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Common Plant Diseases and How to Fix Them

Common Plant Diseases and How to Fix Them

It’s disconcerting to walk outside to look at your plants and shrubs and see their leaves looking spotty or see entire tree branches dying off. When plant disease strikes, it’s not easy to stop it unless it’s caught early through proactive practices like routine trimming and inspections.

In central Iowa, there are many types of common plant diseases that we see throughout the areas of Des Moines, West Des Moines, and Ankeny. Here are some of those diseases and what can be done to prevent them from overtaking your lawn and landscaping.


Oak Wilt Signs Include Leaf Discoloration, Wilt, & Death

Oak wilt spreads in spring and can kill an oak within a few weeks, especially red oaks. The first signs of this disease are wilted leaves and leaves falling from the tree. This disease is caused by sap-feeding beetles who pick it up from one oak and take it to another, and it can also spread underground from root systems intertwining.

The best way to try to prevent oak wilt is to not cut any part of the tree during its growing season, which is typically from April to August.


Pine Needles Wilting & Browning May Indicate Pine Wilt

Pine wilt is a common disease in central Iowa areas like West Des Moines.

If you notice needles on your pine trees starting to wilt and turn brown, then that’s a good indicator that your pines may have caught pine wilt. Pine wilt acts quickly, with rapid wilting and death of the tree. The disease is spread by beetles that bore under the bark of infected trees...

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Why You Should Shop at a Local Garden Center

Why You Should Shop at a Local Garden Center

There are many options for homeowners looking for gardening supplies, seeds, plants, and soil. Large box stores have taken over a huge portion of the market, which has hurt local businesses and left many home gardeners disappointed with wilted plants and mass-produced products.

There are many solid reasons why you should shop at a local garden center, including knowledgeable staff, locally grown plants, and a larger selection of native plants. The added bonus is that by patronizing a local garden center, you are supporting a locally owned and operated business.


Knowledgeable Garden Center Staff Is Ready for Questions & to Offer Advice

One primary difference between big box stores and local garden centers is the staff. Many of the big corporate chains have employees who work in multiple departments, or simply fill whatever positions are available. Sure, you may find a great employee with real gardening knowledge at a national chain, but nothing compares to a dedicated local garden center staff member.

For example, the staff at our Des Moines area garden center know the region, climate, and local growing conditions and have experience with planting and growing. We are available for questions and actually love what we do! You simply can’t find that level of service at a chain. Come pay us a visit!

Whether it’s advice regarding what will grow best in your beds, how large a plant will mature to, and what type of pruning is best—we...

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What Happens to Your Lawn Mower Without Regular Service

What Happens to Your Lawn Mower Without Regular Service

All machines need regular maintenance to function properly--and your mower is no exception! Without regular service, your mower can sustain damage and eventually break down.

It’s important to have your mower serviced annually. Our Sharp-N-Lube service offers homeowners a painless way to keep their mowers running smooth and performing well.


Mowers Suffer Engine Damage Without Regular Service

Without regular service, your mower will suffer just like a neglected car. Most manufacturers recommend an oil change at the beginning of every growing season. If left unchanged, oil breaks down and fails to provide proper lubrication, leading to damage and even failure. Dirt and debris can appear inside the oil itself, which can damage internal parts.

An oil change will clear out the used oil and replace it, offering better lubrication and protection.

It’s also recommended to avoid fuel with ethanol because it can gum up your mower’s carburetor. Search for gas stations that sell ethanol free fuel. A good starting point is at a marina or other locations where boats fuel up. You can also use an additive that dissolves ethanol if you can’t find any gas without it.


Mower Blades Need Regular Sharpening to Cut Properly & Avoid Lawn Disease

This lawn mower has received our services in Ankeny.

When mower blades become dull, they won’t cut properly. Instead, they will tear the grass blades. A rough cut will cause your lawn to be susceptible to plant disease, which can spread...

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Organic Fertilizer vs. Chemical Fertilizer

Organic Fertilizer vs. Chemical Fertilizer

Regular fertilizer service is an important way to keep your lawn well fed and strong enough to resist weeds and plant disease. Recently, many homeowners have become concerned with how fertilizer can affect the environment and have sought out more natural ways to feed their lawns.

There is a distinct difference between organic fertilizer vs. chemical fertilizer, including how it performs and how it is delivered to your lawn. Our experts know the ins and outs of the process and the products that are available and can answer any questions you may have.


Main Ingredients of Fertilizer Include Phosphorus, Nitrogen, & Potassium

Fertilizer in a lawn in Des Moines, IA.

Most fertilizer contains three main ingredients: phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. They are often mixed to different ratios for the time of year and type of grass. For example, starter fertilizer is often high in nitrogen to help promote a healthy root system.

Here is a quick breakdown of the main ingredients:

  • Phosphorus - All plants need phosphorus to produce flowers and fruit. Adequate amounts of phosphorus also aid in root development.
  • Nitrogen - Helps plants to grow quickly and develop seeds for reproduction.
  • Potassium - Used to strengthen plants and encourage blooming.
  • Other Ingredients - Other ingredients can include calcium, magnesium, and sulfur, with small amounts of iron, copper, manganese, boron, molybdenum, chlorine, zinc, and nickel.

Difference Between Chemical Fertilizer & Organic Fertilizer

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The Dangers of Letting Mosquitoes, Ticks, & Fleas Stay in Your Yard

The Dangers of Letting Mosquitoes, Ticks, & Fleas Stay in Your Yard

Caring for your lawn takes a lot of time and maintenance. From mowing and mulching to trimming and edging, something always needs to be done. One of the last things homeowners think about is the pests that slowly but surely enter lawns.

Mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas are some of the most common lawn pests that can be found on your property, and they pose some of the biggest threats to you, your family, and your domestic animals.


Lawn Pests & The Diseases They Can Cause

Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are common threats that pack a big punch in the disease department. One bite from any of them can transmit a number of diseases to both humans and animals.

Fleas on a dog's skin can cause other issues like diseases in West Des Moines.

Fleas

During early fall, fleas are the most active in the Des Moines region of Iowa. Flea infestations in your yard are just a stone's throw away from being a flea infestation in your home. The most common diseases transmitted directly from fleas to people include:

  • Tularemia
  • Bubonic Plague
  • Murine Typhus
  • Allergies (from flea saliva)

Ticks

The American Dog tick, Lone Star tick, and Deer tick (Blacklegged tick) are the most common species of ticks found in IA. They are most active between April and September and prefer areas that are heavily woody, bushy, or contain tall grassy areas.

Ticks are carriers of a large list of diseases. If you ever find a tick on your skin or notice a tick bite, make sure to identify the tick and monitor for signs and symptoms of a...

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Three Things You Need to Have an Amazing Outdoor Space

Three Things You Need to Have an Amazing Outdoor Space

Creating an outdoor space that is functional, attractive—and most importantly amazing—takes planning and experience. At A+ Lawn & Landscape, we specialize in creating fantastic hardscape additions to homes that bring family and friends together to soak up the natural beauty of our region.

But there are some important considerations for homeowners who want something beyond the norm when it comes to creating a beautiful outdoor living area.

Here are the three things you need to have to make a great outdoor space:


Custom Patios with Concrete Pavers Create Tailored Looks and Extend Outdoor Living Space

A custom patio in West Des Moines, IA.

A custom patio built with interlocking concrete pavers makes a statement. The colors and shapes of each paver can be arranged to create tailored designs that lend themselves to your personal style and your home’s current design. The sturdy construction creates a level surface to support grills, fire pits, and quality seating—a true extension of your home and outdoor living space!

Proper construction of a custom patio takes experience and a detail-oriented crew. Many DIYers find flaws after the fact that our contractor team could have prevented. Appropriate leveling and compacting are required before pavers can be placed using precise measurements. When done correctly, the outdoor space will offer a peaceful retreat from the norm and a new place to unwind in style.


Fire Pits Provide Relaxation with Family & Friends

Another feature of an ...

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Mistakes You Can Make When Maintaining Your Landscaping

Mistakes You Can Make When Maintaining Your Landscaping

For the untrained landscaper, simple mistakes can be made when maintaining your current landscaping aesthetic. Most mistakes can be found in the way plants are cared for on your property, your ground covering for your landscaping beds, and irregular fertilization and weed control.

Unfortunately, many homeowners are unaware of the proper techniques used to maintain a healthy and thriving yard. Avoid making these mistakes when you are caring for your landscaping or consider hiring a professional, such as A+ Lawn & Landscape, to handle your grounds upkeep for you in and around Des Moines, West Des Moines, and Ankeny.


Mistake #1: Improper Pruning/Trimming

Improperly trimmed plants in West Des Moines look unruly.

Plant health is extremely important, however, it is very fragile. Trimming or pruning at the wrong time or in the wrong way can result in a plant that is quickly and easily susceptible to disease, insect infestation, and decay. 

Failing to Prune a Flowering Shrub

Failing to prune flowering shrubs or trees at the right time can cause you to remove the buds that produce the blooms. Pruning a spring flowering shrub or tree should be done immediately following the bloom, however, summer flower and fruit-bearing plants and trees should be pruned in early fall.

Topping and Lion's Tailing

Chopping off the top of the plant (topping) or removing too many lower branches (Lion's tailing) create an aesthetically unpleasing look while also leaving the tree or shrub vulnerable with a weakened branch ...

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3 Reasons Watering Your Lawn with an Irrigation System is Essential

3 Reasons Watering Your Lawn with an Irrigation System is Essential

Does your lawn look slightly grayish or dull? If that’s the case, then it needs more water and that’s its way of showing it. Even if a lawn is well-fertilized, mowed properly, and treated for pests, there are still other factors that can affect the health of your grass.

One of these factors is how your lawn is watered. By installing a proper irrigation system, you can create a better quality lawn while saving money on your water bill. Here are three reasons why having a proper irrigation system in place is essential.


#1: Conserve Water and Save on Your Water Bill

Many homeowners are overwatering their lawns and don’t even know it. By using too much water, you can end up wasting it and spending more on your water bill.

An average lawn only needs around one inch of water a week, according to The Lawn Institute.

Water requirements do vary by grass type and season, as well as wind and shade factors. Another factor when watering a lawn is timing. It’s considered best to not try to water a lawn in the heat of the day, as water will evaporate much more quickly at that point. Watering in the morning is best as it’s cooler.

When you have a proper irrigation system installed by certified contractors like A+ Lawn & Landscape, you can feel safe knowing that your lawn is getting the right amount of water it needs. We take into account all variables when we design your irrigation system.


#2: Avoid Uneven Growth & Standing Water

Our newest irrigation client in Des Moines has seen a vast improvement with their lawn.

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What Services Must Be Done to Ensure Your Lawn Succeeds in 2019

What Services Must Be Done to Ensure Your Lawn Succeeds in 2019

In Central Iowa, we see all kinds of weather during the year, from snowy mornings to blazing summer afternoons.

Through all of that, your lawn and plants are exposed to extreme weather changes as well as other threats like weeds and insects. That’s why you need an expert crew like A+ Lawn & Landscape who knows the area and can help you cultivate a lawn that will stay healthy and vibrant all year long.


When Your Lawn Should Be Fertilized

Fertilizer helps to fortify your grass and plants while providing the nutrients they need to thrive. Having a regular fertilizer schedule gives your lawn a chance to be as healthy as possible.

It’s recommended to have your soil tested in order to determine which nutrients are lacking and then have someone create a fertilizer based off of those results.

During the year, we provide six treatments with custom-blended fertilizer. For optimal health, these treatments should start around early spring and continue every 5-7 weeks through October.

Every lawn is different and requires different blends of nutrients--that’s why custom blended fertilizer is essential!


Why Weed Control Is Important

One of the biggest threats to your lawn’s health is weeds. Weeds are pesky and steal those much-needed nutrients from your grass and plants. By using pre-emergent and post-emergent weed control, we can work to help your lawn stay virtually yard-free.

Weed control treatments should begin in early spring with a...

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Why Fertilizer Is Crucial for Your Lawn

Why Fertilizer Is Crucial for Your Lawn

You know it’s necessary to perform maintenance on the interior of your home such as regular carpet cleaning or dusting the baseboards. But did you know your lawn requires a regular maintenance schedule too?

There are many aspects to maintaining a healthy lawn in areas like Des Moines, West Des Moines, or Ankeny, IA, but one of the most important things you can do for your lawn is to establish a fertilizing routine.


The Benefits of Fertilizing Your Lawn

If you want a worry-free lawn that you can be proud of, then fertilizer is key to getting you there. A well-nourished lawn means you have lush grass where you can walk barefoot, have picnics, and enjoy your outdoor space. Regular fertilizer treatments give your lawn the nutrients it craves.

You’ll also increase your curb appeal with healthy grass, making your home look more attractive to the entire neighborhood.

Still not convinced? A healthy lawn means your grass has more strength to stand up to weeds and combat the heat of that Central Iowa summer sun beating down on it.


What Happens if You Don’t Fertilize Your Lawn

Fertilizer works to fight nutrient imbalance in your soil. If you have areas that are imbalanced, you could end up with patchy brown areas in your lawn. You may also see more weeds pop up, since your grass won’t be as strong to fight them off and keep them away.

If you want a beautiful, bright green lawn, then fertilizing your grass is...

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