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

Category Archives: Spring Lawn Care

Debunking the Myth: Forsythia Bloom and Crabgrass Preemergence


As spring arrives, homeowners and lawn care companies like Fairway Green prepare to combat the annual invasion of crabgrass, a persistent weed that can wreak havoc on lawns. Among the various strategies for controlling crabgrass, a common misconception persists: the belief that crabgrass preemergence must be applied before the forsythia blooms. However, the truth behind effective crabgrass control lies not in flowering shrubs but in understanding soil temperatures and the application process.

Understanding Crabgrass Preemergence:

Crabgrass can begin germinating from seed in the spring when soil temperatures reach around 57 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and remain there for a few days.  The majority of crabgrass germinates when soil temperatures are above 70 degrees.  To prevent crabgrass seeds from sprouting, many lawn care companies rely on preemergence herbicides. These herbicides create a barrier in the soil, inhibiting the growth of young crabgrass seedlings as they attempt to emerge.


Debunking the Myth:

While the correlation between forsythia bloom and crabgrass germination may seem plausible, it’s not always entirely accurate. In years when we have normal weather patterns and steadily rising temperatures, forsythia bloom might be a reliable indicator.  Using soil temperatures, rather than blooming flowers, is a more accurate way to dictate the optimal timing for crabgrass preemergence application. Research conducted by agricultural experts and extension services has shown that monitoring soil temperature is a more reliable method for determining when to apply preemergence herbicides.

So, when should you apply crabgrass preemergence? The answer depends on your geographical location, prevailing weather conditions, and the product being applied. In most regions of the United States, soil temperatures typically reach the 57 degree range for crabgrass germination sometime in early to mid-spring. Using a soil thermometer or accessing online resources that track soil temperatures can help you pinpoint the optimal timing for application in your area. The key lies in monitoring soil temperatures and adhering to a strategic application schedule.

The product being used also plays a key role in timing.  Some active ingredients, like dithiopyr, will actually control crabgrass after germination while also providing preemergent control for seeds that have not germinated yet.  In our area, the post emergence control is effective on young plants that have not initiated tillers yet.  Using dithiopyr gives you a much larger window to apply the pre-emergent while still getting great control.


The Two-Application Strategy:

Research and experience have shown that a two-application strategy is often more effective for crabgrass control than a single application. Here’s how it works:


Early Spring Application:

The first application of crabgrass preemergence should coincide with the initial rise in soil temperatures in early spring.

This application targets the early germinating crabgrass seeds, preventing them from establishing in the lawn.

Timing for this application is crucial and should be based on soil temperature, typically when soil temperatures consistently reach around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. For customers in our service area, we target our early spring application to be applied in March and April.


Late Spring or Early Summer Application:

The second application acts as a follow-up to target any crabgrass seeds that may have escaped the first treatment or germinated later in the season.

By applying a second round of preemergence herbicide in late spring or early summer, you can extend weed control throughout the growing season.

Monitor soil temperatures to determine the optimal timing for the second application, ensuring that it aligns with the emergence of later germinating crabgrass seeds.  Our Late Spring lawn applications take place between the middle of April through June.


Tips for Effective Application:

Soil Temperature Monitoring: Use a soil thermometer to track soil temperatures and determine the appropriate timing for both preemergence herbicide applications.  Rutgers has a great website that tracks soil temperatures for our region of New Jersey.

Follow Label Instructions: Always read and follow the label instructions of the preemergence herbicide, including recommended rates, application timing, and safety precautions.

Even Distribution: Apply the herbicide evenly across the lawn using a calibrated spreader to ensure uniform coverage and consistent weed control.

Hire a Professional: Instead of worrying about the timing of your lawn care applications, hire a professional that has the schedule planned out for you. Not only do you not have to worry about applying crabgrass preemergence at the correct time, you also don’t have to do the manual labor of applying it to the lawn.


Effective crabgrass control requires a combination of scientific understanding and strategic application methods, rather than relying on seasonal indicators like forsythia bloom. By implementing a two-application strategy with quality pre-emergent products, homeowners and lawn care professionals can better combat crabgrass and maintain a healthy, weed-free lawn throughout the growing season. Don’t be misled by myths—empower yourself with knowledge and proven techniques for successful weed management.

Getting Outside this Spring

It is safe to say that 2020 was a long, long year. Covid-19 has taken a physical, emotional and/or financial toll on most Americans and now we have been dealing with the winter blues. The winter blues are real. Many suffer from a lack of motivation, eating issues, trouble sleeping and sadness during the dark and cold winter months.

But hope is on the way! The snow has melted, and the temperatures are finally increasing. With spring arriving, we can start to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Speaking of light, it is not easy to leave your house in the dark each morning, only to come home in the dark at the end of the day. We all know that little smile you get the first time you realize the sun is still up at 6pm. It means that spring is almost here!

Day light savings has given us an extra hour of sun and one of the best things to do is get outside and enjoy all that life has to offer. Take a few minutes to put down the phone, tablet, or smartwatch. Look at the flowers, birds, sunset or smell the spring air. Take a moment for yourself and focus on the good things.

The outdoors is a great place to do that, and your back yard is a great please start. Taking pride in a beautiful lawn and/or landscape will help. You can take solace in knowing that like most living plants, your lawn absorbs carbon dioxide and converts it into oxygen. Not only does a thick lawn produce oxygen, but it also does a great job at trapping dust, smoke, and other pollutants. Well maintained trees and shrubs create a sound barrier to provide a calming sense of privacy. Your yard is also a great recreational space to play with children, grandchildren, and pets. Physical exercise has been proven to improve your mood, decrease depression and lower stress. Just a few minutes a day walking your property to increase your outdoor activity is a great place to start.

Benefits of being outdoors in the spring

  • Being stuck indoors for months means an increase in screen time for most. Cutting down on TV, phone and tablet time at home will help minimize stress and sadness from the current news cycle. Use that time to stay active, talk to friends and family or simply relax.
  • A healthy meal plan can also improve your mood. No one is saying it is time to diet but try to incorporate some healthy choices to improve how you feel. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a great place to start. Foods high in vitamin D can help balance your mood. Another way to get outside this spring is to start planning your garden. Your green thumb may help you enjoy fresh vegetables all summer long.
  • Our fast-paced world can make it difficult to get to sleep. Many of us are on our phones to the late hours of the night when we should be asleep. An afternoon nap on your hammock or favorite chair will help your body recover.
  • Being outdoors allows you to clear your mind. Walking in nature has been found to help you focus, improve impulse control and concentration.
  • Outdoor activity can help reduce the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) by helping to lower anxiety and sadness.
  • Free aromatherapy.
  • A walk each day can help lower your blood pressure and stress related hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.



Being outdoors and enjoying green, healthy plants will simply make you happier. Combined with sunlight, warmer temperatures, the peaceful sounds of nature there is no better place to be this spring than your back yard. Take a few minutes this weekend to enjoy the simple things nature has to offer. Smile, laugh and play like you are a kid again. Trust me, after 2020, we can all use some time to enjoy the simple things nature and your back yard have to offer.

Hairy Bittercress: The Winter Invader

With over 30 years of experience in lawn care, I can say without question the most common misconception is that broadleaf weeds are preventable. There is nothing that makes customers more frustrated than seeing broadleaf weeds in a lawn they are paying to have maintained. So why do broadleaf weeds pop up in maintained lawns from time to time?

The Grand Illusion

If you search the internet, you may find a few products labeled for preventatively controlling broadleaf weeds. However, these products are not practical for residential lawn use, and are generally not included as part of any normal maintenance program. Instead, maintenance programs typically utilize control products that are applied to the foliage and stems of existing broadleaf weeds which the plants absorb into their roots. When done often enough in combination with regular fertilization, the combined regimen will discourage broadleaf weed growth while promoting the dense growth of desirable turf grasses. Because the weeds are almost never allowed to outgrow the grass, it appears to the homeowner as though the weeds are being prevented.

Hairy Bittercress

In the early part of each spring, customers call in waves about a weed with little white flowers popping up all over the lawn. Comments about how they’ve “never seen this weed before”, or that it “wasn’t there last year” are common. So why is this particular weed such an issue each spring worth writing about? To answer that question, we need to rewind a bit.

Hairy bittercress is a winter annual that starts growing in fall as a small, low-growing weed. The plant develops as a basal rosette (like the dandelion), with leaves that are round to kidney shaped, the largest of which can be found at the end of the stems. The plants remain smaller at this phase and are only slightly more obvious when they occur in mulch beds or any place where grass is not present. As more bittercress continues to germinate into November, regular weed control treatments stop. In addition, the grass starts to slip into winter dormancy which slows stem and leaf growth dramatically.

With the grass dormant for the winter, and no winter weed control applications taking place, the hairy bittercress continues to mature off and on through the colder weather. If the winter is snow covered for extensive periods, the maturation of this weed is very slow. Years with winters like this are when homeowners are less likely to take note of this weed in their lawns, because it does not have the opportunity to bloom before their initial weed control treatments are applied. However, in years where the winter is not as cold and there is almost no snow/ice cover, the hairy bittercress matures quickly and goes into bloom much sooner than initial treatments can be applied and well before any lawn mower is even pulled out of its shed. The white flowers sprout atop 3-9” stems and any homeowner can spot this winter invader with just a brief observation being made of the lawn from their front door.

What to do?

First, don’t panic. Second, call your lawn care provider and explain that there is hairy bittercress growing in the lawn. They will send out a technician to provide your initial treatment of the spring, which should include broadleaf weed control. For all of the concern raised by the presence of this pest, it is actually very easy to control with a single application of broadleaf weed control.

Hairy bittercress plants can be easily plucked from the lawn from the base of the stem if herbicide use is not desired. It is an annual, so any plants missed will die as it gets warmer; however, if pulling weeds, homeowners should try to get as many as possible before plants go into seed. Hairy bittercress develops very obvious seed pods that form upright along stems. They will actually burst when disturbed and catapult seeds as far as 16 feet! The more plants removed before these structures form, the better.


The best defense against any weed is maintaining a thick, healthy lawn. Seeding whenever necessary to establish dense turf cover will keep weeds from being able to infiltrate the lawn. Proper fertilizer applications done regularly throughout the year should also help to promote desirable turf growth which will further crowd out unwanted weeds.

If you have any questions about hairy bittercress and controlling it, please give our office a call at 908-281-7888 or request a free estimate online.

Spring Lawn Care Mistakes

Seeding in the Spring

Seeding during the spring often leads to undesirable results for the homeowner. What factors in the spring hinder your seeding results? Some important things to remember is there are a lot of active weeds to compete with the new seed in the spring and weed control cannot be applied to the areas you seeded. Also, the most stressful time of year for your cool season turf is right around the corner: summer heat! Let’s discuss more.

A lot of broadleaf weeds are actively growing during the spring, any new grass seed you put down will be directly competing with the broadleaf weeds for space to germinate. The areas you would seed in your lawn are typically small patches where you can see the soil. Due to the lack of plant competition in the bald areas, this creates the perfect environment for weed growth. Additionally, weed control can potentially harm new seed and immature plants, so the weeds can’t be treated until the new grass plants mature.

The summer temperatures in New Jersey can greatly affect the new grass seed. We can experience heat influxes as early as May, and if there is a heat wave with temperatures over eighty degrees for a week, this can be enough stress to cause damage to the young plants. The summer is very stressful on grass plants, especially young grass plants that have not developed an extensive root system like the other areas of established turf.


Misapplying Fertilizer

When applying fertilizer to your lawn, it is important to apply the right amount; both not enough and too much can have consequences to the appearance of your lawn. Be sure to read the directions on the fertilizer label you purchase and apply accordingly. Before you begin, it is important to have a general understanding to the size of your lawn. If you don’t know the size of your property, we recommend measuring first so that you apply fertilizer at the correct rate.

In the spring, it is very important to remember that soil temperature is what brings the turf out of dormancy, not applying fertilizer. Be careful not to over fertilize in an attempt to bring the turf out of dormancy, this will only happen when soil temperatures rise.


Not Servicing Your Mower

Mowing damage is common and easily avoidable. We recommend having your entire mower serviced at the start of the growing season. Servicing your mower will have the blades sharpened, engine checked, rotary looked at and oil changed. Sharp mower blades provide a clean cut off the top of plant. Dull blades can tear, shred, and bruise the ends of the grass plants which weakens the plant. This type of injury can also be a spot for disease to enter the plant. Having the engine and rotary checked is also critical to protecting your lawn. If the rotary runs too slow, this will lead to leaf injury when mowing.

Mowing Too Short

In the spring and summer months, healthy grass grows fast! It might seem tempting to mow your grass short so the frequency in which you have to mow is decreased; however, mowing the grass too short can have an impact on the health and appearance of your lawn. The best grass mowing height in our service area is about 3 – 3 ½ inches in length and when mowing the lawn, mow off only 1/3 of the grass plant at a time. By removing too much of the grass blade at one time, it can weaken the plant which in turn will reduce its ability to withstand other environmental issues such as disease, surface feeding insects and even invasion of broadleaf weeds.

Not Applying Crabgrass Pre-Emergent

Crabgrass is an annual grassy weed that is a problem in most home lawns in our service area and around the country. This weed typically grows in stressed areas of the turf; including thin or bare areas and can become a headache to treat after it becomes established in your lawn.

When it comes to treating this undesirable plant, prevention has more success than post emergence control. Turf experts recommend applying two rounds of crabgrass pre-emergent in the spring; one between the months of March or April, and the second round four to eight weeks after the first. The crabgrass pre-emergent applications create a barrier in the soil that controls the plants once germination starts.

Applying Weed Control Too Early

When purchasing a fertilizer from a home improvement store, it is normally going to come with a broadleaf weed control competent to it as well. We recommend waiting to apply this broadleaf weed control until after the weeds become active in your lawn. Applying the fertilizer and weed control mix before the weeds are present on your lawn provides no control of future broadleaf weeds. Broadleaf weed control for common weeds like dandelions only work after the weed has emerged.


We certainly all make mistakes, let us help you avoid some common lawn care mistakes so that you can achieve a healthy and great looking lawn. If you have any questions regarding spring lawn care, and are in our service area, give our office a call or request a free estimate online.

Things to know before you seed this Spring

Spring is finally here! It’s time to get outside and enjoy the nicer weather. One common activity for most homeowners is doing a spring clean-up around the yard. This is also when most people notice the bare areas of turf and decide it’s time to do some spring seeding. Spring seeding has its place, but it’s important to have real expectations and understand the potential long-term issues before spending your time and money on seeding your lawn early in the season.

Broadleaf Weeds

Lots of plants are actively growing in the spring, including broadleaf weeds! When you decide to seed in the spring, the grass plants are going to be actively competing with weeds for places to germinate and grow. Once you seed, it’s not a simple process of just spraying the weeds to kill them, the young immature grass plants will not be strong enough to withstand weed control and survive. Most weed control products recommend waiting until you’ve mowed the new grass 3 to 4 times before applying the product. You’re forced to wait until the grass plants and the weeds mature before you can spray the weeds. If you have aggressive weed growth, you may have to touch up seed those areas after you control the weeds.

Since we’re talking about weeds, lets discuss the tiny crabgrass seeds that are lying dormant in the soil, just waiting for temperatures to warm up enough so they can germinate. Although crabgrass won’t be actively competing with your young grass plants in the spring, it will start to encroach a little closer to summer.

Prior to crabgrass germination, we typically apply a crabgrass pre-emergent product in the spring. Most of these products not only control crabgrass, but also kill your young grass plants. If you plan on seeding, you will have to avoid applying crabgrass pre-emergent in the seeded areas if you want any of the new plants to survive!

During the summer months, when a lot of the cool season grasses go dormant, crabgrass becomes a major issue and can take over sections that you seeded in the spring. All the time and money spent will have provided nice short-term results, but long term you will need to seed again in September.

Can you still prevent crabgrass?

If you really need to seed and a crabgrass pre-emergent was already applied or you want to have one applied, there are options. If the crabgrass pre-emergent was already applied, you can add a few inches of fresh topsoil to the areas you want to seed. This will allow the plants to germinate and grow before hitting the pre-emergent layer in the existing soil.

The other option is to use a pre-emergent product that is safe to use on new seed.  We have found these products are not as effective, but it is an option you can try. If you go this route, please make sure you read the label and application instructions completely before applying the product. Timing and quantity of product are extremely critical when dealing with newly seeded areas.

Working with the Weather

The final concern with spring seeding has to do with the weather, which is completely out of our control. In the Northeastern United States, cool-season grasses are the dominant varieties used, and as the name suggests, they prefer cooler temperatures. A mature grass plant is going to be much more resilient and stress tolerant than a plant that was recently planted and doesn’t have a fully developed root system. We want our new plants to grow as much as they can before summer arrives and temperatures start rising, making it stressful on turf.

Also, spring snowfall, which has happened to us in recent years, makes it even more difficult by shortening the growing season before summer and cooling the soil temperatures, delaying germination even more. Even if you do everything perfect in the spring and your new grass plants are looking great before the summer, stressful weather conditions are ahead, and the plants are still very vulnerable.

High temperatures and drought are extremely difficult on younger plants and they might not survive. In addition to the high temperatures, the summer is also when most lawn diseases are active. An immature plant is more susceptible to disease and more likely to be killed by the disease when compared to a mature plant. For more information on minimizing turf disease, click here to read our blog.

There’s still hope for seeding

If you’re still reading this blog, I want to let you know successful spring seeding is possible, it might need a little extra care depending on the weather. Watering correctly to help reduce stress and potentially using a fungicide to minimize disease impacts increases your odds of success. If it can wait, seeding in late August through September is preferred in our region. You will have less competition from other weeds, crabgrass will be near the end of its life cycle, the most stressful weather has typically passed, and cooler fall temperatures are right around the corner. Make sure you don’t wait too long in the fall; germination stops quickly when soil temperatures get too cold. Late August through the month of September is a great window to seed.


Now that you are aware of the potential limitations with spring seeding, you can make the best decision for your specific situation. A lot of times, you don’t have a choice and spring seeding is necessary, at least now you know what to look for and expect long term. If you’re in our service area and have questions about seeding, feel free to contact us at 908-281-7888.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 908-281-7888.

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.


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.


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

damaged mower blades

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


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.


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.

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