The Downside: Components of Healthy Topsoil

Someone gardening with topsoil

By, the old guy with a pony tail at Mendham Garden Center

You can call it dirt, soil, root zone or a host of other terms. It’s the downside to the establishment and management of your lawn.

A turf manager once told me, “You can grow grass on a rock, just give it what it needs”. Although this is true, deep healthy topsoil works a whole lot better.

Continue Reading The Downside: Components of Healthy Topsoil

The Real Devil of Central & North Jersey Gardening: Weather Woes in Mendham

Too hot. Too cold. Too wet. Too dry.

It would be nice to have a summer with 90 days of perfect weather, but that’s not always the reality. More often than not, we spend the warm weather months protecting our plants against droughts or storms.

But it doesn’t have to be a struggle. Here are a few ways you can protect your plants this summer. Continue Reading The Real Devil of Central & North Jersey Gardening: Weather Woes in Mendham

The Grass is Greener on Your Side: Three Steps to a Healthier Lawn

Father and son blowing bubble on the lawn

People have been using some variation of the phrase “the grass is always greener on the other side” for centuries.

Go all the way back to Ancient Rome, and you’d hear people sharing the proverb “the harvest is always fruitful in another man’s field.”

But what if you looked out your window and saw that the grass literally was greener on the other side of the street? Maybe it’s not a matter of perspective. Maybe it’s that your neighbor knows the secret to keeping their grass looking its best.   When customers visit Mendham Garden Center looking for lawn mowers or landscaping supplies we often get some version of the grass is greener question.

So here are three practices that can promote a healthier, happier lawn.

Continue Reading The Grass is Greener on Your Side: Three Steps to a Healthier Lawn

Summer Gardening New Jersey; Tips on Pruning, Watering, Weeds and Bugs (2 min read)

Summer Garden

You’ve been busy all spring trying to get your garden ready for the growing season. Spring is winding down, and summer is almost here. Its time ot switch focus. New Jersey isn’t called the Garden State for nothing. With a little attention, your garden can produce delightful flowers and and veggies all summer long. Here are some tips to manage the heat, weeds and pests during summer months.

Here are some tips from our New Jersey gardeners’ supply center on how to get started. Continue Reading Summer Gardening New Jersey; Tips on Pruning, Watering, Weeds and Bugs (2 min read)

Healthy Lawn

8 Ways to Give Yourself a Healthy Lawn This Spring

Good lawns don’t happen by accident.

It takes work to create a lush, green landscape.

In this blog post, we’ll look at eight things you can do to ensure a healthy lawn this spring.

Soil SamplingSoil First

A healthy lawn needs healthy soil, and healthy soil needs to have the right nutrients. Conducting a soil test can tell you whether the nutrients your soil needs are present. This test also helps us recommend a fertilizer program specific to your lawn as well as ways to address nutrient deficiencies. Your local Hunterdon, NJ garden center can offer you more information on conducting a soil test.

Once you’ve made these applications, our program provides your lawn with the nutrients it needs to grow and thrive. A healthy lawn is not only pleasing to look at; it is better prepared to combat potential insect populations and conditions which promote fungus and disease.

TSoil PH Meterhe Time to Lime

The most potentially limiting factor in nutrient availability to your turf is soil pH, which is a value based on the acidity or alkalinity of your soil. Soil that has a pH of 6.2 to 6.8 — either neutral or slightly acidic – offers the most nutrients to your turf. A soil test can provide the current pH along with a recommendation for the lime necessary to properly adjust the pH of the soil. Lime can be applied at any time of year.

Spring FertilizerSpring Fertilizer

Your turf greets the spring with all the nutrients it needs stored in its roots from the previous fall (assuming you applied adequate nitrogen).

These reserves help the turf to get off to a good start. As the turf grows it will deplete these reserves and start to rely on carbohydrates being produced. A light application of nitrogen will help the turf to continue to produce green top growth which is where these nutrients are made.

We recommend adding extra nitrogen by around May 1st. Applying too much will only weaken the turf by promoting excessive top growth. An application of ½ to ¾ lb. nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet is generally all you need.

CrabgrassSpring crabgrass control

Crabgrass seed begins to germinate once the average soil temperature reaches around 60 degrees. In this part of New Jersey, you’ll need to apply pre-emergent crab grass control around the time forsythias begin to bloom.

These control products usually stay effective for three to four months, although a second application may be necessary six to eight weeks after the first in areas where crabgrass is a consistent nuisance.

Pay attention to seeding requirements and the fertilizer needs of the turf. Pre-emergent control products should not be applied within three to four months of when you plan to over-seed, depending on use rates. Control product labels provide instructions for reseeding, but a Hunterdon, NJ garden center should also be able to advise you on proper usage for this product.

Broadleaf WeedBroadleaf weed control

You can apply broadleaf weed control anytime weeds are growing, and air temperatures are below 85 degrees. These products are sold as stand-alone, or in combination with fertilizer. Turf fertilizer requirements should be considered when applying these products.

Spring broadleaf weed control is effective, but fall is the optimal time to apply these products. This is when the growth habits of most weeds complement the action of the weed control product and help to translocate the product down into the root system.

You can scale back these applications as time goes by, focusing on spot treatments or alternating every year. Talk to your local Hunterdon, NJ garden center to determine the best weed control practice for your lawn.

Diseased GrassDisease control

While fungus and disease generally need long periods of moisture to develop, conditions can vary, which is why we recommend a broad-spectrum fungicide for preventive and curative control. You’ll need to repeat applications as long as conditions persist.

In general, maintaining a healthy turf thru proper cultural practices is the best defense against fungus. These practices include but are not limited to, proper mowing, soil aeration and effective fertilization including a periodic soil test.

Summer Slow Release FertilizerSummer Fertilizer

Summer fertilizer should typically only be applied when the turf is actively growing and then only if there is adequate soil moisture to support growth. We will usually only recommend summer fertilizer on lawns with supplemental irrigation. Summer applications should not exceed .5 lbs. nitrogen per 1000 square feet. This nitrogen source should be a slow release formulation.

Autumn Fall FertilizerFall Fertilizer

Don’t think of fall as a vacation from lawn work. Now is the time to build a quality lawn. Lateral growth and root development are the priorities for your turf. And two-thirds of the nitrogen you apply to your lawn each year should be applied in the fall. (As we said earlier, this helps build up the nutrients your turf needs for winter.)

We recommend applying nitrogen at least twice at six to eight-week intervals, maybe once around Labor Day and a second application between Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Like we said at the beginning, a good lawn takes work, but it’s not a project you need to tackle on your own. If you have questions about these or any other lawn care issues, visit Mendham Garden Center.

Each of our three locations – Mendham, Chester and Annandale – has the products and the experts you’ll need to keep your grass green this year.


Feeding Your Feathered Friends: A Guide to Winter Bird Feeders

Bluejay and suet feeder in Winter

If there’s one thing we know about birds, it’s this: take care of them, and they’ll take care of you.

Birds are what’s known as a “beneficial” animal, helping to pollinate flowers and feasting on the types of pests we don’t want in our gardens.

And while most other beneficial creatures – bees, ants, bats, small mammals – tend to vanish this time of year, there are still plenty of birds around. Continue Reading Feeding Your Feathered Friends: A Guide to Winter Bird Feeders

What Do I Do with My Garden in Winter?

A semi-formal domestic garden under snow.

It’s winter, and while the rest of the world seems to be hibernating, you’re taking a page from that Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song: you’ve got to get yourself back to the garden.

The ground outside may be frozen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t focus on your garden. There are things you can grow, and springtime preparations to make. Here are a few things you can do with your garden this winter. Continue Reading What Do I Do with My Garden in Winter?

10 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Garden

It’s the closing moments of December 31, 2018. The old year is about to fade away, making room for the new one.

And after you’ve counted down until midnight and popped open the champagne, you take a minute to look into the future. You think about the resolutions you’ve made for the coming year…and wonder if you’ll be able to stick to them.

We can’t help you get to the gym every day or read more books. But we can offer some alternative resolutions, ones geared to your garden.

Here are 10 resolutions that can make gardening in Hunterdon County a new experience in 2019.

Continue Reading 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Garden

Oh Christmas Tree: The Story of a Holiday Tradition

Christmas Tree History

It’s November, and even though we haven’t sat down to our Thanksgiving dinners, it’s hard to miss the other, much bigger holiday waiting in the wings.


Pretty soon nearly every TV screen, store display, and front porch will be filled with yuletide trappings, and that includes our stores, where we’ll be selling an array of natural Christmas trees.

And that got us thinking about this tradition. Why do we cut down evergreen trees and put them in our homes? We decided to do some research and learned about the history of the Christmas tree. Continue Reading Oh Christmas Tree: The Story of a Holiday Tradition