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

Category Archives: Spring Lawn Care

When will my lawn green up?

This picture illustrates how a Fine Fescue grass (right) greens up differently than a Blue/Rye grass mix (left).

In the spring, many lawns are brown and still in their winter dormancy state.  They will eventually green up, but timing depends on some external factors.  Your lawn’s green up in the spring is dictated by the temperatures of the soil as well as grass type.  The temperature of the soil needs to reach 50 to 65 degrees to actively start the growing and green-up process for northern grasses in our area including rye, blue and fescues.  To further complicate things, different species of grasses green up at different soil temperatures.  Thicker lawns can take a little longer to green up because the sunlight is not directly getting to the soil, hence taking more time for the soil to reach the desired green-up temperatures.  Also, if you have a lot of tree cover or other shade issues, the soil may take a little longer to warm up, delaying your lawn’s green up. You can’t control the external factors but there are a few things you can do to help your lawn green up a little quicker next spring.

What can be done to help the green up process in the spring?

The most important thing you can do to help your lawn green up in the spring is starting to think about it in the fall.  Specifically, a winterizing fertilizer applied late in the fall season will improve the green up process the following spring.  The winterizing fertilizer is one of the most important applications for your lawn.  It will provide nutrients that help promote root growth and get stored as reserves over the winter. The stored nutrients will be used for new growth and aid with your lawn greening up during the spring.

Once your lawn greens up in the spring you are going to want to keep it that way for the rest of the season.  Here are some helpful tips to keep your lawn green all season long especially during the hot and stressful summer months.

  1. Water the lawn regularly. Your lawn should receive roughly 1 inch of water per week. It is recommended to start running underground sprinklers for 1 to 1 ½ hours per zone, twice a week.  As for hose-end sprinklers start at around 4 hours per zone, once a week.  If the lawn loses color add more time to your watering schedule not more days.  Bump up your watering schedule by half-hour increments weekly until the color is adequate.  Watering should occur between midnight and 6 a.m.  Watering your lawn at night while you are sleeping will help to minimize the length of time the lawn is wet which will reduce disease activity.  It will also help save you money.  At night there is no sun to evaporate the water and you will use a lot less water to achieve your watering goals.  For hose-end sprinklers, you can go to any home improvement store and purchase battery operated timers and splitters for the hoses to set up in your lawn for overnight watering. Once the hot summer months roll around, the lawn will be under a tremendous amount of stress.  If the lawn does not get enough water it will turn brown and go into summer dormancy. Once the lawn turns brown from summer stress it will take heavy watering for to green back up.  The secret to having a green lawn all summer long is to water on a regular schedule and keep to that schedule.
  1. Mow the lawn correctly. The taller grass blades will shade the soil underneath keeping the soil moist longer. Mow the lawn when it needs to be mowed (not because you mow every Wednesday).  Mow off 1/3 of the grass blade at a time. Keep the height of cut to 3 – 3 ½ inches in length, and change the direction of the mowing pattern with each mowing.  This will help to reduce bending of the grass blade in the same direction and reduce ruts by the tires of the mower.  Keep the mower blades sharp to avoid shredding the leaf tips, which can cause infection of disease and the weakening of the grass plants in general.
  2. Core aerate your lawn annually in the fall. Core aeration is the mechanical process of removing plugs of soil creating small holes in the lawn which allows air, water and nutrients to get down to the grass root zone. This process also helps the grass roots grow deeper and produce a stronger, more vigorously growing lawn. To watch a video and learn more information about core aeration, check out our blog.
  3. Apply lime. Lime will help to regulate the pH of the soil. When the pH of the soil is low the nutrients in the soil are not completely available for use by the grass plants.  If the pH is in the optimum range (between 6.3 – 6.5 for grasses in our area) the lawn can utilize the nutrients to its full capacity which will help create a healthy and stronger lawn. For more information about soil pH and lime, check out our blog.
  4. Fertilize your lawn regularly throughout the season. By maintaining a good fertilizer program, you are supplying your turf with vital nutrients (like Nitrogen which helps maintain the color of the grass plants) it requires for optimum health, growth and color.

Conclusion

Bottom line, be patient, there is nothing wrong if your lawn greens up later than your neighbor’s.  It will green up over time, but keeping it green throughout the season, now that’s the real trick to a beautiful colorful lawn. If you have any questions about lawn services that can help the lawn green up throughout the year, check out our platinum lawn program.

If you are in our service areas and have questions, please feel free to give our office a call at 908-281-7888.

Early Spring Weeds

The season of new life in our lawns and landscapes has finally arrived! Early in the spring, trees and shrubs produce beautiful flowers that bring vibrant colors to the landscapes, but unfortunately this time of year also brings unwanted plants; also known as weeds. Below we will go through the most common early spring weeds and the best treatment methods.

Dandelion

Dandelions are easily the most infamous of the early spring weeds that are very easy to identify.  We’ve all driven by a beautiful green landscape freckled with dandelions, disrupting the look of a lawn that recently greened up from winter dormancy. Dandelions are a perennial plant with leaves between 3-10 inches in length, stemming from a singular taproot. The yellow flower will transform into the white “puff ball” that we all used to pick up and blow on when we were kids. This part of the flowering weed is the seed head. Often, the seeds are carried by wind to a new destination and germinates to form a new dandelion plant the following year.

Hairy Bittercress

Hairy bittercress is another common early spring weed that sticks out like a sore thumb in the lawn. This early spring weed is an annual plant that starts to grow in early winter and matures through the very early part of the spring season. It produces a white flower, that is easily identifiable among the rest of the green plant. Many homeowners observe the presence of this weed despite having a lawn treatment service because this weed develops during the winter and most lawn companies have stopped treating weeds for the season.  Unfortunately, its presence in the lawn is almost unavoidable.

Wild Onion/Garlic

Wild onion and wild garlic are perennial plants that grow from bulbs in the soil. These are the tallest of the early spring weeds that are sure to stand out on any home lawn. Both plants have thin green waxy leaves; however wild garlic are round and hollow leaves, while wild onion leaves are flat and solid. The bulbs of the wild onion and garlic plan can remain dormant in the soil for several years, making the control for these weeds sometimes difficult. They look very similar to scallions you purchase in the store, except smaller.   Additionally, deer will not eat these weeds, and your dogs and cats should stay away from these plants as these early spring weeds are poisonous to them.

Common & Mouse-ear Chickweed

An early spring annual plant, chickweed typically will grow along edges of beds, sidewalks and curbs as seen in the image below. Chickweed grows in low lying patches as it roots itself from nodes along its stems.  It can develop a white flower if soil temperatures become warm enough before the lawn is being mowed regularly. The difference between the mouse-ear variety and common chickweed is that the leaves of mouse-ear chickweed are hair covered and appear fuzzy upon close inspection.

Henbit

This early spring weed is an annual plant with circular to heart shaped leaves and square stems that have a green to purple color to them. The flower of henbit grows in whorls around the stem and are a pink to purple in color.  Henbit usually resides in the harshest of environments near foundations, in stone, and very compacted soil.

Treatment

Although there are numerous types of early spring weeds, controlling them is not very difficult with the right product.  A treatment with the appropriate broadleaf weed control should kill most of the visible weeds this year.  Unfortunately, broadleaf weed control does not act as a preventative, so you will need to apply follow up treatments as more weeds emerge.  When selecting weed control, make sure you read the label to confirm the product will control the type of weeds growing in your lawn.  In addition, be sure to follow all instructions for proper use and rates to avoid any adverse effects.  Please make sure you do not apply a non-selective herbicide to your turf, such as Round Up containing Glyphosate, this will not only kill the spring weeds but also any grass plants that it contacts as well.

For information on cultural practices that can help prepare your lawn and landscape ready for outdoor parties and get togethers this spring, check out our spring maintenance blog.

Conclusion

Although it’s practically impossible to avoid having these weeds enter your lawn, these common early spring weeds are easy to control. If you have a lawn care company already, control of these early spring weeds should be included as part of your basic program. If you’re a do it yourselfer, getting rid of these early spring weeds can be accomplished using over the counter herbicides. Just be sure to read and follow all label instructions.

To be ready for the common summer broadleaf weeds, check out our blog. If you have any questions and are in our service area, please give our office a call at 908-625-9891.

Before You Plant Grass in the Spring

Among a host of other long-awaited chores, many homeowners are eager to get out onto their lawns once the snow has melted and plant grass in the spring. While it may be difficult to contain the urge to rush out to the local home improvement store and spend hundreds of dollars in a state of euphoria brought on by the smell of fresh cut grass, there are a few things to consider first before planting grass in the spring.

How to decide?

The first thing to consider before planting grass in the spring is whether or not the lawn needs to be seeded at all. In the early months of spring the soil is often super saturated from the snow melt. A lot of the plants are overly succulent with no rigidity and the color is poor because a lot of plants are still dormant. Keep in mind that the lawn has just started to wake up and isn’t looking its best. I mean, would you want anyone making any decisions regarding what to do about your overall appeal right after you rolled out of bed? Just try not to be overly disappointed with the lawn’s appearance at first sight and know that it looks as bad as it is going to early in spring before the soil temperatures become warm enough to trigger spring growth before you decide to plant grass in the spring.

How should one determine if you should plant grass in the spring? Spring seeding should be planned if there any obvious areas of exposed soil. These areas can represent a large percentage of the property, or be as small as a baseball or basketball.  Even small areas of exposed soil where there is little to no grass present can be an eyesore, and establishing new grass in these areas before they become worse through erosion is important.

When to plant grass in the spring

Once the decision is made to plant grass in the spring, the work should be done as early as the weather permits. The best time to plant grass in the spring is when the snow has melted and it appears that there will be no future snow accumulation. This is usually between late March and early April. The timing is important because it is essential that the new seed has as many weeks as possible to establish before the summer arrives. One of the biggest disadvantages to seeding any areas in the spring is that a large percentage of the new plants do not develop a root system mature enough to survive the stress of summer. Therefore, it is best only to address the sections of the lawn that absolutely need it in spring.

unseeded lawn and seeded lawn

The above pictures show a portion of a lawn that needs to be seeded, and what it looks like post seeding.

 

After you seed

After the seeding has taken place it is important to feed the young plants. If you have a lawn care service in place they should be notified. Explain to them when and where on the property you have planted grass in the spring. The service provider can then be sure to avoid the application of any herbicides to the areas, and to bring out starter fertilizer with the next scheduled treatment to apply on the new grass. Keeping new grass properly fed with starter fertilizer high in phosphorus is critical in trying to ensure that the young plants establish in time for summer. Skipping the Early Spring application of fertilizer for fear that it may damage the turf in some way is a huge mistake often made by homeowners. Like any other newborn, young seedlings need to feed immediately to grow, and like infants they require a special diet different than that of mature adults.

With the new seed planted and fertilized, it becomes about monitoring the seedlings as they come in. The areas need to be kept moist always. One of the advantages of planting grass in the spring is that there is frequent rainfall, so keeping seeded areas moist is not very difficult. Light, frequent watering is best. New plants do not have roots, so deep watering does not serve much of a purpose. Traffic of the areas should be kept to a bare minimum. Use stakes and some string or caution tape to keep anyone from entering the area unnecessarily. The areas will need to be mowed eventually, but that should not happen until the new plants reach a height of about 4” or so.

If these instructions are followed to the letter, the new grass will have been given the best chance to germinate and establish. However, there are additional issues that come with planting grass in the spring that may adversely affect the result despite the best efforts of the homeowner.

Summer Heat

First, as mentioned already the trick with planting grass in the spring is to get it to establish before the summer arrives. Sometimes though, summer arrives earlier than expected. It is not unheard of for there to be heat waves as early as May, and it won’t take much to damage the young plants. Just a single week of temperatures more than eighty degrees may be enough to cause injury from which the new grass will not be able to recover.

Broadleaf Weeds

Second, the race for the new grass to establish is not just against the heat, but also the broadleaf weed growth. In areas of the lawn where there is less grass established there is more soil exposed to direct sunlight. The temperature increase in the soil, along with the lack of plant competition, creates the perfect environment for excessive broadleaf weed growth. If broadleaf weeds establish in these areas before the new grass does, then the results may be less than desirable.

Crabgrass

The last factor to consider before deciding to plant grass in the spring is crabgrass. The most effective way to control crabgrass is preventatively with treatments that are applied in the early spring. Any areas seeded cannot be receive this treatment because it prevents the new grass from being able to establish. What this means is that any areas seeded will most likely have to contend with a good deal of crabgrass growth. And because crabgrass growth doesn’t really occur until June, even new seed that looks amazing to that point can suddenly become lackluster once the crabgrass populates the area. The crabgrass can be treated at that point, but then the homeowner is left with an area filled with dead crabgrass plants until the lawn can be reseeded at summer’s end.

Conclusion

While spring is the time for new growth, all the factors mentioned should be carefully considered before planting grass in the spring. In general, smaller touch up seeding is a non-issue and should be taken care of without much thought. However, before doing any extensive plantings of grass in the spring, it may be best to contact a lawn care professional and weigh the options carefully.

For more information about preparing your lawn and landscape for spring, check out our blog that takes an in-depth look into preparing your property for the spring. If you are in our service area and have any questions about planting grass in the spring, please don’t hesitate to call us at 908-281-7888.

How to Prepare your Lawn and Landscape for Spring

Spring is the time of year we think of warmer temperatures, longer days, plants budding and nice flowers.  Before you start planning the outdoor barbecues and family get togethers, you may have some clean up to do after the winter weather took a toll on your landscape.  Below are a few helpful tips on how to prepare your lawn for spring and spring landscape maintenance tips that will get your property ready before the outdoor parties and get togethers.

Assess Your Lawn and Landscape

The first step to prepare your lawn for spring is to assess the current status.  Take a walk around your property to look for fallen branches, debris, and any damage that might have been done over the winter and recent storms.  Create a prioritized list of items that need to be done to help stay on task and organized.

Tune Up Your Landscape Equipment

After your property check, it’s a great time to assess your landscaping equipment to make sure everything is in working order.  It will be difficult to prepare your lawn for spring if your equipment is not working properly.  Check your lawn mower, leaf blower, weedwacker and anything else that has a small engine for leaks of any fluids or other obvious signs of damage.  If you didn’t clean your equipment at the end of last year’s season, doing so now will make inspecting for damage a lot easier.  Check the spark plugs on all your gas-powered equipment and change them as necessary.  Once your inspections are done, it’s time to do some routine preventative maintenance.  For your operating equipment, change the engine oil, grease bearings, inflate tires on equipment if applicable, and lubricate moving parts.  Sharpen your mower blades before the season starts and on a quarterly basis going forward.  It’s also a great time to spool your weedwhacker with some new line.

Get Out There

When it comes to preparing your lawn for spring and spring landscape maintenance, cleaning is pretty much on everyone’s list!  Clean out your landscape beds and the borders around the edges of the property from debris that collected over the winter.

Prepare the lawn by raking leftover leaves and debris from the fall.  This will also help if there are any winter lawn diseases present, such as pink or grey snow mold.  By lightly fluffing up the matted down turf with a leaf rake, it will help increase oxygen flow and aid in growing out the disease.  This type of disease will not cause any permanent damage and addressing it early is a great way to prepare your lawn for spring.

The grass may still be brown despite the warmer temperatures.  Don’t worry, the grass will green up.    The thing to understand is that air temperatures do not green up a lawn; it’s the soil temperatures.  As the spring days get longer, the sun has more time to warm up the soil.  Once the soil reaches the ideal temperature for your type of grass, you will notice significant green up.

damaged mower blades

Dull and damaged mower blades like the one in this photo need to be sharpened to avoid shredding grass plants.

Mow Your Lawn

The first mow of the lawn at the beginning of the year will set the tone for the season.  Keep the grass at a height of 3 – 3 ½ inches in length all year long.  Only take off 1/3 of the grass plant at a time.  If you’re going through the steps to prepare your lawn for spring, don’t forget about your lawn mower blades!  Keep your blades sharp to get a clean cut and avoid shredding the grass blade.  A shredded grass blade not only makes the lawn look bad and gives it a whiteish tint, but it also weakens the plant, making it more susceptible to drought, disease and insect damage.

Seed Only if You Must

Although September is the optimal time to seed your lawn, sometimes you just have to seed in the spring.  Large areas that are bare, very thin, or have a lot of old, dead crabgrass plants in the area should be seeded.  You can prepare your lawn for spring seeding by loosening the soil in those areas to about 1 – 1 ½ inches or add 1 – 1 ½ inches of top soil.  Then, mix in your grass seed and lightly rake it into the loose soil.  Grass seed germination rates are higher with better seed to soil contact.  Now water, water, water!  Watering is very important for new seed.  Water every day for 20 minutes per area in the morning to keep your soil and seed moist.  Seeding is the only time we recommend watering at high frequency and short duration.  For tips on how to water your lawn correctly, please visit our blog.  Keep in mind that any areas seeded in the spring will not be able to receive crabgrass or weed controls which in turn will make those areas have issues with weeds and crabgrass all year long.

Check Your Irrigation System

Have your irrigation company come by to check the system and turn it on for the season.  Have any heads or pipes that were damaged from the cold repaired.  Set your watering schedule to start out at one hour per zone twice per week.  You want to get one inch of water on your lawn per week.  As the temperatures get hotter, increase your watering time by half hour increments.  Do not add more days, instead add more time to your watering schedule.  Starting to water early in the season may sound crazy, but if you water early enough and get a good start, it will be healthy going into the harsh summer months and less susceptible to drought, disease and insects.

Prune Trees & Shrubs and Mulch Your Landscape

So far, we’ve focused mainly on how to prepare your lawn for spring, but what about your landscape plants!  Now is the time to start spring landscape maintenance by pruning your trees and shrubs of any broken or dead branches.  For flowering shrubs, wait until flowers bloom so you don’t cut off limbs that will be producing flowers or fruits.  You should assess whether you can remove the branches yourself or if you should hire a company to do so.  A general rule of thumb is if you have to get on a ladder to cut down limbs or branches, you probably should hire someone to do it.  Depending on the nature of what needs to be removed, be sure to pick the right person for the job.  Also, be sure that any tree company that you use is properly insured and licensed.

Plant your annual flowers.  This is a good time to spruce up your landscape with flowers.  Flowers can really add a lot of ‘pop’ to an otherwise mundane landscape.  Like shrubs, it is important to try and determine where to plant which flowers.  For example, if there is a dry, sunny location that you want to bring color to, wave petunias may be an option.  Or, if there is a lot of shade and moisture in a particular location, impatiens might work for you.  Do you want to plant different flowers every year? If so, annual flowers are what you are looking for.  Do you want to plant just once and have them come up in the same location every year? If yes, then perennials are the way to go.  The choices of what flowers to use in your landscape is limitless.  When purchasing new flowers or shrubs, be sure to read the tag to determine the proper planting location.  For example, if you have an area that is mostly shaded, look for plants that prefer shade or minimal sun to give it the best chance of thriving in your landscape.

Replacing dead or dying shrubs is another key step to preparing your landscape for the spring.  If the shrub is dead, see if you can determine why it died.  Is it the right plant for the location? Are the soil conditions ideal for the plant?  It is a good idea to determine these factors before replacing the dead shrubs with the same, or similar, plant.  If it is deemed that the location is not ideal for the plant you want, you will be replacing that plant year after year.  If you are unsure how to determine this, just give us a call and we will be happy to help you.

Maintain 2 – 3 inches of fresh mulch on your landscape.  This will help regulate the soil temperatures and help hold soil moisture for the trees and shrubs, reduce weed growth and give your landscape that nice clean maintained look.  Please note that mulch should not be piled high on the trunk of trees or covering the shrubs. This will lead to decay and damage in the future.  For more information on mulching and the risks of having too much mulch, please see our blog on mulching your landscape.

Repair Damages to Your Home or Property

We’ve gone through ways to prepare your lawn for the spring and tips for spring landscape maintenance, but don’t forget about the house!  Now is the time to make repairs to the outside of your house as well, here are a few common issues:

  • Repair and clean clogged gutters
  • Fix shingles that were damaged during the winter
  • Mend fence posts or panels that are loose or broken
  • Sweep gravel back into your stone or brick walkways
  • Seal your driveway if necessary
  • It’s also a great time to repair damages or reseal your deck
  • Fix landscape lighting that may have stopped working over the winter

Conclusion

When it comes to preparing your lawn for spring and starting your spring landscape maintenance, it seems like the to do list keeps on growing!  That being said, there are perks to owning a home.  It’s your sanctuary and taking pride in our properties adds benefits to our lives, communities and our environment.  If you are in our service area and have any questions about topics covered in this blog, such as proper mowing, watering, seeding, etc. please don’t hesitate to call us at 908-281-7888.

Tick Control: Important Facts You Must Know About Ticks

It seems that ticks are getting a lot of press coverage lately due to their potential to transmit diseases such as Lyme disease and Powassan.  2017 is forecasted to have higher than normal tick populations leaving many people wondering what options they have for tick control.  In this blog, we are going to provide a broad overview on ticks and discuss methods of tick control.

What is a Tick?

Ticks are parasites that attach themselves to a host and feed on the host’s blood.  They are part of the arachnid family, meaning they have eight legs, like spiders.  Ticks are vectors of several tick-borne illnesses that affect both humans and animals.

What is the Life Cycle of a Tick?

Ticks have a four-stage life cycle.  It’s important to understand the time of year each stage occurs so that optimal tick control methods can be used to target the predominate life cycle stage.

The first stage is the egg stage.  An adult female tick will typically breed while on a host animal and then drop to the ground to lay eggs.  A female tick can lay several thousand eggs at a time, which will eventually hatch into the second stage.

The second stage is the larval stage.  At this stage a tick will be very small, less than an eighth of an inch and will only have six legs.  It will look for a host, typically mice at this stage, and feed for several days before falling off and molting into the third stage.

The third stage is the nymph stage.  At this stage a nymph tick will molt from the larval stage (having six legs) to the nymph stage (having eight legs.)  After this molting occurs it will then start looking for its next meal.  A nymph tick will prefer animals like racoons and possums, but will also attached to larger hosts, such as humans, when given the opportunity.  Like the larval stage, after it has fed for a few days, it will fall off, molt and advance to the final stage of its life.

The final stage: Adult.  At this stage the adult tick will feed for the third time on even larger animals such as deer, dogs, or humans.  This is where they will feed and breed before dropping off and laying eggs to start the cycle over again.

Where do ticks live?

Ticks prefer shady and damp areas such as wooded areas, brushy fields with tall grass, ornamental landscaping beds and leaf or wood piles around your property.  Any type of tick control application should target these areas.  Ticks do not run, jump, fly, blow through the wind or travel great distances on their own.  They travel on host animals, mainly mice and small rodents.  They are very slow moving, patient and have an incredible ability to locate their hosts/prey.  They select sites that warm-blooded mammals travel regularly to provide a better opportunity for contact with prey.  Typically, on the end of low lying branches or the tips of ornamental shrubs and plants where they can grab onto an unsuspecting host walking by.

You may occasionally find ticks in your lawn as they drop off a host, but they do not prefer to be there.  Maintained lawns typically get direct sunlight to the soil, making the habitat too dry for ticks.

What happens when a tick bites me?

You will not feel the tick actually bite you.  After they bite they can secrete anesthetic properties from their saliva resulting in the person or animal not feeling it.  Depending on the species of tick, it can take anywhere from ten minutes to two hours before it feeds.  A tick will cut into the skin and then embed themselves in to the flesh. They will stay attached for several days feeding on your blood.  Small amounts of saliva from the tick may also enter the skin of the host during the feeding process.  If the tick contains a pathogen, the organism may be transmitted to the host in this way.  If the tick has fed and falls off, you may notice a small red mark and it may also itch.

How do I remove a tick safely?

Ticks that are attached to the skin should be removed as soon as possible.  Follow these tips for safe removal of a tick.

  1. Take a clean set of finely tipped tweezers. Grasp the tick by its head as close to the surface of the skin as possible.
  2. Once grasped pull the tick upwards with a steady even pressure. Do not jerk or twist the tick. This can break the mouth parts off and remain in the skin.
  3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and wash your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

What kind of diseases can ticks carry and pass on to me?

Most people are very familiar with the fact that Lyme disease can be transmitted by ticks, but over the last few months the Powassan virus has been in the spotlight.  We will start by discussing Lyme disease.

A tick must have taken an initial blood meal to transmit Lyme disease.  At least thirty-six to forty-eight hours of feeding is required to have transmitted the bacterium that causes Lyme disease to a human.  After this amount of time passes, the tick will be engorged (full of blood).  After a tick bite, monitor the area closely, if the Lyme disease was passed on from the tick to the host, a “bullseye” pattern will appear at the site of the bite.  This is a clear indication of Lyme disease and it is best to seek medical help.

Powassan virus is a rare disease that can also be transmitted by ticks.  In the past ten years, there’s been approximately 75 confirmed cases in the Northeast, three of which were in New Jersey.  The disease can cause neurological damage and even death in some cases.  Given that this year is predicted to have higher tick populations, there has been increased emphasis on tick control to reduce your chances of getting bit.

There are many other types of diseases spread by ticks.  If you are bitten by a tick, become sick soon after and you believe you or your pet has contracted an illness, you should seek professional care immediately.

Tick Control

Fairway Green Inc. offers a four-step tick control program starting in the spring and ending in the fall.  We time our tick control applications with the various stages of a tick’s life cycle to help reduce the population around your property.  The first application is a liquid treatment targeting adult ticks.  The timing of our second tick control application is in conjunction with the nymph life cycle, which is why we utilize a granular application that targets both adults and nymphs.  The third treatment is a liquid treatment that covers low lying nymphs as well as adults.  The last tick control treatment in the fall is also liquid and targets adult ticks, which is the fourth and final life stage in a tick’s life cycle.

In conjunction with regular tick control applications from a professional lawn or tree care company there are several other steps you can take in your fight against ticks.  Keep your family pets tick free with the use of tick control collars, dips or powders.  Check your animals regularly and remove any ticks you may find.  Check children and yourself thoroughly after outdoor activities.  You can also contact your local health department or a cooperative extension service in your county for more information on ticks and any health hazards associated with them.

Conclusion

Tick populations are predicted to be higher than normal this year so be sure to monitor regularly, especially if you were outside in favorable tick habitat.  If you’re interested in tick control and are in our service area, please feel free to call us at 908-281-7888 for more information.

Crabgrass Prevention and Control

What is Crabgrass?

Crabgrass is an annual grassy weed that is a problem in most home lawns throughout the country.  As an annual, it completes a full life cycle in one season and germinates from seeds that were dropped during a previous season by a mature crabgrass plant.  One crabgrass plant produces thousands of seeds which can live in the soil for many years before germinating.  Crabgrass starts to germinate when soil temperatures reach 55-60 degrees and stay at that range for about a week. For New Jersey, this is typically sometime in late April or May, but can vary from year to year depending on the weather.  Crabgrass will continue to germinate throughout the summer as well.   

Why does Crabgrass grow in my lawn?

Crabgrass is typically found in stressed areas of lawns that are thin, bare, and have poor growth.  Common examples of these areas are along curb edges, driveways, and walkways.  It favors these areas because these types of areas are hit hardest by stress throughout the season.  That being said, even a well-maintained lawn can still have annual issues with crabgrass.

What options are available for Crabgrass prevention and control?

There are many options available for crabgrass prevention and control.  Here are some helpful tips to help you this season:

  1. Crabgrass prevention can be accomplished by apply a crabgrass pre-emergent every year. Crabgrass pre-emergent needs be applied in the early spring season (March & April) and it is also recommended to complete two treatments. The second treatment should be applied 6 to 8 weeks after the first treatment and is meant to reinforce the initial treatment and increase the duration of the product into the summer season.   Crabgrass pre-emergent products typically lasts in the soil for about ten to twelve weeks depending on site conditions and cultural practices.  A crabgrass pre-emergent creates an invisible barrier in the soil and controls the plants once they cross the barrier.  For more information on how pre-emergents work, follow this link to our Landscape Bed Weed Control Blog. Try not to disturb the soil after the crabgrass pre-emergent has been applied.  If the barrier becomes compromised (core aeration, dethatching, seeding, construction, etc.), crabgrass will most likely emerge in these areas.  Because crabgrass is very similar to desired grass species, the pre-emergent will also control any new seeding you may have completed.  For this reason, (and many others), spring seeding is not recommended.
  2. Once the crabgrass plant has emerged, it’s too late to apply any pre-emergent controls. This is where a post-emergent crabgrass control will come in handy. Post-emergent crabgrass controls are applied as a liquid, directly to each plant.  This will control the crabgrass plants after they’ve already started growing above ground.  A post-emergent crabgrass control will NOT prevent new growth of crabgrass nor will it control actively growing broadleaf weeds.
  3. Keep the lawn thick for additional help with crabgrass prevention. Any bare or thin areas should be seeded in late summer. A dense lawn not only helps shade the soil, keeping it cooler, but it also provides less space for the crabgrass plants to grow.  See steps 6-9 below for additional tips on keeping the lawn thick.  All of the following steps will not only help with crabgrass prevention, but also improve overall health of your turf.
  4. When mowing the lawn, keep the grass blades at a height around 3 – 3 ½ inches and only cut off 1/3 of the grass blade at a time. Keeping the canopy of the grass tall will help shade the soil beneath, keeping it cooler which will help reduce crabgrass from germinating.
  5. Edges of driveways, walkways, patios, pools etc., typically get cut too short with a weed wacker. In addition, uneven ground can result in short mowing heights or even scalping. Both scenarios are problematic when it comes to crabgrass prevention and control.  Scalping weakens the grass plant and makes it more susceptible to injury and death when stressed.  Once turf grass is in decline and more of the soil is exposed to sunlight, crabgrass seeds can germinate in those areas.  Be extra careful mowing uneven areas and using the weed wacker along the edges to avoid cutting your turf too short.
  6. Water. Watering will not only help improve color but will aid in growth as well. By watering correctly early in the season, and continuing thru August, you will be promoting good turf growth which will make it difficult for crabgrass plants to move in.
  7. Fertilize regularly. Fertilizing on a regular basis will help stimulate growth and create a thicker lawn. When the lawn is thick and vigorously growing, it will shade the soil and create more competition against the crabgrass plants.  A thick and healthy lawn is a great way to help with crabgrass prevention.
  8. Core aerate the lawn annually. Crabgrass thrives in compacted soils. By core aerating regularly you are creating better soil conditions.  This also helps improve water and nutrient movement to the roots, resulting in a stronger root system and healthier lawn.
  9. Lime the lawn if the pH of the soil is low. The pH is the measure of the alkaline or acidity of the lawn soil. When the pH is in the proper range (6.3 – 6.5) the lawn will utilize all of the nutrients it gets during the year, creating a healthier, stronger and vigorously growing lawn.  For more details on Soil pH, here is a link to our pH and Lime blog.

Conclusion

Don’t let crabgrass become a pain in your grass!  The steps above will not only help you with crabgrass prevention and control, but they also promote a healthier lawn.  With the tips above, you and your lawn professional can reduce crabgrass and make your lawn look beautiful for years to come.  If you are in our service area or have any questions, feel free to contact us at 908-281-7888 or visit our website at www.fairwaygreeninc.com

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