Lawn Care Hacks That Can Save You Money

Lawn Care Hacks That Can Save You Money

Typically, when you think about saving money around the house, you immediately think of things happening on the inside like utility usage or family meals. However, what most don’t realize is that your lawn care and gardening habits can also cost you a lot of money and can be an area to cut back on. In fact, according to “American Green: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Lawn,” Americans spend an estimated $40 billion caring for their lawns every due to water, fertilizer, lawn care services, gardening equipment, amongst other costs. That is a lot of money that you could be putting to use in other areas of your life. So, let’s take a look at some lawn care hacks that can help you cut down on those costs.

Start a Compost Bin

By starting a compost bin, you could create your own mulch for free. Composting is great in gardens, flower beds, and other landscaped areas and the mulch will help the ground retain its moisture and prevent weeds from spreading. Some of the items you will want to include in your compost bin are vegetable peels, grass clippings, eggshells, leaves, newspapers, and coffee grounds. Avoid adding meat or dairy products as they will rot and produce a bad odor that can attract flies, maggots, and other creatures. Also be sure to stir the compost occasionally, and you should start to see results within a few months.

Use Boiling Water On Your Weeds

Weed killers can be very expensive. A cost-effective substitution is pouring boiling water on any weeds in your lawn. The water won’t hurt any of the soil underneath and it shouldn’t take long before you start seeing less weeds in your yard. Now, if the boiling water trick does not work, you can also try distilled white vinegar, however, keep in mind that by using vinegar, you will likely change the pH balance if the soil. Finally, you could also let your grass grow longer so that it chokes the weds in the lawn. So, by cutting the grass to three or four inches, the grass will win with all the weeds dying. 

Plant Fruit Trees

Fruit trees can both save you money by providing shade for your home which can reduce your heat bills, but also provide a great source of free fruit if you maintain them. For example, according to the Master Gardener Manual for the Cooperative Extension of the College of Agriculture at the University of Arizona, a healthy semi-dwarf apple tree can produce 4 bushels (about 168 pounds) of apples per year. So, if apples are selling at two dollars per pound, this tree could save you about $336 worth of apples each year.

So, these are just a few tricks that you can implement to maintaining your lawn that will also save you money along the way. If you are looking to give one of these a try or would like some more information on how you can save money through your lawn care, feel free to reach out to Giovine Landscaping today at (973) 325-1758.

Landscaping Tips For The New Year

Landscaping Tips For The New Year

Working on your garden has been shown to help reduce stress. Now, it is important to note that gardening itself can be stressful as well. Luckily, there are many ways to deal with that stress and one of those ways is by trying new things. Especially with the new year approaching, now is the perfect time to look into new landscaping tips to implement and new projects to take one. So, with that said, let’s take a look at a few landscaping tips and techniques you might want to try out in the new year.

Compost Heaps and Composting

Do you currently have a compost bin or a compost heap? If not, you should know that there are a plethora of sizes when it comes to compost bins and methods for composting. For example, there are cold composting in a bin or heap, bokashi, wormery, hot composting, and a composting trench. Now, if you already have a compost bin, but it is not working right, keep in mind that at times it is necessary to turn your compost. The reason being that the material can become compacted within the bin, and thus it does not rot down properly.

Feed The Birds

Most gardeners know that garden birds can be your best friend as they will eat slugs, snails, and other soil-borne pests. By encouraging the birds in your garden, you will also improve the overall health of the habitat as the dynamics of the food chain apply to even the small domestic plots. So, if you happen to have a selection of bird feeders in various areas of your garden, you should take some time to check on them and make sure if they need to be replaced. You don’t want to have any moldy food at the base of a feeder as it is no good for the birds.

Plant A Tree

This time of year is actually the optimum time for planting bare root trees and shrubs, so that might be something you may want to look into for the new year. Keep in mind though that you can plant container grown plants at any time of the year if you choose to. Plus, there are so many options for you to do based on the parameters you are working with. For example, if you are short on space, you can plant a patio sized fruit tree in a pot. Or, if you do have a little more space to work with, you can try a tree with style like an Aser griseum.

So, these are some tips and techniques you might be interested in trying in the upcoming new year. For any further questions or additional information, please call Giovine Landscaping today at (973) 325-1758!

Tips For Effective Weed Control

Tips for Effective Weed Control

Every gardener recognizes what a hassle weeding can be. In the beginning, tearing up these intruders can be somewhat satisfying, but, after a while, that feeling wears off and it becomes a chore that no one wants to do. Now, keep in mind that weeds are nature’s healing remedy for sites that are in a plantless state, however, weeds and gardeners have different ideas for whats makes a good recovery. On the bright side, there are ways to make this much more manageable. So, here are some tips for effective weed control.

Let Sleeping Weeds Lie

You should know that every square inch of your garden will likely contain weed seeds, however, only the ones in the top inch or two of soil will get enough light to trigger germination. Digging and cultivating in your garden will bring the hidden weeds to the surface, so every time you open a patch of ground, it is best to assume that there are weed seeds ready to erupt. Therefore, try digging only when you need to and then immediately salve that disturbed spot with plants or mulch. In lawns, you can also minimize soil disturbance by using a sharp knife with a narrow blade that can slice through the roots of lawn weeds to sever their feed source instead of digging them out. A good thing to note is that weed seeds can remain dormant for a long time. 

Use Mulch

As mentioned earlier, mulch can be your best friend when it comes to weed control. They benefit plants by keeping the soil cool and moist while depriving weeds of light. In fact, organic mulches can host crickets and carabid beetles which are great for seeking out and devouring thousands of weed seeds. It is also important to replenish the mulch as much as necessary in order to keep it about two inches deep, If you go more than three inches deep, you might deprive the soil of oxygen.

Weed When The Weeding’s Good

There’s an old saying that goes “pull when wet; hoe when dry” and it is wise advice when facing down weeds. After heavy rain, you can prep yourself for a rewarding weeding session by equipping yourself with gloves, a sitting pad, along with a trug or tarp to collect the corpses. When dealing with dry conditions, weeds sliced off just below the soil line will promptly shrivel up and die, especially if you have a hoe with a sharp edge.

Lop Off Their Heads

Sometimes, when you are unable to remove weeds, your next best option is to simply chop off their heads. When it comes to annual weeds, deadheading can buy you a few weeks of time before the weed “seed rain” begins. By cutting back the tops of perennial weeds, you will reduce reseeding which forces them to use up food reserves and in the process exhaust their supply of root buds, thus limiting their spread. There are a few ways of achieving this, but know that no matter what method you go with, chopping down weeds before they can go into seeding will keep them from spreading.

So, these are just a few tips that will help you prevent the spread of weeds in your garden. If you have any additional questions or would like professional assistance, be sure to contact Giovine Landscaping at (973) 325-1758!

Perennial Garden Mistakes You Can Avoid

Perennial Garden Mistakes You Can Avoid

Have you been interested a starting a perennial garden of your own? If so, then you’re making a great choice because it means you will not have to replant each year which can in turn save you time and money. Keep in mind though, that it does require some work and maintenance. In addition, there are some common mistakes that many people tend to make when growing a perennial garden. So, if you are new to this hobby, be sure to take a look at these common perennial garden mistakes you will want to avoid.

Failing to Plan Ahead

One of the first things you will want to do is plan out your garden ahead of time. Ensure that you have your plants in the right place for both growing needs and ease of long term maintenance. You also need to consider each plant’s soil, moisture, and light preferences before getting started. A common mistake is to assume that all perennials are the same. Some like to be grown in quick-draining and sandy soil where others like to stay a little weaker throughout the day. You should also think about how it will be to tend your plants down the line because your perennial planting may make sense as it stands now, but you don’t know how it might fare in the long term.

Ignoring Your Growing Zone

You will also need to take into consideration the growing needs of your plants and then match them to your growing zone. Every perennial plant will have a hardiness zone range that speeds up on the lowest temperatures that various areas of the country experience on average. So, don’t ignore this, and be sure to choose plants that can thrive in whatever zone you are located in. You can use the USDA Hardiness Zone map for reference. Neglecting to do so might risk you wasting money on plants that simply won’t survive. 

Failing To Maintain Your Plants

Don’t forget that tending to any garden is hard work and there is no way of getting around that. Especially, if you want a garden that will last, you will need to take good care of your plants. Now, as mentioned earlier, the benefit of a perennial garden is that they tend to be low-maintenance. However, that is not always the case and you may need to water and mulch your plants regularly. You should also not forget to fertilize your plants. Deadheading is another key aspect of maintenance as it is the process of removing any spent blossoms to allow plants to funnel their energy into root development and flower production later on in the season. Another tip is to divide your perennials as this will not only reinvigorate them but also spread the wealth to other corners of the garden. You should consider doing this once every three years or so. 

These are just a few of the common mistakes that are easily avoidable when it comes to planting a perennial garden. For any further questions or tips on the subject matter, feel free to contact Giovine Landscaping today at (973) 325-1758!

Tips To Improve Landscape Water Drainage

Tips To Improve Landscape Water Drainage

Throughout the year, your yard will get a lot of water from the rain. Especially during the spring and late summer. These past few weeks, we have been experiencing a lot of storms with heavy rain. With all this in mind, it is important to find ways to get rid of all this excess water. Drainage issues in the yard can cause not just standing water damage to your grass and plants, but it can also be a health hazard. Standing water can hold mosquito larvae along with other undesirable pests. So, let’s take a look at ways that you can improve the drainage in your yard.

Keep The Landscape Drainage Routes Running Freely

You should look to avoid obstructing the run-ff drainage paths that come with raised gardens, planters, or berms. A great tip is for your yard to have a gentle slope that drains the water to a given route. However, if these routes are blocked, it will caused a flooded lawn. Ground runoff is responsible for a lot of surface drainage even in areas where you have installed other types of in-ground drainage systems. You should be inspecting the natural ridges in your lawn where water flows and make sure to remove any obstructions that could impede the flow of water.

Consider An Inlet Basin or a Channel Drain

If you are unaware, an inlet basin or detention basin is a place that rapidly collects water and then releases it slowly to reduce any impact it may have on the surrounding area. This can be installed just below the surface of your landscape and you can have several installed across the yard to catch any large amounts of water that may come from a storm. These are very essential especially if you have a property that sits at the top of the landscape. This is because any large amount of water collected by the downspouts can find its way onto the ground if a drainage pipe is blocked and this can damage the yard if it is left to flow as runoff down the landscape. Be sure to place the inlet basins on the upper part of the landscape so it can collect as much water as possible before it makes its way downhill.

Harvest The Water Wherever Possible

You may also want to harvest the ground runoff water by installing a storage well or a water barrel below the grade. Then, the collected runoff can be used to water your lawn. This is a great option that doesn’t require you to have proper systems to drain away the water at the lower end of your garden or if you are looking to conserve water for drier seasons. Keep in mind that when you are building a water harvesting system, you will need to take steps to ensure that the soil and other debris does not get into the well. Any accumulation of silt will reduce the amount of water the storage can hold.

These are just a few tips that you can use to improve the water drainage on your lawn. For further questions or assistance on the matter, please feel free to contact Giovine Landscaping at (973) 325-1758!

Tips To Remember When Mowing Your Lawn

Tips To Remember When Mowing Your Lawn

There are few things better than a lush and green lawn during the summer. Not only does it feel good to have, but it also adds a lot of curb appeal. Now, while mowing the lawn may not be at the top of your priority list, it is still an important part of proper landscaping maintenance. Plus, there are little tips you can implement to make the job quicker which would make your life more comfortable and possibly even help you enjoy doing it. So, let’s take a look at some key tips to remember when you get to mowing your lawn.

Keep Your Mower Height High

If you cut your grass too short, you will risk exposing the soil and that can make your lawn unhealthy. Shorter grass also allows weed seedlings to flourish on your lawn which will make your yard susceptible to drought or extreme temperatures which would then undo any work that you might have done up to that point. So, you will want to keep the blades on your mower at the highest or second-highest setting, especially early in the summer season. As the season goes on and you begin getting into the fall, you may elect to go shorter if you prefer.

Change Your Patterns

You might be quite amazed to learn that how you mow your lawn can affect the growth and health of your grass. Most people think it is as simple as running the lawnmower over the green to get the job done. However, the way you run it over the grass can affect what it will look like the next time you need to mow it. So, it might be worth remembering to change up the pattern that you mow it each time. The grass is actually an intelligent plant and can develop a grain growth going in whatever direction you mow. This causes it to lean to one side and grow disjointedly and that can make it harder to mow it. So, by changing your mowing pattern on a regular basis, it will cause the grass to grow upright and allow more even growth across the yard, making your life easier for the next time you decide to mow the lawn.

Sharpen The Mower’s Blades Regularly

When you have sharp blades, you will have a more clean cut. However, if the blades on your lawnmower become dull, then they will rip into the grass unevenly which could create openings for any pests and other problems. Additionally, if you cut over stones or stray branches, it can ruin the blades over time. So, it would be a good idea to remove and sharpen the blades or even replace them at the beginning of the season if you want it to perform at its best. You might also want to keep a spare blade stowed away in the event you do not have time to sharpen.

Consider Grass-Cycling

This unique technique involves occasionally leaving some of your grass clippings on the lawn so that they can serve as a natural fertilizer. This is also pretty easy to do if your grass is a bit shorter in height. These clippings will help to feed the grass below and prevent any exposure to weeds or potential drought.

Mowing the lawn may not be everyone’s favorite chore, however, it is integral to maintaining a healthy and beautiful lawn. Hopefully, these tips will help make things easier for you this summer. For more information or additional tips on mowing the lawn, please call Giovine Landscaping at (973) 325-1758!

Tips To Bring Your Lawn Back To Life

Tips To Bring Your Lawn Back To Life

Have you ever taken a look at your lawn and it looked dead or like it was dying? Was it filled with brown grass instead of green grass? If so, you shouldn’t give up hope just yet as there is a chance that there is still life in that “dead lawn.” It will just take a little TLC to restore it back to life. So, let’s take a look at a few tips that can help you bring your lawn back to life. 

Understand The Issue

The first thing you will need to do is fully understand what you are dealing with. Looks can be deceiving, so it may not be as bad as you think. For example, for those who live in warmer climates where the lawn turns brown during the winter, it may be that you have warm-season grass that naturally goes dormant during the winter season. So, this should become green again by late spring into early summer. On the flip side, cool-season grass may turn brown and look dead during the summer if they are forced into dormancy due to the excessive heat and drought. Now, if your lawn is neither of these, then you will need to give it a little care if it starts looking a little dead.

Prepare Your Lawn

When it comes to bringing your lawn back to life, you will want to start by getting rid of any weeds that may have crept in while it was stressed and brown. These weeds compete for water, lights, and nutrients, so make sure you are not ignoring them. You should also plan ahead if you plan on using weed killers because they can inhibit new grass along with the weeds. So, be sure to allow at least three weeks in between weed treatments and lawn boosting.

Apply Lawn Booster

An all-in-one lawn booster will combine everything you would need to bring your dead lawn back to life. It includes premium seed, fertilizer, and soil enhancer. The only thing you will need to apply it is a normal lawn spreader similar to what you would use for seed or fertilizer. Make sure, the one you are using works best for you and spread it evenly over your entire lawn. Even the spots that are not brown will benefit from the boost. This will help your grass grow quicker, thicker, and greener.

Water Consistently

Watering your lawn consistently will also be crucial in turning brown, lifeless grass into a vibrant green. The grass seeds must have constant moisture in order to germinate and establish healthy roots, so you cannot skip this step. Make sure you are watering your lawn daily so that the soil will stay consistently moist. You may even water twice a day if it is necessary. You will want to continue doing so until the new grass sprouts and grows tall enough for its first mowing which would be about 3 to 4 inches in height. At that point, you can gradually transition into just regular lawn maintenance which would include 1 inch of water per week.

So, these are just some tips to help you bring some life back to your lawn if it starts looking brown and dead. You will want to make sure to keep up regular lawn maintenance even after following these tips to keep it looking its best. For further information on proper lawn maintenance, feel free to call Giovine Landscaping at (973) 325-1758!

Fast-Growing Shade Trees That Can Help With The Electric Bill

Fast Growing Shade Trees That Can Help With The Electric Bill

The sun provides us with free solar energy that keeps us warm, brings light into our homes, grows our food, and can generate renewable electricity. However, once the weather heats up, the sun can cause us to use even more energy as we need to run our air conditioners and fans to cool us down. Keeping the sun off of our homes and windows during the summer, which is rapidly approaching, can help you save both money and energy. One of the best ways to do just that is by planting shade trees right in the location of your home so that they can block the sun from streaming through the windows. There are so many options to choose from as well, but you can also find options that can grow fast. So, here are some of the popular fast-growing trees that can add shade to your property.

Hybrid Polar

One of the most popular fast-growing shade trees is the hybrid polar. These trees can grow up to 8 feet per year and even mature at about 40 to 50 feet high. There are many different types of hybrid polars like the Populus deltoides x Populus nigra variety, which is also known as the “cottonless hybrid” and it is a little less messy in the yard than some of the other varieties. 

Nuttall Oak

Nuttall Oak is another fast-growing shade that is also known as red oak or pin oak. These are also the fastest-growing variety of oak and they provide not just a leafy canopy, but also a consistent supply of acorns each year.

Red Maple

Red Maples are also good for more than just casting shade as they also add a burst of color in the fall as the leaves turn a vibrant red before they drop. Red Maple’s growth rate comes to about 3 to 5 feet per year and tops out at about 40 feet high which helps to rapidly create privacy and shade for the home and the yard. 

Paper Birch

Paper birches, while also being a fast-growing shade can also feature white bark which can add to the look of any yard, especially during the winter once the leaves have dropped. These can also be tapped for their sap and be made into birch sap. Keep in mind that you might need a few of these trees if you want to make it work your while. 

American Sycamore

The American Sycamore, also referred to as the American planetree is another fast-growing shade tree that also has a whitish mottled bark and is capable of growing to be quite large. Now, these are typically found near rivers and ponds, but they can also be grown in an urban yard and grow as much as 6 feet per year reaching heights of 70 feet and more.

 Now, be mindful that not all of these shade trees will be the best fit for your yard. There will be many variables that you must take into consideration such as the length of the growing season, the frost dates, the temperatures, annual rainfall, and the type of soil in your yard. So, if you have any questions about which fast-growing shade tree will be best for your specific region, feel free to contact Giovine Landscaping at (973) 325-1758!

Spring Landscaping Maintenance Tips

Spring season is upon us and while we are currently quarantined due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can still get out to your garden or backyard and tend to the lawn. 

As this is the perfect opportunity to spruce up your landscaping, there are a variety of ways to improve your spring landscaping. Whether it is decorative new plantings or budding new flowerbeds, homeowners can find ways to refresh the current template of their yards. So, let’s take a look at a few ideas you can use to revitalize your spring landscaping.

Inspect And Spruce Up The Trees And Shrubs

When it comes to great spring landscaping, it all begins with the staple of yards which include trees and shrubs. These are sometimes overlooked, however, they can draw eyes to particular spots on your lawn, enhance any hard and soft landscaping features and also, provide a complete and finished feel to your outdoor space. So, due to this, it is imperative that you inspect the health of your trees and shrubs after the wear and tear of the winter season. For example, you will want to remove any dead or diseased branches because they can be liabilities for your home and property during any strong winds and storms.

Fertilize The Lawn

Next, you are going to want to work on your lawn. Due to the rain during the winter along with the saturation of snow both combined with the compositional changes of the frequently frozen ground, your spring lawn will be in dire need of fresh fertilizer. So, the first step in the fertilization process is to determine the soil’s nutrients through a soil test. This will allow you to understand the exact nutritional makeup of your lawn’s soil and whether it lacks in any specific compounds or becomes too saturated in others.Next, you will need to choose your fertilization method. Keep in mind that not all applications are equal and you need to ensure you choose the best one for your lawn. You also need to know exactly how much fertilizer you need.

Prepare Your Mower

Your spring landscaping isn’t complete just because the lawn, trees, and landscape beds look good. You also need to prep and maintain the equipment that will take care of the plants. Lawnmower maintenance is another important aspect for the health and vitality of your grass. If you have overgrown lawns, it can lead to many issues like vulnerability to the weeds, pests and diseases, and even fire susceptibility. By implementing proper maintenance of your mower, it will keep the appliance efficient, cost-effective and long-lasting. In fact, a functioning lawn mower can give you 15 to 20 years of life.

Add Mulch

Adding mulch is a great way to improve any landscaped area. Whether it is surrounding the base of a patio or preventing problematic areas of weed growth, it can be a welcoming part of your spring landscaping project. Due to its range of colors and chip types, mulch can be a simple but effective way to freshen up the landscaping look.

These are just some of the ways you can revitalize your landscaping for the spring season and with the current quarantine, there is much more time available to get some of these projects done. If you have any further questions or would like some more spring landscaping ideas, feel free to call Giovine Landscaping at (973) 325-1758!

How Landscaping Can Increase Your Home’s Value

How Landscaping Can Increase Your Home's Value

Landscaping is one of the most effective methods that can help increase the value of your home. Not only that, but it is also great for the environment and has been shown to improve your health as well. So, regardless of what you intend to do with your home in the future, a quality landscaping design can boost your curb appeal while increasing the property value. So, let’s take a look at some ways that you can increase your home’s value with a landscaping design.

Design The Landscape With A Strategy In Mind

If you are looking to increase your home’s value with a landscaping project, you will need to implement a specific strategy. For example, you wouldn’t want to just fill your yard with various plantings and landscape design elements for the sake of adding them to the yard. You might want to work with a professional who can help you achieve a uniform look with the right amount to keep things interesting, but not so little that it comes off plain and boring.

Add Trees To The Yard

While this might seem like a simple strategy, adding a few trees to your landscape can make a huge difference in the value of your home. In fact, in one study by the Wall Street Journal, including trees helped homes sell for 10-15% more than their asking prices. There are many reasons for this, some of them include: trees can remove carbon dioxide and pollution from the air; trees are viewed as an environmentally-friendly option; the shade that trees produce also keeps yards cooler and more inviting; and finally, plants, including trees, bring a relaxing and calming feeling to your space.

Have A Uniform Style Between Your Home And Landscape

Another great way to increase your home’s overall value is to create a singular style and sticking with that style. For example, if you have a modern style home with a Mediterranean-style landscape design, it can create too many opportunities for design clashing and it would take away from the home’s appeal. So, your best option would be to create a versatile landscape that you can adapt to any style home, in the event your taste changes or you decide to sell your house.

Add Color

Having a garden with full, leafy plants and vibrant flora will add color, texture, and dimension to your landscape. These beautiful flowers and blooming plants will create an instant curb appeal to your home and give your landscape a well-maintained appearance. You may also want to include aromatic plants and flowers as those will invite birds and butterflies to your yard. 

These are just a few ways you can use landscaping to add more value to your home. For more information or if you are looking for professionals to assist you in your landscaping project, give Giovine Landscaping a call at (973) 325-1758 today!