Roundup in the News

I’m turning this blog on to discuss a serious issue in our industry and how it relates to our service on our customers properties: glyphosate.

On March 27, 2019 a second civil lawsuit in California was decided against Bayer, who purchased Monsanto, the makers of Roundup, in 2018. Both this case and a previous case in 2018 are considered “bellwether cases” in a national effort to link glyphosate use to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) and set up a class action lawsuit against Bayer. These cases are currently being appealed by Bayer, who categorically deny the link between glyphosate and NHL or any other type of cancer.

For-Shore Weed Control uses glyphosate in our standard Full Season Weed Control program, as well as in specialty services such as bamboo control, phragmites control, and lawn renovations. It has been a part of our program for over 35 years because it is more effective at lower volumes than any other herbicide. Many products that you might use, including the ever-popular salt/vinegar/dish soap mixture that people pass around on Facebook every summer, will kill the green part of a weed above the surface, but will not kill the root. With repeat applications of any burn down chemical or mixture you will kill the whole plant eventually by depleting the energy of the root system, but it is more labor intensive and introduces more chemicals to the environment than a single application of Roundup.

As a pesticide application businesses that has used glyphosate in our services for the past 36 years, we value this chemical as a useful tool to maintain our customers’ properties. We are exploring alternatives due to the bad press that Roundup is getting right now, but the bad publicity and current results of these two civil cases are not consistent with the research that has been published, including the research used to rule against Bayer in these two lawsuits. I want to make a few things clear at this point:

  • We have not had contact with Monsanto or Bayer to advocate for their products.

  • None of the cases in the news right now are suggesting that there is a risk to the property owner, consumer, or even home user of glyphosate.

  • The NJDEP has strict guidelines for the safe use of this and any other pesticide including wearing long pants, gloves, and waterproof boots. We follow these as well as more strict in-house procedures to avoid our applicators being exposed to chemicals.

  • We will investigate alternative products, but we will not begin to use them without carefully assessing their risk to our local ecosystem, our technicians, and our customers.

Over the next few weeks I am going to post and discuss current research papers, as well as conventional news articles, to try to help clarify what’s happening with glyphosate and how it will affect your property and your service.




We’re planning on replacing this blog with an Frequently Asked Questions section in the next week or so. If you have any questions you think should be included feel free to comment and we will get back to you and include them in the updated page. Here is some of what we’re starting with:

Turf, Tree & OPC Questions and Answers

 What to expect from a lawn care program:

It takes time to build a quality lawn. This means multiple applications over the course of time. The poorer the condition of the lawn at the start of the program, the longer it can take for improvement.  Some lawns may even need power seeding in the fall to establish a full lawn. This means it can take upwards to a full season or little longer to get a lawn back into shape. Site issues can also limit results. One of the main limiting factors of poor turf performance and density is shade.

Programs that are started later in the program after crabgrass has germinated will also take time for improvement. Once crabgrass has germinated it can be extremely difficult to impossible to gain 100% control that season. Additional application beyond the normal six step program will be needed at an additional cost to try and suppress any crabgrass issues. Crabgrass is best controlled with a quality pre-emergent program prior to germination. Post-emergent crabgrass control is not included on any programs started later than May 15th and or have missed both lawn care steps one and two.

Building a quality lawn is also a team effort between the service provider and the customer. In order for your lawn to take full advantage of a lawn care program, cultural recommendations provided to you by your Technician should be followed. Their recommendations can help your lawn take full advantage of our program. The most common recommendations are for proper watering and cutting habits. They can also give you tips on site improvement.

How long will it take for my weeds to die?

The weeds will stop growing once the weed control is applied to the actively growing weeds. With most broadleaf weed controls the first sign of the weed dying is the twisting of the weed followed by browning. Other weed controls we use discoloration will be the first sign that the weed control is working. Symptoms of weed death will be noticed 48-72 hours after the application. It may take up to a month for the weed to fully die and decompose. Weed controls are also slower acting in cooler weather and results will take a longer time to achieve.

How should I water my lawn?

The best practice for watering your lawn is to water deep and infrequent. It is better to water for a longer period of time fewer days per week than it is to water for a shorter period of time every day. Proper watering is critical to the health of your lawn. Too little water will cause a weak thin lawn that lacks vigor and too much water at the wrong time can cause disease issues. Inadequate moisture is the number one cause for lawns going brown in the summer months. The brown is not the lawn dying but the lawn going dormant. This is the plants natural defense to protect it. It is best to try and keep your grass out of dormancy during the active growing months. A lawn can require 1.5-2.0 inches of water per week to stay healthy and green in the dead of summer.

The best time to start your irrigation is at midnight. This will be wetting the grass when it would normally have moisture on the leaf tissue in the form of dew. The idea is to having the irrigation completing its run cycle around or shortly after sunrise so the leaf tissue is already starting to dry. You want to avoid 10-12 hours of leaf wetness; this can lead to disease issues during the summer months. Shallow every day watering can cause disease outbreaks and weak shallow rooted plants.

The best amount of time to run your irrigation depends on the type of heads your irrigation system or zone has. For stationary heads 20 minutes per zone is sufficient, with rotor heads 60 minutes per zone. This is just a starting point. Some areas may need a little less; some areas may need a little more.

You should start watering your lawn once it is actively growing in the absence of beneficial rain fall. This can mean as early as May. You can start watering once per week in the spring and increase the amount of days per week as the season warms up. If you do not fall behind on soil moisture going into the heat of summer deep watering every three days should keep your lawn healthy. In extreme summer weather every other day watering may be required. In extreme situations even with in ground automated irrigation systems lawns may suffer from some browning. This will right itself once temperatures come down or an event of natural beneficial rain fall. Irrigation systems are designed to supplement Mother Nature not replace her.

I am scheduled for fall seeding, when will this take place?

All of our seeding is done from the begging of September and runs into mid-October. This is the optimum time for planting grass in our region of the country.

How do I water my new seed?

Optimum moisture is critical on the germination of the seed we planted. The seed shell has to be kept constantly in order for proper germination. Watering once daily for 30 minutes is usually sufficient when established lawns are aerated and over seeded. Lawns that are seeded that have more bare exposed soil or lawns that have been renovated will require light watering 2-3 times per day for 10-15 minutes per zone on rotor heads and 5-10 minutes per zone on stationary heads. When the temperatures are 75 and cooler twice per day at 7am and 2pm. When temperatures are above 75 it will be best to do water three times per day at 7am, 12pm and 5pm.

You must be patient when growing new grass. Germination may take up to 14 days. A grass seedling does not reach full maturity until 18 months.

How should I cut my lawn?

Home lawns should be cut at around 3”. You should try not to remove more than 1/3 of the leaf tissue per cut. This may mean cutting your lawn every 5 days in the spring and early summer or every 7-11 days in the dead of summer and late fall. Letting the lawn getting very long and cutting back hard will cause a weak lawn with a lot of discoloration after the lawn is cut. The plants have to use a lot of their stored energy to recover from this and will lead to a thin lawn with poor color. In most situations cutting every 7 days will keep your lawn healthy and looking good. Cut your lawn when it needs to be cut and always use a sharp blade.

When should I expect my outdoor pest control to be done?

The Perimeter Tick Control applications will be applied in April, May and October.

The Comprehensive Outdoor Pest is four applications. The first application is applied between May and June (we try to get them done around Memorial Day Weekend), and follow ups are scheduled approximately 4 weeks apart. The final application is applied Aug/Sep. With our standard, full program, you are entitled to unlimited service calls.








Free Weed Control?

"S1160 - This bill authorizes a recurring annual tax credit of $250.00 against the State income tax to owners of properties situated within 1,000 feet of Barnegat Bay and its tributaries who replace grass lawns with stone, crushed shells, or other similar materials. Property owners with existing stone or crushed shell lawns would also be eligible for this benefit. This bill has been released from committee. Companion Assembly bill A1312."

Our average cost per season is about $170.00. Call your state representative!


Salt Damage Repair


Salt Damage Repair

We have a customer with a fast food restaurant in a mall parking lot. One thing you can count on in a mall parking lot is that when it snows there will be plenty of salt put down. What happens to the lawn? 


We tilled in gypsum to correct the high soil salinity, added some top soil, and spread a blend of mostly rye but also some fescue and bluegrass and two weeks later:



We will encourage the owner to do a normal aeration and seeding at the end of the year, and monitor these new areas throughout the season because predominantly rye lawns are susceptible to certain diseases and are less heat tolerant than fescue/bluegrass mixes. But its quick coverage is hard to beat! 



Oh the places you'll go

We have some large accounts that include local school districts and industrial sites. Sometimes these jobs make our trucks look a little out of place.


We spray the perimeter of the school buildings and the fence lines for Howell Township. Creating a buffer along these hard surfaces helps to cut down on the amount of work the mowers have to do throughout the season. Having an open space between the grass and the buildings also helps reduce pest problems in the school. 



Too much mulch!

Here Gregg is clearing mulch off of the crown and roots of an Alaskan Cedar

Here Gregg is clearing mulch off of the crown and roots of an Alaskan Cedar

Adding mulch to your beds every spring is a great idea for a number of reasons--it helps the soil retain moisture, regulate temperature, suppresses weed growth, and makes your beds look great! 

One important thing to remember about spreading mulch though: keep it off the crown of your trees and shrubs. The crown is the area of the trunk or stem right above where the plant enters the ground. Putting mulch against this area restricts gas exchange and traps moisture against the bark. Here are a few good websites on proper mulching:




Anyone who has ever seen bagworms (Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis) on their arborvitae or junipers knows this is one strange critter.  One week your arborvitae hedge is dense and beautiful the next it looks thin and has been decorated with what appear to be Christmas ornaments made out of dried leaves.  The question is often asked--- where did they come from?

Inside each of these bags is a fast growing hungry caterpillar.  The caterpillar is protected by the bag and moves, suspended from the branch, eating leaves or needles and occasionally adding to its home.  The caterpillars and their bags start out very small but grow to about two inches as the insect reaches maturity in August.

Unlike most insects the female bag worm spends her entire life in the bag which she creates.  Her eggs are laid in the bag; the female then exits the bag, dropping to the ground, where she dies.  The eggs hatch the following season in May or early June.  The young larva move out of the bag and start to weave their own bags.  In some cases as the larvae spins its silk, the wind carries it off and deposits it on another plant— this is known as ballooning and is how these otherwise slow moving pests spread.

Look for and control bagworms in June.  They are relatively easy to control when small. Minor infestations can be removed manually


Poison Ivy


Poison Ivy

Watch out for Poison Ivy!
Poison ivy is a natural component of the dune ecology and is also a frequent weed in yards and along the edges of roads and paths.  Long Beach Island and the surrounding pinelands and coastal forests are prime areas for poison ivy.  The best way to avoid rash and discomfort of poison ivy is to avoid the plant.  

Spotting poison ivy
“Leaflets three let it be!”  The leaves of poison ivy are always in threes, two leaflets are split by a third, which is on a slightly longer stem.  New leaves will be tiny and red or maroon colored, older leaves are usually shiny, and dark green.  The shape of the individual leaves varies from smooth to notched to lobed.  The leaves will never be serrated like a saw blade.

In fall the leaves of poison ivy become bright red. In winter the vines of poison ivy will appear as hairy rope running up the sides of trees and fence posts.  The seeds of poison ivy are in grey berries that frequently hang on in loose clusters through out the winter.  These berries may be eaten by birds and then spread from one location to another.  This is why poison ivy will appear under your trees or along fence lines—all under places birds perch.  

What makes poison ivy poison?
The oil in poison ivy, urushiol (u-roo-she-al), causes contact dermatitis (an itchy rash) in a large percentage of the population, although the severity of this can vary widely from person to person.  Itchiness begins about 24 hours after exposure and can last over 3 weeks!  In severe cases the rash will continue to grow over this period, leading to the misconception that scratching will spread the rash. Actually your body is just continuing to react to the first exposure.

Urushiol is present in every part of the poison ivy plant—the roots, the stems, and the leaves all have this oil on the inside and outside of the plant. 

Urushiol will stick to anything that comes in contact with the plant, including your skin, cloths, gloves, tools, shoes, and the ball that got kicked over the fence! The oil will not spread through the air unless poison ivy is burned.  Inhaling smoke from burning poison ivy can cause serious, even fatal reactions. Mystery exposure is usually the result of contact with garden tools that came into contact with poison ivy (the oil can stay on garden tools for years) or carrying firewood into the house.  Animals are not bothered by poison ivy, but the oil on their fur can affect a person who pets them.

Those that seem immune to poison ivy today should not count on that immunity, sensitivity can and often does change over time.

If you know that you have been exposed to poison ivy, repeated washing with cold water and soap or with Tecnu (available at drug stores) will remove the oil from your skin.  Clothing should be laundered separately, or dry cleaned (it is only fair to tell the dry cleaner about the poison ivy!).  Tools that have been in contact with the plant should be assumed to be contaminated and washed repeatedly with soap and water.  Chemical control is best left up to a licensed professional.  A severe infection warrants a visit to a doctor.

Keep in mind that poison ivy is one of the few native plants that still thrive on Long Beach Island.  An old timer in Barnegat Light once told me that poison ivy is what “holds the island together in a storm”; he may not have been wrong.  If the plant is not growing in an area where it is likely to contact people it should be left undisturbed.  


Scale Insects


Scale Insects

Scale Insects
Scale insects are tiny, tiny insects that protect themselves by secreting a waxy coating that resembles a reptile or fish scale.  These herbivores are immobile under their shell and feed on trees and shrubs by “sucking” out the sap through their specialized mouth parts. They start life as an egg, which has overwintered inside of their mother’s scaly home.  The potential pests then hatch, exit the scale, and are able to crawl around the host plant as a “crawler”. Often, scale insects are blown around to surrounding vegetation during this crawler stage.  The crawler stage is the best time to treat these insects as they are not protected by their scale.
Once settled, females insert their mouth parts into the plant, lose their legs, and start to feed.  They either mate with males who have retained their wings and legs or females reproduce without mating (process called parthenogenesis). During the mating and egg lying period, the female produces its waxy scale and lays its eggs under its protection.  The female will generally die through the winter, but her brood lives, overwintering as eggs to hatch and form crawlers in the spring.
Scale insects are a huge problem in ornamental trees and shrubs.  Their numbers build and spread rapidly, introducing populations to new areas and new ornamental species.  Timed applications are able to dispatch these foes, but their persistence in our landscape ecosystems will require continued monitoring and control.
Damage of scale insect can include browning of leaves or needles shoot and branch death. Eventually populations can reach a high enough level to severely weaken the planting, opening up opportunities for secondary pests which may cause mortality.  
Another byproduct of scale insects is honeydew or sugary waste excreted by the bug.  Fungi feed on the honeydew and cover a plant with a black, blotchy, sooty mold, which reduces the surface area available to receive light.  This further weakens the tree or shrub, possibly influencing secondary problems that are usually shrugged off by a healthier plant.
One such scale insect, Chionaspis pinifoliae, or Pine Needle Scale is one of the most serious pests of ornamental pines in the United States.  They can cause significant needle deterioration and needle loss in Japanese black pine and other ornamental pine species.   Scale, combined with secondary infections of fungi or infestations of opportunist insects can eventually contribute to the death of a planting.  
If you are unsure if you have a scale problem on your landscape or would like to learn more about what you can do to preserve your trees and shrubs, please have our arborist out to do a complimentary inspection of your property.  Not all pest populations need treatment!
Johnson, Warren T., and Howard H. Lyon. Insects That Feed on Trees and Shrubs: An Illustrated Practical Guide. Ithaca, NY: Comstock Pub. Associates, 1976. Print.