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Lawn care big business as spring unfolds

May is just around the corner. And though April Showers Bring May Flowers as the old saying says, one of those flowers is the unsightly dandelion, a scourge to yard-owners everywhere.

Thats why two West Fargo businesses are tackling the problem, along with other yard work, for area residents before those May flowers bloom.

You have to get on top of it right away, Lawn Improvements Kevin Muffenbeier said last week. There are already weeds out there. So were getting set to spray as soon as we can. Otherwise it gets ugly in a real hurry.

While April is often set aside for de-thatching/power raking and aerating by these businesses, Muffenbeier and Johnson Pest Controls Jeremy Johnson both said they will start spraying their customers lawns with fertilizer and weed control as soon as the April rains dry up, trying to get yards ready for the 2006 growing season.

The rain weve had the last couple of days is really going to green things up, and the stuff (fertilizer) that was put down will get used up very quickly, so its important to get another layer down to keep things green.

The first step to a healthy lawn, however, is aerating, both men said. The process, which takes plugs out of the lawn, allows oxygen a clear path to the roots, which gets things off on the right foot for spring yards. Also, cleaning out the layer of thatch, or dead grass at the base of the lawn, helps increase the odds of a nice yard later in the spring.

If you dont get that layer off, you can just suffocate your yard, Johnson said. And with the gumbo soil we have, that clay at the bottom can just turn into concrete. So you have to aerate to give water a clear path to those roots.

Muffenbeier said its important for homeowners with new yards to aerate every year for the first five years they have their sod. Thats something thats keeping him busy throughout the early part of the spring.

With all of the new homes in Eagle Run, a lot of them have put down sod because they want that green yard right away, he said. You have to keep that aerated if you want it to be in good shape down the road. So weve had plenty of work down in that area.

One thing Johnson said hes noticed is that homeowners are paying more attention to their lawns, trying to keep weeds and unwanted guests, such as voles and insects, out of their yard.

Theyre trying to keep on top of it right away. They know that if there are weeds there, the lawn isnt healthy, so theyre trying to do something about it. You dont see that in some other communities. But West Fargo people take a lot of pride in their yards, he said.

But with busy schedules, more and more homeowners are looking for someone to help them keep up with all of that yard work.

They want a nice lawn but they dont necessarily have a lot of time to spend on it, so theyre calling someone to help out. Were even seeing that with mowing services. So thats where we come in to help them keep it green and weed-free, Muffenbeier said.

Both men said business will begin to switch its concentration from aerating and raking to spraying here in the next couple weeks. Both businesses have packages available for homeowners who want more than one application throughout the summer.

For more information, contact Johnson Pest Control at (701) 282-8490, or call Lawn Improvement at (701) 281-3042 today.