Lawn Care in NJ: Seasonal Calendar

Orinigally Written by: Mark Borst April 8, 2015 (Borst Landscaping & Design)

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Good lawn care takes year-round effort and commitment. As the seasons change, your lawn care in NJ has to change as well to keep up with different climate and weather conditions that put stress on your grass and plants.

To keep your lawn looking its best all year, follow the tips in this seasonal calendar to make sure your lawn stays green and healthy.

Spring (March – May)

As warm weather approaches and Spring arrives, it brings abundant new growth to everything in your landscape. This is the time of year when lawn care becomes crucial to jump-start healthy growth and strong root systems after a long cold winter. Snow actually acts like a ground cover that gives your lawn a bit of protection, but ice is bad for turf. Ice freezes plant cells and completely crushes grass blades, typically resulting in turf death. When your lawn freezes, thaws out, then freezes again, turf roots suffer extreme stress, usually becoming brittle and dying. Spring brings an opportunity for new life.

Clean Up Your Lawn

After the last signs of frost, it’s time to clean up your lawn. Rake up leaves and remove any debris, like fallen limbs and twigs, that have accumulated in your lawn during the winter. Get rid of wet leaves as quickly as possible. They can smother your grass and cause new growth to die from lack of oxygen.

Fertilize the Grass

Early to mid-March is a great time to fertilize your lawn. Fertilizer provides essential nutrients, like nitrogen, iron, phosphorus and potassium, which feed plant roots and encourage new growth. Keep it light and use a slow-release or organic fertilizer. With lawn care in NJ, where winters are very cold, fertilizing in the Fall protects cool-season grasses which go dormant in the winter. Fall fertilizing helps roots to store energy for Spring.


Apply Herbicides

Early to mid-March is the best time to apply a pre-emergent herbicide that prevents crabgrass and other aggressive weeds from invading your lawn. Spring brings new growth, but it also brings weeds that take every opportunity to find a good spot in your lawn. Crabgrass begins to germinate when the soil reaches 58 degrees, so when warm weather arrives, it’s just waiting to invade.

When Spring is in full force, lawn maintenance is essential to keep your lawn and landscape well-manicured. During Spring growth periods, your lawn, plants, shrubs and trees grow much faster, so it doesn’t take long for things to get out of control. Weekly lawn mowing, regular weeding, pruning and trimming are the best ways to keep a well-maintained lawn.

Proper, regular maintenance also helps to keep insects and diseases out of your lawn. Like weeds, insects and lawn diseases prey on malnourished or ill-maintained lawns. Make sure that your lawn care in NJ provides a regular maintenance and pest control routine to keep your lawn healthy going into the heat of Summer.

Summer (June – August)

Watch Out For Insects

In early June, grub worms and other beetles start feeding on turf roots. The result is ugly brown patches or areas of wilted grass. If you notice these problems, check for grub worms by pulling back the sod. If it lifts up easily like a blanket of carpet, you may have a grub worm infestation. They are white, C-shaped insects that can wreak havoc on your lawn. If you see them, talk to your local landscape company about pesticide treatments for your lawn care in NJ.

Watch Out For Weeds

Aggressive weeds like crabgrass, dandelions and foxtail that escaped the Spring herbicide application should be removed with a garden fork or hand tool. Ask your landscape provider about lawn care in NJ that provides an additional post-emergent herbicide treatment if the weeds are getting out of control. You don’t want to apply the wrong amount of herbicides to your lawn. It can do more harm than good to your grass.

lawn care in NJ

Provide Adequate Water

Lawns need about one inch of water each week, either from rainfall or sprinklers. Deep and infrequent watering is better than frequent, short sprinkler applications which promote shallow root growth. Deep watering will promote longer, stronger roots that can reach further underground for water. This is important in Summer heat and sun. If your lawn gets less than one inch of water per week, the grass may go dormant.

Provide Weekly Mowing

During summer months, your grass grows rapidly, so weekly mowing is best. As a rule of thumb, don’t cut your grass too short because it grows faster. Shorter turf exposes the soil to more sun and dries out the soil quicker. Slightly taller grass will promote deeper roots, moist soil and fewer weeds. If you mow your own lawn, set your mower blade height to three inches.

Fall (September – November)

Do A Fall Yard Cleanup

To prepare for Winter, a Fall yard cleanup is essential. During the beginning of the Fall season, trees start to drop their leaves. You need to rake them up or mulch them on a weekly basis. If you chop them up into fine pieces, they will decompose and act as nourishment for your soil. However you choose to get rid of them, don’t leave them on your lawn. As the rainy season approaches, wet leaves will smother your lawn if they’re not removed. Clear away overgrowth and debris before cold weather.

Fertilize The Lawn

If you only fertilize your lawn once a year, Fall is the best time. In northern New Jersey areas with harsh, cold winters, Fall fertilization will help protect your grass during Winter weather. Your grass will store nutrients from the fertilizer in its root system during Winter. As the following Spring approaches and soil becomes warm, the nutrients will be released to promote Spring growth.

lawn care in NJ

Overseed Your Grass

Lawn care in NJ promotes overseeding your grass in cool temperatures for best results. Most grasses in this region are cool-season grasses that grow best in cooler temperatures. If you overseed your lawn, make sure you do it around mid-Fall, like October or early November, so the seed has time to take hold before any frost appears.

Provide Weekly Mowing

Although temperatures are cooler and rainfall is more abundant, your lawn still needs weekly mowing to stay healthy. The last thing you want to do right before cold weather arrives is let the grass become overgrown. That’s an invitation to insects, diseases and pests looking for a safe winter habitat. Keep your lawn well-maintained year-round.

Winter (December – February)

During the Winter season, you typically spend less time on lawn care. In Bergen County, chances are you have put your lawn mower away for the Winter if you handle your own lawn care. However, there are a few things you can do during the Winter that can ensure a beautiful, lush, green lawn when Spring rolls around again.

Keep Your Lawn Free of Debris

In harsh Winter weather, your lawn can collect a lot of debris from storms and wind. Clear away fallen branches and twigs and other debris that blows onto your lawn. If debris is left on the lawn during cold weather, especially in snowfall, it can create large dead spots in your lawn. When Spring comes, those areas will show thinner grass and less growth than the rest of your lawn.

Mow Your Lawn Shorter

Although slightly longer grass is beneficial most of the year, tall grass during the Winter months leaves your lawn susceptible to burrowing animals and field mice looking for a warm place to sleep. These animals can quickly destroy your lawn by building tunnels and nests that create dead spots in the grass. They pull up large chunks of grass to build their nests.

lawn care in NJ

Avoid Excessive Foot Traffic

Although grass is resilient, during Winter it has a harder time bouncing back from excessive foot traffic. Cool-season grasses, found in northern NJ areas, typically turn brown and go dormant during the Winter. They do turn green again in the Spring with fertilizer and proper lawn care, but excessive Winter foot traffic can create pathways that wear grass down.

Proper lawn care in NJ should include regular lawn care and maintenance to promote a green, healthy lawn. A professional landscape company can help you maintain a beautiful lawn year-round.

What To Expect From A Landscaper During a NJ Spring Clean-Up

Originally Posted on Chris James Landscaping’s Website

Each year towards the end of winter we look forward to Groundhog Day to let us know what to expect for the rest of the season. With spring landscaping in mind, the first thing to do in the garden every year is give it the “squirt” test. Start by taking a step down hard on the ground. If water squirts up around your shoe, stay out. You can do more harm than good by walking on this ground and compacting it. If you pass the squirt test, it’s time from spring clean-up so call your landscaper today. So what does a spring clean-up entail exactly? Here’s what you can expect from your dedicated local landscaping service.

© Brebca - Fotolia.comClean out leaves and sticks from garden.

The first task is to clean out the leaves and sticks from the garden beds. A landscaper gets out any accumulated leaves and broken branches by raking or blowing them, and then get ready to do the most important cleanup job, which is removing all the old mulch from the beds. During spring cleanup service is the right time to start checking to see whether the ground is thawing out or not. If you don’t remove old mulch, it can build up over time and smother the plants and flowers. This is why it is important to remove old mulch from the beds in order to let your flowers breathe.

Light pruning of winter injury on shrubs (dead or damaged branches).

The best time to prune dead or damaged trees is late winter or early spring (February, March, and early April) before they begin to leaf out. Some trees, such as maples, “bleed” heavily when pruned in late winter or early spring. However, the heavy bleeding doesn’t harm the trees. The trees won’t bleed to death and the flow of sap will gradually slow and stop. It is important to remember that pruning is a process, not an event. Each property can be assessed individually and your needs will be decided based on your flower production and the growing season.

Spade edging all gardens.

Nothing sets off your garden beds like a nice, crisp edge. Whether you have flowers and foliage or fruit and vegetables, a garden bed is enhanced by edging. Edging focuses the viewer’s attention like a frame around a picture. In commercial buildings it is vital to have this service to properly represent your business starting from the outside. Proper landscape of any property speaks volumes about the property and owners.

Thatching and/or cleanup of lawn area.

Cleanup of your lawn is performed and can continue on an as needed basis if you are interested in further maintenance. Lawn areas will be cleaned of leaves and other winter debris for the spring. This process involves power raking the lawn with a machine. The machine that is used will loosen and bring to the surface a lot of thatch. To ensure proper cleanup of the lawn the thatch is then blown off.

Cleanup of buffer zone along wooded areas (as needed).

A buffer zone is the strip of natural greenery along the bank of a water body that separates the water from developed areas such as your building or lawn. If you have a water body on your property, there are many reasons to protect, preserve, and enhance the buffer zone around it. Preserving buffers on streams of all sizes not only protects the water but also allows the water to filter through the soil and replenish groundwater.

Blowing off hardscapes.

A local landscaping service can visit your property as needed to trim and clean grass clippings and debris from hardscape areas. Maintaining a taller grass height discourages weed growth and encourages deeper roots, which help your lawn to survive extended periods of weathering.

Mowing of lawn, as needed.

Mowing is the most basic practice for maintaining a lush lawn. Mowing performed at the correct height and frequency is essential to the health and density of the stand. Removing leaf tips induces plants to form new sprouts, increasing stand density. Mowing can affect water quality, also. A healthy stand can withstand more pest pressure and needs fewer pest control inputs.

As the winter season comes to a close it is important to New Jersey homeowners and businesses to appropriately plan out their lawn care in a timely fashion. Spring cleanup is one of the first services of the season to be performed, taking place during the latter part of March all the way to the first part of May. For picture perfect landscape, entrust your projects and lawn care to a reputable local landscaping service. Establish a schedule in the spring to ensure your property is properly cared for throughout the rest of the year.

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