If your home’s exterior is looking a little drab and in need of some care and attention, your lawn may be partially to blame. Your lawn and landscape have a big impact on your home’s appearance and curb appeal. Before you begin major home repairs, take a closer look at the condition of your lawn and landscape. If it needs help, consider professional lawn maintenance to create a beautiful, healthy lawn.
If you’re noticing brown or dead grass, bare spots, overgrown shrubs, weeds and outdoor pests, a professional lawn maintenance company can make all those lawn problems go away. With professional lawn care and maintenance on a regular basis, your lawn can stay lush and green year-round.
Every lawn can experience problems, but ill-maintained lawns become unhealthy and are much more susceptible to a variety of problems like bad soil, lawn diseases and outdoor insects and pests that can ruin your lawn. If your lawn isn’t looking so good lately, you may need professional help. Here are some signs of an unhealthy lawn.
Common Lawn Problems
The soil in most areas of the country is not fertile enough to supply adequate nutrients for a healthy lawn. In areas with extreme climate conditions, like Bergen County in Northern New Jersey, soil quickly becomes dry, brittle, compacted and depleted of its natural nutrients that are required to maintain a healthy, green lawn.
Fertilizers with proper amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium must be added back into the soil to promote strong, stable plant roots and healthy growth. Professional lawn maintenance will ensure the use of proper fertilizers that create healthy soil and healthy lawns.
Dead grass or dead patches of grass in the lawn are common lawn problems. Dead grass is usually a sign of poor soil, lack of water or improper drainage. If an area is poorly drained and water stands for more than 24 hours, grass roots can rot and cause a dead patch of grass.
If you have a sodded lawn that’s less than one year old, it’s possible the soil underneath the sod was never plowed or aerated properly to relieve compaction. In areas of the lawn where the sod has rooted poorly, dead grass is likely to show up as dry, warm weather sets in. In addition, lawns that get a lot of foot traffic or outdoor activity are more susceptible to compacted soil and dead grass.
Dead grass and bare spots can also be caused from pet urine. Although the spots are brown, they may turn green again with proper irrigation and fertilizers that stimulate grass growth. Adding bark around the base of your trees, a favorite place for dogs to urinate, will help protect your lawn.
“Brown Patch” is a fungal disease that can only be eliminated with proper fungicides. True “brown patch” starts with small brown spots in the lawn that typically show up at the onset of warm weather. They usually spread and enlarge rapidly across the lawn.
When viewed from above, a brown patch looks like a doughnut with a ring of brown grass surrounding a patch of green grass in the center. Individual grass blades are brown down to the crown where the blade emerges. In hot, damp weather, you may notice a white fungal web around the edge of the brown patch early in the morning.
Overgrown Trees and Shrubs
Overgrown trees and shrubs can block the view of your house from the street. They can destroy your home’s curb appeal by giving your home the look of an un-kept property. Overgrowth can restrict light and warmth into your home and restrict your views.
Overgrown trees and shrubs, especially near windows and doors, can also present safety issues. It’s been proven that burglaries and break-ins occur more often in homes that are partially hidden by overgrowth, seeing as they provide a great hiding place. If you have trees, shrubs or hedges that are overgrown, you should cut them back or replace them with new varieties that don’t get too large.
There’s a wide variety of weeds that are common to Bergen County. Without proper weed control and professional lawn maintenance, weeds will take every opportunity to invade your lawn, especially if your lawn is unhealthy or ill-maintained.
Aggressive weeds like dandelions, thatch and crabgrass usually appear at the beginning of warm weather and flourish through early fall. Once they invade, they can be difficult to get rid of without proper weed control solutions that get to the roots. Crabgrass begins to germinate when soil temperatures reach just 58 degrees Fahrenheit, and it can take over your entire lawn very quickly.
By hiring a professional lawn maintenance company, pre-emergent herbicides can be applied on a regular basis to get rid of existing weeds and prevent future weed growth.
Lawn diseases are more common than you think, and they can destroy a green, healthy lawn very quickly without proper fungicides.
Common Northern NJ lawn diseases include:
- Dollar Spot – Dollar spot causes numerous bleached or gray spots in your lawn. Small spots often merge to make larger, straw-colored areas with cobweb-like growths that appear with morning dew.
- Rust – Rust causes small rust-colored pustules to appear on grass blades. These orange, smudge-like spots require regular mowing and proper watering and fertilization to prevent spreading.
- Fairy Ring – Fairy ring causes bright green circular patches in your lawn. Without proper aeration, irrigation and fertilizers, fairy rings can grow up to five feet in diameter and spread quickly across your lawn.
- Fusarium Patch – Fusarium patch causes circular patches of dead grass. It usually appears in late winter and early spring with one-inch to three-inch patches that are often covered with a white or pink mold when winter snow begins to melt.
Insects and Outdoor Pests
Warm weather brings a variety of insects and outdoor pests to your lawn looking for a good meal from fresh, new plant growth. If your lawn is overgrown or ill-maintained, insects and outdoor pests will invade quickly to feed on malnourished plants.
Professional lawn maintenance will keep your lawn mowed, weeded and fertilized on a regular basis to ensure a healthy lawn that will resist insects and outdoor pests. Before spring arrives, you should talk to a Bergen County landscape professional about an Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM) that focuses on organic insect and pest controls.
Keep an eye out for common insects and outdoor pests that are common in Northern New Jersey:
- Grubs – Grubs typically invade your lawn in early summer. They live in the soil and cause loose patches of grass that lift up easily. By early fall, your lawn can be covered with brown patches and grass that looks like it’s been scorched.
- Chinch Bugs – Chinch bugs appear in late summer and early fall. They cause large, round, yellow patches of grass in your lawn that eventually turn brown and die. Chinch bug infestations can cause significant damage to your lawn.
- Army Worms – Army worms, that look like caterpillars, usually appear in the fall when cooler weather arrives. They feed at night on damp grass, and they can eat your grass down to the soil before you even notice them. They can cause brown spots in your lawn, which usually causes grass to die.
- Moles – Moles dig underground tunnels that are easily recognized by volcano-like mounds that pop up in your lawn. Since they live underground and feed on earthworms and other insects, you will likely need professional lawn maintenance help to get rid of them.
Regular Lawn Maintenance
Professional lawn maintenance offers the benefits of regular care. A reputable landscape company will provide prompt, scheduled lawn service to keep your lawn green and healthy year-round. Professional crews will handle all of your landscaping needs to make sure you have a beautiful lawn.
Regular lawn care and maintenance services usually include:
- Weekly lawn mowing
- Regular watering and weeding
- Border edging for driveways, walkways and patio areas
- Cleaning of driveways, walkways and patio areas
- Spring yard cleanup to remove dead winter growth and debris
- Fall yard cleanup to remove summer debris and prepare for winter
Many landscape companies also offer additional lawn care services in addition to regular professional lawn maintenance. These additional services may include:
- Lawn and garden renovations
- Seasonal planting of plants and flowers
- Seasonal pruning of shrubs and trees
- Pest control
- Organic lawn care
- Irrigation systems
Regular lawn care and maintenance will keep your lawn green and healthy and create a well-maintained appearance for your home. It’s a simple way to create an inviting entrance and outdoor atmosphere, boost your home’s curb appeal and increase your property’s value.
If your lawn is looking a little shabby, or you suspect lawn problems, consider hiring a professional landscaper to receive the numerous benefits of year-round professional lawn maintenance for your home.