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Tips for your yard

Water-Smart Landscaping:
  • Use Water Wisely  - to absorb rain and runoff
  • Build Good Soil   - to help roots grow and rain soak in
  • Select Proper Plants  - to thrive in your yard's conditions


1. Raise the Mow Height to 3"+ to encourage deeper rooting of turf grass.

2. Keep your mower blade(s) SHARP for clean cuts (to reduce grass blade tearing/excessive moisture loss).  Use a mulching blade/don't bag the clippings (leave the fine clippings lay on the lawn).

3. Reduce Soil Compaction:

Test for shallow soil compaction with a sturdy wire (e.g. utility locate flag). If you can't push the sturdy wire into the lawn's topsoil more than a 3" depth, you probably have compacted soils (make sure you're not just hitting rocks or tree roots).  

Core-plug aeration can help alleviate compaction up to 3" depth.  Best time to aerate is in the fall (September).

4. Build Soil Health:

Check out your Soil by taking soil samples.

Send Soil Samples into a Soils Lab for Analysis/Recommendations:

U of M Soil Testing Lab (includes sampling instructions): 

Goal for Organic Matter Content % is from 5-10%
For help in interpreting your results, send us an email (and include your results) at bushlake@bushlakeikes.org
If your soil needs more Organic Matter, a good local source is The Mulch Store (have bulk or bagged Well-aged Leaf Compost).  The Mulch Store's Burnsville Bulk Materials Yard is west of I-35W & Cliff Road, near the landfill. 1 cubic yard of compost is $17 from The Mulch Store.
Well-aged Compost can be top-dressed onto your existing lawn at a 1/8"-1/4" depth in the fall.  For new/renovated lawn projects, compost can be incorporated into the soil prior to seeding.

5. Consider Alternative Lawn Plants:

Fine-Fescue Grass Mix (aka "No-Mow Mix")

6.  Harvest Rooftop Rainwater:

Downspout Diverter (Fiskars brand)

High-Flow Spigot (RainReserve brand)

Rain Barrels (Recycle Minnesota Annual Sale - $74 each

Rain Barrels (Menards - RTS Flat Back - often goes on sale in June)

Rain Barrels (Craigslist search)


Water-Smart Landscaping Tips Sheet (2-page pdf) 

Questions?  Email Gregg at bushlake@bushlakeikes.org



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