Cool-season turfgrasses include species adapted to the cooler portions of the United States and make maximum growth during cool spring and fall weather. They may become semi-dormant during hot and/or dry periods of summer. Cool-season grasses adapted for turf use in Pennsylvania include Kentucky bluegrass, rough bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, the fine fescues, tall fescue, and the bentgrasses.
Warm-season turfgrasses include species adapted to southern areas of the United States. Some of the warm-season turfgrasses also are adapted to the transitional regions between the northern and the southern states. These grasses make maximum growth during hot weather and are dormant during late fall, winter, and early spring. Zoysiagrass is the only warm-season turfgrass that has sufficient winter hardiness to survive and persist as high-quality turf in the southern-most portions of Pennsylvania.
Crabgrass is the No. 1 weed problem in Pennsylvania lawns and can turn your picture-perfect turf into a real mess by late summer. But crabgrass can be controlled if you choose the right herbicide and apply it at the correct time of year, according to a turfgrass specialist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
"The timing of pre-emergence herbicide applications is the most critical component of an effective crabgrass control program," according to Peter Landschoot, professor of turfgrass science. "As a general rule, the best time to apply them is approximately 10 to 14 days prior to the expected spring germination period. Crabgrass begins to germinate when the temperature in the upper inch of soil reaches 55 to 58 degrees Fahrenheit at daybreak for 4 - 5 days."
Seeing forsythia plants in full bloom is usually a good indicator of when to apply pre-emergence herbicide applications, but in some years, they may bloom earlier or later than normal. Typically pre-emergence herbicide treatments in Pennsylvania should take place as follows:
Other common lawn weeds found in Pennsylvania include:
Popular Turfgrasses for Pennsylvania:
Common turfgrass diseases found in Pennsylvania
Promoting healthy growth and avoiding conditions that cause stress to your turfgrass is the best way to prevent a severe disease outbreak. Stressed lawns are an open invitation for a lawn disease to gain a foothold. Optimal maintenance practices are the best way of avoiding stressed turfgrass.
Even if a pathogen is present in the soil, infection will not occur unless the environmental conditions are conducive to disease development. Once turf diseases have become active, they can cause heavy damage if not treated properly. Here is a list of common diseases to Pennsylvania lawns: