Getting the Best of Broadleaf Weeds

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Dandelion, chickwee, ground ivy, henbit, knotweed, plantain, thistle..all sorts of broadleaf weeds will soon be making an appearance. It would be great if we could eliminate these pests once and for all. The thing is, they create a lot of seeds, so complete elimination isn't possible.

Just one dandelion seed can hold over 200 seeds, which are capable of traveling very long distances by wind, water, on animals and on the bottoms of our shoes. New weed seeds are constantly finding their way into the soil on your property, and they can remain in the soil for years until they get enough sun and water to germinate.


Proper lawn maintenance encourages thicker, healthier grass, and that's the best way to prevent broadleaf weeds. The denser your lawn, the less room these weeds will have to grow. Three keys to crowding out broadleaf weeds are:

  • Removing no more than 1/3 of the grass blade each time you mow This keeps the soil shaded to discourage germination of weed seeds.
  • Making sure your lawn gets from 1" to 1.5" of water per week from rainfall or sprinkling.
  • Fertilizing regularly to expand your lawn's root system for more vigorous growth.


Whenever broadleaf weeds pop up, they can be spot treated with a post-emergent herbicide. Keep in mind that it can take up to three weeks for treated weeds to die off, and repeat applications may be necessary if new weeds appear throughout the season. Also, if your lawn has been seeded, post-emergent herbicides shouldn't be used until the new grass has been mowed at least three times.

Yes. broadleaf weeds are a nuisance, but they can be managed. With the right lawn care practices, post-emergent herbicides and a little patience, they won't have nearly as much of an impact on your lawn.

Outdoor Fireplaces Are a Hot Item!

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One of the biggest trends in landscape improvements is the outdoor fireplace, which makes it possible to enjoy your outdoor living space all year-round. If you've been thinking about adding a fireplace to your landscape, you have some decisions to make. For example:

  1. Do you want gas-burning or wood-burning? Wood-burning fireplaces provide a more authentic look and feel with crackling sounds and the smell of smoke. Gas-burning fireplaces don't create any smoke and are easily turned on and off
  2. Do you want to include a grill for barbecuing? What about storage space for wood or shelves to hold other items?
  3. What construction materials do you want to use? Brick, stone, concrete...a combination of all three? How about adding small rocks or tiles for a unique finishing touch?
  4. Where will your fireplace be located? You'll want to keep it as far away as possible from your home, plants and any other structures that could burn. Also, be sure that there is at least 3' of clearance between seating areas and the fireplace (for both safety and comfort).

Carefully planned and professionally installed, an outdoor fireplace is sure to become a popular "hot spot on your property. Enjoy!

Treat Yourself to a Shady Escape

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When it comes to the sun, it's definitely possible to get too much of a good thing. Without enough shade in your yard, the amount of time you get to spend enjoying your outdoor living space is going to be limited.


One obvious way to ring shade to your yard is to plant trees, such as oaks and maples, which will provide ample shade once they've had a chance to grow. Of course, that's not going to take care of your problem right away.

If you're looking for a quick fix, a table/umbrella combination or an awning can be added to your existing patio or deck. Or, you might even consider installing a permanent wooden gazebo if you have the available space in your yard.

For a more natural-looking shade source that blends in better with your landscape, a vine-covered trellis or pergola makes an excellent choice. Installed over patio or seating area, this wooden latticework structure will provide beautiful shade and shelter once the vines get established.

The great thing about vines is that they can flourish in very narrow spaces. Plus, they can grow in only half a season, rather than the many years it takes for a tree to reach full size. There are plenty of vines to choose from. It's simply a matter of matching the plant to your needs, tastes and growing conditions. Morning glory, grapes, hardy kiwi, rose, clematis and wisteria are all good to work with.

No matter what type of shade source you choose, you'll be enhancing the looks, functionality and value of your landscape. It's definitely an investment worth making