Spring Tasks To Foster A Healthy Lawn

Spring Tasks To Foster A Healthy Lawn

The spring season is finally upon us which likely means it is a sign to prepare your lawn for the growing season. The timing of when you start preparing your lawn will depend on the climate of your region, however. For example, if you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow, you will want to start when you are confident that the snow season has ended. Either way, homeowners in most regions should look to perform these tasks in the spring to help foster a healthier lawn.

Rake Deeply

Raking will be the first thing you should do as you prep your lawn for new growth. Keep in mind that raking does much more than remove tree leaves, because even if you did the best job at raking leaves during the fall season, you may still have to deal with thatch. For those unfamiliar, thatch is the layer of dead turfgrass tissue that lies between the green vegetation of the grass above and the root system and soil below. If this layer becomes too thick, it can be bad for the health of the grass. This is why you still need to rake deeply in the spring. Another benefit to doing so is that you can find matted patches of lawn. If you look closely, you may notice the grass blades are all stuck together which is a lawn disease known as snow mold. This will make it difficult for new grass to penetrate these matted patches, so by raking, you can solve this issue.

Assess The Soil

Another task you will need to do is assess the soil. Moss coating, for example, can be a sign of acidic soil. You can measure your soil’s acidity and alkalinity using the pH scale where 7 reflects perfectly neutral soil. You will know that your soil is acidic if the pH level is below 7, and alkaline soils measure higher than a 7. New grass prefers a neutral pH, so if your soil is outside of that range, then it may not grow as it should and could even be subject to moss growth.

Overseeding

Over time, your lawn may be riddled with bare patches due to a variety of factors such as dog spots, heavy traffic, or even neglect. When this happens, it may require an application of grass seed to fill those patches. This process is referred to as overseeding where you are sowing seed over existing grass. It is possible that you may only need to apply seed to the visible bare patches, but it is not uncommon to overseed the entire lawn to ensure that it remains thick and healthy. 

These are just a few of the many spring tasks you should take on this season to keep your lawn healthy. If you have any further questions on additional things you can do to maintain your lawn, feel free to contact Giovine Landscaping today at (973) 325-1758.

Benefits of Recycling Your Leaves And Grass

Benefits of Recycling Your Leaves and Grass

If you are looking to make your lawn healthier and more attractive, then you will need to increase the organic matter of your lawn soil. The right amount of organic matter will increase the soil’s capacity to hold water and nutrients. According to the EPA, about fifty percent of total landfill waste consists of yard waste that most people can recycle and use as compost. Doing so not only feeds the soil, improving its quality, but it also is the more environmentally friendly approach. Yard grass and leaves are an essential component for soil rejuvenation that homeowners can utilize without even having to spend a penny. So, here are some of the benefits to recycling your leaves and yard grass.

Improves Quality of Soil

As mentioned previously, recycling your grass and leaves will greatly improve the quality of the soil as it will enhance its water holding capacity while reducing the chances of plant diseases. In addition, littering leaves and plant residues will encourage the production of good bacteria and fungi in the soil, creating humus which is a nitrogen-rich material in the soil.

Reduces The Use of Chemical Fertilizers

When you have leaves and dry grass littering all around your lawn or garden, you will not need chemical fertilizers as much to feed the soil which will in turn lower your carbon footprint while also saving you a few extra dollars over time. 

Creates A Garden Ecosystem

Aside from the friendly bacteria and fungi it creates, littered leaves and grass also invite many creatures like squirrels and other small animals that may see it as an inviting habitat. So, if you were looking to create a small wildlife garden in your backyard, recycling the plant residues is a great place to start making that happen.

Here are some of the most common ways to recycle your leaves:

Mowing – Mowing the lawn not only maintains the height of your grass, but also helps to recycle littered leaves. If the thickness of the residual leaves is less than an inch, then let them dry out. But once that is done, you will want to mow them with your lawnmower as it will allow the small leaf particles to decompose quickly without hurting the grassroots underneath.

Mulching – Mulching allows you to keep the soil cooler during the summer months which are approaching. It shields the soil while protecting it from loss of moisture. During the winter, mulches can act as insulators, reducing the effects of the fluctuating temperature. Mulching can also keep weeds at bay and suppress the spread of plant diseases.


There are other ways to recycle your plant residue to further benefit your lawn and garden. If you would like more ideas or need assistance in any of these tasks, feel free to contact Giovine Landscaping today at (973) 325-1758!

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 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!

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!