In honor of National Lawn Care Month, the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) recently announced the top 10 cities in the United States that are expected to be impacted the most by weed growth and disease this spring and summer.
NALP says these cities were ranked by evaluating comprehensive national data on consumer concerns reported to lawn care professionals about common weed and lawn diseases between the months of April and August.
The data was then compared to forecasting information from the National Weather Service, and NALP says it matched with their experts’ information on climate conditions that impact weed growth to determine the rankings.
“Healthy lawns are essential for families, communities and the environment,” Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs, NALP, said on LoveYourLandscape.org. “Weeds and diseases have the potential to destroy backyards, sports fields and much-enjoyed public spaces. National Lawn Care Month brings awareness to the specific issues that may affect your region and serves as a reminder on the importance of working with a lawn care professional to prevent weeds from damaging your property. Even if your region has been spared from what are anticipated to be the ‘worst cities,’ many other communities can expect significant problems, emphasizing the importance of vigilance for lawn care as the weather warms across the country.”
Along with being unpleasant to look at, weeds in a landscape can point to health issues in a lawn. Weeds compete for nutrients and space that could have otherwise been used by grass, and NALP says they also limit the ability of the grass to provide oxygen, remove pollutants from the air and protect waterways.
NALP stresses that a properly managed lawn is the best defense for preventing weeds and lawn diseases, and NALP also notes that the following locations are not the only ones susceptible to weed-prone status for this year.
NALP says that many species of weeds, including nimblewill and thistle, as well as a host of other lawn diseases, plague this area. Because of the combination of hot and humid temperatures, Atlanta lawns are especially prone to problems.
NALP reports that the National Weather Service forecasted that the South will experience above-average temperatures in the next few months, and this region will be a thriving spot for lawn threats. Average precipitation combined with higher temperatures are predicted to create conditions perfect for dollar spot, which is a common Southern lawn disease.
When the soil is dry and the air is moist, dollar spot will thrive, and this disease can wreak havoc on lawns by attacking the leaf blades, creating discolored, tan and brown patches. As the disease progresses, it will spread across the lawn, and the disease pressure is expected to be very high on warm-weather grasses.
Since crabgrass thrives in the heat, Florida is said to be a prime target for this weed, which spreads aggressively and restricts lawn growth in an otherwise healthy lawn.
NALP says crabgrass should be expected to be even worse than usual in Florida this year because the state is predicted to experience above average temperatures.
When soil moisture is high, crabgrass will thrive, and based on Orlando’s rainfall predictions, crabgrass is expected to be very problematic in that region over the next few months.
Two fungal diseases that are common culprits in this area are red thread and dollar spot. Along with heat, poor drainage is also a contributing factor in the spread of red thread.
Higher levels of precipitation coupled with above average temperatures predicted for this area are suspected to create thriving conditions for these threats and other weeds.
Spotted surge, a weed that typically accompanies crabgrass and thrives in similar conditions, and crabgrass are the two main weeds NALP sees impacting lawns in the Keystone State. These should be present throughout the summer, and in the late spring, there’s a possibility of seeing dandelions.
NALP says this area is especially prone to these weeds due to the warmer temperatures and higher levels of precipitation predicted for this area. This weather, combined with late winter and early spring snowfall, added more moisture to the soil in the Philadelphia region.
Also taking a toll on this region are crabgrass and spotted surge. Because Boston has also experienced late winter and early spring snowfall, and because the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions are forecasted to experience higher temperatures and above average precipitation, NALP says infestations of these weeds will be worse.
A common sight in Detroit from late spring to the end of summer, according to NALP, is black medic, which resembles clover and signifies imbalances in the soil.
With more rainfall and higher temperatures anticipated in the regions, NALP believes it will make black medic and similar weeds especially problematic in the Detroit metro area.
Throughout April and May, dandelions flourish in this area, according to NALP. In the summer months, dandelions are closely followed by white grubs, which are insects that destroy lawns.
While NALP does say the presence of dandelions indicates healthy soil, they are predicted to become a nuisance for the Wichita area in 2018 because the average rainfall is expected to create perfect growing conditions.
White grubs feed on the roots of grass, and they can cause extensive damage to lawns later in the summer when it’s predicted that temperatures will be higher than usual.
NALP reports that spring weather in the Pacific Northwest has been extra cool, blustery and wet. This, the organization says, favors the development of moss, which starves grass of its necessary nutrients. Lawn problems such as these can also indicate drainage issues in the lawn, and NALP adds that dandelions also thrive in similar conditions.
Based on the weather so far, NALP says dandelions can be expected to begin sprouting later in the spring and into the summer when the forecast predicts temperatures to be warmer than usual.
Salt Lake City, Utah
NALP reports that warmer than average temperatures will make two of this region’s most troublesome weeds flourish this summer: crabgrass and spotted surge.
NALP does add that below-average precipitation in the spring and early summer will help limit the moisture these weeds need to truly thrive and spread.
The most problematic summer weeds in this area, according to NALP, will be crabgrass and spotted surge. The 2018 prediction for average temperatures and lower than average precipitation leading into the warmer summer make the weeds in this metro area prevalent but not as virulent as in other cities.