By Tristan C. Szente —
Take a deep breath in. Yep, no doubt about it; it’s that time of year again. You can finally walk outside without freezing, as “Old Man Winter” is no more. There’s just one hiccup preventing you from kicking back and enjoying the warmth: All that ice and snow really did a number on last year’s award-winning, pristinely trimmed yard.
Now is the time to once again compete with your neighbors for lawn supremacy. Let’s be real, you don’t want the greenway next door to make yours look like the rough on the back nine. Or, perhaps you are like me—new to proper lawn care and unsure of just where to begin. Regardless, let me help you out before you take that trusty five iron to your scenic entryway out of frustration. A friend of mine has advice good enough to take this year’s hedge to the next level!
My friend, Jody Thiele of Winona Feed, Seed & More, has been helping lawns reach their fullest potential since she took over the business in January 2014.
When I paid a visit to her scenic location at 155 Grand St., I began to understand why she has had such wondrous success. Her store is a true wonderland for lawns of all shades of green.
Winona Feed, Seed & More carries everything for your yard, from fertilizers, grass mixes and pest preventatives to a wide array of unique décor. Thiele also takes great pride in providing her customers with eco-friendly merchandise that comes from local sources.
During my visit, I explained my issue to Thiele, since I’m what you might consider quite green to lawn care. To be honest with you, I had no idea where to begin or even what to buy.
“Well, we do have the best grass mix in town, so let’s start there!” Thiele smiled.
The mix that Thiele referred to (and the one I added to my already mile-high cart) is called “Kupietz Deluxe Lawn Seed.” This mix contains a considerable diversity of seed, ranging from perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass to creeping red. Thiele claims that her mixture will take root just about anywhere besides concrete, and, due to the amount she has sold, I don’t doubt a word she said. Thiele also offers a variety of other grass seeds by the pound if you want to try something other than the deluxe mix.
Next, I was taken to the fertilizer section, as I was informed that no great lawn can be achieved without an equally great backbone. As you might have guessed, Thiele has just the fertilizer in stock for the job at hand. She recommends her two top sellers. The first is called “Milorganite,” which is nonburning and eco-friendly. Her other fertilizer, “Cowsmo,” boasts that it is from a local source in Fountain City. Going with either will result in a healthy and lush lawn.
Before checkout, Thiele recommended that I grab a bag of lawn lime. If you’re not familiar, lawn lime is great for giving your yard that emerald appearance everyone cherishes. Lime raises the pH of the soil if it is low, allowing a healthier lawn to grow. When asked, Thiele suggested that I disperse the lime about every other year. Since I just acquired my property and was unsure of when it received lime last, Thiele told me it would be perfectly fine to go ahead and apply it. However, if you want to get technical, the best way to find out if your soil needs an elevation in pH is to run a soil test. And, of course, Winona Feed, Seed & More happens to carry all the necessities for a proper soil test as well.
Once my expedition in the “Mecca of Yardwork” was through, I packed up my purchases and headed home, eager to cultivate my new landscape. As soon as I parked my car, I hopped out and began toting bag after bag to my yard. The entirety of my afternoon and evening were spent spreading lawn lime, Cowsmo fertilizer and Thiele’s Kupietz Deluxe Lawn Seed mix. Wiping the sweat from my brow and satisfied with my day’s work, I headed off to bed, dreaming of the fantastic yard-scape I would wake up to.
The following morning, my eyes opened to a surprise: the same lawn as yesterday.
Just like Rome, no great yard can be created in a single day. It takes dedication, love and a lot of hard work. If you are consistent, though, you will have a lawn so prized that you could practice teeing off on it. If you get discouraged or need additional guidance, Thiele and the staff at Winona Feed, Seed & More are always willing to lend a nurturing hand. Best of luck and may the best lawn win!
Tristan C. Szente is an old-at-heart author in a young man’s body. Hailing from the East Coast, he now calls La Crosse “home.” With plenty of stories left to tell, adventure and exploration are a constant. He spends a good deal of his time wandering La Crosse, making friends with the locals and sporting his blaze-orange pocketbook full of unheard tales.