Fairway Green, Inc
9 Ilene Ct, Suite 14 Hillsborough, NJ 08844
Phone: (908) 281-7888

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Benefits of Core Aeration and Over Seeding

Benefits of Core Aeration and Over Seeding

Between the summer stresses of drought and disease, and every day activities that lead to soil compaction; your lawn may not be looking its best by the time fall rolls around. To help combat these stresses and maintain a lawn, often a core aeration is recommended for its many benefits. For those that may not know, core aeration is the process of mechanically removing plugs of soil and depositing them on the surface.


Soil Compaction

Over time your lawn can become compacted with every day activities; dogs running around, children playing, parties with large groups of people on your lawn and even mowing the lawn with heavy equipment. The first benefit of core aeration is that it helps reduce soil compaction. Soil compaction is the compression of soil particles which reduces pore space. Pore space is the area between the soil particles where water, nutrients and air travel through to get to the roots. If the pore space in the soil is compacted, the nutrients, water and oxygen are not able to reach the roots.

Thatch Layer

Another benefit of core aeration is to reduce the thatch layer. Thatch is the organic layer of roots, living and dead shoots, and stems that develop between the grass and the soil surface. When the thatch layer is too thick it impedes the infiltration of water, oxygen and nutrients. Also, disease and insects harbor in this area and can be detrimental to a lawn.

During a core aeration, microorganisms from inside the soil are pulled up to the surface. These microorganisms help to breakdown that thatch layer from the top down as they go back into the soil.

Strong Roots

Core aeration also helps enhance root growth into the surrounding soil. When spaces in the soil are created by the core aeration process, the grass roots grow into those voids creating a stronger, fuller root system.  In addition, nutrients, water, and air will have easier access to the roots.


Over seeding after a core aeration has many benefits as well. The first benefit is that the soil is prepared to receive seed; meaning the seed will contact the loose soil, which is very important for seed germination.  The holes created by the core aeration will provide a seed bed for the grass seeds that fall into them after they are spread over the lawn.

The next benefit to over seeding is that it will help reduce weeds and crabgrass. Weeds and crabgrass are opportunist, they will grow in any bare or thin areas that they can. By improving the turf density in these bare or thin areas with new grass, you are effectively reducing space for weeds and crabgrass to grow and take over.

Over seeding also gives you the opportunity to incorporate newer grass varieties. Each year new grass varieties are developed that are superior to the older ones. Some of the benefits to these newer grasses would be more drought, insect, and disease tolerance.

Core aeration and over seeding is meant to “spruce up” your lawn’s appearance. This process improves the appearance of a lawn that has some bare or thin areas. This type of seeding is not recommended for lawns that have zero grass like new construction, a complete renovation from scratch, or large areas of lawn that are completely bare.

When to seed

The best time of year for seeding is early fall, specifically from the middle of August through September.  Seedings are more successful in September because crabgrass preventers that have been applied in the spring will be broken down and gone by then. Crabgrass preventers and weed controls can interfere with seed germination. Also, by September any crabgrass plants that have germinated throughout the season are at the end of their life cycle and are dying off, thus creating less competition with the newly germinated grass seeds.

Another reason the fall is a great time for both core aeration and over seeding is because the environmental conditions are right. The heat of the summer has subsided and we have cooler temperatures that help the lawn recover from a core aeration. Soil temperatures are moderate and are conducive to seed germination and soil moisture can be maintained adequately from regular watering and rain during this time of year.


If you have any questions or if you are interested in core aeration and over seeding your lawn, please contact Fairway Green Inc. If you are in our service area, we would be happy to provide you with a free quote to help get your lawn looking great this fall.


Core Aeration

Thank you for signing up for a Core Aeration, please complete the form below and we will get you on the schedule for our fall core aeration.

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Core Aeration

Why should I Aerate my lawn?

The simple answer is core aeration reduces soil compaction, thatch build up, and promotes healthy root growth.  Soil compaction and heavy thatch build up can greatly reduce the flow of water and nutrients into the soil.  This results in reduced uptake of water and nutrients, lower oxygen levels in the soil and poor root growth.  During times of stress, like the hot and dry summer we just had, plants with a poor root system will be less tolerant to stress and more susceptible to disease.  Core aeration is an environmentally sensitive and organic approach to having a healthier lawn.

Why is my soil compacted?

Soil compaction occurs over time through everyday use such as mowing, foot traffic, and recreational use.  Even without traffic, natural processes such as rainfall and soil settlement will cause compaction.  The impacts from compaction are more evident in parts of your lawn that are frequently used, such as near a play set or in front of an access gate for people with fenced in yards.  In these areas, you will notice thinning and the development of bare patches over time as a result of soil compaction from consistent use.

How does core aeration work?

Core aeration works by mechanically removing plugs of soil from the lawn.  This will immediately improve water and nutrient flow deeper into the soil, as well as promote root growth for a healthier, more stress tolerant plant.  Other benefits include increased oxygen levels to the soil, improved soil pore space, reduction in thatch build up, and enhanced response to fertilizers.


The photo above was taken after aerating a customer’s lawn and shows the plugs that were removed.  It may look unsightly at first, but the plugs will continue to break down over the next few weeks and be less noticeable over time.  These plugs play two major roles in the breakdown of thatch layers.  In addition to the mechanical removal of thatch, microorganisms located within the plugs will re-enter the turf from the top and help the decomposition of remaining thatch layers.

When should I aerate my lawn?

In central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, we recommend aerating from late summer through the fall as the turf will have less stress caused by heat and drought.  In addition, at this time the grass plants will be growing and developing their roots while also having less pressure from weeds.


Right after the core aeration is an excellent time to seed, assuming the temperatures have not gotten too cold.  The open areas created by the core aeration are great sites for seed germination.  For seeding, you would want to coordinate with us in advance so that your core aeration is completed during August or September.

In summary, regular aeration is a necessary process for having a healthy lawn.  For those of you that golf, you may be familiar with the process as golf courses aerate multiple times in the same year.  Our recommendation to homeowners would be to aerate at least every other year, however an annual aeration would be ideal.

Please feel free to contact Fairway Green if you have any questions related to core aeration or your lawn in general.

Core Aeration, Lime Treatment, and Lawn Seeding Services


Core Aeration is the removal of small cores of soil from the lawn; this allows air, moisture, and fertilizer to move down to the root zone.

Why Aerate?

Compacted soil (or “hard clay”) and heavy thatch build up are two of the greatest obstacles to a beautiful and healthy lawn. They tend to suffocate grass plants by preventing air, water and nutrients from reaching the root zone. This means your lawn looks less than satisfactory in spite of adequate watering, fertilizing, and tender loving care!

How is Core Aeration Done?

Aeration is accomplished by the use of a machine equipped with hollowed cylinders designed to penetrate and shatter the soil. Plugs of thatch and soil are pulled from the ground during this process. The plunging action of the cylinders into the ground opens up the soil – allowing the grass plants to breathe thereby promoting deeper, healthier roots.

When is the best time to Core Aerate my lawn?

The ideal time to core aerate is between late August and November. Aerating in the fall enhances root growth responses and improves spring green up and growth. A home lawn should be core aerated every other year.


Although, soil pH sounds confusing and scientific, it is directly related to the amount of soil nutrients available to the grass and plants in your lawn.  Lime treatment involves applying limestone to regulate soil acidity and bring pH closer to optimal levels.  This improves nutrient availability and increases the turf’s response from fertilizer applications. Fairway Green, Inc provides all of its customers with a free pH test in the spring and fall of each year. Even though our tests are excellent indicators, for an exact pH reading, we recommend sending a soil sample to a lab. Fairway Green, Inc can take and send your soil sample to the lab for a nominal charge. Our recommendations for lime treatment are based on the results of these tests.

Fairway Green, Inc offers lime treatment most of the season.


If your lawn is thin or bare, whether it’s due to poor establishment from the start or recent problems, you should consider seeding. From total overseeding of thin or bare lawns, our combination of proper timing, use of high quality seeds, and a superior seeding technique allows Fairway Green, Inc to offer you a competitively priced, guaranteed seeding job.

Seeding Time

Experience has shown the prime time to plant turf grass is in late August through early October.

Using Quality Seeds

Our blend of Bluegrass, Perennial Rye, and Fescues were chosen on the basis of research done by the leading universities in New Jersey. We have one blend for sunny locations and another for those areas that are primarily in the shade. In either case, the seeds we use on your lawn are vigorous, weed free, and government inspected.


Diseases are one of the most devastating problems of turf grasses. The most effective control is proper maintenance practices combined with well-timed preventative fungicide treatments. Four treatments, timed to be done during the growing season, using a combination of broad spectrum fungicides, offer the best control for most diseases. Our lawn disease treatments are also offered individually on an as-needed basis. Early detection is vital. Follow-up treatments may be needed.

Most common lawn diseases:

  • Brown Patch
  • Summer Patch
  • Dollar Spot
  • Red Thread
  • Leaf Spot

Why Does My Lawn Have Moss?

Moss is a plant that generates a lot of questions from our customers. Most customers want to know why they have it and how they can get rid of it! This blog will discuss what moss is, why moss grows, and how you can help remediate the problem.

What is moss?

Moss is a non-flowering plant that grows low to the surface of the ground. Something unique about moss is that it does not have a root structure like grass and other common broadleaf weeds. It is also important to understand that moss does not kill grass, instead it fills in open spaces where grass varieties are not successfully growing.

Why is moss on your property?

Moss is on your property due to a combination of environmental factors, but the one we hear about most often is related to pH. While it is true that moss prefers acidic soil, it is not true that simply adding lime will get rid of it! You can have perfect pH levels, but if other environmental factors are present, moss can still grow.

If you have moss and want to know if your soil is acidic, the best plan is to test the pH and add lime only if necessary. A pH in the range of 6.3-6.5 is ideal for most cool season grasses in our area. In summary, having moss in your lawn doesn’t automatically mean your pH is too low and you need to lime, that could be a factor, but you need to test the soil’s pH to be certain.

Another environmental factor that helps moss thrive is shade. I don’t mean to imply that moss can not grow in areas of full sun, it can; however, it is the shade that gives the moss an opportunity to grow. What do I mean by this? Well, have you noticed that grass usually does not survive in areas of heavy shade? When grass cannot get enough sunlight, it dies and thins out. This is a perfect opportunity for something else, like moss, to move in and grow in the open and thin areas.

Further, soil moisture plays a roll in where moss is present on your property. If you think about where moss is on your property, you can probably find it in areas like the crack between two paver stones in your walkway or sidewalk. These areas trap moisture and can remain wet for a long period of time. This can be true in parts of your lawn as well. Not only does moss do well in wet areas, but the trapped moisture is not a favorable environment for grass. Over time areas with excess soil moisture will cause grass to thin and die off, creating a space for moss to grow.

Soil compaction also plays a role in where moss is present on your property. In our service area, soil is largely clay based. Clay based soil easily becomes compacted by foot traffic, mowers, pets, etc. Unfortunately, when soil is compacted, oxygen and water are unable to work their way through the soil and water often sits on top of the surface. In addition, grass roots have a difficult time growing in heavily compacted soil which will compromise the long-term health of the grass plant.

By now you should be seeing a common theme amongst the environmental factors. Environmental factors that negatively impact your turf, such as acidic soil, compaction, heavy shade, and excess moisture, are the same factors that moss prefers to grow in. Now these environmental factors certainly didn’t appear overnight; so, what can be done to help remediate the moss problem?

Getting rid of Moss

First, if you want to reduce the moss on your property, change the environment. For example, you may have a row of trees that have matured and created a large area of shade in your lawn. We recommend annually pruning or thinning the trees so more sunlight can reach the plants below.

Core aeration is a key component to help reduce soil compaction. This mechanical process removes plugs in the soil three to four inches deep. This creates space in the soil for grass roots to grow and allows oxygen and water into those spaces. Core aeration may need to be completed annually to remediate heavily compacted areas. For more information about core aeration, check out our blog.


Additionally, we recommend watering less in shaded areas of your lawn. If moss is a present issue, let the soil dry out in between watering to make sure the soil is not overly wet for long periods of time.

If you are interested in remediating moss quickly, you can physically remove it with a rake. There are also products you can purchase to kill moss. You can find them at most of the big home improvement stores in the garden section. Using these types of products will be effective in killing moss that is present; however, without changing the environmental factors the moss will return! It is also important to understand that crabgrass control and other broadleaf weeds will not have any impact on moss.


The only long term way to remediate moss in your lawn is to change the environment. Making those areas more hospitable to grass would help establish turf in the areas instead of moss. If you have further questions about moss, please contact our office or request a free estimate.

Fall Lawn Care Tips

Fall is here and cooler temperatures are fast approaching! The change in season brings new opportunities to help improve the health of your lawn. Below we have outlined a few ways to help your lawn look great this fall and also how to avoid making a few common mistakes.

1. Seed at the right time

The perfect time to seed in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania is late August through September. This gives enough time for the seed to germinate and the young plants to develop a root system prior to going into winter dormancy.

In addition, seed germination slows down once the soil temperatures dip below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Historically, after September the temperatures begin to drop and we see a decrease in germination rates. That’s another reason why it’s important to seed at the right time, before temperatures get too cold.

2. Buy the right seed

If you are going to spend the money on seeding your lawn, it’s important to get the right type of grass. Ask yourself, do the areas I’m seeding get a lot of shade, or a lot of sun? Those answers will help you determine the right type of seed to purchase. If it’s in the sun, purchase a sun mix, if it’s in the shade, get a shade mix.

The generic “Sun & Shade Mixes” are a blend of sun loving grass varieties as well as other varieties that really prefer the shade. These blends will look fine in the fall and spring when temperatures are cool, but in the summer heat, you’ll easily notice the plants that are not in their preferred environment.

In our service area we recommend turf type tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass for the areas of your lawn that get sun and fine fescues for areas predominantly in shade.

3. Apply a winterizing fertilizer

A winterizing fertilizer is important for cool season turf varieties, which is the type of grass we have here in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The winterizing fertilizer provides nutrients that the plants will continue to utilize well into the fall. It will also help the turf come out of winter dormancy and green up when the soil temperatures are warm enough the following spring.

4. Aerate your lawn Benefits of Core Aeration and Over Seeding

Core aeration is a very important cultural practice for lawns with clay-based soil. Between the summer stresses of drought and disease, and everyday activities that lead to soil compaction; core aeration is a mechanical process that can help combat these issues.

Soil compaction and heavy thatch build up can greatly reduce the flow of water and nutrients into the soil, leading to poor nutrient uptake and root development. During times of stress, like the hot and dry summer, plants with a poor root system will be less tolerant to stress and more susceptible to disease. For residential lawns, we recommend core aerating your lawn every other year to reduce soil compaction and encourage root development.



The fall is a great time to help your lawn recover from the summer heat. If you plan on seeding, be sure to do it at the right time and with the right type of seed to improve your odds of long-term success. Some great cultural practices in the fall to promote recovery and improve plant health include fertilizing and aerating your lawn. If you are in our service area, and have any questions about the information about seeding, fertilizing and core aerating, please give our office a call to discuss!

Mower Traffic Stress

I have walked countless properties with homeowners during service visits to their lawns, and one of the questions I’m asked frequently is, “If your company is taking care of my lawn, where are these bare spots coming from?” The question is often posed after we have strolled past several seemingly random bald patches of lawn here and there. “Is this disease? Do I have grubs? Is it because the technician is dripping chemicals from his spray gun?” While these lawn issues in question have the potential to cause damage to the grass, none of them cause the grass to disappear suddenly.

So how have small areas of the lawn disappeared? The answer is often far simpler than you would think. The good news is that there’s no additional treatments needed to combat this particular lawn pest. The bad news is that the monster gobbling up portions of your lawn may in fact be you!


It’s Common Sense

When you see a bed of flowers or shrubs, is your first impulse to drive over them? Of course not! You could potentially damage them. Yet, one of the most basic practices employed by every homeowner since the dawn of suburbia involves driving a mower (or at the very least pushing a heavy, wheeled implement) on top of the thousands of plants that comprise our lawns. However, we expect these plants to hold up without consequence to the regular mower traffic, when the machines weigh several hundred pounds.

Don’t worry I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t mow the lawn, or that you should expect the quality of the lawn to suffer a great deal after every cut. What I am telling you though is not to expect the relatively fragile living ecosystem that is your lawn to hold up to mower traffic indefinitely.


Wear and Tear

The damage typically caused by mower traffic is two-fold; there is the wear caused by the frequent traffic over the same areas over and over, and the tear caused by the mower wheels physically tugging at the plants.

Have you ever noticed the depressions that develop in the road where car tires ride over it day after day? This same depression effect occurs as a result of mower traffic in the lawn, and soil compaction issues develop. In central New Jersey we have clay soil, and while it doesn’t mean you can simply pick up a handful of it and start sculpting, it does mean that when it is wet it’s softer and more easily compacted. Once it dries, as you would expect clay to, it hardens in its compacted state. This process repeated over and over causes the already microscopic pore spaces between the soil particles to become non-existent. Once the pore spaces are gone the soil becomes impenetrable to water and oxygen, which is a bad thing for the grass plants. The longer this process goes unchecked, the more compacted the soil becomes, and the more the lawn suffers. Like the road, the lawn becomes worn out very gradually, so immediate damage is not evident for years.

The effects of long-term mower stress can be seen in the lower portion of this image where the lawn has been worn away in two parallel spots by the continuous mower traffic through the same path.

You can, however, sometimes see short term effects from compaction. If plants are already suffering under extremely hot or cold weather conditions, you can see streaks develop along mower tracks in the lawn due to the additional compression stress. While the lawn generally recovers from this, it helps to highlight the fact that there are consequences to mower traffic.

The image above shows temporary stress from machine traffic that occurred following frost.

The second type of mower stress is the tear caused by traction of the tires. As the mower makes turns, the tires pull on the plants and can sever their stems or uproot them altogether. If the lawn is mowed following heavy irrigation or rainfall, the soil is easily torn up by the tire traction and can cause ruts. This type of stress is certainly more evident, and something that most homeowners try to keep from happening. However, this too can be very subtle. Minor ruts in the lawn that happen every now and again can add up over time. It isn’t until several small injuries accumulate that the homeowner takes notice.


The images above show damage to the lawn that has been caused by mower tear. However, the diagnosis is hard to make given the vantage from which it is being viewed and the time that has lapsed since the most recent cut.


So, What’s the Solution?

To avoid damage that may develop from compaction caused by mower traffic, it is imperative that the lawn be core aerated on a regular basis. For most residential lawns, core aerating every-other-year should be often enough to keep the soil compaction from becoming an issue. Also, if there are areas that stay wet due to poor drainage, they should be addressed professionally by a landscaper to resolve this problem. Areas such as these become damaged exponentially faster than well-drained areas and core aeration will most likely not provide ample correction on its own.

Also, avoid mowing the lawn when it is saturated or following a heavy storm. Homeowners with in-ground irrigation should also consider their watering schedule and set irrigation to run as far from the mowing schedule as possible. For example, if the lawn is typically mowed on Mondays, irrigation should be run on Tuesday or Wednesday so that the maximum amount of time lapse occurs between heavy watering and mower traffic.

Though it may sound obvious, seed the damaged areas. It is a great practice to go through the lawn at the end of each summer and spot seed the lawn as necessary. This keeps small damaged spots from being able to accumulate over time.

Finally, try to avoid creating narrow sections of turf in your landscape designs. Mowers are forced to traffic the lawn in the same pattern regularly through these bottle-neck areas, causing the grass to wear away quickly. If you must have narrow passages between landscape beds, these should have some other alternate ground cover in place such as gravel, stone paths, or low-lying shrubs. Long-term turf growth should only be expected to occur with reasonable maintenance in well drained areas of the property that are fully exposed to the sun.



There is wear and tear that occurs as a result of nearly every regular practice developed by human beings. Just like brushing your teeth or jogging each morning, with mowing the benefit outweighs the consequences that may come as a result. Your lawn care specialist may point out to you that mowing the lawn has contributed to some turf loss in your lawn. Luckily, there are some simple best practices that can help reduce mowing stress to the turf.

If you are in our service area and have questions about possible mowing damage or mowing best practices, please give our office a call at 908-281-7888, or request an estimate.

Benefits to Maintaining a Healthy Lawn

A healthy lawn is a key component to residential landscapes across our country. Beyond the pleasant appearance, a healthy lawn has other great benefits. Read below as we dive deeper into the benefits of maintaining a healthy lawn.

Increases property value and curb appeal

As you may have guessed, one of the largest benefits to a well-maintained lawn is that it creates great curb appeal and therefore increases property value up to fifteen percent. When and if you go to sell your home, curb appeal and increased property value are always a benefit!

Helps reduce noise

A thick lawn helps reduce everyday noises around your property. Say you live near a heavily trafficked road; a thick lawn and various planted trees and shrubs creates a sound barrier between that road and your house. A thick lawn has a muffling effect for noise, whereas bare ground or pavers tend to bounce sounds from their surface.

Improves air quality

Like most living plants, turf absorbs carbon dioxide and converts it into oxygen. A normal sized lawn provides enough oxygen for a family of four! Not only does a thick lawn produce oxygen, it also does a great job at trapping dust, smoke, and other pollutants.

Prevents soil erosion

A thick lawn with deep roots is a natural barrier that prevents soil erosion from wind and rain.With the clay-based soil we have in our service area, we recommend core aeration to reduce soil compaction. While alleviating soil compaction, the core aeration will help reduce runoff and promotes deep healthy roots for your turf.

A thick well-maintained lawn also protects the foundation of your home. The lawn captures moisture from the rain that would overtime would compromise a foundation.

Cool place for family and pets

During the hot months in New Jersey, the turf acts as a great recreational surface that is a reprieve from the heat given off by pavement and bricks. A healthy lawn can be 31 degrees cooler than asphalt and 20 degrees cooler than bare soil, making the lawn a perfect recreational surface during the summer heat for family and pets alike.

Calming effect

A well-maintained lawn creates a calming effect for homeowners. So, relax, sit back and enjoy the beautiful property you’ve created.

In conclusion

Whether you enjoy a well-maintained lawn because it is calming to look at, or for a cool space for your family to play in the summer months, the benefits of maintaining a healthy lawn go far beyond its appearance. If you are in our service area and have questions about your lawn, request a free estimate online or give our office a call at 908-281-7888.

What To Expect The First Season With Lawn Care

Integrated Pest Management home and green lawn

Millions of homeowners dream of having the perfect lawn and becoming the envy of their entire neighborhood. After a few years of lawn maintenance consisting of regular mowing, some people make the decision to invest a bit more and sign up with a reputable lawn care treatment company.

The sales associate explains the benefits of a regular maintenance program, the homeowner signs up for service and can hardly wait to have the lush, weed-free sea of deep green they’ve always dreamed about. Like every other thing in life however, it’s just not quite as simple as all of that. This blog will help homeowners anticipate some of the differences in managing a treated lawn, so that this largely beneficial choice isn’t overshadowed by a few surprises.

Start your Engines

The homeowner often underestimates the accelerated growth of the turf following lawn fertilization. Typically for a lawn that has not been fertilized, the homeowner can have it mowed every 7-10 days, sometimes closer to 14 days with little consequence. Once the lawn starts receiving regular fertilization, mowing must occur once each week through spring and early fall in some cases closer to every 5 days to keep it at a reasonable 3” height.

The extra cutting means added wear on the mower, which leads to the need for regular mower servicing. We recommend sharpening the mower blades 2-4 times per season and servicing the motor to insure it continues running properly. If there is a regular landscape service responsible for mowing, they will need to schedule cutting more often than before. Consult with your landscaper as there may be an additional cost associated with more frequent visits to the property.

Not all that is Green is Grass

One of the biggest misconceptions amongst homeowners is that all weeds are like dandelions; large, broadleaf, and have a huge flower. Once all the weeds are gone, the lawn is certainly going to look a whole lot nicer; however, there are plenty of weeds on the lawn that are low-lying, green and may develop a flower for just a short time. Broadleaf weeds such as ground ivy, clover, and wild violet that are eventually controlled by herbicides, may have actually contributed to the green ground cover observed from afar as part of the lawn prior to service.

As much of a difference as broadleaf weed control makes, the absence of crabgrass in the summer is probably the biggest difference homeowners aren’t prepared for. Without crabgrass prevention done each spring, a large percentage of any residential lawn becomes overrun with this weed by July each summer. Crabgrass is a low-lying, grass-like summer annual which means it actively grows in the heat. Without treatment, lawns that consist of a large amount of crabgrass are very low maintenance. They stay green with very little water and can be mowed down to 2” or less without consequence.

Once your lawn care provider preventatively controls for crabgrass, all that remains on the lawn in summer is the desirable grasses, which do not tolerate the heat nearly as well, and will not stay green unless they are properly watered. Does this mean the lawn will have to be irrigated through the summer each year? No. It’s just that the expectation is the lawn will look better with treatment, that might not be the case in the summer unless the homeowner is able to properly irrigate. It is better for the overall health of the turf to keep the crabgrass out, it just may be frustrating for the homeowner to see surrounding lawns of crabgrass (that will appear as nice, green lawns from afar) not requiring any water to maintain color.

Once crabgrass and weeds are controlled, the lawn may eventually start to appear thinner. This is because the amount of desirable grass present at the start of treatment may not have been significant enough to provide dense ground cover in the first place. Once this happens, the lawn technician servicing the property may recommend over seeding to improve the density of the lawn.

Again, this is contrary to what most homeowners expect. After all, they already purchased an annual treatment package to make the lawn look nice, shouldn’t the fertilizer be enough to make the lawn thicker? Fertilizer will make the grass already present on the lawn look thicker and greener, but it will not cause new grass to spring up out of the bare areas previously occupied by weeds. Once the weeds are controlled, homeowners shouldn’t be surprised to hear that seeding may be necessary to establish a thicker, higher quality lawn.

What is Core Aeration?

A lawn mostly comprised of grass needs more maintenance than a lawn filled with weeds. Desirable grass species considered desirable prefer well-drained, oxygenated soil. This means addressing the soil compaction regularly and controlling the thatch layer. The thatch is a layer of living grass stems and decomposing organic matter that accumulates at the base of the plants just above the soil surface. The growth of these stems is stimulated by fertilization, so the thatch layer will accumulate much faster with treatment. Overly thick thatch will block oxygen and moisture from reaching the soil, as well as provide a favorable environment for harmful insects and disease.

Additionally, central New Jersey has soil with high clay content that compacts easily. Compaction happens even more quickly as the mowing frequency increases due to fertilization.

To prevent excessive thatch accumulation and address the soil compaction, the lawn technician will start recommending core aeration. Core aeration is the process by which soil and grass plugs are mechanically brought to the surface of the turf and then allowed to resettle into the lawn. This will need to be done at least every other fall as a maintenance practice to counter the thatch growth and soil compaction. Lawns that have severely compacted soil or that are made up of certain turf species that inherently produce excessive thatch, may require annual core aeration.

Soil pH

Most fertilizers applied to residential lawns are broken down by soil microbes in order to release the nutrients to the plants. This process occurs very efficiently within the soil provided that the pH remains within a range of 6.0-7.0, depending on the grass variety. In order to get the most from fertilization, lawn care companies test the pH regularly as part of regular maintenance. When the soil becomes more acidic the technician will recommend that lime be applied to help bring it back up into the optimum range.

It Never had Disease Before

Almost everyone knows that mushrooms are fungi, and most everyone has observed mushrooms growing in the grass or near trees in beds at one time or another. However, it is not common knowledge that there are also millions of microscopic fungi living in the soil that can attack grass plants causing what we refer to commonly as turf diseases. These pathogenic fungi do not significantly impact broadleaf weeds or crabgrass, so prior to the lawn becoming a grass exclusive property through treatment, disease is of no concern.

Like diseases that affect humans, lawn diseases can range in severity from relatively harmless to damaging. All lawn diseases though have some sort of negative impact on the look of the turf. Lawn technicians will diagnose disease issues and make recommendations for treatment. Control recommendations are usually adjustments to water or mowing but can also include the use of fungicides. Fungicides, like medicine, are additional treatments done to chemically control disease symptoms. The cost of fungicide is not something typically built into any normal maintenance program, so they can present an additional cost which can be a shock to the homeowner receiving treatments for the first time.

Don’t Be Too Concerned

At the end of the day, the lawn will look far better with treatment than it did without. Also, not all the circumstances outlined in this blog are going to present themselves all at once, but each one will likely be something referenced by your lawn specialist at some point. The difference now is that you have been equipped with the knowledge of what to expect, so it should come as no surprise.

9 Ilene Ct, Suite 14, Hillsborough, NJ 08844 United States | (908) 281-7888
Phone: (908) 281-7888 Fairway Green Inc.