many bare spots fill in much better once the weather warms up from the sun.

Additionally, evidence of rodents doesn’t always mean it’s time to sound the alarm. In fact, some don’t cause any lawn damage at all. Therefore, it’s a good idea to make note of these issues and keep on eye on them throughout the rest of the season to see if they improve on their own.

This is also a good time to inspect your soil’s nutrient deficiencies. You can conduct a soil test to find out its pH, which will come in handy when you’re ready to start applying fertilizer.

Pre-Emergent Herbicides

In another blog, we discussed the benefits of applying Corn Gluten Meal (CGM) to your lawn as an organic solution to weed control. It’s important to remember that you need to begin this process before the germination process begins. 

For Minnesotans, the recommended time for applying CGM is around mid-April to May (before soil temperatures reaches 50 degrees).

For questions about CGM application, contact us for support!


Around May or early June, you’ll want to begin fertilizing your lawn. Organic fertilizer helps feed and nourish your plants without the use of harmful chemicals. 

Unlike synthetic options that can leach through the soil or run off into our lakes and streams—organic fertilizers are slow-release and contain nutrients in low concentrations, which feed the microbes in your soil which then feed the grass plants. That way nothing goes to waste and nothing is washed away.

For questions about which organic fertilizer is right for your lawn, contact us for help! 


If you’re caring for cool-season grass, you’ll want to wait until your grass blades are about 4 inches in height before the first mow. This allows the grass to develop a deeper root system to prevent droughts and standing water.

Be sure to mow high, leaving at least 3-3.5 inches in height during the spring season and higher during hot/dry weather.


It is often not necessary to water your lawn in April and May because of the cooler nights and moisture present in the soil that is left over from the melting snow. Watering isn’t recommended until you have at least 3 nights in a row where the lowest temperature is above 50 degrees. After that, your lawn should get 1 inch of water per week (combination of rain and watering). 

Best practice: It’s always best to water DEEPLY and INFREQUENTLY throughout the summer (as opposed to daily or every other day). If you notice a heat wave coming in the forecast, water your lawn deeply before it starts to dry out.

Remember, it takes less water to keep a lawn green than it does to bring back a dry lawn

Questions About Spring Lawn Care in Minnesota?

As we welcome the warmer weather, it’s important to be patient with your lawn care routine to ensure you’re giving it time to recover from the winter, as well as the nutrients it needs to thrive.

For questions about caring for your lawn, or if you’re looking for an organic solution, we can help! Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can support your lawn goals this season and next! 

green grass of residential lawn.

Why Use Corn Gluten Meal for Lawns?

Looking for an organic alternative to synthetic chemical herbicides? Meet Corn Gluten Meal (CGM), an effective pre-emergent weed preventer used for controlling crabgrass and other common weeds in your lawn.

Organic Corn Gluten Meal 101

Before we discuss the benefits of applying corn gluten to your lawn, let’s first define what it is and how it works:

CGM is a natural by-product of the corn wet milling process. It contains essential nutrients, such as proteins, to inhibit root growth during seed germination. It is also a natural source of nitrogen (9-0-0) to help keep your lawn green and lush. 

The key to CGM is applying it to your lawn before (not after) the germination process begins and weeds have already taken root. 

Note that as this is an organic lawn solution, it will take some time to continue to prevent the seed from germinating naturally. With each year of application, the percentage of how much it prevents will increase (e.g., 25% the first year, 50% the second year, and 75% the third year).

Each year you use CGM, the better the results. This is why most gardeners notice a significant difference in their lawns after the third year of application. Therefore, patience (and timing) is essential to the success of CGM. 

For more information on how CGM works and helpful tips on how to prep your lawn and successfully apply this pre-emergent herbicide for best results please visit our guide, or contact us.

3 Benefits of Corn Gluten Meal for Lawns

Now that you have some background on this organic solution for weed control, let’s review a few benefits you can expect to see in your landscape.

Natural Weed Control

You probably guessed this one already, but even the most seasoned gardeners struggle with weed growth in their yards. 

CGM stops weeds/seeds before they start. By halting cell division in the roots, which seeds rely on to grow during the germination process, CGM helps you get to the ‘root’ cause of your weed problem. And as we noted, the longer you use CGM on your lawn, the more effective it becomes.

Better for Lawn Care

In addition to ridding your lawn of weed growth, CGM won’t harm the surrounding trees and plant life in the process. Because CGM is a natural solution, you don’t need to worry about it changing your soil’s pH or damaging your grass.

Don’t forget, CGM is high in nitrogen (9%), which means it supplies your soil with the food it needs to thrive.

Non-Toxic = No Worries

Aside from the fact that synthetic chemical herbicides cause damage to our soil, grass, and surrounding vegetation, they are also health hazards to our kids and pets. Because CGM is natural, you don’t need to worry about your family coming into contact with toxic chemicals.

Though CGM isn’t harmful, it’s recommended you try to keep ‘Fido’ away from CGM until you water it for the first time. Though CGM is an ingredient in some pet foods, it can give your pets a tummy ache if they eat too much of it in its raw form. Watering it in will reduce or eliminate your pet’s ability to consume it.

Ready for Organic Weed Control?

CGM might just be what you need! Of course, in order for it to be successful, timing and proper application is essential. That’s where we can help!

At Organic Lawns by Lunseth, we have years of experience in carefully and effectively applying OMRI-certified corn gluten to lawns and achieving impressive results that protect your lawn and the environment. 

If you’d like to get started, or if you have more questions about this organic method, we encourage you to contact us today!