All About Mulch-Do I Need It?

First, what is mulch? Generally speaking, most would answer that question as a ground or shredded wood product. However, it could be a covering of crushed stone, pine bark nuggets, straw, or even shredded rubber. Some of these products will work well in certain situations such as crushed stone in a utilitarian area, like the area behind the garage or an area in the landscape where there is a lot of water movement. For most homeowners, when we talk about mulch we are using mulch in a planting bed in the residential landscape. For this purpose, the wood mulch would always be your best option.

Why do you need mulch? Here are the positive benefits of using much in you landscape.
1. Mulch will add beauty to any residential or commercial landscape.
2. Mulch will help retain water at the surface. So shrubs, trees, and flowers will benefit and you could save money by not needing to water as often.
3. Mulch will help to suppress weeds in your planting beds.
4. As the natural wood mulch breaks down, it adds nutrients to the soil.
5. Mulch will also provide benefits to your landscape in the colder winter months, acting as a insulator for the roots of the trees and shrubs.

How much mulch to buy? This is a great question because the answer is not always the same. What? Let’s start with what is the proper amount of mulch to use in planting beds. You should establish 2-3 inches spread uniformly over the surface. Some homeowners and even some landscape contractors spread mulch every year. I believe, for the most part, this is not necessary.

There is some loss of mulch in the leaf clean up season; however, if you start with 2-3 inches of mulch, you should only need to top dress or add a little on top of the existing mulch layer every other year. The goal is to maintain the 2-3 inch layer and only add when needed not just because.

IMPORTANT NOTE - This is critical to your success.
DO NOT pile mulch up against trees and shrubs. Taper the level of the mulch as you get close to the plants. Shrubs and trees do not want mulch piled up against their bark. Please don’t do it!

Lastly, I would like to say that the color of the mulch has nothing to do with how the mulch performs. Some mulch is dyed. This is usually the jet black and bright red muches. Personally, I am not a fan. Dyed mulch can stain surfaces such as concrete walks and foundations. In my opinion, it does not look as nice as natural mulch. At Keep It Green Landscaping, we use natural mulch. Hardwood mulch is a rich brown, cedar mulch is a golden brown, and hemlock mulch is a reddish brown. All natural all beautiful additions to your residential or commercial landscaping. Properly pruned trees and shrubs in correctly mulched planting beds, along with a healthy lawn, is what will set your landscape apart from others.

At Keep It Green Landscaping, we strive to do our best so that your property will look its best. There are a lot of folks out there from which to chose and it may seem like they are all the same. Landscape maintenance and lawn care are based in horticultural science and we at Keep It Green Landscaping understand this and put it into practice. We welcome the opportunity to help you with your residential or commercial landscape maintenance.

For more information about our Landscape Maintenance services please see our page or give us a call at 201-445-4646 to set up a free consultation.

Lawn Mowing- Are All Contractors the Same? Update

This is an update to a blog that I wrote in May of 2018. The information in the post was good and made sense then and it still makes sense now. I would like to add to this line of thinking. If you are looking for a landscape contractor to provide services such as lawn mowing, lawn treatments, shrub pruning, etc, why would you say, just put an estimate in my mailbox? The answer to that must be that you are shopping for your landscape contractor solely on price.

I believe that when searching for a service, such as landscape work, that price is the worst way to find the best service. When you don’t meet to someone you remove your ability to get a sense of how they will perform for you. You have probably hear it said in many different forms, such as, cheap is cheap, buy cheap buy twice, third rate quality, or probably best said as you get what you pay for.

As it is spring and the grass is growing,  we are receiving a lot of phone calls for lawn mowing service. With some people asking " Do you cut lawns every other week," as opposed to weekly,. Our answer to that is no.  While lawn mowing is not the most complex service that we provide in our landscape business, there certainly are best practices that are followed by professionals. 

I suggest, when searching for a landscape maintenance contractor that provides mowing service, you shop for value, not price. In my opinion, the best contractors do not mow lawns on an every other week basis. Lawns are made up of many individual grass plants. Each grass plant is made up of a root, stem and leaf (blade). When lawns are mowed every other week or infrequently The grass gets taller and in doing so the stem elongates, which means that when you do the next mowing, you are actually cutting off more of the leaf surface and leaving behind a plant that has more stem than leaf.

This is the opposite of what you should be doing which is removing the smallest amount of leaf surface so that the blade of the grass plant is available to take in the sun. Your lawn will respond positively and be healthier when mowed weekly because of this and not as well, when mowed every other week. True professionals also use edgers to provide straight edges on walkways and curbs. not a string trimmer (weed whacker), turned sideways, which can create a wide groove next to the walkway which is unsightly. 

So when searching for your lawn mowing contractor, you may want to ask a couple of questions that relate to value and not just price.
Questions such as
Do you carry liability insurance?
Are your employees covered by Worker's Compensation?
Do you have a NJ Home Improvement Contractor's License?
Because it really is true, you get what you pay for.

For more information about our Landscape Maintenance services please see our page or give us a call at 201-445-4646 to set up a free consultation.

It's Time to Think Spring

Is it time to think spring? We just turned the clocks forward, spring ahead. There is no snow forecast in the upcoming five day forecast. The average temperature is rising. Looks like it might be time to think about spring.

Prepping your lawn and garden in spring is a must. The to do list is extensive. First a thorough spring leaf clean up is necessary. For a homeowner this might mean cleaning leaves and possibly the first lawn mowing of the year. To landscape contractors who are required to show better results, or why would you hire us, spring clean up is more likely thought of as a time of year to really prepare a home’s lawn and garden for a full year of success. So for landscape contractors, in addition to spring leaf cleaning, there is re-establishing bed edges, mulching flower beds, and tending to perennials. Spring lawn care might also include a pH test. Even for landscape professional, keeping the pH levels correct is a challenge. Lawn treatments to control weeds, especially crabgrass, are necessary and best performed in spring.

Spring can also be a time to do power raking. De-thatching (power raking) can be vital. However, some contractors provide this service every spring “just because.” I personally do not believe every lawn requires de-thatching every single year. De-thatching, when necessary, as opposed to “just because,” might save you money that could be better use elsewhere, such as annual flowers or perennials to provide color for a your enjoyment and a better presentation of your home. Who doesn’t like colorful flowers? They always add beauty to any home. For landscape contractors the list can go on and on.

If you need professional help with your lawn and garden, please feel free to contact us. We have been helping folks with their landscape needs and landscape problems for 38 years. We would love to help find solutions for you too. For more information about our Landscape Maintenance services please see our page or give us a call at 201-445-4646 to set up a free consultation. Please feel free to share this blog with your friends and family.

It's Hot and I Am Thirsty

The heat is on! It is extremely important that you water your lawn and shrubs. Lack of proper watering leads to problems. In lawns, drought stress increases the possibility of diseases attacking the stressed grass plant and also die back of the root system.

In shrubs and other plant material, lack of water causes stress which causes plants to drop leaves vital to survival. Weakened plants also attract more insects and in a weakened state, insect feeding places even more stress on your shrubs and plants and possible death can occur.

Remember, you don’t have to have an irrigation system to have a nice lawn. THE
GOAL IS TO SUPPLY WATER. If you have limited time, make sure that at least the sunny areas receive water. Please remember to always remove the hose from the lawn as the sun will heat the water in the hose to a high temperature and cause the lawn under the hose to die.

I recommend EARLY MORNING watering only, Do Not water in the afternoon or evening. This has the potential to create problems and increase the possibility of disease organisms attacking your lawn and shrubs. Hydrated lawns and shrubs are the best way for you to help keep your property looking nice and healthy.

For more information about our Landscape Maintenance   and Tree Care and Shrub Care services please see our pages or give us a call at 201-445-4646 to set up a free consultation. 

 

Lawn Mowing- Are All Contractors the Same?

As it is spring and the grass is growing,  we are receiving a lot of phone calls for lawn mowing service. With some people asking " Do you cut lawns every other week," as opposed to weekly,. Our answer to that is no.  While lawn mowing is not the most complex service that we provide in our landscape business, there certainly are best practices that are followed by professionals. 

I suggest, when searching for a landscape maintenance contractor that provides mowing service, you shop for value, not price. In my opinion, the best contractors do not mow lawns on an every other week basis. Lawns are made up of many individual grass plants. Each grass plant is made up of a root, stem and leaf (blade). When lawns are mowed every other week or infrequently The grass gets taller and in doing so the stem elongates, which means that when you do the next mowing, you are actually cutting off more of the leaf surface and leaving behind a plant that has more stem than leaf.

This is the opposite of what you should be doing which is removing the smallest amount of leaf surface so that the blade of the grass plant is available to take in the sun. Your lawn will respond positively and be healthier when mowed weekly because of this and not as well, when mowed every other week. True professionals also use edgers to provide straight edges on walkways and curbs. not a string trimmer (weed whacker), turned sideways, which can create a wide groove next to the walkway which is unsightly. 

So when searching for your lawn mowing contractor, you may want to ask a couple of questions that relate to value and not just price.
Questions such as
Do you carry liability insurance?
Are your employees covered by Worker's Compensation?
Do you have a NJ Home Improvement Contractor's License?
Because it really is true, you get what you pay for.

For more information about our Landscape Maintenance services please see our page or give us a call at 201-445-4646 to set up a free consultation.