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

Category Archives: Company News

New Jersey Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban

On January 18th 2022, Governor Phil Murphy signed new legislation that affects the use of neonicotinoid pesticides.  In summary, the new legislation prohibits any use of neonicotinoid pesticides that is not for agricultural purposes after October 31st, 2023.  The intent of this law is to reduce exposure to pollinator insects. In this blog, we will discuss how the new law is going to impact treatments done to your lawn and landscape plants.

What is a neonicotinoid?

Neonicotinoids (Neonics) have been used in agriculture since the 1990s and are one of the most widely used pesticides in the world.  They are insecticides that are used to control many common pests found in lawns and landscapes in New Jersey.  In addition, they are also in many of the popular flea and tick medications used on pets (neonics are not banned in New Jersey if used on domestic pets).  Because neonics are no longer under patent, there are many generics making them an extremely cost-effective option to control insects.

How are they used?

Neonics are commonly used as systemic insecticides used to protect plants from insects that feed on them.  A systemic insecticide is one that moves through the plant and provides protection.  As an example, Japanese beetles are often found feeding on plants such as roses, cherry trees, plum trees, and even Japanese maples.  Neonics can be injected into the soil around the root zone of those plants very early in the spring.  The plants will absorb and translocate the product.  By the time Japanese beetles come around to feed on the plants in the summer, the plants will be protected and the insects will be controlled once they begin to feed.

Japanese beetles are just one example, there are many other insects that are controlled by neonicotinoids. In the past few years, many of us in New Jersey have noticed invasive spotted lanternflies around our homes and landscapes.  Neonics were a great way to control these insects.  Lanternflies have a few favorite trees they like to feed on, tree of heaven and a few maple varieties were the primary targets in our service area.  We were able to protect those plants with a single systemic treatment that provided control during the entire adult life cycle of the lanternflies.  In addition to protecting the plant, it also provided a great way of reducing the population of an invasive species that caused millions of dollars of damage to local crops.

It’s easier to talk about the insects controlled with neonics because if we look at plants treated with neonicotinoids, the list will likely include all ornamental plants in our area.  We’ve already mentioned some of the plants, but other plants treated with neonicotinoids include Magnolias, Azaleas, Boxwoods, Ash Trees, Maple Trees, Hemlocks, Birch Trees, and these are just a few.

Trees and shrubs are not the only plants that benefitted from treatments, your lawn was also protected by neonics.  We already discussed the harm Japanese Beetle adults do by feeding on your plants, but they can also cause a lot of harm to your lawn.  Beetle adults will lay their eggs in turf, the eggs will hatch into larvae that feed on the roots of grass plants.  These larvae are commonly referred to as grubs. If you’ve ever had grubs in your lawn then you are familiar with the amount of damage they can do to turf.  Large sections of dead grass can be rolled up like a carpet after grubs feed through an area.  Neonics applied to the turf were a great way to preventatively treat for grubs and protect your grass.

We can go on and on with examples of insects controlled by neonics.  Rather than go into detail on each one, a few more that you are probably familiar with are boxwood leafminers, scale, adelgids, and even invasive emerald ash borers. In fact, a lot of piercing and sucking insects can be controlled with neonics.


What does this mean for homeowners in New Jersey?

With the current products available for use in New Jersey, the days of a single systemic treatment to protect a plant for the year are behind us.  There are a few systemic insecticides available that are not neonics, however, they do not cover a broad spectrum of pests and can’t be used to control many common insects in our area.  In addition, the cost of those systemic insecticides will likely exceed the value of the plant in many instances.

With that being said, we still have options to control insects on our landscape plants and turf.  Since we can no longer treat plants systemically, we have to treat them when the insects are active.  Leafminers are insects that cause a lot of damage to boxwoods each year.  The adults are active between April and July and can be targeted during that time frame with monthly contact sprays.  The obvious downside to this is going from a single annual treatment to monthly treatments that will need to be applied 3 or 4 times a year to protect the plant.  The same is true for many other insect pests in our area, a single treatment will be replaced with much more specialized treatments targeted during the timeframe when those insects are most vulnerable.

What should we do to protect our landscape plants?

As mentioned above, there are some systemic options still available for certain plants, however, the products are much more expensive at this point in time.  We do expect costs to come down in the near future as some products come off patent and other new products are developed.

The most common form of treatment now will be specialized contact sprays designed to target specific insects at the most opportune time to treat them.  The timing of applications, as well as the specific products used to treat the insects, will vary greatly depending on the plant and insect.  If you are in our service area and scheduled for a systemic treatment, then we’ve likely already contacted you to discuss treatment options for your property.  If you’re not in our service area, we recommend contacting your local tree company to see what treatment options are available and recommended for your plants.

2020 Lawn Care – Year in Review

Benefits of a Healthy Landscape

Studies have shown that maintaining a healthy lawn and landscape around homes and places of work can promote higher levels of well-being. There perhaps has never been a stronger testament to this concept than in 2020. With limited social interaction and many faced with staying home a large percentage of each day, home and business owners put a lot of time and energy into improving their lawn and landscape this year.

Lawn and Landscape Improvements

This year, a lot of homeowners had time to invest in making improvements to their outdoor space. We noticed landscape projects with long-term positive health effects for the lawn happened more frequently this year; this includes installing beds around trees to combat erosion, making improvements to drainage, and seeding into the lawn with improved turf varieties.

Customer concerns were a little different in 2020 as well. More homeowners began questioning why they had different types of grass growing in their lawns, why they were seeing so many mushrooms, and what time the technician would be out to their property.

The Weather

In New Jersey there are state laws that regulate when fertilizer can be applied. The winter is off-limits, starting in December each year until the following March. Therefore, the plan for most lawn care companies is to start applications for their customers on the first of March each year; however, there is almost always a delay waiting for the snow to melt (or in some scenarios to stop coming down!) before treatment can begin.

This year we had above average temperatures daily in February and March with zero snowfall. The first round of treatment was able to begin as scheduled for the first time in a few years. This allowed the treatment to begin working against weed growth before they flowered. Broadleaf weed control in spring was very good for this reason.

We received a lot of calls about grass seedheads. Each spring, grass established in lawns grow a seed stalk as a means of reproduction. Depending on how fast the lawn is actively growing relative to how often the lawn is mowed, homeowners may or may not take notice of this process in spring. However, with the weather promoting turf growth all of March and mowers being slowed down by the effects of the pandemic, the seed stalks were in full view on almost every lawn at one point. Luckily, seedheads are of no concern and stop growing after they are mowed away.


The summer brought the wettest July for central New Jersey in recorded history, as well as above average daily temperatures through August. The grass performed well in July as the rain continued, but once it stopped in August, grass species with lower tolerance for heat/drought stress began to show decline in the lawn. The high heat we experienced after a long period of saturation brought a lot of disease. Brown patch fungus was prevalent from the start of August until the end of the month. Disease is not the only issue brought on by heat following rainy periods. Warm season weeds were also very abundant, requests to address nutsedge and spotted spurge in the lawn were coming in daily.


As far as what the winter will bring, I guess we’ll have to wait and see. So far however, it seems to have gotten cooler, especially at night, a little sooner than last year. Seedings that took place later in the fall (after October 1st) will most likely suffer if this trend continues, and require touchup seeding in early spring.


In terms of agronomic issues, 2020 wasn’t really all that different from years we’ve seen in the past. The real adjustments we had to make were geared toward the challenge of operating efficiently through a new social environment. Hopefully 2021 remains as predictable for the turf as we all continue to evolve how we conduct ourselves within the structure of the new “normal”.

Lawn Care 2019 Year End Summary


More often than not, the weather is what defines each year in the lawn care industry and 2019 was no exception. The amount of precipitation shaped the issues in lawns this year. In 2018 we saw the highest annual precipitation total ever recorded. In 2019 this continued, and the excessive soil moisture persisted through the end of July. The issues caused by the constant soil moisture stretching into the summer were enough to make any year standout against the norm; however, an additional challenge presented itself when the rainfall abruptly ceased.

The graphic below taken from the website of the ONJSC at Rutgers illustrates the rise and fall in precipitation that occurred over the end of 2018 into 2019.

The Challenge Presented by the Moisture

I know what you’re thinking. “Isn’t rainfall generally considered a good thing for lawns?” Of course rain is a good thing! But like any other good thing, too much of it can cause problems.

Traffic Stress

The soil found in Central Jersey is predominantly clay, which holds moisture very well. Most residents in New Jersey know that even after a moderately heavy rainfall, it can take a few days before the lawn is dry enough to support mower traffic.  During the late spring and early summer this year, the grass continued to grow rapidly with all the rain and the soil never really had time to dry. Homeowners had no choice but to mow the lawn during periods where the soil was still soft, which caused a lot of traffic stress damage. Most of the minor ruts were most likely overlooked, but they accumulated all the same and had to be addressed in late August with touch up seeding.

Broadleaf Weed Growth

Spring always consists of excessive growth, and broadleaf weeds are nothing new in April and May each year. By June and July broadleaf weed growth usually become less of an issue as it starts to slow down. However, as heavy rainfall continued through July…so did the weed growth. Homeowners saw a noticeable uptick in the amount of weed growth through the opening of summer. Warm season broadleaf weeds such as spotted spurge was seen in higher volume than normal.


Unable to chemically prevent, this tall, neon green, grassy weed always presents a challenge once it starts actively growing each summer. Nutsedge prefers wetter soil, so lawns with irrigation and/or poor drainage are typically the only properties that require additional attention for this weed. With this year’s excessive soil moisture, nutsedge treatment was in demand regardless of the properties’ normal qualities.


When Suddenly the Rain Stops


By the time August rolls around each year there is no crabgrass pre-emergent still active in the soil. The heavy rain at the end of July into August also promoted a lot of crabgrass germination. Then, in mid-August when the rain stopped, the crabgrass was able to dominate areas where lawns became stressed by the drought.

Bentgrass and Rough Bluegrass

The most unacknowledged issue that has steadily been mounting over the last two years is the establishment of undesirable grass species in residential lawns. Grass types such as bentgrass and rough bluegrass that prefer wetter, cooler areas have traditionally been kept in check by the arrival of the dryer, hotter summer months. The extensive soil moisture sustained over the last two years has allowed these plants to actively spread longer than normal and occupy more of the landscape. In the cooler spring months, these grasses reside hidden amongst the green ground cover similar of the other desirable species. However, once conditions change and become warmer and dryer, areas established with these grass types become very evident as they turn brown and look matted down. Once the long-lasting rain ended abruptly in September, large areas where these grasses have taken occupancy in lawns looked very unattractive. While large portions of these areas have since recovered in October and November, they will continue to cause issues for homeowners in the future unless removed from the lawn and established with more desirable turf.


Looking into the future and what to expect for next year, it will be interesting to see if the wetter trend will continue into 2020, or if the weather will present more traditional precipitation levels. Either way, there is sure to be some new challenge brought on by Mother Nature that is bound to become the focus of next year’s entry.

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