The Dirt – The Truth About Turf

The Truth About Turf

So, picture this scenario.

I’m helping someone with a problem here at the garden center. Maybe the problem is a disappointing veggie garden, maybe it’s about the lawn, maybe it’s about landscaping around the house. The question isn’t really important for this story. Neither is my answer.

However, their response is. And, here’s what I’m referring to.

Not liking my answer – often because it involves more work than they were hoping for – frustration kicks in and I hear comments like, “Well, maybe I should just turn the whole yard into artificial turf and be done with it!”

Now, hold that thought, and let’s skip back about a year.

I was in Phoenix, AZ visiting family. As fate would have it, I found myself in a small back yard, offering landscape advice. (I know. Go figure!) And, as I looked things over, something caught my eye.

This back yard had a small patch of grass. But, this lawn –  like so many down there – was not real grass. It was artificial turf.

Yet, that’s still not what caught my eye. It was all the weeds!

Yup, you heard me right. Weeds were growing in the artificial turf. Real weeds growing in fake grass. That was a new one for me. And, it got me to thinking… Maybe covering the whole yard in artificial turf isn’t as carefree as it sounds!

Cameron Rees, General Manager

Spring sure has been in a fight with winter the last few weeks. Winter has won several of those battles, but as we all know, that will be changing over the weeks to come and spring will win out in the end.

Here are the garden center, we can feel that change coming and we’re ready. I hope you are, too.

Spring Kick Off Weekend

What better way to celebrate the arrival of Spring than to have a party? That’s what we like to do here at Skinner’s! Please join us March 19-20 for a weekend of fun, food, and celebration of the new gardening season.

We will have lots of exciting new products to check out and plenty of staff on hand to chat with you about your goals for 2022! And just in case you get thirsty, The Norsemen Brewing Company will be here on Sunday, March 20 pouring beers for those of age!

So, gather up the family, bring your plans and ideas for your garden, and let’s have a great time together in honor of the first day of Spring!

Featured Products

Seed potatoes are in!
There’s lots of veggie seed to choose from!
The Lenten Roses are blooming. Aren’t they cool?!

Lawn Care Made Easy

Thank goodness it’s almost Spring! 

As many of you know, we offer a 3-Step Lawn Care Program here at Skinner’s. One of the first things many of us do for our lawns is put down a pre-emergent to prevent crabgrass. Now is the time to get this process started, and this year we are offering an extra special surprise for all of our customers.

Now through March 20 – our Spring Kick Off Weekend – if you buy all three steps of our 3-Step Lawn Care Program, you will pay 20% less than if you by them one step at a time! That’s right, a 20% discount for buying all 3 steps at once! And, that’s not all. We will hold Step 2 and Step 3 for you, and call you when it’s time to pick them up and use them.

How can you go wrong? Save some $$ and ensure that your lawn will look its best all year long with Skinner’s 3 Step Lawn Care Program.

What's New? Blue Star Fern

In our recent houseplant shipment, we received a Blue Star Fern. Though it has been around for a while, it is new to us. Ferns as a whole have been around since or before the dinosaurs! The Blue Star Fern comes from the tropical rainforests of South America. Ferns grow from spores, not seed and in the wild they grow on trees which are solely used as support.

As a houseplant, the Blue Star Fern tolerates low light, so avoiding direct light. Water frequently but do not keep the soil saturated. A more humid room, such as the kitchen or bathroom are ideal. Your fern sitting on a tray of damp pebbles will also do the trick. The lovely blueish foliage and strappy leaves will make a great addition to your houseplant collection.

Misty Brown, Lath House Manager

Don't Let Pruning Intimidate You

One of the reoccurring discussions on my radio show, Garden Answers,  over the last month has been pruning, and more specifically, fruit tree pruning.

(By the way, did you know you can check out past shows by going to our website? Or you can just click here.)

Pruning intimidates folks, and I get that. It’s both a skill and an artform, both of which take knowledge, time and practice to develop. So, in an effort to help move you along in your pruning adventure, here are a few tips…

Lesson #1: Good pruning takes practice.

You’ve got to those pruners making cuts to get better. Sure, you want to try to learn as much as you can before you start…but then jump in.

You will make mistakes. Everybody does, me included. I’ve butchered a lot of plant through the years. Don’t worry about it. Don’t let fear of doing something wrong hold you back.

Plants keep growing and there will be another chance to get it right later on. Bad pruning is just like a bad haircut. It may look bad today, but time will fix the problem.

Trust me, the more you prune, more comfortable you will become and the better you will get.

Lesson #2: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Like I just said, developing pruning skill takes practice and just like anything else you practice, you’re going to mess up from time to time. That’s okay. Often times, we learn more from the mistakes we make than the successes.

Prune your trees, watch how they react, then do it again when the time is right. You can only book-learn or watch videos for so long. Eventually you have to put what you’ve learned into practice, mistakes and all. Trust me, that will make you better.

Lesson #3: Get out there and do it.

If you’re practicing and making mistakes, you’re already doing this one, but if you’re not, I’m reminding you again… get out there!

Fruit trees typically need to be pruned twice a year, late in the winter (like now) and again in the summer… and you want to do that every year. A little pruning on a regular basis is much better than a whole bunch all at once. Addressing your tree’s pruning needs on a regular basis gives is a lot less stressful on your trees and it gives you more practice.

Lesson #4: Watch some videos and do some reading.

Before you start your pruning project, watch a few videos and read up a bit. But there’s a lot of good information out there, and there’s a lot of bad information out there, so be careful.

I’ll share the one below with you to get your started.

This guy does a nice job of covering a lot of fruit tree pruning/training basics, all while actively pruning his own recently planted home orchard. That’s one of the reason’s I like it, it’s very informative. Watch it and you’ll learn a lot.


Cameron Rees, General Manager

But I also like it because I bet it will shock you a little.

Watch how much this guy is willing to remove from each tree and you’ll begin to understand what I mean. You’ll also have a better understanding why pruning is necessary. And, if you really want to put it all into context, he has two additional videos worth checking out as well.

The first shows the initial planting and pruning of this orchard (last spring) and the other showing what things look like now, after their first winter. They will give you an even better look at what pruning looks like and how the same trees react over time.

Another great resource is Kansas State University Extension. Follow this link and you will land on the main page for the Kansas State University Horticulture Information Center site. Now bookmark it so you can find it again in the future.

This site has all kinds of great publications and “how-to” videos on this pruning, as well as just about every other gardening topic you can think of. Use it. There’s a ton of great information there. Personally, I’m looking something up on it at least once a week.

Hopefully, this helps. As always, feel free to ask us questions along the way. Now, get out there and start pruning!

-Cameron Rees