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Home & Garden Show Recap

Common questions at the 2024 Minneapolis Home & Garden Show

From Wednesday the 21st to Sunday the 25th, our team housed a booth for the annual Minneapolis Home & Garden Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center. This was a fun way for us to step out of our offices and interact with customers and partners for some outreach, education, and joking around. These interactions were valuable as we’re able to identify the needs of our local customer base and help point them in the most favorable direction. We discussed with hundreds of showgoers about Twin City Seed, species selection, and lawn management. Some questions we received were unique, such as, “Who is handing out those free backscratchers?” Other questions we received were quite common and so we thought it may be beneficial to layout our thoughts on the most common questions of the show.

Do you install lawns or just sell the seed?

As much as we enjoy getting our hands dirty and breaking a sweat, we do not do lawn installations. However, we can supply the seed and other installation products for you or your lawn care managers. If you are looking for a lawn care company who uses our top-notch seed in your area, contact us and we can make recommendations.

What can I do about dog traffic and dog spots?

We love our pooches here at Twin City Seed. Whether it’s fetch, rough-housing, zoomies, or that thing where the dog spins at high-speeds chasing its tail, dogs can tear up the yard contributing to bare spots and muddy paws. When it comes to dog traffic, tall fescues are our best bet. They can handle quite the pounding, but when divots or digging takes place, it will not fill into the bare spots as quickly as other grass species, such as Kentucky bluegrass. For this reason, we tend to recommend a tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass mixture for reliable wear tolerance and self-repair qualities. We are beginning to see dog parks take advantage of these types of mixtures. Twin City Seed house mixtures that fit this description are our Blue Resilience, Tuff Turf, and Resilience IITM products.

When it comes to dog spots, there’s no good solution from a turfgrass angle. Following the dogs around the yard with a hose and immediately drenching the areas they peed on can work but is not ideal. Dog supplements aimed at neutralizing dog urine generally do not work and lack peer-reviewed scientific evidence of their success. Training the dogs to not potty on the lawn, but instead use a back corner, mulch or rock bed is a possible way out.

How high does a bee lawn grow?

Bee lawns are very adaptable. The grasses and forbs in our bee lawn mixtures can handle a variety of mowing heights or be utilized as a “no-mow” stand. If mown, we recommend mowing infrequently at a height of 3 inches or higher to maintain density and favor blooms. Mowing frequency can vary from once per week to once per year, depending on your goals and abilities. We recommend at least one mowing event in the fall, for “no-mow” bee lawns. When left unmown, some of the plant species in a bee lawn can get up to 18 inches high.

Self-heal blooms peeking through a combination of grasses in a no-mow bee lawn in the Twin Cities.

Can I overseed a bee lawn mix into my existing lawn, and if so, will it completely take over?

Yes, and probably not. The bee lawn seed will intermix with your current lawn rather than take it over. The plant species in the mix are generally not aggressive.

 

When I seed, do I need “black dirt”?

If black dirt is desirable, we recommend tilling or mixing it up with your existing soil before seeding to help dilute moisture-layering issues. Black dirt is very high in organic matter which helps hold onto water. Putting down a layer of black dirt when constructing a lawn will help the surface stay moist for good turfgrass seed germination and seedling growth. This layer, however, can become an issue in the future, especially during drought periods. Turfgrass roots will remain where water is available. Lawns with a black dirt layer tend to hold moisture near the surface, and so the roots hangout near the surface. This makes them prone to drought stress, as they never needed to grow deeper for water. A lack of surface water infiltration caused by black dirt layers can also contribute to dry spots. Generally, maintaining moist surfaces during germination and establishment periods removes the need for black dirt and can promote healthy root systems in the long run.

 

What grass works best for grubs?

There are no grub resistant turfgrasses, however some may recover or tolerate grub feeding better than others. Tall fescue specifically may be one to try in areas where grub damage has occurred historically. Its ability to withstand drought MIGHT help it tolerate the loss of roots from grub feeding. This is not to say it is always going to be effective, but it’s worth a shot. Incorporating more than one grass species or forbs in the lawn may also help with stressors in the long run. Creeping thyme has been found to be untouched in bee lawns challenged by hungry grubs. Management practices, such as watering deep and infrequent, and promoting growth with proper mowing and fertilization can help make any grass more drought tolerant and recover from damage quicker. The University of Minnesota has some great resources regarding grub management.

Creeping thyme bunches actively growing in a bee lawn damaged by continuous grub feeding in the Twin Cities.
We’d like to thank everyone who stopped by our booth and tolerated our poor humor.

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