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December Gardening Tips in Princeton, NJ

Posted by Tom Rinehart

January 11, 2017 4:56:13 PM EST

The holidays are quickly approaching...

  • Christmas trees- Choose a fresh tree. You will know a fresh tree by its healthy green appearance with few browning needles. Needles should be flexible and not fall off the branches when you are handling the tree or if you run a branch through your hand. Another way to check is the stump- a fresh tree may have sticky sap on it.

  • Once you arrive home, cut two inches off the base of its stump. In the first 24 hours, an evergreen can go through a gallon of water so it is important to get it into water right away. Check the water level daily and be sure to keep it well above the base of the tree. If the base dries out, resin will form over the cut end and the tree will not be able to absorb water.

    Locate the tree at least three feet away from any kind of heat source, like fireplaces, heat vents and even candles to prevent a house fire.

  • Poinsettias make a colorful and festive addition to your home during the holidays. They should be kept in room that do not get hotter than 70 °F and no colder than 65 °F. Water until the soil should is wet but not soggy.


  • Continue to water outdoor evergreens when the temperature is above freezing.

  • Try to avoid walking on too much frozen grass before it has snowed. The less pressure applied to a frozen yard during the winter, the better it will look in the spring. Foot traffic can break grass blades, unless they are covered with snow.

  • Cover bare soil in vegetable and annual planting beds. You can use straw, pine needles, chopped leaves or some other organic material.

  • Remember to add mulch to your garden (up to three inches, total) if you did not in November.

  • Gardening can be done indoors too! Force bulbs indoors like narcissus, hyacinths and amaryllis if you did not in November. Leave the bulb shoulders protruding above soil; planting too deeply can rot the bulb. Water when soil is dry. You'll have beautiful, fresh blooms to brigten winter gloom.




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November Gardening Tips in Princeton, NJ

Posted by Tom Rinehart

January 11, 2017 3:55:32 PM EST

November gardening tips:

  • It's your last chance to plant spring flowering-bulbs like tulips and daffodils. If the ground is not frozen, go right ahead.

  • Remember to water any newly-planted trees and shrubs until the ground freezes. Evergreens continue to lose moisture from their leaves or needles all winter long. Without adequate water in the ground before a hard freeze, extra stress is put on evergreens through the winter. Whenever the temperature is above freezing, water your evergreens.
  • Continue composting gardening debris, fallen leaves, grass clippings, old plant and vegetable parts and dead foliage. If left on the ground, diseased spores will live in the debris over the winter and will resurface next year.

  • Cut your lawn to a height of 2 1/2 inches to prepare for winter. 

  • Open sprinkler valves and drain water from sprinkler systems to prevent freezing. Drain and store hoses. Drain gas from lawnmowers, edgers and other gas powered equipment prior to storage.

  • Add mulch (up to three inches, total) around trees, shrubs, and perennials after the ground is frozen. Adding mulch after the ground freezes keeps the temperature from fluctuating, helping to prevent heaving- an upwards swelling of soil caused by the ice. A freeze-thaw cycle can push plants out of the soil. If roots are not deeply set before the soil freezes, the soil can heave.

  • As days get shorter and we have less light, give houseplants as much light as possible. You can increase the time between watering but do not the amount of water. Force bulbs indoors like narcissus, hyacinths and amaryllis for color early in the new year.



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October Gardening Tips in Princeton, NJ

Posted by Tom Rinehart

January 9, 2017 3:10:17 PM EST

It's brisk and crisp in October! Winter is on its way and there are still things to do in your garden. In fact, October is an ideal time to plant in New Jersey. Check out these planting and gardening tips...

  • There is still time left to plant perennials and bulbs. Receive a bounty of bloom in your garden next year by planting spring-flowering bulbs after the fifteenth. Tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinths and other early-bird bloomers can be bunched in beds on their own or tucked in between established perennials and shrubs. Tulips can be planted up until early November. Planting bulbs is easier than you think: Dig individual holes (8 inches deep for large bulbs like daffodils, 4 inches deep for smaller bulbs such as crocus), drop the bulb in and cover with soil. Alternatively, dig one large hole and toss in a dozen or more bulbs. Planted this way, they will burst in one striking flow of color.


  • Take in houseplants and be certain to check for any hitchhiking pests!

  • Compost debris, fallen leaves, grass clippings and old plant and vegetable parts.

  • Weed, weed, weed. Any weed elimination this fall will result in a significant difference of weed seeds spreading and sprouting next spring. Weeds such as crabgrass develop seed heads in the late summer and fall.

  • Complete planting and transplanting evergreens.

  • Keep an eye on the temperatures. A cold, clear, windless night usually means a killing frost... Even placing an old bed sheet on your plants on frosty nights could mean adding a month or more of bloom time. Read more on protecting your garden from a frost.

  • Mulching fall planted perennials will keep the soil warmer longer, allowing root development to continue. Spread a thin layer of mulch after fall planting and then add a thicker layer once the ground has frozen. You can add chopped leaves or bark to the mulch. 

  • Enjoy fresh vegetables into the winter months by covering cool-season vegetables with a grow cloth or cloche. Crops such as spinach, lettuce, arugula, Swiss chard, carrots and beets will continue to grow if they are protected from freezing temperatures.

  • Drain and coil hoses before they freeze. Best to be stored in a garden shed, garage or basement. If you must store outdoors, remove the nozzle heads. Close shut off valves for exterior faucets. Clean your gutters and downspouts for fallen leaves and debris.



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August Gardening Tips in Princeton, NJ

Posted by Tom Rinehart

January 9, 2017 3:05:30 PM EST

August Alert! Here are gardening and landscaping tips to staying vigilant this month...

  • Watering your landscaping and lawn appropriately can still be a daily challenge, depending on the heat and rain each year. Water early morning or in the evening. Watering should only be done between 5 am and 9 am. Continue to monitor automatic irrigation systems - make sure they are pointed in the right direction. As plants grow taller, they may block sprinklers.

  • Some shrubs and plants should be watered deeply on a weekly basis. Do not be alarmed if plants wilt on hot afternoons even though there is enough moisture in the soil. The wilting happens because the plants are losing water faster than the roots are able to absorb it. Leaves should revive by early evening. If they do not revive, water them deeply.

  • Continue to remove tired blooms on roses, perennials and annuals to highlight fresh, healthy growth (a process called dead heading). Stop feeding roses this month so that growth can harden sufficiently before killing frost arrives. This will help reduce the amount of winter kill. As August arrives, evergreens won't need to be pruned. If you prune now, you risk plants pushing new growth, which won't harden off and will be killed during winter's chill.

  • Cutting your lawn at 3 1/2" will help shade the roots and cool the soil, which helps water evaporation in the soil.

  • Sow seeds of beans, beets, spinach and turnips now for the fall garden. Inspect your squash vines regularly. Continue picking tomatoes, zucchinis and other fruiting crops frequently to encourage production and avoid attracting pests. Throw away rotten produce as soon as you can to avoid both attracting insects and encouraging disease. 

  • As the weather begins to cool, lawns are ready for revitalization. If your yard is looking rough, core aeration can really bring it back. Core aeration should be done annually without fail to improve access of air, water and nutrition to the roots. Core aeration is more important than fertilization for your lawn. Schedule an appointment with us at Princeton Lawn and Landscapes




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July Gardening Tips in Princeton, NJ

Posted by Tom Rinehart

January 9, 2017 3:03:41 PM EST

The weather is warming up! Here are some gardening tips: what to look for and what to do in your garden and lawn in July...

  • Watering is important this time of year. Irrigate wisely. Early morning watering lets turf dry before nightfall and prevents damage. When there is less than an inch of rain in one week, water extra. Water at the roots, not at the foliage. Too much water is just as bad as not enough. Too much water causes debilitating fungus.

  • Generally, trees and shrubs should be watered every 2 weeks with the hose at the roots. Newly planted trees and shrubs should be watered weekly. New trees should be watered two hours at the smallest amount of volume. The water should trickle out ever so slightly. Do not water at the trunk. Water at the drip line. 

  • Prevent weeds from seeding. Pull weeds as they grow. Use linoleum knives to dig out roots completely. This will mean fewer weeds next year!

  • Remove tired blooms on roses, perennials and annuals to highlight fresh, healthy growth. This is a process called dead heading. The spent blossoms should be cut off where the flower stem connects to the leaves usually several inches down in the plant. This will dramatically increase new blooms. Feed roses mid-month for more flowering. Pinching mums mid-month will encourage strong and colorful flowering in the fall.

  • Never fertilize your lawn in July as there is too much danger of burning the lawn in the July heat. 

  • Slugs are a constant nuisance. Handpicking or beer traps are easy control methods. Put out shallow dishes of beer. Slubs can be also deterred with crushed eggshells.

  • Provide an even supply of water to tomatoes to help prevent "blossom end rot." Blossom end rot is a symptom of calcium deficiency. It is not because there isn’t enough calcium, but that there wasn’t enough water to carry it to the tomato on a regular basis. Routine and even watering is the best treatment. Continue gardening: harvesting tomatoes, zucchinis and other fruiting crops frequently will encourage production and avoid attracting pests.

  • Sow vegetable seeds for your fall garden: carrots, beets, turnips, collards, cabbage, snap beans, radish, endive, kale, rutabagas and summer squashes.




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