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!

Flowers That Can Attract More Bees

Flowers That Can Attract More Bees

When homeowners are planning and planting their flower beds, their focus is usually on things like the easiest flowers to grow, and the color palette of the annuals that will compliment their home’s exterior paint color. However, one topic that is often overlooked and shouldn’t be is how to create a bee-friendly space. Not only are bees crucial to the health of mankind, but they also pollinate plants like fruit trees, vegetables, along with other ornamental plants. Honeybees pollinate an estimated 75 to 85 percent of all food crops. Therefore, it is certainly in every homeowner’s best interest to create bee destinations around their homes with flowering plants and healthy nectar to eat. Let’s take a look at the different flowers you can plant to attract more bees.

Goldenrod

While it is often confused with the allergy-inducing ragweed, goldenrods actually have many health benefits like the reduction of pain and inflammation. Bees love to flock to its golden blooms.

Bee Balm

Also known as wild bergamot, bee balm has fragrant foliage that will surely attract more pollinators to your garden. Try to plant these in a sunny spot for the summer blooms.

Black-Eyed Susan

This yellow flowering plant is related to sunflowers and is a native wildflower. As they are sun-loving and drought-tolerant, the summer is their chance to bloom and continues into the fall months.

Chive Flowers

These violet pom-pom shaped flowers are usually seen popping up in chive patches in the early spring months. You will want to plant these in a pot as opposed to directly in the ground and this is because they grow fast and can easily overtake your garden.

Mint

Mints are a great garden herb, and this lavender flower appears sometime between June and September. Similar to chives, these are quick spreaders and can choke out nearby plants, so it would be best to plant them in a pot. 

Sunflowers

When sunflower heads open, it reveals a plethora of tiny pollen and nectar-rich flowers making them another ideal bee destination for your yard. You can look to plant tall varieties in the back of a garden or you can try interpersing shorter ones throughout the garden bed.

Flowering Thyme

Thyme is another ideal addition to an herb garden as they can serve multiple purposes. Not only will bees buzz around the flagrant blossoms, you can even pick them for your cooking whether it’s in a salad as a garnish, or sprinkled on some avocado toast.

These are just a few of the many flowers you can plant in your garden to make it a more friendly bee destination. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact Giovine Landscaping at (973) 325-1758.

Summer Landscaping Ideas To Revamp Your Yard

Summer Landscaping Ideas To Revamp Your Yard

The weather is getting warmer, which means the summer season is right around the corner. This is the perfect time to start planning for a new and improved landscape. It can be difficult to know where to start or how to make the biggest impact on a budget, but summer landscaping does not have to take up too much time or cost a lot of money. There are many simple touches you can easily perform to add enjoyment and fun to your yard. Here are some landscaping ideas that will help you revamp your yard.

Incorporate Lighting

If you have spent a considerable amount of time on the artistry of your landscaping, you shouldn’t allow those efforts to be masked by darkness when the sun goes down. You can use clever landscape lighting to highlight your flower beds, gardens, walkways, porch, and more. Another idea is to use spotlights to direct people’s eyes to your favorite plants. You can even add decorative lanterns if you want a romantic touch.

Add Fragrance

Flowers are pleasing to the eye, but you can give your garden an extra dimension by adding plants that have an alluring scent. One of the best parts of the summer is a fragrant flower garden, so try adding some roses to stop and smell along your walkway. An overlooked flower to include are petunias, as they can be highly fragrant in the evening. Phlox is another great summer-blooming flower that is drought resistant and comes in a plethora of colors. 

Add More Structural Plants

You can also look to incorporate structural plants into your landscape, like boxwood hedges, which are beautiful year-round and make great foils for colorful plants. If you are not fond of the hedge look, you may want to consider small trees and shrubs that have unique shapes, like contorted white pines, or interesting bark, such as the amur cherry.

Add Your Own Personal Touch

One thing about community gardens is that they feature outdoor areas that are great for people to gather for a chat or a picnic. You can incorporate these kinds of areas in your yard on a smaller scale, like a small gazebo tucked in the corner of your landscape. Gazebos are a great place to eat with the family in the shade during the day or even gather under the stars at night. Patios, decks, and fire pits are other summer landscaping elements that encourage people to sit and make memories together.

There are many ways you can spruce up your yard this summer. If you are interested in taking the first step in summer landscaping but do not know where to start, be sure to call Giovine Landscaping today at (973) 325-1758!

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 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!