The guest post today is from Chad Diller, at Tomlinson Bomberger Lawn Care, Landscape, and Pest Control.
If you make a move to the Northeast United States, you may be surprised to learn just how different lawns can be from other places. Each region of our country varies in the types of grasses, weeds, insects, disease, and soil issues it faces when trying to grow a beautiful lawn. There are many ways northeast lawns can differ, but here are just a few.
Grass Varieties: Here in our area, there are 3 main types of turfgrasses you will find in lawns. Cool-Season Turfgrass varieties such as Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass, and Fescues will be the primary grasses you will find in lawns, even used together in a lot of instances. These grasses go dormant in the summer and also will lose most of their color in the winter. They may grow more upright than some varieties people in the south are used to, and also won’t spread as aggressively as some southern varieties. If you are unsure of what kind of grass you have in your lawn, consult with a lawn care expert from a local lawn care company or a representative of a University Extension office that can identify grass species.
Soil & Fertility: Soil structure will vary depending upon your region. Areas with loam soils will grow some of the nicest lawns since they can hold moisture for a moderate amount of time but are able to drain as well. Loam soils will also not become as compacted and will help grass to root more deeply and allow pores in the soil for needed oxygen. Some areas may have more clay in the soil and be subjected to soil compaction and poor drainage, making growing a nice lawn more of a challenge and requiring frequent core aeration and even topdressing. Areas near coastlines may contain more sand in the soil which allows soil to drain well but also allows it to dry out too quickly and may increase the need for watering. Depending upon your species of turfgrass and soil type, your requirements for soil pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium will also vary. Some municipalities also will restrict some of these elements if areas are near bodies of water. Consult with a lawn care expert from a local lawn care company or a representative of a University Extension office that can discuss your lawn’s specific recommendations for care and soil testing that is available.
Weeds: There are two main types of weeds you’ll encounter in your northeast lawn. Broadleaf weeds such as dandelions, white clover, plantain, and violets, etc. will be regular targets for broadleaf weed control treatments throughout the year. Grassy weeds such as crabgrass and nutsedge can be treated with a number of weed control materials and need to be addressed regularly as well. Other types of grassy weeds are unable to be controlled selectively and a thick lawn may or may not help to reduce them. An experienced lawn care expert can give you the proper expectations on each of species of weeds in your lawn.
Lawn Insects: Grubs, Chinch Bugs, and Sod Webworms are the main insects of concern that may feed on your lawn. The probability for these each year is significant so a good lawn care program incorporates preventative insect control treatments into it. Damage from these insects will differ and knowing how to recognize their damage is an important skill. Timing and insect control materials will vary depending upon these species of pests, and you can either apply these treatments yourself or have a licensed applicator apply them to your lawn. Some lawn care companies even provide warranties for some insects if they apply these materials to your lawn.
Lawn Diseases: When the nighttime temperatures are above 70° F and daytime temperatures exceed 85° F, and there is high humidity, fungi will grow on lawns. Many of these fungi are in the form of diseases that can cause damage to turfgrasses and vary depending upon the environmental conditions and the type of grass in your lawn. Fungicide treatments can be costly and may need to be performed multiple times throughout the year. Property owners need to consider whether they want to spend the money for preventative disease control treatments or take their chances against a big cost of seeding the lawn in the fall if it doesn’t recover and grow back in fully. Identification of which turf disease you may have is essential to determine which fungicide should be applied. A lawn care expert from some lawn care companies or a University Extension office may be able to diagnose turf disease with pictures and plant samples.
Irrigation Requirements: Cool-Season turfgrasses can usually tolerate about 4-6 weeks of dormancy from drought stress and could recover later when cool, wet conditions resume, if not damaged by other disease or insect issues. For this reason, many property owners in the northeast choose not to install irrigation systems and take their chances against the elements. However, if you can’t tolerate a brown lawn for a couple months a year or don’t want to risk losing lawn areas and need to seed or install sod on your lawn, you may want to consider adding an irrigation system or to use sprinklers to keep your lawn watered regularly. Just be sure to understand how to properly water a lawn to not aggravate your chances for turf diseases in the summer.
Finding Help: Learning how to care for your lawn can seem like an overwhelming task. If you don’t feel confident or just don’t have the time to do so, find a local lawn care company with true lawn care experts. You’ll know the difference from the expert and the novice in their depth of knowledge and diagnostic skills. Get to know the company they work for. Read their online reviews and ask your neighbors, coworkers, and friends about their reputation and if they have personal experiences with them. This will help you to decide which lawn care company is the one you should consider.
Chad Diller is the Marketing Coordinator for Tomlinson Bomberger Lawn Care, Landscape, & Pest Control and is also an ISA Certified Arborist and Landscape Industry Certified Lawn Care Technician. His decades of field experience as both a technician and Account Manager has made him passionate about educating others about lawn, tree, landscaping, and pest control topics regularly on their blog. Additional information on Lawn Care, Landscape, and Pest Control can be found on Youtube.