New England Lawn Care Tips

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The New England region in the United States is composed of six states, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. The climate of New England is highly changeable with a wide variation of temperatures between the seasons. Good grass choices for New England are the cool season grasses including Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and fine leaf fescues. Among the warm season grasses, zoysia is the only one that performs well in the New England region.

Lawn Pests

  • Lawns in New England are especially susceptible to cinch bugs and Japanese beetle grubs. The European chafer is another new invader in New England lawns. Japanese beetles and European chafers lay their eggs during the summer and young grubs start to feed on grass roots until fall and overwinter in the ground. Recommended chemical control of the insects includes the use of insecticides containing imadacloprid and halofenozide. Cinch bugs are 1/16 inch long and black, and they damage lawns by piercing grass blades with their needle-like mouths and sucking plant juices. The bugs prefer fescue and bluegrass growing in sunny areas. The University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension recommends as insecticides for cinch bugs carbaryl, bifenthrin and tralomethrin.

Soil PH

  • The soil in New England generally has a high acidic pH whereas grass prefers to grow in a neutral pH. New England gardeners need to apply a lot of lime to the soil before grass can thrive. Lime is a stone product and takes some time in breaking down. It is best to consistently treat the soil with lime over the entire growing season. This usually amounts to one major application in spring followed by another in the fall. The best way to determine the exact pH of the soil is to get a soil test done at the local university extension office.

Fertilizing

  • The best time to fertilize New England lawns is during late summer and not spring. During late summer and early fall, grass grows roots vigorously and stores energy to thrive during the next growing season. When lawns are fertilized during spring, it encourages the growth of grass as well as weeds. However, when grass is fertilized during fall, most weeds are dormant and hence only grass growth is supported. Recommended fertilizers for New England lawns are ones containing slow or timed-release nitrogen with very low levels of phosphorus.

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