When Should My Annuals be installed?

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When Should my Annuals  be installed?

After the long winter and the warm spring days approaching, we all want green grass and colorful flowers!  With the mid-west spring weather we have it can be 80 degrees one day and snowing the next! So lets lay out a plan on when you should put in the annuals to have the best chance that they will do well and make your property look the best!

Spring AnnualsWith some winters the fall pansies will carry over and you might not need to do anything.  However, winters like the past one, new pansies will need to be planted.  Normally the first week of March is the earliest that suppliers will get pansies in.  Pansies will do well in the cool temperatures of the spring. In some cases we have planted tulip bulbs in late February and they have come up and bloomed for Spring color.




Summer Annuals
Summer annuals normally are ready to go in the ground around the first to second week of May. Summer annuals are installed with fertilizer, and a snap shot (a pre-emergent) and a little pine bark mulch.  There are so many different varieties of annuals, normally the more sun the better colors you can get.  In past years inpatients were the flower of choice for shady locations, but have had issues with diseases such as powdery mildew and root rot.  Last year was one of those years that they we just stunted and just never really took off, even with fertilizer! After the annuals have been in the ground and rooted another shot of liquid fertilizer is applied.  Summer annuals can last into October, but the first freeze or heavy frost will knock them out.







Fall Annuals


Fall annuals can be very tricky!  Every Fall we will get at least one phone call that someone walked by a property and was upset when we removed great looking summer flowers (that have grown all summer and are big and full) and are just throwing them away.  With the change in temperatures in the fall those summer plants will not last through the fall season.


Mums – Mums are normally planted 2nd week of September before they start to bloom.  They are considered the welcome to fall flower and we all have seen them in a fall arrangement or fall decoration.  Mums will usually last for about three weeks.



Pansies – Again for normal seasons we would look to plant these in late September to give the summer annuals there full life. with a mild winter pansies will bloom all fall, and on warm days in winter they have the potential as well to bloom. We normally put mixed color ones in but can do a single color such as yellow, purple, or light blue.


Fall Bulbs


In late November the fall pansies will need to be removed for the spring tulip bulbs to be planted.  With putting the bulbs in late fall it allows them to have their ‘cooling off period” so that as soon as the soil temperature rise back up in the spring they will start to come up.  In a normal spring tulips will bloom the last week of April to the first week of May.  While tulips look nice while they bloom, they are short lived.  The bloom can last from a few days to a week and then you are back to just a stem. There can be a couple of weeks gap between when Summer annuals and tulips are done.


When should I mulch? Spring? Fall? Or Both?

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In Kansas City every spring we mulch our beds with a “top dress”.
 The question we have been asked, Why? or When? Should I mulch in the spring only? or should I do it two times and do it in the fall also?


Lets start with the first question, Why?
Nothing looks better than a freshly mulched property.   The dark mulch really makes everything pop.  It will also help keep the weeds down with a 2-3 inch layer of mulch.

With the sun hitting the mulch and with rain and irrigation mulch does fade out, breaks down and washes away causing just mud for some landscape beds come spring time.


By mid summer the color will fade and you have three options:  one, to top dress again; two, spray dye to bring back color (we have done this before with mix reviews) or three, just leave it.  There are pros and cons to each.  Budget and appearance are the major ones.  Some years the initial mulching lasts longer than others.


We would highly suggest definitely mulching in the spring, as we said before it gives you fresh color and keeps the weeds down.


After years of mulch build up, you will need to look at scrapping the mulch and compost (soil from the mulch breaking down) off.  When you do this it will lower the levels back below the walks and down off the building.  After this is done you would be a complete new mulching (adding 2 inches of mulch).


Give us a call for a FREE evaluation and prices of your mulching needs!

What Does My Pre-emergent Do?

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The number one complaint we receive in the spring is that the pre-emergent didn’t work and they have dandelions in bloom or they have seen a few weeds in the yard.  Well the good news is that the pre-emergent didn’t fail as it only prevents crabgrass and goose grass and other “grassy weeds”.   Brummel Lawn applies your pre-emergent in two applications or at a spilt rate.  We have found that by putting down the pre-emergent at a spilt rate you get better results and the pre-emergent last all summer long, until seeding season.  Each round of pre-emergent, we apply the correct rate of fertilizer.  In the early spring apply enough to wake the grass up and the 2nd application to keep the grass going all summer long.

As far as dandelions and other weeds, we have exciting news!  Normally we have to wait for the soil temperatures to come up before we can spray to kill weeds when they are actively growing.  After extensive research by a Turf Horticulturist, this year we are trying a new product that we are able to spray starting the first time we come to your home.  Along with that product we are doing a liquid pre-emergent and fertilizer.  Once the weeds start to actively grow we will also add our normal weed killer to the mix.  So don’t worry on this first round if you don’t see the fertilizer beads like normal! 

Another question or concern is that “I wanted to seed some areas but you put down my pre-emergent!” Don’t worry if you are going to seed areas or have us seed them, we or you are able to apply fescue seed with the pre-emergent that we apply. The key is that you must rake or drill seed to ensure that you have great soil to seed contact.  You won’t have to worry about crabgrass as well, because with the spilt application we will be putting it down again to cover those areas that have been seeded.

With us applying the first round before irrigation systems are on, don’t worry about it getting watered in.  With the spring rains or even the snow it will work the pre-emergent into the ground, now that we are doing a liquid fertilizer the grass will take it up right away though the blades of the grass vs needing the water to take it up though the roots.    


Plant Care Instructions

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We have prepared the following information to enable you to get the most enjoyment from your new landscaping and lawn. The Initial installation will be enhanced over time by proper care and maintenance, adding to the overall value of you home.

The following are simple maintenance guidelines for you to use:

Plant Material:

Watering is the primary concern for newly installed plant material. The amount of water is critical. It is possible to over water plants and in fact can be detrimental to their condition. The Key to watering trees and shrubs is to keep the root ball and surrounding soil moist but not soggy or saturated. The way to accomplish this is to apply water slowly so the moisture soaks in rather than running off the surface.

The following is a guide for the first six to eight (6-8) weeks after installation:

Trees – 1 or 2 times weekly
Shrubs-2 or 3 times weekly

SUMMER (June-September)
Trees- Once every 2 or 3 days
Shrubs-Every other day (daily in very hot and/or dry conditions)

If watering is being accomplished by use of an automatic irrigation system, be extremely careful not to over water. Run times on the shrub zones should be 5-10 minutes per occurrence for spray heads or 30-49 minutes for drip systems. Frequency should be approximately the same as hand watering.

Each natural rainfall will replace at least one occurrence of watering sometimes more depending upon the length and volume of the rainstorm. Keep in mind the only sure way to know when and how much water to apply is to regularly check the soil around the plant material.

Once the material has become established for a few months, the frequency of watering can be gradually reduced until it is only necessary during very hot and/or dry conditions. This is typically the case during the second year after installation.

Weeding of the bed areas is important not only from an aesthetic standpoint but also to avoid inundation and damage to the plant material. Weeds take valuable nutrients and moisture from the soil, which is needed by the shrubs. Weeds and grass in mulched areas can be controlled by hand pulling or by careful use of a “weed killer” type of chemical spray such as Round-up. This must be done per the manufacturer’s label directions.

Pruning During the first year after installation most plant material will only need to be pruned as necessary to remove damaged limbs or dead wood. Pruning for the purpose of shaping and size control normally starts during the second year of growth.

Fertilization New plant material is fertilized at the time of installation. Fertilizer should be applied again approximately three (3) months later or the next spring as the case may be. Thereafter, plant material should be fed once or twice annually depending on the type of fertilizer used. Follow all manufacturers’ recommendations.

Insect and Disease Control this is an important and often overlooked aspect of plant maintenance. In most cases the Homeowner should refer the diagnosis and treatment of these problems to a licensed professional.

Perennial flowers late in the fall the dead foliage of the perennials should be cut off just above ground level in order to promote new growth in the spring. This is the natural cycle of these plants. It does not mean that they have died. A general rule to follow is whatever dies back- cut back. And whatever stays green leave.


WATER! WATER! WATER! In warm or dry weather conditions sod must be soaked daily for at least the first two (2) weeks after installation. It is difficult to over water sod initially, although excessive moisture can cause problems with other plant material if it is allowed to persist. If you see water from the lawn running down your driveway or the street, it normally means it is time to move your sprinkler.

As a general rule: One Hour of Watering Twice a Day (Total of 2 hours) for Each Sprinkler Location is a good target. It is best not to water during the heat of the day, but often this is unavoidable with new sod. The key is to keep sod damp at all times. Signs indicating trouble are a “blue haze” color to the grass or dry “crunchy” footprints that do not spring back up after the sod has been stepped on.



816-695-6803 or 816-525-8333



The Goal Of Watering New Grass Seed

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All seeds require moisture and a certain temperature range before they begin to germinate. Once the germination process has begun, if conditions change, the seed or new sprout is vulnerable and can die.

If the seed or sprout dries out, it dies out. Your mission then, is to provide adequate moisture at all times. The pre-sprout phase is most critical. Your commitment to watering new grass seed must stay strong. The germination time for grass seed ranges from 5 to 30 days depending on the variety. It can be even longer than this in cooler temperatures.

This is how long it will take to actually see the grass growing. Until this point, the seed, or the soil and mulch in contact with the seed, must stay moist. It doesn’t need to be soggy or swimming, but moist.

Once the new grass is visible, the roots are also growing down into the soil. This happens quite quickly. As soil moisture below ground is more accessible to the roots, the plant is not so vulnerable now. However, don’t reduce the amount of watering on new grass seeds yet.

Seeds will not sprout all at the same time. Seeds will be buried at different depths, absorb water differently, or be of different quality or maturity. Many seed mixtures are blends that will have different characteristics affecting their development. It is important to keep the surface level of soil constantly moist until all seeds have germinated.

Until the planted area is densely showing green growth, don’t allow it to dry out. The percentage of seed germination is in your control, though people often blame a thin lawn on the “lousy seed that didn’t come up” It is possible to increase the percentage of germinating seeds.

Existing Lawn Being Over-seeded

Normally a lawn should be watered deeply but infrequently. Change this when you are watering for new grass seed. Now you must water every day. Set automatic timers for about 5 to 10 minutes early in the morning and again at mid-day. Observe and adjust this time. Sprinklers have a broad range of flow in gallons per minute and you must use your judgment here.

Watering done by hand or hose-end sprinklers must be consistently and evenly applied. It should provide approximately the same amount of moisture throughout, but less in shady areas.

Twice daily watering is essential until the new grass is up, then after one more week, reduce to once per day. Adjust this pattern according to season and temperature demands.

Bare Lawn Areas Being Filled In

If there are areas of substantial size or number, follow the same instructions as above. For smaller amounts or areas, if hand watering is practical, leave the lawn on its normal irrigation schedule. Supplement the bare areas twice daily, or as needed, to keep the new seed moist.


Weather & Turf Factors

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Extreme heat and humidity have persisted in the summer of 2010. The wet conditions this spring coupled with the heat stress have combined for peak turf loss conditions. The cold spring and wet conditions (33” April through July ’10) was not conducive to healthy deep root development. The cool season grasses had to survive on reserves in the root system that ran out in August. In addition, high humidity has created constant high fungal disease pressure.

Dew points, temperatures, wind speed, and soil temperature are the key climactic factors which measure the stress associated with cool season grasses ability to perform its basic physiological functions, (respiration, photosynthesis, evapotranspiration). A brief summary of these factors, their critical values, and their occurrence follows for the period of June through Aug 31th.

Days with highs of 90 or above 42
Days with a low temperature above 70 50
Days with a average dew point above 70 51
Days with an average wind speed of 10 mph or less 71
Days in which soil temperatures have been above 86 72

When all five of these factors occur simultaneously at their critical values (highs & lows above 90 & 70 respectively, dew points above 70, soil temps above 86, and wind speed below 10), cool season grasses are in a state of full blown decline. There is no recover for that day. The plant can no longer perform its basic functions normally. Metabolic activity is sustained solely at the expense of the root system. When this occurs for extended periods of time little can be done to alleviate the issue.

Total days in which all five of these factors occurred simultaneously over the last 20 years, (i.e.# of severe root decline days)

Year 90’ 91′ 92′ 93′ 94′ 95′ 96′ 97′ 98′ 99′
# of days 5 8 1 3 2 14 5 10 12 17*
Year 00′ 01′ 02′ 03′ 04′ 05′ 06′ 07′ 08′ 09′
# of days 9 16 13 9 5 7 11 8 5 6

*1999 had the most consecutive days with 13

In 2010 this has happened 36 days.
We felt with the difficulties that your lawn saw this summer, this information would make you better informed. Now that fall is here Brummel Lawn has placed a fertilizer down on your lawn that will help the plant with developing a better root system and providing the nutrition that the plant will need. We also sprayed the weeds that may have invaded your lawn (unless there was fresh seed on the ground which we encourage seeding or aerating) when the turf couldn’t fight them off. Brummel Lawn is committed to 100% satisfaction, please call us with any questions or concerns you may have, and we look forward to continue to serve your lawn needs.

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