The Best Plants for Winter Landscaping

Turning Yards into Beautiful Winter Scenes

Once the weather turns cold and snowy, your home’s landscape can still look good and thrive through the season. Whether you live in an area with long, cold seasons or you just want to spruce up your outdoor space for the chillier months, there are plenty of winter plants that can beautify your home. Find the best plants for winter landscaping!

Conifer trees and evergreen shrubs can be particularly hardy during the colder months and add interest to your home. The best plants for winter landscaping should have certain characteristics, such as their height. Tall trees and shrubs are a good bet because they can be seen during an average snowfall for your area. It is also important that your picks will attract wildlife like birds to bring spirit to an otherwise bleak season.

Characteristics of the Best Plants 

The best plants for your winter landscape depend on the weather in your area and personal preferences. It’s best to choose a species that is hardy and can survive the winter, and be visually appealing to you. Here are a few characteristics to consider when deciding which varieties to plant at home:

  • Berries that attract birds
  • Height and width
  • Attractive bark
  • Evergreen foliage
  • Sturdy branches to withstand snow

Conifer species are always an excellent choice, but there are plenty of lesser-known plants for winter landscaping that can upgrade your outdoor space.

Winter Plant Picks

One of the best plants for winter landscaping is the Christmas Evergreen Holly (Ilex opaca) which is popular during the winter months because of its fast-growing foliage, glossy leaves, and bright berries that attract many birds. It also adds decorative value to your home during the Holidays. Two varieties like the China Holly (Ilex meserveae) and the Compact Inkberry Holly (Ilex glabra ‘Compacta’) are hardy enough for snowy regions. The China Holly is rounded and can reach a height of eight feet tall and wide. This variety is a great pick for regions with dry winters. Compact Inkberry Holly has dark green foliage and its berries are black rather than red, and can reach a height of four to eight feet.


The beautiful and unique Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea ‘Allemans’) is another extremely hardy plant. The Red Osier yields white blooms that are followed by white fruit. This plant is an especially unique pick because of its bark, which ranges in color from red to burgundy. Red Osier Dogwoods typically reach heights of six to ten feet with a similar spread. A patch of fiery Red Osier Dogwood against a backdrop of fresh snow makes for an unforgettable winter scene.

Plume Grass (Erianthus ravennae) is also one of the best plants for winter landscaping. This tall perennial grass can create contrasting visual interest among other plants. The Plume Grass has a thin shaft and fluffy foliage that add elegance to a winter landscape. This plant grows quickly up to 11 feet tall and 4 feet wide,and is very hardy in cold and warmer climates.

The Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica) is a shrub with spreading growth that reaches 4 to 6 feet tall and equally wide (though they are slow to reach maturity). The Bayberry is glossy and aromatic with small gray berris. These unusual berries are widely used to scent candles and are a popular choice for holiday scents. The berries are also a big attraction for birds, but resistant to deer. The Bayberry is also a drought-tolerant shrub which makes it a popular choice.

The Compact American Cranberry Bush Viburnum (Viburnum trilobum ‘Compactum’) is one of the best plants for winter landscaping. It yields large red berries that are a favorite for birds in winter landscapes. A rounded shrub, this species bears white flowers in May and June that are followed by red fruit. It also produces lovely foliage ranging from red to purple in the fall. Its color adds beauty to a snowy landscape. American Cranberry Bush Viburnum is hardy and reaches heights of 4 to 5 feet with a slightly smaller spread. 

The Birch Tree loses its leaves in winter, but is still a popular choice for landscaping in cold weather due to its beautiful and unique white bark. Birch trees are fast growers that typically add between 1 and 2 feet of height each year. Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera) is known for its pale white bark that peels back to reveal darker sections underneath. It typically grows up to 2 feet each year and can reach 60 feet tall at maturity. 

Winter Landscapes 

Giovine Landscaping can help with choosing plants and once you have made your choices, your picks will require some care. Giovine Landscaping can help with this too. Applying mulch, pruning, and applying anti-tran spirants are some of the ways to care for your winter plants and maintain their health. Whichever plants you choose for your home, their beauty and vibrancy will make your landscape look magnificent through the otherwise gray months of winter.

4 Winter Landscaping Tips To Protect Your Lawn

winter landscaping tips

In last month’s blog, we discussed winter gardening tips that you should follow. As important as winter gardening is, it’s equally important to read up on some winter landscaping tips to make your lawn look healthy and complete this season. If you’re ready to maximize your lawn over the coming months, keep reading for some helpful information!

Fertilize, Fertilize, Fertilize!

When the temperature drops, your grass dries up and loses all the necessary nutrients to stay healthy and green. Thankfully, fertilizing your lawn provides your grass with everything it needs to prosper during the colder months. Fertilizing your lawn is the best way to simultaneously prolong your grass’s lifespan, protect it when it freezes over, and boost your curb appeal – there’s no reason not to enrich your lawn!

Don’t Stop Watering

We’ll probably sound like a broken record in due time, but we cannot stress enough that watering everything on your lawn is still necessary, even in the winter. Grass doesn’t require as much water during the winter months, but it still needs something. Watering just a few times per month, maybe once per week, is adequate. Neglecting your lawn is the last thing you want to do!

Stave Off Road Salt

We understand that salt is necessary to deice the roads and your walkways, but it can harm your lawn and other greenery, especially if you live in a high-traffic area. Accumulated road salt can stunt the growth of your grass by preventing absorption of vital nutrients. Cars and people walking to your front door can kick salt up onto your lawn, so you should always keep an eye out for it. 

Keep Raking

We all think raking is a fall-exclusive practice, but it’s actually beneficial to do in the winter, as well. Even though all the leaves are gone, there is still plant debris that can be left over, and it can yield detrimental results for your lawn. If this debris isn’t collected, it can mix with fallen snow and serve as a breeding ground for mold and fungus. Those are not things that you want growing on your lawn, and they definitely hurt your curb appeal, so we suggest you keep on raking.

Maintaining your lawn in the winter can prove quite challenging, so we hope that this series of winter landscaping tips was helpful. If you still don’t know where to start, or have further questions, feel free to get in touch with the experts at Giovine Landscaping today! We’re more than happy to help winterize your front lawn!

4 Winter Gardening Tips You Should Know

Just because it may be too cold to actively tend to your garden, that doesn’t mean you should neglect it! Looking after your garden is still essential in the winter, as ignoring it can bring rise to all sorts of problems in the warmer seasons. There are many ways you can care for your garden, but here are just a few winter gardening tips to consider:

Cover Your Plants

The best way to protect your plants from the forces of Mother Nature is to simply cover them! Covering your plants safeguards them from frosting and eventually freezing entirely. It also helps fight against soil erosion! There are several ways you can go about covering your delicate greenery, ranging from popup plant protectors, mobile greenhouses, or even bed sheets or comforters if you’re in a pinch. This is a simple tip, but possibly the most effective protective measure!

Deweed Your Garden

This may be one of the most basic, general gardening tips, but it’s still an important one. Weeds will fight your plants for precious real estate underground, so you’ll want to take care of that before the weeds stunt your plants’ growth. Removing invasive plants is just one of many imperative winter gardening tips to help maintain your garden for this season and those upcoming.

Add or Replace Mulch

Mulch is another great method to combat weeds in your garden, as they block off sunlight that weeds need to grow. Additionally, adding mulch can also reap several benefits for your soil. Mulch enhances the soil with nutrients, retains moisture, modulates soil temperature, and helps prevent soil erosion, among other things. Only the most careful gardeners use mulch to their advantage!

Do Not Forget To Water

Plants require consistent water consumption, just like we do! Whatever your concerns may be regarding watering your plants in frigid temperatures — throw them out the window. Even when the ground is frozen, you should still water your plants once a week, and new plants need to be watered even more. Do not overdo it, of course, as your plants do indeed require less water in the winter as opposed to other seasons. Just don’t forget to give your plants the sustenance they require!

We understand that tending to a garden yourself can be a massive undertaking. Whether you need some additional winter gardening tips or an expert landscaping team to do the work for you, be sure to contact the Giovine Landscaping team today!

The Benefits of Sealcoating

The Benefits of Sealcoating

Every homeowner understands that at some point their pavement is likely to deteriorate unless you seal it with a protective layer. The final touch of this process is sealcoating which is an essential component of the asphalt paving process and can even make or break your paved surface. To put it simply, sealcoating is the protective layer that will be applied on top of your asphalt surface in order to ‘lock-in’ the oils and properties that are to keep your pavement surface healthy and keep it from crumbling apart. In other words, it ensures that your pavements and roads stay protected from things like dirt, cracks, and water penetration over time. Let’s take a look a some of the other benefits of sealcoating.

Protects Pavements From Elements

If you do not get your asphalt surface sealcoated, you are leaving it to sit unprotected from the elements all day and these elements can be punishing to the surface over time. This is particularly true if you live in an area that sees extreme seasonal weather. For example, in the summer months, you will have bright and sunny days that will bake the oil out of the asphalt surface, and then in the winter, the harsh conditions will leave your pavement surfaces to snow and salt. Sealcoating will protect your pavement from these issues and give you some peace of mind when it rains or snows.

Shields Surface From Spills And Vehicle Fluids

Depending on your area, you might have to deal with high volumes of traffic. The issue is that these vehicles all have fluids that can be a risk to the surfaces they travel on. Plus, due to the fact that most roads and pavements are asphalt, if they are not sealcoated, these fluids such as water, vehicle fluid, and oil spills from cars will eventually erode your asphalt surface. 

Improves Aesthetics

While a nicely paved asphalt surface looks good, adding sealcoating to your asphalt as a final touch will be much more visually appealing. It immediately enhances the surface by using a refined tar sealer solution to give your pavement a deep and rich color. So, if you are looking for a way to achieve further curb appeal, sealcoating might be the way to go.

Longevity

Sealcoating can also increase the lifespan of your asphalt surface. Doing so prevents your pavement from experiencing prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays and sun oxidation. It will also help you save a good amount of money from having to pay for regular resurfacing and repairs.

As you can see there are many benefits to consider sealcoating for your pavement. If you have any further questions or would like to learn more about Giovine Landscaping’s pavement services, give them a call 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!

5 Winter Landscaping Tips

Winter Landscaping Tips

If you own a garden in a snowy region, you probably have a plethora of reasons to get cold feet about the winter. For example, while your plants are at rest, their bright colors dissipate and leave a palette of white and gray. So, with nothing to plant, most might think that there are very few landscaping tips for this season. However, by focusing on a few areas during the winter, you can keep a beautiful landscape that shines even through the restful season. So, here are five winter landscaping tips to help your yard.

Focus On Bark

Most transient trees lose their leaves in the wintertime which leaves their branches and trunks in focus. However, that can actually be a good thing. According to Barbara Pierson who is a nursery manager at White Flower Farm in Litchfield, Connecticut, “if you have any interesting ornamental trees that have really visually distinctive bark, they will end up adding winter interest.” A majority of those trees and shrubs are smaller, so they are easier to find spots for in the winter landscape. 

Include Berries

There are many trees and shrubs that have berries and hold onto them during the fall and winter seasons. This can provide food for any birds who are spending the winter in your area. Pierson mentions that crabapples, specifically hold onto their little fruit which makes them a great addition to the winter landscape.

Remember Evergreens

There are many reasons as to why evergreens are great for a winter landscape. First is their color. Evergreens do not just come in green; they are available in yellow, blue, and all colors in between. They also make good design sense and not only are they important for the winter landscape but they are good focal points for all year-round. Barabara Pierson says if you are planting a new bed, you will want to have at least one evergreen.

Enhance Your Summertime Containers

Hanging baskets, window boxes and winter-hardy containers are all indispensable for winter landscaping. A few options that are perfect for the winter include miniature dwarf Alberta spruce and broadleaf evergreens like Japanese Andromeda, holly and rhododendron. The only caveat is that they need to be watered during the dry periods. According to Pierson, “fill your containers with evergreen boughs of different textures and colors and interesting twigs, anything with color in it.”  

Stick With Four-Season Perennials

Certain perennials have evergreen foliage such as ornamental grasses, hellebores, and even dianthus with its low-creeping foliage which makes them great for winter landscaping. Be sure to read the plant label to ensure that the plant has foliage in the winter so that you can see it all year-round.

Conclusion

By implementing some of these simple tips, you will be able to add texture, color, and beauty to your yard even during the winter months. These tips can also keep your yard in tip-top shape throughout the year, helping you stay ahead of the curve. And as always, for any landscaping needs, especially during the winter, be sure to give Giovine Landscaping a call at (973) 325-1758.

Keep Your Grass Healthy This Winter: 4 Simple Ways To Winterize Your Lawn

Like all things, the season of winter has some pros and cons. For example, we’ll be able to build snowmen and have snowball fights, but we’ll also have to shovel our doorsteps and sidewalks. For our lawns, we’ll inevitably miss some green grass and sun and, instead, see browner, sparser lawns. But what you do now still contributes to the health and beauty of your lawn in the spring. For this reason, it is extremely important to protect and maintain your lawn even in the winter. Thankfully, the steps to winterize your lawn are pretty simple.

Spread Fertilizer and Cool-Weather Grass Seed

The first and most important step to winterizing your lawn is to apply ample fertilizer. We suggest using a spreader, as it will allow you to spread the fertilizer as evenly as possible. Use only the recommended amount as too much fertilizer can burn your grass. Then, scatter cool-weather or cool-season grass seed on your lawn, preferably with the same spreader you used for the fertilizer.

Aerate Your Lawn

The next step is to aerate your lawn. This comes with many benefits, such as improved air circulation between the soil and atmosphere, greater fertilizer uptake, and reduced soil compaction. You can use a spike aerator, which uses spikes to poke holes into the ground. The other option is a plug aerator, which removes small plugs of soil from your lawn. If you have a large lawn, consider contacting a professional contractor, like Giovine Landscaping, to quickly and effectively help you with this.

Clean It Up

Before severe snow hits, be sure to clean up your lawn. Leaving things like leaves, debris, or toys on the lawn make it susceptible to disease and could smother the grass. Poor conditions like these invite pests like insects and mice.

Cut Your Grass A Little Shorter

Grass that is excessively long can smother itself and cause disease. It can be particularly troublesome if you experience a late freeze or an uncharacteristic thaw. These weather conditions can cause a freeze-thaw cycle, which exposes your lawn and plants to damage. When there is an isolated rise or drop in the temperatures that is followed by regular temperatures, your garden will experience a freeze, followed by a thaw, as explained by the United States Golf Association. The thaw falsely signals to plants that temperatures are warming and spring is near. If plants do begin to bud and bloom, they will become exposed to damage from the cold. Although we certainly cannot control the weather, trimming our grass a little shorter for the winter is a good idea. However, be sure to avoid cutting it too short, which will expose the crown to extreme weather.

Winterize Your Lawn: It’s Worth It

It may sound a bit troublesome to winterize your lawn, but we are sure that you’ll be grateful for having fully prepared your grass to brace the cold weather. We encourage you to take a weekend to prepare your lawn or reach out to a local company to help you take care of it. Then simply sit back and spend the rest of your winter without worrying about your lawn.