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The Home Garden Calendar

January Gardening Notes

BAGWORMS - Pick or cut from Evergreen trees (arborvitae, juniper, hemlock, larch, pine). Use Christmas tree branches to cover bulbs, perennial flower beds.

CARPENTER ANTS - may be found in damp wood. Check living quarters as well as attic and cellars. After you locate, apply a labeled insecticide to the opening. Two excellent fact sheets are available on these critters. Send a self-addressed, stamped, business-size envelope to Rutgers Cooperative Extension -Agric., P.O. Box 6000, Mt. Holly, NJ 08060. Request FS006 and FS028.

CARE OF GARDEN TOOLS - This is a good time to clean garden tools and get them into good working condition (if you haven't done so already).


When the heat goes on in the house and daylight becomes shorter, houseplants begin to yellow and drop their leaves. It may be necessary to move the plants to a different location in the home, and to give them different treatments from what was given during the summer.

Flowering plants need at least a day of direct sunlight to develop flower buds. Cacti and many succulents require a sunny location and coleus and crotons need direct sun to maintain their decorative foliage colors.

Foliage plants, such as ivies, philodendrons, foliage begonias, and peperomias, do well in indirect light rather than direct sunlight. African violets and gloxinias, which require indirect, bright light during the summer, need more direct light in winter.

Plants for decorative accents in a room may get insufficient light. Rotation to a bright light area every few days is suggested; or as an alternative, have two sets of plants and shift them every week so that one set receives normal light.

Ideal temperatures for foliage plants are 68-70 degrees during the day and slightly lower at night. Flowering plants retain blossoms longer at the lower temperatures.

Plants can be watered from the top, bottom, or by automatic means, but make sure there is good drainage so that water does not stand in the pot and soil. Plants in clay pots need watering more frequently than do those in glazed or plastic pots.

If plants have been re-potted in the fall into a soil containing fertilizer, they probably will not need more fertilizer until spring, but if a soilless mix has been used they will need regular fertilizing. One teaspoon of 5-10-5 or 4-12-4 fertilizer in a quart of water applied every 8-10 weeks is advised. Patented fertilizers in powder, liquid, or tablet form may be used following the manufacturer's directions.

Wash the leaves regularly to remove dust accumulations, but do not use any oily substance on the leaves to keep them shiny--it attracts dust. Turn plants occasionally to expose all sides to the light source.

February Gardening Notes

STORM DAMAGE TO TREES - Some trees which have been damaged by storms will start to bleed (lose sap) in February. Trees such as maple, beech, dogwood, elm, and sycamore are "bleeder" trees. Even though it's a good time to prune most trees, wait until the 'bleeder' trees come into full leaf later this spring to prune. An exception would be if the trees have diseased, dead, or damaged branches that may either be dangerous or unhealthy for the tree.

PRUNE SPRING FLOWERING SHRUBS IN WINTER? - A good time to remove old, weak wood with a few buds. In fact, pruning will increase vigor and improve structure of plant.

PRUNING GRAPES & FRUIT TREES - Weather permitting, it's not too early to prune grapes and fruit trees, especially apples. Before arming yourself with pruning shears, be sure you know the proper methods. Read up on it.

START PLANNING YOUR VEGETABLE GARDEN - Get out the seed catalog. Garden with a pencil and draw up your plans. Keep card index of your selection of vegetables and flower varieties. Choose varieties well-adapted to New Jersey conditions, of relatively high quality, dependable, have disease or insect resistance when possible, and have a fairly long harvest period. Don't be in too big a hurry to start seeds indoors. Read directions on label of time to sow seeds keeping in mind that our frost-free date is about May 10. Seeds planted too early get leggy. Remember to harden off transplants a few weeks before setting out (place outside for a few hours each day, gradually increasing the amount of time you leave them outdoors. Usually after 7-10 days they should be ready. Also cut down on water at this time).

INSPECT STORED ROOTS & BULBS - January & February are good times to check on your roots and bulbs. They all keep best in a cool, airy storage area (40 degrees F.). If gladiolus show signs of thrips underneath outer husks of corms, fumigate with about one handful of naphthalene flakes (moth flakes) per 100 corms. Cover with paper. If proper amount is used, they will evaporate rather quickly (about 5 weeks). Mold on dahlia roots indicates more air needed. Never store bulbs more than 2-3 layers deep since deep piles generate heat and decay. Mice a problem? Enclose bulbs in fine, wire netting or put in paper bags hung by strings from ceiling or wall.

FORCING SHRUBS & TREES TO BLOOM INDOORS - Select well-budded branches of forsythia, crabapple, flowering quince, or pussy willow. Prune branches flush with main branch so no stubs are left. A clean cut heals better and prevents rotting of the stub. Shred or mash the cut end of the stem to encourage water intake. Place cut branches in a container of water in a cool, dimly-lit area until the buds begin to swell and show color. At that time arrange and move into a well-lit area.


IT'S NOT TOO EARLY TO THINK ABOUT GETTING YOUR SOIL TESTED. takes about 3-4 weeks to get results. Never wait until planting time and expect a soil test right away. For further information on obtaining a soil test bag, check the soil test information page.

March Gardening Notes

DORMANT OIL CONTROL - for many pests. Dormant oil is a specially prepared oil spray available at your garden supply store. One spray can reduce need for later spraying for control of mites, mealybugs, soft-scale insects, and some armoured scales. The time to spray is usually before buds swell but, again, always read the label carefully. Apply only to established infestations...spray thoroughly. Do not use on Japanese maples, beech, birch, hickory, walnut, and butternut. DO NOT SPRAY WHEN TEMPERATURES ARE GOING TO BE LOWER THAN 45 DEGREES FOR NEXT 24 HOURS.

REMOVE TENT CATERPILLAR EGG MASSES - see the web page for more information.

"SWARMERS" FIRST SIGN OF TERMITE TROUBLE - swarming termites shed wings shortly after emerging and wings may be found on floors, windowsills, or doorways. Flying ants have a nipped-in-waist (thorax), termites do not. Your Rutgers Cooperative Extension office will identify samples. They must be in one piece and in an unbreakable container (pill bottles work well). Do not use tape or glue to secure insect to paper.

EARLY SPRING IDEAL TIME TO MOVE THIN-BARKED TREES - Do not fertilize, but work in peat moss, leafmold, and compost around root ball. Fertilize next spring. Also good time to plant evergreen seedlings. Check newspaper want ads for sales.

VEGETABLE PLANTING - Late March time to plant peas, onions, radishes, and potatoes. If root maggot has been a problem in radishes, treat soil with an insecticide (follow directions on label). Soil pH should be between 6.0 to 6.5 for best results. Potatoes can stand a little lower pH if they are scab resistant.

SEEDS - Purchased seeds can be used a second year. Germination will be lower, in addition to decreased vigor. The wisest thing to do is use newly dated seed. Do not use seed taken from plants grown in your own garden. Why? Most improved varieties are hybrids - a product of selective breeding that cannot be duplicated by home gardeners. Remember, seeds are a small part of the total cost of maintaining a home garden, so why take a chance?

TIME TO PRUNE - Peach trees--remove vigorous upright growing sucker shoots in 3-6 year age bracket trees. Apple trees--prune and train central leader, the strongest framework. Difficult to maintain healthy tree if top is too heavy. Proper sanitation of pruning shears recommended for such diseases as fireblight (apple and pear), black knot (plum and cherry), and vlasa canker (peaches). Pruning best when danger of severe freeze is past and healing of pruning wounds will be rapid. Also time to prune raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and grapes.

FERTILIZING APPLE & PEACH TREES - Last week in March good time. Do not fertilize 1st year of planting. For apples- 1 lb of 5-10-10 fertilizer per year of age of tree up to 10 years. After that time no more than 10 lbs. Peaches--apply 1/2 lb fertilizer per age of tree up to age 10. After that no more than 5 lbs. per tree.

APPLE SCAB CONTROL (crabapple, quince, apple). Do you have trouble every year with your leaves turning brown and falling off? Your problem could be apple scab. For control apply a fungicide from budbreak until 2 weeks after petal fall at 10-day intervals.

April Gardening Notes

VEGETABLES - April 1-15 time to plant Asparagus, Strawberries, Lettuce, & Cabbage. Late April (w/frost protection) tomatoes, lettuce plants, radishes, early cabbage, early carrots, swiss chard, early beets, summer squash, snap beans, sweet corn. Practice crop rotation-do not over-crowd. Asparagus--buy 1 yr. old plants from nearest seed company. Plant 18 in. apart in row.

CABBAGE ROOT MAGGOT - If this has been a problem in your radishes, turnips, and/or cabbage in previous years, use an insecticide for control. Follow directions on label. Best to treat soil before planting, till into soil, and then follow-up treatment.

STRAWBERRIES - Can be planted from April 1-15. Those planted in April will produce flower clusters in a few weeks. Be sure to remove blossoms as soon as they grow high enough out of the crown by pinching or cutting them off. Helps plants grow strong and vigorous and more abundant future yields. Transplant strawberries only in spring before new growth starts. Not recommended other times. Blossom spray prevents strawberry rot--use a labeled fungicide when first flowers appear, and repeat 10 and 20 days later (follow directions on label).

TIME TO PLANT FRUIT & STILL TIME TO PLANT DORMANT TREES - Plant at same depth as previous location. Don't jam roots into small hole. Dwarf fruit trees best for home gardener; easier to spray, prune, thin, and harvest. Dormant trees best planted in early April so root system gets established before too hot of weather.

FRUIT TREE SPRAY SCHEDULES - Important to start early. Time for Black Rot control when growth begins. Spray with a labeled fungicide. See the web page for fruit spray schedules.

PLANT EVERGREENS - Early to mid-April good time to plant evergreens, gives them time to develop new roots before hot, dry weather. Make certain water will not stand around roots after heavy rains (or from rain gutters). They do not like wet feet. Too much fertilizer will harm roots; wait until next spring to fertilize. Broad-leafed evergreens like a pH of 4.5 -5.5 Narrow-leafed evergreens like a pH of 5.5 -6.5.

LEAF BLIGHT/LEAF SPOT DISEASES - on ornamental trees and shrubs. Can be avoided with labeled fungicides at budbreak and 10-20 days later. Also true with laurel, rhododendrons, roses and peonies. Always follow directions on label.

BIRDS BOTHERING YOUR PLANTS? - Protect plantings with netting or wire screening (1/2" mesh). Seedlings and small transplants often victims of birds, but when plants are larger, birds less bothersome. Sometimes a few foil plates with a piece of string through them and attached to a stick will blow and help keep birds away. A radio placed in the yard may also help. Birds on lawn often after grubs. See August Gardening Notes for grub control.

LAWN RENOVATIONS - Rake, fertilize, lime, weed control, and reseed (allow 2-3 weeks before reseeding after weed control). Time for pre-emergence crabgrass control on established lawns. Pre-emergence will also help control nutsedge and some Poa annua (annual bluegrass). Clean up flowerbeds, cultivate, fertilize, and lime if needed.

May Gardening Notes

VEGETABLE GARDEN - Early May still time to plant vegetables. Mid - to Late May--Tomatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Peppers, Eggplants, Lima Beans, Cabbage (last planting). For Control of FLEA BEETLE (disease carrier) in garden, spray with labeled insecticide. Also control aphids (another disease carrier). Control SAP BEETLES in Strawberries also with a labeled insecticide. Follow directions on labels.

FRUIT TREES - Follow spray schedules closely. FRUIT TREE BORER CONTROL - remove grass and weeds from base of tree for distance of 1 foot. Follow with a labelled insecticide control. GRAPES - Black Rot Control - Spray with a labeled fungicide.

BIRCH & HOLLY LEAFMINER - Spray with a labeled insecticide when first three new leaves are present and repeat spray again in about 10-15 days. Also mid-May time for first spray of insecticide for BORER CONTROL of lilac, birch, rhododendron and dogwood. Spray trunks thoroughly and follow-up in mid-June.

PYRACANTHA (Firethorn) SCAB - Use labeled fungicides at budbreak and 10 & 20 days later.

NEWLY PLANTED SHRUBS & TREES - MULCH of wood chips, leafmold, or peat moss will help conserve moisture and discourage weeds. Do not water every day, but water thoroughly once a week.

FLOWER GARDEN - Plant DAHLIA tubers 3 feet apart, 6 inches deep, refill hole gradually as shoots grow. Put stakes in now. PLANT ANNUALS. CHRYSANTHEMUMS - pinch back when 6-8 inches high. Repeat until mid-July. COLUMBINE LEAF MINER - use labeled insecticide or pick off. PRUNE rhododendrons, azaleas, Jap. andromeda, laurel when flowering buds start to open and show some color - ideal and only time to prune. RHODODENDRON FLOWER BLIGHT - Spray fungicide when flowers begin to color. Repeat at 5-day intervals until bloom. HYDRANGEA GRAY MOLD and DOGWOOD FLOWER BLIGHT - Use fungicide once during mid-flowering. LEAF SPOT (Ivy, Laurel, Gladiolus) - Spray labeled fungicide.

CREEPY CRITTERS ARRIVE - spray only as they appear with labeled insecticide. APHIDS, LEAFROLLERS, CANKERWORMS (inchworms), GYPSY MOTH (as soon as you see them for best control), MEALY BUGS, SPITTLEBUGS, TENT CATERPILLARS (early nest stage), WEBWORMS, WILLOW LEAF BEETLE, TICKS (seldom found where regular mowing is done), and BEES (when they settle down--dusk) with a labeled insecticide. To control SLUGS, check garden stores for control bait. See the web page for information on individual insects.

LAWN DISEASE - Time to start control with a good fungicide at 10-14 day intervals. Your garden store can help you. Controlling lawn diseases is expensive, time consuming and for good control, you have to spray the whole summer into fall.

MILLIPEDES - Control measures of little value during migration period. Millipedes breed outdoors in decaying vegetable matter which also serves as primary food supply. Before migrating, spray outside foundation to 20 ft. with suitable insecticide. For further information, send a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope and request FS005


June Gardening Notes

PRUNE SPRING FLOWERING SHRUBS - Most pruning is done to shape plant, or to control size, or on some shrubs you remove 3-year old wood. Be sure to prune according to the requirements of your shrub.

VEGETABLE GARDEN - SQUASH BLOSSOM END ROT (prevention) spray fungicide at weekly intervals (before mold begins). SQUASH VINE BORER - control when vines begin to run - repeat 3 times at 7-day intervals. TOMATOES - Mulch and water only once a week if dry spell, but water thoroughly (1-2"/wk). TOMATO HORN WORM or FRUIT WORM - use insecticide or pick off. WHITE FLIES (difficult to control) - Inspect underleaf surfaces. A spray of 1 tsp. liquid detergent in 1 gallon water will suppress white flies. Consult garden store for insecticide products. Use labeled insecticides for control of Aphids, Onion Thrips, Onion Maggot, some Spider Mites, Flea Beetles, Asparagus Beetle, Leafhoppers, Sweet Corn Borer (control starts June 5 & at 4-day intervals--4 times); Cucumber Beetle, Colorado Potato Beetle (also difficult to control; best to pick off).

FRUIT TREES - Don't miss any of the spray schedules. GRAPES - Black Rot - continue spraying with suitable fungicide.

MID-JUNE CONTROLS - Use labeled insecticides and make note of timing of sprays. BORERS (also mid-May), TERRAPIN SCALE (also Lecanium or Calico Scale), two times at 7-day intervals. BAGWORMS...repeat after 10-14 days. JUNIPER SCALE repeat 5 days later. OAK OBSCURE SCALE...repeat 3 times at 7 day-intervals. OAK SKELETONIZER (make note to do again in August). OYSTER SHELL SCALE. PINE TIPWORM...repeat again July 1 & 10. MIMOSA WEBWORM (make note to repeat 2 more times about 1 month apart for second & third generations). WOOLY APHIDS (see September Gardening Notes).

OTHER ORNAMENTALS - LACEBUGS (azaleas, rhododendron, hawthorn, London plane). RHODODENDRON SCALE - June 1, again July 1 & September 1. TAXUS WEEVIL (Black Vine Weevil) - serious pest of rhododendrons, azaleas, hemlocks, yews, & other ornamentals--makes 'U' shape cut on leaves...mid-June, spray foliage & soil at 3-week intervals. EUONYMUS SCALE - mid-June and again in August. COTTONY MAPLE SCALE - (maples, dogwood, linden) - spray when found. JAPANESE BEETLES - spray at weekly intervals.

FLOWERS - IRIS - Divide clumps every 3-4 years. Trim off leaves to 1/3 their height. Plant in full sunlight. Do not plant too deep (top of rhizomes should be slightly above ground except in light soils slightly below). ROSES--continue spray program to control insects & disease at 10-day intervals. CHRYSANTHEMUMS - Continue to pinch back. CHRYSANTHEMUM LEAF SPOT spray at 10-12 day intervals. LILACS - Remove all dead flowers. Control LILAC OYSTER SHELL SCALE CRAWLERS with an insecticide. ZINNIA - Control Mildew with a fungicide at 10-14 day intervals.

LAWN - Raise mower to 2-2 1/2 inches. (close cutting has ruined many lawns - promotes weed growth). Follow disease control program if desired. Time for Chinch Bug and Sod Webworm control.

POISON IVY - Should be sprayed in June, July & August when in full leaf. Spot treat any plants that escape first treatment. Complete coverage important. Use a wetting agent. Apply treatment with a paint brush to avoid drift and damage to nearby desirable plants.

July Gardening Notes

TOMATOES - Tomato Wilt (disease) no control except use only resistant varieties. Do not plant in same spot next year. A pH of 6.3 to 6.6 should be maintained.

OTHER VEGETABLES - SWEET CORN - Worm control. Blackbirds in sweet corn - cover ears with cone-shaped paper cups after silks have turned brown. SQUASH MOSAIC - no control. SQUASH VINE BORER - when vines begin to run, treat base of plant where damage occurs at 7 day intervals (bees killed - watch blossoms - dusk or early morning good time). CUCUMBER & CANTALOUPE WILT - prevent wilt by killing the cucumber beetle (carrier of virus) and by using wilt- resistant varieties. WET WEATHER - nurtures vegetable diseases which affect cantaloupes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and potatoes - check garden store for good fungicide. RASPBERRIES - canes that produced July crop should be cut down to ground level.

HOW TO WATER LAWN & GARDEN - Do not overwater. If no rain, water thoroughly once a week, or in light soils two times a week. Most plants require from 1-2 inches of water per week. The important thing is a thorough watering when you do water. Watering daily encourages disease, is not as effective as a thorough watering, and produces shallow roots sensitive to drought.

INSECT INVASIONS: Use suitable insecticide and only spray when insects are found above threshold levels (waste of spray, money otherwise not environmentally responsible); Elm Leaf Beetle (Late July); Fall Webworm (or prune off webbed branches and stamp or burn webworms--may need burning permit); Japanese Beetles - weekly intervals; Leaf Hoppers; Mimosa Webworm (3 generations a year);

Orange-striped Oakworm--do again in August; Sycamore Tussock Moth (early to mid-July).

Hornets/Bees (after dusk when in nest); Lacebugs; Aphids; Holly Scale Crawlers; Pine Tip Worms (first spray was due in mid-June; second spray July 1; third spray Sept. 1); Spruce Bud Scale Crawlers; and Spider mites.

GRAPES - Spray at weekly intervals with a labeled fungicide for control of black rot until they begin to ripen.

ROSE BUSHES - Roses are very heavy feeders and require 3-4 fertilizer applications before early April and late July. On an average, apply 2 heaping tablespoons to each plant, water in well to avoid burning roots. A mulch can be applied to conserve moisture and reduce weed growth. A regular fungicide program needed to control Black Spot.

CHRYSANTHEMUMS - No more pinching back after July 20 for early bloomers; and July 25 for late bloomers.

LEAF SCORCH - Caused by excessive growth during long, cool, wet spell. As soon as hot, dry spell occurs, the tender growth scorches, which grew so excessively earlier. It's like a sunburn on humans. No fungicide or insecticide will remedy leaf scorch conditions. When fertilizing, don't use a high nitrogen fertilizer which will soften leaves. Use a 5-10-10 fertilizer to help harden leaves.


August Gardening Notes

JAPANESE BEETLE CONTROL - Grub control measures must be applied during mid- to late-July and August. The grubs are small and less resistant to insecticides this time of year. Other times of year have not been satisfactory for grub control.

VEGETABLE GARDEN - ASPARAGUS (for control of disease) use a fungicide - Aug. 20 and 10 days later. CABBAGE LOOPERS - (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, and crucifer family) - spray on weekly basis. GRAPES - for control of wasps and yellow jackets - spray with labeled insecticide. SWEET CORN - Worm control (spray at intervals of 2 days after corn is in silk). COLORADO POTATO BEETLE (a toughy) - No really good control. LIMA & SNAP BEAN RUST - use a fungicide on a weekly basis.

FLOWER GARDEN - Remove old blooms to extend blooming season. Hanging baskets may need fertilizer, use diluted soluble fertilizer. PEONIES - Plant between August & early October in a sunny, well-drained location. Plant buds or eyes one inch below surface.

ORNAMENTALS - Problem insects: HORNETS (lilacs, dogwood, rhododendron) - the hornets remove strips of bark to build nest - spray trunk & branches. AUGUST LOCUST BORER - Spray trunk of trees mid-August. EUONYMUS SCALE - (second generation) - spray during crawler stage. BAGWORMS - too late to spray now - hand picking best (see June Notes). BARK BEETLES - black, small beetle, feed on cambium layer, eventually kills tree. LEAF BEETLES (willow) - Spray in early August. OAK SKELETONIZER (second generation) - spray mid-August. SCALES (magnolia, rhododendron, tulip tree, pachysandra) - if only a few scales, brush with soapy water. If needed, spray in late August. BOXELDER BUGS - Control in tree before they migrate all over your house. Best to control the red nymph stage while still in boxelder trees. Spray to control (nymph stage) or remove female boxelder trees. See the web page for information on individual insects.

DON'T FERTILIZE OR PRUNE TREES & SHRUBS NOW - Pruning and fertilizing stimulates new growth and new growth will not be able to acclimate the first frost and subsequent cold weather-resulting in winter injury. There's enough natural winter injury without us intentionally causing it.

GYPSY MOTH EGG MASSES - Can be destroyed from August to late April by scraping them off with penknife, collecting all of them in a container and destroying by burning, if possible. Another way is to cover egg masses with a generous amount of creosote (1 part creosote to 2 parts fuel oil). Application can be made with paint brush. However, if gypsy moth is heavy problem in your area, you'd be better off waiting until May & spraying when worms are small which would be more effective. See the web page for information on individual insects.

REVITALIZE YOUR LAWN - August and September are the best months to get your lawn in shape & to seed new lawn. If you use weed killer, allow 2-3 weeks before seeding (beware of using weed killer in extremely hot weather unless you are completely reseeding the whole lawn). Lime - pH should be between 6.0-7.0. Also good time to dethatch, fertilizer.

September Gardening Notes

LAWNS - Still time to renovate lawn and seed (up to September 20). O.K. to lime and fertilize at same time you plant seed, put lime and fertilizer on separately, and work into soil, not just spread on top of new lawns. Then seed, remove thatch, rake leaves, and make compost (see October Notes). CHINCH BUGS - at their peak around Labor Day. If not controlled, can ruin lawn. SOD - Preparation of soil is very important step. Send a stamped, self-addressed, business-sized envelope for our sod leaflet, "Steps To An Instant Lawn - FS104. Mail to: Rutgers Cooperative Extension - Agric, P.O. Box 6000, Mount Holly, NJ 08060.

WOOLY APHID CONTROL - (hemlock and many other trees). Best control is late September. Second best control time is late June.

FLOWER GARDEN - IRIS--destroy infected leaves to control borer. PEONIES--destroy tops as they die to prevent disease carry-over. CHRYSANTHEMUM & DAHLIA FLOWER BLIGHT--when buds start to open, spray with a labeled fungicide. GLADIOLA WORMS--Dust with fungicide and keep in a cool place (40 degrees). TIME TO PLANT--Perennials, Spring Flowering Bulbs (throw out bruised bulbs), Peonies. Still time to plant evergreens.

ORNAMENTALS - RHODODENDRON SCALE (third generation) - September 1. SPRUCE GALL APHIDS - Early Fall.

CRICKET CONTROL - Spray eight to ten feet from base of foundation with an insecticide. Be sure to spray around cellar doors, sidewalks, under objects such as boards. May need follow-up treatment.

SQUASH BLACKROT - Spray proper fungicide and repeat end of September.

PEACH TREE BORER - (also affects flowering cherry and shrubs of the genus Prunus). If borers are present, you'll find gummy masses on tree trunks with wood sawdust mixed in. Borers feed on inner bark of trees just below soil surface to 10 inches above soil line. Remove weeds or grass from around base of tree for distance of one foot. Apply an appropriate insecticide.

PINE & MEADOW MICE CONTROL - September or October - Mice will girdle apple trees and cause severe damage if not controlled. End of September or in October remove all debris from around base of trees within three feet (also other fruit trees). Use grain or treated baits after first frost - or - later in year (when snow covers ground and food is scarce) mice and rabbits often nibble the bark of young fruit trees. One way to save trees is to wrap with aluminum foil. Keep mulches about one foot away from trunk of other trees & shrubs mice may feed on. Mulch, however, should cover root zone.

TIME TO PLANT EVERGREENS - Late September to early October. Roots exposed to air will dry out and die. Keep soil in place around roots when planting (or transplanting).. Dig hole 12 inches wider and 3 inches deeper than is necessary to accommodate the ball. Do not plant too deep (same depth they stood in nursery). Burlap may be left around ball, but it should be loosened at the top. Mix humus with topsoil if topsoil poor grade. Leave slight basin for water during first growing season. Fill basin with soil before winter. Several inches of mulch should cover root zone, but don't put on until ground freezes. Keep soil moist, but don't waterlog as roots need oxygen. Do not fertilize the first growing season.

October Gardening Notes

START COMPOST PILE -. TIME FOR FALL CLEANUP - Did you destroy old peony tops? Iris leaves? Stalks which carry borers? Weeds? The more you clean up now the easier in the spring & less carry over of insects/diseases. Send a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope for our composting leaflets. Mail to: Rutgers Cooperative Extension - Agric, P.O. Box 6000, Mount Holly, NJ 08060

AUTUMN FOLIAGE DISPLAY - RED: Red & Sugar Maples, Sumac, Pin Oak, Sweet Gum. YELLOW: Birch, Elm, Sycamore, Locust.

STILL TIME TO PLANT EVERGREENS/DECIDUOUS TREES/SHRUBS - Deciduous trees & shrubs should not be planted until the leaves drop (when dormant). A good rule of thumb...if the plant's leaves color and drop, it can be planted in the Fall. Thin-barked trees (Japanese Maple, Dogwood, Magnolias) should not be planted until spring to lessen chances of winter injury. Deciduous & evergreen trees/shrubs can be planted anytime if container grown. However, extreme heat or frozen ground isn't too ideal.

FLOWER GARDEN - PEONIES...can still be planted until Nov. 1. Sunny location, heavy soil best, and good drainage. Prepare soil full-spade depth since peonies will remain in the same place many years. Work in bonemeal & pulverized limestone. REMOVE DAHLIAS, GLADS, TUBEROUS BEGONIAS...allow to die back naturally. Clean off tubers & store where temperature is 40-50 degrees (in a basket or box with peat moss, newspapers, or dry soil in bottom). Glads...corms can be cured in paper bag with 1 oz. naphthalene flakes. After 3 weeks, air corms before storing. Thrips can be controlled by submerging corms in hot water (112-120 degrees) for 30 min. Storing temperature of 40 degrees will also help prevent their activity.

VEGETABLE GARDEN - Good time to lime and to turn under plant residue, especially if you plan to have early spring plantings. Fall use of manure gives best results...leave on surface over winter and plow or spade in, in the spring. Preparation of soil (tilling) now improves soil structure in spring by breaking up large soil particles. Annual rye grass is a good cover crop.

LAWN - IDEAL TIME TO LIME - Established lawns generally need about 25 lbs. of pulverized limestone per 1000 sq. ft. per year, or 50-75 lbs. every 2-3 years. Soil test best way to check your pH. Check the web page for information on how to obtain a test. Heavy fertilizer usage would require additional lime application. FALL LAWN WEED CONTROL - Excellent time to control broadleaf weeds such as dandelion or chickweed. Fall is an excellent time to control these weeds because grass actively growing and at its peak of health. Also, ornamental shrubs and trees are hardened off and more tolerant to herbicides.

EVERGREENS LOSING NEEDLES? - Normal this time of year. If inside needles turn yellow and drop, O.K. However, yellow outside needles may mean insects at work, drainage problems or fertilizer burn.

HARVEST & CURE GOURDS - Remember they are ripe when rock-hard. Sever from vine with sharp knife. Wash fruits in warm, soapy water, then rinse and dry. Add a household disinfectant to clean rinse water to reduce decay organisms. When completely dry (several days on newspaper), shellac or lacquer and allow to dry (or acrylic resin spray or wax).

STRIPED SMUT-LAWN - If you had this problem last spring, this is the time for control (did grass appear greasy and oil soaked last spring?). Apply fungicide (check garden supply store).

November Gardening Notes

FIREPLACE TIPS - Smoke shelf - Should be free of soot and no bird nests, leaves or debris in chimney. Scrape off buildup (if evident) and stop burning soot-producing materials. Worst offenders are: milk cartons, plastic covered materials, quick starter resins, leaves, plywood, gift wrappings, and green wood. Seasoned wood best: piled and air-dried - lighter to handle, provides more heat and less ash. A standard CORD = 4 ft. pieces piled 4 ft. high & 8 ft long. Care should be given to storage of firewood indoors. Insects sometimes become a problem that are in the wood.

FIREPLACE WOOD - HEATING VALUES - figure in parentheses is Btu's per cord (millions) BEST - apple (26), white oak (26), black beech, dogwood, hickories (27), black locust (26). GOOD - white ash (23), beech (25), red oak (24), yellow birch (22), sugar maple (24), black walnut (24). FAIR - white birch, black cherry (20), elm, sycamore, gum (19), soft maple, red pine (17). POOR - aspen (15), basswood (14), willow (15), white pine (14), spruce (16).

ASHES OF VALUE - Ashes from your fireplace wood do have a certain value, but it is limited. They contain about 45 percent lime, 5-10 percent potash (potassium) and 2 percent phosphorus. If you intend to use them, you'll have to collect and store them in a dry place. If you pile them outside, they'll lose most of their nutrient value. They can be used for annual and perennial flower gardens. Because of their high calcium (lime content) they are not recommended for azaleas, rhododendrons, and other acid loving plants.

FERTILIZE TREES & SHRUBS (those that dropped their leaves) - Use 5-10-10 fertilizer application rate depending on size of tree or plant (not an absolute necessity if fertilizer is scarce - Spring would be better). Use 1/2 lb. of actual nitrogen per 1 inch of trunk growth. Do not fertilize newly planted trees and shrubs.

NEWLY PLANTED TREES & SHRUBS - Need support. Before you tie them on stake, protect tree bark from guy wires with segments of old rubber hose. Prevent serious winter injury of semi-hardy shrubs by pulling away mulch to harden them off. Replace 3 inches of mulch after ground freezes.

PROTECT FRUIT TREES FROM MICE & RABBITS - Apple & pear trees head list of favorites, especially in young trees where bark is tender. The bark of stone fruits is second choice in severe snow and cold. One way to save the trees is to wrap the trunk with aluminum foil. Remove several inches of soil from base of tree and start wrapping with the foil below the soil line. Good results can also be obtained from using 1/4 inch mesh wire fence. Keep mulch about 1 foot away from trunk, but see that it covers area roots. PRUNE FRUIT TREE--anytime from November through March (dormant season).

PAINT FRUIT TREE TRUNKS - There is less chance of trunk injury from cold if they are painted white on the southwest side from ground level to the crotch of the tree. This is common practice in many orchards and is recommended. Use white latex paint mixed with equal parts of water for painting. Apply to trees of the ages 2-6 years. Older trees have heavy cork development which will provide insulation against the heat of the sun.

CLEAN GUTTERS - Before they freeze solid, clean gutters, but wait until all leaves are off trees.

MOW LAWN AGAIN - if needed. Don't leave 3-4 inches of grass over winter. Also gets rid of weeds & weed seed drop.

CLEAN UP TOOLS - as you take them in and it will be done for the winter and ready for a nice, fresh start next Spring.

December Gardening Notes

MULCH STRAWBERRY PLANTS - as soon as the temperatures have fallen to 20 degrees F. Do not mulch too early as plants may be injured by warm days after mulch is applied. If mulched too late, winter injury may have already occurred. Use loose organic matter such as 2-3" of straw or shavings. If sawdust, only 1 inch.

WINTER MITES (Clover Mites) - Sunny days is a signal for clover mites to invade during winter months. They do not harm but are a nuisance. Insecticides can be applied to base of house in band 10-15 feet with a sprinkling can. For those that enter home, sweep up with vacuum cleaner. Wiping them off window sills and walls leaves a reddish smudge.

USING SALT ON SIDEWALKS/ROADS - Salt kills plants. Use sawdust, or kitty litter on your sidewalks, or other slippery areas to avoid falls.

CHRISTMAS TREE SELECTION - (1) Select fresh tree with good green color. (2) Needles should be smooth, limber to touch, and not dried out and dull in color. (3) Branches should be strong and pliable, not coarse and brittle. (4) Weight is another indicator of freshness. Very light trees have lost much of their moisture. (5) Spray with an anti-wilt material to reduce water loss (aerosol can - garden center or florist). (6) Make a fresh cut at base of trunk and place in holder where water can be added. Refill container each day. To prolong life of tree, use following solution when you refill the liquid holder: To 1 gallon of hot water add: 1/2 cup chelate (organic compound containing iron: marketed under various trade names) + 2 cups light corn syrup and 4 tsp. chlorine bleach. (7) Fire-Retardant Coating - Produces shiny, transparent, colorless coating. Sodium silicate available at drug store. Sodium silicate (water glass) - use 9 parts to 1 part water containing a wetting agent (detergent-1 tsp/qt). Heavy coating necessary to reduce the fire hazard. Two coats more effective. Spray or dip. (Spraying-add more water.)

Send a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope for a list of "Cut Your Own Christmas Trees". Mail to Rutgers Cooperative Extension - Agric, P.O. Box 6000, Mount Holly, NJ 08060

LIVE TREES - Not recommended but if you do, keep indoors for as short as possible, in a cool room. Protect foliage with anti-wilt spray. It would be helpful to already have site selected for planting and hole dug before the holidays; place fill dirt in area where it will not freeze; if necessary, keep hole open by filling with mulch material. If temperatures are 20 degrees F. or above, the tree can be planted immediately after removal from the home. However, conditioning may again be advantageous - move the tree to a sheltered, unheated area such as a garage, carport, etc. for several days (keeping it watered) before planting. Plant carefully and well, and tend as any other transplanted yard or landscape plant. If you did not get hole dug before freezing weather, put tree in garage, keep soil moistened. (do not over-water) Plant tree the last week in March.

PROTECT SHRUBS - not winter hardy - burlap 3 sided - 3 ft. high - west, northwest & north sides. FIG TREES - can be packed loosely with leaves. PROTECT YOUNG TREES from frost cracks, especially thin-barked birches, beeches. Use commercial tree wrap.




Steve's Lawn & Landscaping Service, Inc.
PO Box 192,  Rockaway, NJ  07866
47 Pawnee Pawnee Ave
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