Blog: Landscape Apprentice Lesson #3

Life is powerful. Look at this…


I saw this at my garage door and it grabbed my attention. This week, one of the projects I had was cementing 4×4 posts for a future deck. The cement was hardened, super hard, in about a day, probably less than a day. In 28 days, a bag of cement, mixed with the right amount of water, will harden to withstand 4,000 lbs of weight over a square inch. Imagine that, imagine the power of cement: two tons of weight on top of space one inch by one inch! And yet, this unidentified green piece of flora has found its way through the cracks of the cement. It’s like waiving its chlorophyll-filled little leafs and telling the whole world, “hey, I am here… I am full of life… and the cement can’t stop me!”

Not a major lesson in landscaping, except to tell you that there are way to protect your cement and patios from unwanted flora, but something that made me think about the power of life. Few simple thoughts like…

  • life will find a way
  • life is creative
  • life is unstoppable (unless you find a way to kill it)
  • life is beautiful
  • life is a blessing
  • life is powerful

In the midst of tumultuous times, when our thoughts and hearts could be preoccupied with everything else but life, may we all find encouragement and strength in knowing that life will find a way and that life is powerful.

May we all live, and act, and speak in a way that brings life to those around us. Don’t be like the cement, be like the chlorophyllious plant.


Nasko D. Lazarov and his dog, Murry

P.S. Unless your lawn needs some weed control. We can help you with that! Just call us… you know where to find us!





img_4266Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in The Landscape Apprentice blog represent the personal views and opinions of the author of the blog and do not represent an official policy or position of American Lawn & Landscape and its owners.

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Wow! What a week! If you love 34 degrees and rain this week was perfect for you!

Drainage has been our big concern this week as we are seeing the ground completely saturated and starting to notice some of those gutters dumping water right next to the foundation! We gotta get that water away!

We have a home we are concentrating on this week where we will run the gutter water out about 10′ from the foundation so the water can flow away and add soil against the foundation. Those little changes make a huge difference keeping water from puddling against the home.

Other than drainage work, our guys are scurrying around seeding lawns now so they can benefit from all these rains and cool weather! It’s also a great time to install bushes so they can benefit from all this moisture!

Dan Hacker, CEO & Owner of American Lawn & Landscaper a caption

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Tips & Suggestions: Spring Tips

Happy Spring Everyone! It’s here! Now is the time!

So many things need to be addressed early in spring to prevent more work later.

Weed Control
We recommend two products for all homeowners: Preen for preventing weeds from germinating; and, Roundup for killing any weeds that do grow.

Using a landscape bed pre-emergence like “Preen” or “Miracle-Grow Weed Prevent” (Preen is sold in 20 lbs containers for $27 at Sam’s/Costco – this will usually last one residential home 3 applications or one whole season!) will keep new weed seeds from germinating. You may already have weeds growing in those beds. You can take care of those with Roundup (yes, I used the “R” word! That ridiculous lawsuit has to be felonious – I’ve been in the industry 26 years and know of ZERO people that have had issues – these are guys that use this product 5 days a week, 8 hrs/day). Be careful to spray those weeds in early morning when there isn’t much wind and make sure over-spray doesn’t go into lawn or on nearby bushes. The amazing thing about Roundup is that it has no residual – it doesn’t stay in the soil contaminating nearby streams and waterways. Within 24 hours of spraying, the chemical has broken down and is gone (like cannot be detected by chemical analysis). We recommend you use “Ready-to-use Roundup” because you won’t have to mix a tankful and decide what to do with the balance of the tank. You’ll want to catch those weeds when they are just about the size of your fingernail to prevent them from blossoming and seeding themselves.

Now is the most crucial application: the lawn fertilizer and pre-emergence. This product feeds your lawn and prevents crabgrass, goose-grass and fox-tail until late August (we want the product to wear off then so we can do seeding in Sept if needed). Put that product down heavy to make sure you get good coverage on the preventative weed control.

Now is also a great time to tackle those moles. Moles are like squirrels and they move from neighbor’s lawn (or wooded areas) into your lawn. Lowe’s sells a bait that works great. It’s called “Tomcat” and is about $20 for 10 baits. You just put on some rubber gloves and put the bait into the tunnel which is about 1 finger-length below the surface–jam your finger into the tunnel and you’ll feel the hollow tunnel, then place one bait and cover the finger-hole. Moles run those tunnels all day long and it won’t be long until they find your treats (this product is also safe for dogs/cats).

Now is the time to do your spring cleanup–trim back all roses to 12-18″ and cut perennials and hydrangeas to 6″. Clean the leaves out of the beds and put down that first application of Preen. (You’ll need another round of application on  5/15 and 7/15 to finish out the year).

This is the last chance to dormant prune your overgrown bushes! Burning bushes are a favorite bush that grows too large and they get 6′ x 6′ when your landscape would look better with them 3′ x 3′ (not to mention they are so much easier to trim when they are small). Many homeowners talk to us about removing the overgrown bushes and we recommend they just trim them to whatever size they desire while they are dormant. What is dormant pruning? Any bush that loses it’s leaves in the winter can be pruned to any size and it will pop-back with no issues right away. They will often stay the smaller size long enough that you can skip pruning them completely throughout the hot season and then just chop them back again next winter. You might also like to use your battery-powered sawzall to get this done – we love power tools!!!!

It’s always important to take a walk around your home looking at the soil level around your foundation to make sure the ground is sloping away and the gutters are dumping the water into areas that flow away from the home. This past week, I’ve seen 3 homes where the gutter at the corner of the driveway was allowing water to flow under the driveway because there was not sufficient soil next to the driveway to push the water away. We see gutters that dump into landscape areas that are completely surrounded by concrete so the water has no place to wash. We recommend those gutters be buried into 4″ solid ADS pipe and run out into the lawn away from the house.

If the water gets under the sidewalk or the driveway, it immediately starts causing the soil under those surfaces to settle and then your driveway or walkway is not supported. Over time, this can create a large cavity under your driveway or walkway that will cause those concrete pads to settle. If this occurs, we find out where the water is coming from, fix that and then recommend mud-jacking. Mud-jacking is a service we offer that raises sections of concrete that are structurally sound but have settled or have voids under them. The mud-jacking is done using a limestone slurry that is less likely to settle than mud. It’s a fantastic service that also fills those voids allowing water to get in your basement.

As always, you know where to find us, if you need help with any of your projects. All of us at American Lawn and Landscape wish you and all your loved ones a wonderful Spring season!

Best regards,



Dan Hacker, CEO & President of American Lawn and Landscape

P.S. You can see some of our work by simply using #LandscapeKearneyMO or #LandscapeLibertyMO or #LandscapeKCMO – happy trails, everyone!


Blog: Landscape Apprentice Lesson #3 – Sharpen Your Tools

It is the infamous saying that if you use a dull ax it will take you longer time to cut down a tree but the same applies for grinding tree stumps! Let me make one thing clear: grinding tree stumps should be declared illegal, immoral, unethical, and just plain waste of time and gas. Although the first refueling of the stump grinding machine cost me only 99 cents…

We had a wonderful customer who was just tired of his grass not growing. Plenty of trees in the back yard, lots of shaded areas where the sun doesn’t bring its vitamin D to the grassy blades and a big white pine in the front yard, soiling the ground with plenty of sap. Customer wants the tree down, the tree goes down, debris everywhere, and the fun of grinding the stump (plus another one from a large oak tree) began. Except that the boss told us we should be done in about an hour and here we were, two hours later and barely any progress! Called the boss and his assessment hit the bulls eye, “your stump grinder is dull!” What?! We just wasted two hours of our lives and didn’t check the grinding blade?! Yep… return grinder and repeat on next day, this time renting from a better place.

And what a difference a sharper blade makes! Oh me, oh my! The first day, we were trying to cut a tree stump with a butter knife. The second day, we were on the moment the blade hit the stump! It was music to our ears and a joy to our hearts! We had to move over 8 full wheelbarrows with wooden shavings but we didn’t mind: we were getting it done, baby! All because of a sharp blade! What a difference!

If you are working on a project and it is taking a lot longer maybe you need to take a look at your tools. Make sure they are sharp, oiled, maintained well, and serviced regularly. Otherwise, just as our enthusiastic crew learned, you will be wasting time, energy, and gas. Better yet, call us and we can do it for you!

That’s the happy face of Matthew McCook, operating the sharper and better stump grinder on Day Two of Operation Stumps Out

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in The Landscape Apprentice blog represent the personal views and opinions of the author of the blog and do not represent an official policy or position of American Lawn & Landscape and its owners.

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Blog: Landscape Apprentice Lesson #2

How much “too close for comfort” is too close? Well, it depends on the object. For golfers, it’s never close enough. For friends, it depends in how much garlic one had. For landscapers, just stay away from cables!

This week, I had a simple project of shrub trimming and some Spring cleaning. Cut down rose bushes, trim down perennials, rake and remove leaves. It all was going well until I got to trim some pesky liriopes. It also goes by liliturf and monkey grass. We basically cut it down to about half an inch from the ground. It will regrow and get back to being pesky in a hurry.

I got to trim and trim and trim but when I saw a 12V wires for the customer’s front yard flower bed lights, I thought that my big mechanical trimmers will do just fine around the wires. Nope. I got too close for comfort! You can see the result from the pic…

It turned out that there is such a thing as getting too close! The problem, however, was something else. Sure, repairing the wires will take another visit (I didn’t bring my electrical kit!) but the issue was that I was already in a hurry.

You can’t do gardening in a hurry. You could speed things up by digging faster, moving at a brisker pace, and take more things in your hands when you move supplies but be careful. Your hurry may cost you time and repairing wires.

#LandscapeKearneyMO #LandscapeLibertyMO #LandscapeKCMO #LandscapeApprentice

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in The Landscape Apprentice blog represent the personal views and opinions of the author of the blog and do not represent an official policy or position of American Lawn & Landscape and its owners.

Blog: Landscape Apprentice Lesson #1

When I started my work for American Lawn & Landscape in June of 2019, I had no idea that this will become an epic journey of learning and growing. Something more than just digging holes or moving decorative rock. Something more than connecting pipes or spreading mulch. For the past nine months now, I’ve had quite a few days coming home from work and scratching my head, both figuratively and literally, and saying to myself, “Wow, what a day! I learned at least five new things today that I didn’t know before!”

All this learning and growing into a new career or job would go to waste if it’s not shared, so here we are. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to your reading stage… (insert drum roll here!)… (more drum roll…)… (more drum roll…) – (ok, ok… enough with the drums!)…



Nasko D. Lazarov & his K9 landscaper, Murry

Each week, with my best intentions, camera in my pocket, and my old-fashioned Moleskine® notebook in hand, I will share tidbits from my learning journey of being a… landscaper apprentice. Lessons learned, insights and tricks, common knowledge that’s shuffled under piles of mulch and weed barrier, practical things that friends and customers could use. And all this, hoping that the readers of this blog will learn something new, pass it along, or just have a good laugh.

Lesson #1

Lesson #1 came from a short conversation I had with my daughter. At the end of a full and busy 11-hour-long day, all dusty and sweaty, my daughter looked at me and asked me a question that I will remember for the rest of my life. “Any regrets, Daddy?”

You see, for the past 26 years of my professional career, I got to do all kinds of exciting things. Most all of them were in air-conditioned office space, behind a desk, working with computer, or working with people. Sure, there was the 27.5% traveling time each year, traversing this country or other countries. Sure, there were the staff meetings and board meetings but all in all but at the end of the day my hands were not covered with dirt. The last time I had to wear boots every day was when I was in the army!

My daughter’s question stopped me in my tracks. Standing in the middle of the parking lot, holding my backpack and my two extra t-shirts that I soaked from sweating that day (yes, we had a few 90F+ days in September!), I had an immediate answer, “No, Ma’am, no regrets!”

My lesson about landscaping that first week of hard work, right after Labor Day weekend had to do a lot more with my heart and perspective. Not so much if my hands were covered with dirt or my boots plastered with mud. Regrets are just like that. Regrets cover our souls like mud and over time, if we are not careful to examine them and get rid of them, they become heavy burdens that were never meant to be part of our life journey.

If you carry regrets from your past, get rid of them. Scratch their mud off your heart and soul. Move on. Move forward. Forgive, forget, learn and move on. Life is a lot easier when you don’t live with regrets from the past. If you need help with that, I can find you a good mud scraper. Just let me know.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in The Landscape Apprentice blog represent the personal views and opinions of the author of the blog and do not represent an official policy or position of American Lawn & Landscape and its owners.

#LandscapeApprentice #LandscapeKearneyMO #LandscapeLibteryMO #LandscapeKCMO