Fall Landscaping Mistakes To Know & Avoid

Fall Landscaping Mistakes To Know & Avoid

When it comes to keeping up with your landscaping, timing is everything. For example, while the fall season is great for planting trees, it is not the best for pruning certain shrubs. The last thing you want is to wait until the spring season of next year only to find out that the maintenance performed in the fall (if any was performed at all) did more harm than good to your lawn. So, with that said, let’s take a look at a few fall landscaping maintenance mistakes you should know about and how you can avoid them.

Letting The Leaves Pile Up

Raking your leaves is just for the clean, aesthetic look. In addition, you shouldn’t assume that because no one rakes the forest floor and there are no issues with those trees that your lawn will fare just as well. A pile-up of leaves left on your lawn can suffocate the grass and negatively impact the airflow. Plus, it could lead to snow mold which is a lawn fungal infection that forms beneath the fallen leaves and can leave to dead areas.

Pruning Yews, Boxwood, and Spring-Flowering Shrubs

While yews and boxwood shrubs typically take pruning well, you shouldn’t be doing so after late August. The reason being that pruning too late will stimulate new growth that will not have the chance to harden off before the deep freeze of winter arrives. Now, while this will not totally kill the shrub, it will give you plenty of winter injury to remove when the spring season arrives. A rule of thumb is that shrubs that typically flower in the spring should be pruned immediately after they stop flowering.

Storing Tools Without Proper Cleanup

Gardening tools are what make the hard work a little bit easier which is why you should treat them with a little bit more love before storing them away for the winter. Proper maintenance of your tools will help them work more efficiently and become more durable, saving you the expense of having to replace them. First, be sure to clean them; you can use a wire brush to get the hard to remove bits of mud and debris. For rust spots, you would wanna use steel wool or fine sandpaper and then a file to restore the edge on shovels, lawn-mower blades, and pruners.

Cutting The Entire Garden

During the fall, it can be very tempting to go all in and cut your entire garden as the clean canvas can seem so appealing. However, keep in mind that there are many different creatures that need to survive the winter by staying within the hollow stems, and other nooks and crannies of your garden. So, try and leave them a little bit of sanctuary to ride out during the cold season. In addition, it’s important to know that native bees, butterflies, and others benefit from the “dead” gardens of the winter.

With the fall season right around the corner, be sure to familiarize yourself with these and other common maintenance mistakes and try to avoid them as best as possible. For additional questions on fall lawn maintenance, be sure to contact Giovine Landscaping at (973) 325-1758!

How To Keep Your Lawn Healthy In The Summer Heat

How To Keep Your Lawn Healthy In Summer Heat

The summer months are the time when people want their lawns to look their best. However, it is also the time when the lawn will face the most stress, due to factors such as drought and hot temperatures. The increased traffic from pets and children will also cause more wear and tear than usual. Plus, the warm weather attracts insects and other disease issues. So, with all these factors at play, it can leave once-green lawns looking brown and dry. Therefore, here are some steps you can take to keep your lawn green and healthy even during the hottest days of the summer. 

Be Aware Of Watering Habits

One of the most important things that will keep your lawn healthy is proper watering. If done incorrectly, your turf will suffer under hot temperatures and lose its healthy look. There are many different practices that will ensure it gets the moisture it needs. For example, soaking the grass during dry spells. As most people know, the summer has breaks between rainfalls that could last for weeks. During these periods, the grass will become more dormant to conserve energy and appear dry and brown/tan in color. So, regular watering helps to prevent dormancy, helping to train the turf to develop deep roots that can endure the heat of the summer. For best results, you should try to water in a way that mimics the pattern of rainfall which means soaking the grass at infrequent intervals. 

Keep Your Grass Longer

By mowing your grass on a higher setting, the longer grass will allow for the establishment of longer roots which will reach more moisture in the soil. Longer grass will also prevent it from drying out too quickly, ensuring that the roots are protected by the longer blades. You want to avoid mowing the grass too short as it can cause damage and even leave the lawn scorched to the point where your grass might not recover. However, if you do choose to mow your grass short, keep in mind that you will have to water it more often and more lightly.

Take Care Of Weeds

You should also be diligent with removing weeds from your lawn with the best approach being to take care of them early and often. Some people will wait to apply weed killer to the entire lawn at once, but sometimes, it might be too late by that point. So, instead, you can pull the weeds manually or use a weeding fork to get at them early. If you are treating a larger area, you can apply weed killer by “painting” it onto the affected area.

These are a few tips that will help you maintain a healthy lawn during the hot summer months. For more information or further assistance in summer lawn maintenance, give Giovine Landscaping a call 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!

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!