Weed Watch: The Top 10 Worst Cities for Weeds and Lawn Disease in 2018

The National Association of Landscape Professionals kicks off National Lawn Care Month in April by forecasting the cities that will be most affected by lawn threats this spring and summer

FAIRFAX, Va. (April 9, 2018) – The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) today announces the 10 U.S. cities that are expected to be most impacted by weed growth and disease this spring and summer. April is National Lawn Care Month, and NALP encourages homeowners and property managers to heed warning of the locations that have the greatest potential for problematic plants that can inhibit the health of lawns.

“Healthy lawns are essential for families, communities and the environment,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs, NALP. “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.”

Weeds are not just unsightly; they can indicate serious issues with your lawn. They compete for space and nutrients that grass plants would otherwise utilize, limiting the ability for grass to provide oxygen, protect waterways and remove pollutants from the air. Weeds such as crabgrass and spotted surge grow in lawns that are stressed or weakened. Lawn diseases, like dollar spot, attack grass blades and can have a detrimental effect on the health of a lawn. A properly managed lawn is the best defense for these weeds and diseases.

The top 10 U.S. cities anticipated to be the worst for weeds this upcoming season are:

  1. Atlanta, Georgia

Dozens of species of weeds, including nimblewill and thistle, and a host of lawn diseases plaque this region, exacerbated by the typical hot and humid temperatures that make lawns in the Atlanta area especially prone to problems. With the National Weather Service forecasting the South to experience above average temperatures in the coming months, this region will be a hot bed for lawn threats. Combined with average precipitation, the higher temperatures will create the perfect conditions for dollar spot, a common lawn disease in the South, to thrive. Dollar spot thrives when soil is dry and the air is moist. Dollar spot can wreak havoc on lawns by attacking the leaf blades, creating discolored, tan and brown patches that expand across the lawn is it progresses. Disease pressure is expected to be very high this spring on warm-weather grasses.

  1. Orlando, Florida

Crabgrass thrives in the heat, making Florida a prime target for this weed. The weed aggressively spreads and restricts lawn growth in otherwise healthy lawns. Expect crabgrass to be even worse than usual in Florida in 2018, because the state is predicted to experience above average temperatures. High soil moisture can allow crabgrass to flourish. Based on Orlando’s rainfall predictions, crabgrass is expected to be especially problematic in the region in the coming months.

  1. Cleveland, Ohio

Dollar spot and red thread, two fungal diseases of lawns, are the common culprits here. In addition to heat, poor drainage can encourage the spread of red thread. Above average temperatures, coupled with higher levels of precipitation predicted for this area, create the conditions for these these threats and a host of weeds to thrive. In addition, Cleveland generally has more rainy days than other cities in the state, making its lawns more likely to be vulnerable.

  1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Crabgrass and spotted surge — a weed that goes hand-in-hand with crabgrass and thrives in the same conditions — are the main weeds impacting Keystone State lawns through the summer months, along with dandelions in late spring. The forecast predicting warmer temperatures and higher levels of precipitation, combined with late winter and early spring snowfall that added more moisture to the soil in the Philadelphia region, will make this area especially prone to these weeds.

  1. Boston, Massachusetts

Crabgrass and spotted surge also inflict this region. Similar to Philadelphia, because this city has 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, infestations of these weeds will be worse.

  1. Detroit, Michigan

Black medic, a common sight here from late spring to end of summer, resembles clover, and indicates imbalances in the soil. Higher temperatures and more rainfall anticipated in this region will make black medic and similar weeds especially problematic in the Detroit metro area.

  1. Wichita, Kansas

Dandelions prosper here in April and May, followed by troublesome white grubs, a lawn destroying insect, in the summer months. Dandelions actually indicate healthy soil, but will become a nuisance for the Wichita area in 2018 due to the average rainfall expected to create perfect conditions for growth. White grubs feed on the roots of grass and can cause extensive damage to lawns later in the summer when temperatures are forecasted to be higher than usual.

  1. Seattle, Washington

Spring weather in the Pacific Northwest has been extra cool, wet and blustery, favoring the development of moss, which can starve grass of its necessary nutrients; this lawn problem can also indicate drainage issues in the lawn. Dandelions also thrive in the same conditions. Expect dandelions to start sprouting later in the spring and into the summer, when the forecast predicts temperatures to be warmer than usual. 

  1. Salt Lake City, Utah

Warmer than average temperatures will make two of this region’s most troublesome weeds, crabgrass and spotted spurge, flourish here this summer, though below-average precipitation in the spring and early summer will help limit the moisture these weeds need to fully thrive.

  1. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Crabgrass and spotted spurge are the most problematic here in the height of summer. In 2018, the prediction for average temperatures and lower than average precipitation leading into to the dog days of summer make the weeds in this metro area still prevalent but not as virulent as in other cities.

The authoritative national source on landscaping and lawn care topics, NALP developed its top 10 rankings by evaluating comprehensive national data on consumer concerns about common weeds and lawn diseases between the months of April and August reported to lawn care professionals. That data was then compared to forecasting information from the National Weather Service and matched with information from NALP experts on climate conditions that impact weed growth to determine the rankings.

Many of these weeds that threaten the health of lawns are often difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat properly. For more information, or to find a qualified lawn care or landscape professional in your area, visit LoveYourLandscape.org.

About NALP

NALP represents an industry that employs nearly 1 million landscape, lawn care, irrigation and tree care professionals who create and maintain healthy green spaces for the benefit of society and the environment.

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