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.

Tips To Care For Trees And Shrubs In The Winter

Tips To Care For Trees and Shrubs in the Winter

The winter season is rapidly approaching and with it comes storms, ice, and rapid temperature fluctuations above and below zero which take their toll on trees all across the country. Especially for species that are native to the closer regions, this can be a stressful time, particularly for exposed and isolated trees of the residential landscape. Now, unfortunately, some of the stress is unavoidable as the typical tree owner has no control of the climate. Luckily, there are ways to minimize the damage caused by the winter. So, here are some tips to care for your trees and shrubs during the winter season.

Cold Stress

Now, cold stresses can take on a plethora of forms with the first being the effect on mature trees with the rapid change between daytime heat and nighttime freezing. These temperature variations can lead to stresses within the tree between the outer bark and inner wood. This leads to cracks that are known as frost cracking. Unfortunately, in most situations, there is little that can be done to prevent frost cracking. The tree is actually able to repair itself even though the cracked area will remain vulnerable to subsequent cracking at the same place causing further major damage. Now, you may want to consider wrapping the bark with tree blankets to help this cause. 

Winter Drought

Another issue during the winter, especially for evergreens is drying out. This occurs when a tree loses more water than it can absorb from the frozen ground. Windy conditions can also worsen this issue. To handle this situation, you can try to lay down a thick layer of organic mulch around the base of the tree in the late fall before the winter officially sets in. This mulch will help to slow down the moisture loss and runoff while also acting as a temperature buffer for the roots.

Branch Breakage

Branches are also very vulnerable to breakage during the cold winter. Especially with deciduous trees, the wood will harden and become more brittle, susceptible to wind damage. There is also the issue of ice and snow accumulation which can affect both deciduous trees and evergreens alike. Now, in order to minimize branch breakage, you should look to continue with your fall maintenance, especially pruning. By pruning the weak and vulnerable branches and then removing one limb of a pair to share a deep “v” crotch, you will make the entire tree less susceptible. Another solution for small trees and shrubs is to cover the entire tree with a sturdy tent-like housing. Finally, for the larger evergreens, try using a rope to tie up and reinforce branches.

These are just a few tips that you can use to keep your lawn healthy during the winter months. If you have any further questions or are in need of professional assistance, please feel free to contact Giovine Landscaping today 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!