Regular lawn care and maintenance for your Northern New Jersey home is a big job, but it’s essential to a healthy, green lawn.
Proper lawn care requires plant growth and product knowledge, skill and experience and a year-round commitment.
Although proper lawn care is required all year for best results, the requirements for lawn care maintenance in NJ change as seasons and climate conditions change.
To ensure that your lawn remains lush, green and healthy, it’s important to pay attention to seasonal lawn care needs.
In January, as each new year begins, Northern NJ weather is typically cold with freezing temperatures and winter storms that bring snow and ice.
During the winter season, most plant growth goes dormant. Your lawn, plants, shrubs and trees stop growing as much, so they rely on healthy, strong root systems to get them through cold winter weather.
They need regular lawn care maintenance in NJ to survive the winter and produce healthy, new spring growth. Although winter is a slower month for seasonal lawn care and maintenance, it’s still important to the health of your lawn and landscape.
Winter lawn care should include:
Winter Yard Cleanup
During the winter season, your landscape can collect trash and debris during rainstorms and heavy winds. You’re likely to find fallen tree branches, sticks and twigs, and area debris that’s blown onto your lawn.
If debris is left on your lawn too long, it will cause dead spots in your grass, especially if your lawn is covered in snow and lacks oxygen.
Although you may not see the dead spots during winter, when spring arrives they will be visible in your lawn. Take time during winter to clean up your yard.
- Remove fallen tree limbs, branches, twigs, rocks and trash
- Rake up excess leaves that can smother your grass
- Rake up wet leaves quickly, as they invite insects and lawn diseases
- Sweep, clean and edge hardscaped surfaces like driveways, sidewalks and walkways
Regular Lawn Care and Maintenance
Although your lawn, plants, shrubs and trees will show little growth during winter, regular weekly or bi-weekly maintenance is essential to avoid overgrowth and maintain your landscape.
Regular lawn care maintenance in NJ should be done throughout the year to keep your lawn green and healthy. Lawn care and maintenance services typically include:
- Lawn mowing
- Border edging for sidewalks, walkways and driveways
- Hardscape cleaning of pathways, walkways and driveways
- Spring yard cleanup of dead winter growth and debris
- Fall yard cleanup of dead summer growth and preparation for winter
Outdoor Pest Control
Tall grass and overgrown trees and shrubs will leave your lawn and landscape susceptible to a variety of outdoor insects and pests like field mice, rats, gophers, raccoons and snakes that want a warm place to sleep during cold winter weather.
Outdoor pests can destroy large areas in your lawn and landscape and pose health safety hazards for your family and pets. They will create dead spots in the grass where they spend their time and munch on your plants and shrubs.
Without outdoor pest control and lawn care maintenance in NJ, your lawn could need a complete renovation by spring.
To protect your lawn, avoid excessive foot traffic when it’s covered in snow. Although grass is naturally resilient, cold winter weather creates extra stress on grass roots.
Cool-season grasses, commonly found in Northern NJ, usually turn brown and go dormant during the winter, then turn green again in the spring with proper care and fertilization.
Excessive winter foot traffic on your lawn will weaken and break grass blades, making it harder for your lawn to recover when spring weather arrives.
Although your lawn care maintenance in NJ will be minimal during winter compared to other seasons, it will help your lawn survive freezing ground temperatures until spring.
Just because it’s cold outside, don’t ignore regular lawn care and maintenance. The winter season is a good time to make plans for lawn and garden renovations in the spring.
Spring season brings warm weather, sunshine and spring showers that create abundant new plant growth. It’s a busy time for lawn care and maintenance since your grass, plants, shrubs and trees begin to grow at a rapid rate.
After freezing cold temperatures, your lawn and landscape needs important nutrients that were depleted during the winter. Spring lawn care should include:
Spring Yard Cleanup
When the last signs of winter frost are gone, it’s time to focus on cleaning up your yard. You need to get rid of winter debris and trash that’s accumulated during cold weather.
Rake up dead, dry leaves and remove any fallen twigs, branches and trash that has blown into your landscape. Remove or mulch any wet leaves right away to prevent lawn diseases, dead grass and outdoor pests.
Maintain your weekly lawn care and maintenance to prevent overgrowth and keep your lawn and landscape well-maintained.
Early spring is a prime time to fertilize your lawn. After a cold Bergen County winter, your lawn needs essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and iron to build strong, stable roots and produce green, healthy growth.
It’s best to use an organic or light, slow-release fertilizer that will be absorbed more slowly. Using the wrong type or wrong amount of fertilizer can burn your grass and plants and damage plant roots.
Talk to a professional landscape company, like Borst Landscape & Design, that specializes in organic lawn care maintenance in NJ about a regular fertilization schedule for your lawn.
Spring brings abundant new grass and plant growth, but it also brings lots of weed growth. Aggressive weeds like crabgrass, dandelions, foxtail and creeping Charlie typically invade your lawn in early spring.
Crabgrass, a very hardy weed, germinates when soil temperatures reach 58 degrees Fahrenheit, and it grows and spreads rapidly. It usually requires a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring to prevent growth in your lawn.
If needed, you can begin post-emergent broadleaf herbicides near the end of May to prevent summer weed growth.
Weeds grown quickly during the warmth of spring, but regular, professional lawn care and maintenance services will keep them under control.
April or early May is a good time to do a soil test to determine the pH balance of your soil.
The type of soil you have, acid or alkaline, has a big impact on your grass and plant growth and requirements for your lawn care maintenance in NJ.
If your soil is sandy, it may drain too quickly. If it’s mostly clay, it may not let air and water penetrate.
You can test your soil with a kit from a local garden shop, but a landscape professional will provide more accurate results.
June is the beginning of summer, and it brings hot sun, less rainfall and harmful insects that cause lawn diseases.
In addition to regular lawn care and maintenance, you’ll need to keep your lawn properly irrigated and watch out for signs of lawn diseases and outdoor pests.
Since Bergen County is flanked by the Atlantic Ocean, it has warm, humid summers with average temperatures of 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
During the summer, new grass and plant growth is still abundant, but sun, heat and lack of water can easily damage your lawn and landscape.
Summer lawn care should include:
To stay green and healthy, your lawn needs about 1-inch of water every week, either from rainfall or sprinklers.
Regular watering in hot weather is essential to prevent soil and grass roots from drying out and turf grass from wilting. It’s best to water two to three times each week to a depth of about six inches, rather than shallow watering every day.
Deep watering promotes stronger, deeper root systems that can reach farther underground for necessary water and nutrients.
Quick, shallow watering isn’t adequate for summer sun and heat when soil dries out much faster. Don’t over water! Over-watering contributes to fungal growth and lawn diseases.
For proper lawn care maintenance in NJ during summer heat, water early in the morning or late in the afternoon so water absorbs into the soil.
During summer, outdoor pest control is a must to prevent lawn diseases caused by harmful insects.
Sod webworms, grub worms, army worms, caterpillars and fire ants are common in Northern NJ lawns. These insects can cause significant lawn damage, since they invade the soil.
Sod webworms, the larvae of lawn moths, live in the soil beneath your lawn. They eat turf roots and grass blades.
They can kill an entire lawn in a matter of days. Grub worms live in the soil and infestations cause your grass to look scorched with loose sod that lifts up easily from the soil.
Without proper pest control, these insects can flourish in your lawn during the summer season and kill your lawn by fall.
During the fall, it’s time to prepare your lawn for winter. As cooler fall temperatures arrive, growth will start to decline and your grass, plants, shrubs and trees will begin to die back and go dormant.
Remember, everything is still growing, just at a slower rate, so regular lawn care maintenance in NJ is still important.
Fall lawn care should include:
Fall Yard Cleanup
Before cold weather arrives, get rid of dead summer growth and any lawn debris. Rake up dead, dry leaves, remove fallen twigs, branches and trash and prepare your landscape for winter.
Although fall lawn care maintenance will require a lot of leaf raking, your grass and plants will grow at a slower rate.
Maintain your weekly lawn care and maintenance services to prevent overgrowth and keep your lawn and landscape well-maintained throughout the fall season.
Seeding and Sodding
If you need to seed or re-sod your lawn, early fall is a good time when temperatures are starting to cool down.
Cool-season grasses, most common to Northern NJ lawns, grow best in cool weather. Typical cool-season grasses like fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass and bentgrass germinate best when soil temperatures are between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
For best growth, you should plan to seed or re-sod your lawn when temperatures are below 65 degrees.
Aerating your lawn, creating small holes in the soil, will reduce soil compaction in cold weather when the ground freezes.
September lawn aeration will allow soil and grass roots to get and store needed oxygen, water and fertilizer through the winter months.
For best aeration results, talk to a landscape professional with aeration knowledge, skill, experience and proper equipment.
In Bergen County, September is an important time to fertilize your lawn. Early fall fertilization will help protect your lawn during cold winter weather by strengthening turf roots and providing proper nutrients.
Cool-season grasses need a complete fertilizer as opposed to one that’s only high in nitrogen. If your lawn requires a second application of fall fertilizer, mid-October is a good time.
In October, cooler temperatures will discourage vigorous leaf growth, so an additional fertilizer application can prolong green grass color into the winter.