Fairway Green, Inc
9 Ilene Ct, Suite 14 Hillsborough, NJ 08844
Phone: (908) 281-7888

Category Archives: Landscape Plants

Japanese Beetles

Unfortunately for New Jersey residents, the Japanese beetle causes damage on lawns and plants everywhere. Japanese beetles have been found to feed on over 275 species of plants. This little beetle feeds on the leaves, fruits, and flowers of many plants, including the lindon, Japanese maple, cherry, plum and crabapple trees. Additionally, rose plants are some of their favorite plants to feed on in many landscapes. Luckily, there are plants they do not like to feed on as well; this includes arborvitae, lilac, euonymus, holly and rhododendron. Serious defoliation may occur in heavily infested areas. Not only can beetles defoliate many plants in a short amount of time but their young (grubs) can destroy turf grass as well.

Where did it come from?

The Japanese beetle was found in New Jersey in a nursery in 1916, and prior to this time the pest was only found in Japan where it did not cause substantial damage to plants and turf. New Jersey proved to provide favorable climate with vast amounts of open land and hundreds of plant varieties, making for the perfect location to survive and flourish. Unfortunately for New Jersey, there are no natural predators that would help control the Japanese Beetle population here in the United States, explaining the devastating effects the insect has on our turf and plants.

Japanese Beetle Life Cycle

The identification of Japanese beetles is simple. They are ½ inch long, with a metallic green body and brown wing covers with white tufts of hairs on the edges of the wings. Japanese beetles overwinter as a grub in the soil and in the spring, the grubs move up towards the soil surface and feed on grass roots. At this time, the grubs go through their metamorphosis and change into adult beetles. The adult beetles begin to emerge in late June and are active until late September. Most beetles live between three to four weeks and female Japanese beetles lay 40 to 60 eggs over their lifespan.

Treatment for Japanese Beetles

One option for treating Japanese Beetles is a contact pesticide spray. Pesticide treatments applied while adult beetles are active gives only partial control, even if weekly treatments are applied. These types of treatments are mainly used to stop the vast majority of the beetles present on your plant material from devouring your landscape, but unfortunately provide little residual control when new populations of beetles move in to feed. Foliar spray treatments for Japanese beetles work well for beetles that are actively feeding during the time of treatment, but please be advised that beetles may return and can continue to do further damage to your landscape plants.

The best defense against these pests are preventative treatments for your plants with a systemic soil injection of an insect control product. This application goes into the soil around the root system of the particular plants that beetles like to feed on. The material is then taken up by the plant through its vascular system and then dispersed into the leaves. Beetles must feed on the foliage of the plant to ingest the product before being affected. Therefore, some feeding damage may be present on the plant, but very minimal compared to no control. Treating the beetles during their grub stage is also a good idea for control. Applying a grub preventative to your lawn between June and the end of July helps suppress the grubs and reduce damage to the lawn. If high levels of grubs are present in a small area of lawn, the turf turns brown and peels back like a carpet, exposing the grubs underneath, causing permanent damage to the lawn. You may also find damage to the lawn done by birds, skunks and other vertebrate mammals digging up the ground to find and eat the grubs.

We also recommend that you DO NOT put Japanese beetle traps in the lawn or landscaped areas. Beetle traps often prove to be counterproductive because they attract beetles to your property which increases the amount of feeding damage that can occur. If you have already purchased these bags, we recommend returning them if you can. The damage to your plants could be worse with these traps present than if you had done nothing at all. The less beetles coming onto your property the better off you and your landscape will be.

Conclusion

Japanese beetles can become a major problem if left untreated. If you suspect that you may have a Japanese beetle problem in your landscape and are located within our service area, please feel free to contact Fairway Green Inc. with any questions or for a free evaluation and estimate.

Scale Insects on Landscape Plants

Scale insects hiding on plants in New Jersey can cause substantial damage to a homeowner’s landscape. Of the most common insects, scale is a small insect that feeds on sap from many plants. Below we discuss the two main categories of scale insects, the damage they cause, their life cycle and the ways to control the insect.

There are many varieties of scale insects, however all are sap feeding insects and feed on most types of shade trees, fruit trees, and ornamental shrubs. Scale differs from other insects because they feed on trees and shrubs through a mouth piece that pierces the tissue of the plant, similar to a straw. Most notability, these insects get their name from the scale-like covering that conceals their body.

The two types of Scale

The scale species can largely be broken up into two categories: soft scales and armored scales. Soft scales produce a smooth, cotton-like or waxy surface over themselves and is inseparable from the insect’s body. A distinguishing trait for the soft scale insects is that it produces honeydew from excess sap. This honeydew makes leaves and stems appear shiny or wet and attracts ants, flies, bees, wasps, and other similar insects. Armored scales, based on their name, have a hard-flattened shield-like covering that is not actually attached to the body of the insects.

                                   

Damage to plants

A large scale infestation on a plant can cause and lead to several problems for the plant. The leaves of the plant can start to wilt and turn yellow in color, the plants could appear weak, unhealthy, and in some plants, it may also cause death of the plant. Scale damage can also lead to overall weakening of the plant. A weakened plant becomes more susceptible to injury from drought, severe winters we often experience in New Jersey, attacks from other insects and disease. Unfortunately, many types of scale insects are hard to see due to their small size and populations of scale build up over years until plant damage is noticeable. This makes noticing scale insects before it is a larger problem very difficult for the average person.

Scale Life Cycle

The scale life cycle is rather simple, the adult females remain in a fixed location and lay eggs under their shield-like scale. As the eggs hatch, the tiny nymphs equipped with legs, eyes and an antenna allows them to walk away from the maternal cover in search for a new feeding site. This life stage of the scale is often referred to as “crawlers” due to their ability to walk or crawl to a new feeding site. From there, when they have found a suitable location to feed, they insert their feeding mouthpart into the plant and begin feeding on the plant’s sap. The shield like covering the scale insect starts to develop after feeding begins. Separately, adult males resemble tiny flying gnats that fly around to find new females for mating. In a given year, scales can go through one or more generations.

Natural Scale Insect Control

Managing the control of these tiny insects can be difficult because their outer covering creates a barrier to traditional insecticides. Although it may sound hard to manage these pets, an integrated approach can provide substantial control to minimize damage to your plants. First there are the biological controls, which includes introducing natural predators and parasitoids to the infested plants that can attack and significantly reduce scale populations. There is also mechanical control, this is only practical on small infestations and on small trees and shrubs. Trying to mechanically remove large infestations on plants may be very difficult.

Chemical Control

Finally, there is chemical control, which is often the most common and effective way to reduce and control scale insects. There are three chemical control strategies that have been effective when used together treating infested plants. First, a dormant oil spray applied to the plant prior to budding in the spring. If you plan on applying your own dormant oil spray, we recommend carefully reading the product’s label because some plants are sensitive to the oil and cannot be sprayed.

Next, is a traditional contact insecticide spray that should be applied when the “crawler” nymph stage of the scale is active. The insecticide is effective for the nymph stage of the insect because they do not yet have an outer protective barrier.

Lastly, a systemic soil injection is an insecticide that circulates through the plant and controls for both crawlers and adult scales. It is important to note that we recommend the use of all three chemical control options when dealing with a scale infestation because they effect the scales at different phases of their life cycle.

Conclusion

Although the scale insect can be difficult to control, a program that address the pest at all aspects of the life-cycle should provide significant results for most scales on the trees and shrubs in landscapes. If you are in our service area and think your landscape is being affected by scale, Fairway Green Inc,’s Tree and Shrub specialists can perform all three applications at the appropriate time of year. If you are interested in receiving a free estimate, please let us know.

Planting Best Practices

Adding new plants to your landscape is a great way to make your property pop. Below we discuss where and how to properly plant your landscape to keep it healthy and give it the best chance to survive for years to come. While these are best practices and recommendations, please note that each property is different, and the general recommendation may not hold true in every instance.

We understand that not everyone’s favorite activity is tending to their outdoor landscapes, and if that is the case we recommend working with a reputable landscaper that provides accurate recommendations and maintenance. If you prefer to do it yourself, the following can help you plant and maintain your landscape.

House with impeccable lawn care

Planning your landscape

Survey your land and plan where you would like the landscape beds to be. Most beds are around the foundation of the house and areas around a patio, edges of driveways and possibly in the lawn as well. Check to see if water sits in the areas you want to build your landscape beds or add your plants to existing beds. If it does, most plants do not do well in waterlogged soil because they need good drainage to thrive.

Check the soil. Is it clay or shale based? Hard and/or compact? If the answers are yes, then we recommend taking out about 12 to 18 inches of the hard/compact, clay/shale soil and adding fresh organic-rich soil.

If you are making a raised landscape bed with hard stone or Belgian Block, build the landscape bed and then fill it in with 12 to 18 inches of fresh organic-rich soil. Make sure to slope beds away from the house so water doesn’t sit around the plants and suffocate them or run backwards onto the foundation of the house. If water is going to be an issue you may have to install a sub-surface drain pipe. This should be done by a professional.

Selecting Landscape Plants

When purchasing plants you want to install in your landscape, we recommend using a reputable nursery. Most plants are sold either in pots, out of pots with the root ball wrapped in burlap, or bare-rooted. If the plants are not going into the ground right away, make sure they remain in the shade and watered until they are planted. Make your plant selections based on the location that you want to plant them in. Certain plants do well in full sun and certain plants do well in shade and installing plants in the wrong spots affects their long-term health.

Research the plants you want to install before the installation, because once installed into the soil most plants go through “transplant shock”. Transplant shock refers to the stress a plant undergoes when transplanted to a new location. Failure to thrive can come from lack of water or failure for the plant to root well. This can lead to further injury of the plant from external factors like insects, disease, and weather. When multiple stresses happen simultaneously, the plant may no longer be able to function properly. The goal is to transplant the plant with as little stress as possible and digging them back up after they have been planted adds more stress to an already stressed plant.

Installing the new plants

When planting, make sure the holes are big enough to accommodate the roots and/or root ball. The hole should be twice as wide as the root ball and make sure to dig the hole so that the root ball comes close or 1 to 2 inches above the soil surface. If the root ball is wrapped in burlap, remove any wires, cord or string and peel back the top 1/3 of the burlap off the root ball. This helps the roots spread and grow unimpeded by the burlap. Once the plant is in the soil, wet down the roots and then fill soil in around them. Each plant should be carefully researched to ensure proper planting depth, spacing and how tolerant they are to full sun, full shade, both or neither.

You may need to stake trees less than 4 feet tall with a trunk diameter of 1 inch or less. Place a guide wire around the trunk and then secured to a wooden stake on either side. This helps hold the tree upright as the roots develop and secure into the soil. Be sure not to leave the wire on too long as the tree eventually grows, and the wire/wrap grows into the tree choking it off and blocking the nutrient flow inside. If the wire/wrap must stay on for a longer stretch of time, it is best to move the wire in different locations up and down the trunk every six months or so.

You may need to wrap the trunk of the tree for transport from the nursery to its destination. This helps protect the trunk from injury and should be removed prior to being installed or right after installation. Wraps do not need to stay on the trunk once planted.

Once all the plantings are done, adding mulch annually to the landscape beds is a good idea. Mulch not only helps hold in moisture but also to reduce weed growth. As the mulch breaks down over time it converts to healthy nutrients that go back into the soil for the trees and shrubs to use.

Watering is very important for the newly planted trees and shrubs. Water new plants immediately after they are installed. This helps settle the soil and aide in removing air pockets, so the roots do not dry out. The roots should be kept moist but not too moist as that can cause suffocation and rot. The amount of water and frequency should be based on the type of plants, soil and site conditions. For hose watering, lay the hose down by the trunks and let the water trickle out. Some people install a “drip system” and have it tied to their already established irrigation systems or attach it to a spigot that’s on your house.

Popular New Jersey Plants

What plants are popular for our area and thrive under the various factors like soil type, and temperature? If you are adding plants to your landscape and need some ideas, check out some popular landscape plants that might be suitable for your new landscape.

Conclusion

Once the plants are installed and have a chance to develop firm roots, it is a good idea to fertilize. Fairway Green Inc. offers a tree and shrub fertilizing program as well as a soil conditioner. This helps to establish and aide in root growth for the new plantings. If you are looking to install new plants in your landscape and have any questions, please give our office a call and we would be happy to help. If you are in our service area, request a free estimate for our Tree and Shrub services.

Popular plants in New Jersey

There certainly is a reason New Jersey is called the Garden State, as the state is covered in beautiful native trees and shrubs. Below we discuss some of the most popular trees and shrubs in New Jersey and information about each one that is helpful for homeowners to understand and best choose what landscape plants they wish to have on their property.

Popular Trees

Flowering Dogwood a common ornamental tree that grows between 20 to 40 feet in height with white, pink and most recently scarlet fire (the first red dogwood). Its fruits are small red clusters that ripen early in the fall. These are usually food for deer, wild turkeys and squirrels. Also, there is a Kousa Dogwood that has become popular as well. This type of tree is very similar to the Flowering Dogwood in size, shape, color and differs with its fruit. A Kousa Dogwood grows red marble-sized berries instead of the red clusters.

Weeping Cherry grows between 20 to 30 feet tall and spread out to about 15 to 25 feet. They bloom beautifully in the spring time that produces wonderful pink to white colored blossoms. The bark has distinctive circular rings along the trunk of the tree.

Plum trees produce beautiful pink and white blossoms in the spring and then maintain a vibrant deep purple color throughout the year. A plum grows to 25 feet and at peak maturity reach 25 feet wide. These trees are excellent for full sun and can tolerate moderate heat stress.

Japanese Maples are one of the most common trees planted in a landscape. Japanese Maples have been cultivated for over 300 years. This tree reaches 15 to 25 feet in height. The leaves are about 2-5 inches and turn from a green color to a maroon. Some varieties can yield yellow, bronze, purple or red leaves in the fall.

Japanese Maple tree Close up of Japanese Maple tree leaves

Saucer Magnolias are large in size and have pearly white to pink or purplish bell-shaped flowers. The petals fall off very early in the spring due to a frost or particularly cold night. There are other types of magnolias in our area such as the Star Magnolia and the Southern Magnolia that are popular to our area.

Red Buds often reach 20 to 30 feet in height and spread to 25 to 35 feet. With its broad heart-shape leaves and rosy pink with a purplish tinge flowers makes this tree a great addition to any landscape.

Pears were originally introduced as a fruit tree and quickly became popular as an ornamental tree in landscapes and street trees. The flowers are described as “clouds of white blossoms.” One downside of pear trees is they tend to split at the crotches of weak branches during windy weather or when they have heavy loads of snow upon them.

Douglas Fir known to be the most popular evergreen for Christmas trees. They are used in home landscapes where they can grow to be up to 300 feet tall. These trees should not be planted close to houses because of how tall they can get.

Hemlocks grow 70 to 100 feet and have soft slender branches that produce small ½ – 1 inch cones and referred to as one of New Jersey’s most “graceful” trees.

Hemlock tree

Norway Spruces have been one of the most widely cultivated species for its use in landscapes and reforestation in New Jersey and also used as a windbreak for farmland. Norway spruces are mostly recognized for the large cones that hang from the branches. These cones can grow over 2 inches in length.Norway spruce tree

Blue Spruces or otherwise known as a Colorado Spruce, are Colorado and Utah’s state tree and are native to the Rocky Mountains. Known for their dull green or bluish to silvery white colored needles, they typically grow between 30 to 60 feet tall in landscapes and can reach 100 feet in the wild.

Blue Spruce tree

White Pines are the only pine that have 5 needles per bunch. These trees were once used for timber and usually grow between 50 to 80 feet tall in a landscape setting and can grow over 200 feet tall in the wild. White pines are very recognizable from a distance and used in reforestation and as buffer trees, like seen in the image below.

white pine trees close up of white pine tree

Arborvitae are another of the most common trees planted in a New Jersey landscape. Typically this plant acts as a privacy buffer for home lawns and are easy to maintain. The name arborvitae translates to “tree of life.” This tree is long lived and has a high amount of vitamin C in the leaves.

 

Popular Shrubs

Azalea come in both fragrant and non-fragrant varieties. This plant’s colors vary from perfect pink to white funnel-shaped flowers that are at their peak by mid-May. They are chosen for their size and beauty. Azaleas in our area can grow 3 to 4 tall and wide.

Holly mostly known as mistletoe. These plants should be planted in pairs of 2 or more so they can cross pollinate to produce the beautiful red berries they are known to have. They grow between 15 to 18 feet in height. They were said to be a favorite of George Washington and some of the hollies he planted are still around to this very day.

Inkberry Holly related to the holly species and most notably identified in the winter time when its leathery, notches, green looking leaves and black fruits are present. Relatively free of insect pests and diseases, the Inkberry Holly make a great shrub to have in a landscape.

Rhododendron which means “rose tree,” produces beautiful rose to white colored flowers that are spotted on the inside with yellow or orange. The leaves can be large with thick, oblong and an evergreen color. These flowers are considered “nectar rich” which attracts butterflies, bees and moths. This shrub grow between 4 to 15 feet in height with the flowers blooming in late June through late July. Rhododendron are related to azaleas and prefers areas that are shaded but still get some sun.

Juniper a global type shrub that exists everywhere. It does not exceed six feet in height and serves as a nesting place for small mammals and birds. The blue to black colored berries, which reach ripening in October, are primarily used as the main flavoring of Gin. In the picture below, notice the two varieties of Juniper; the low to the ground variety and the larger shrub.

Juniper shrub

Boxwoods are the most common landscape shrub in our area today. Almost every landscape has boxwoods present. This is due to its adaptability to any soil type. A boxwood’s small, simple rounded leaves are easily sheared for pruning and last year-round. They are ideal for every landscape because they contain a toxic alkaloid that makes the plant unpalatable to deer and other wildlife.

boxwood shrub close up of boxwood shrub

Golden Threaded Cypress or a “golden mop” used frequently in landscapes due to their vibrant golden or yellow color. Also, this conifer is small in stature and grows slowly reaching about 3 feet tall. The leaves resemble a mop or threads.

Golden Threaded Cypress close up of a Golden Threaded Cypress bush

Burning Bush or a “winged euonymus”. This shrub grows to about 10 to 15 feet tall and identified by its “corky-winged” branches. Most of the year the leaves are green and in fall they turn a bright deep red color before dropping all its leaves off for the winter.

winged euonymus bush close up of winged euonymus

Barberry a small 2 to 6-foot plant. This shrub has green leaves that turn to a red, orange or purple in the fall. It develops bright red berries and has small spurs or thorns on its stems which makes it undesirable to deer or other mammals.

barberry shrub

Spirea also known as the “bridal wreath” can grow up to about 6 feet in height. They have stunning- clusters of white, yellow, pink or purple flowers. People plant spirea in landscapes for their ability to act as a shrub border, ground cover or hedge.

Spirea plant

Forsythia often associated with the coming of spring and are known for light or deep yellow colored flowers.

Laurels are a very versatile shrub. They’re a popular evergreen with green broad glossy leaves because they can thrive in shade or sunny areas. They produce small white flowers in the spring. They are commonly used as a border or boundary and privacy due to their dense-like nature. They usually grow to a height of 10 to 12 feet.

laurel shrub row of laurel shrubs bordering a house

Pieris or often called “Andromeda”, foliage changes color throughout the season and has long dangling multicolored buds that open to creamy-white blossoms in the spring. This shrub reaches 6 to 8 feet in height and be a focal point or integrated with other shrubs in your landscape. Additionally, Pieris tend to grow very slowly and are beautiful.

Where to plant?

For many homeowners, deciding where to place landscape plants can be a tedious process. In order to make that process easier, we put together the most important factors to deciding to plant the right plants in the right place. Feel free to give our office a call with any questions, our tree and shrub experts are happy to help in any way they can.

Conclusion

These are just some of the trees and shrubs that are popular in New Jersey.  There are many other types of plants that we see. If you have any of these plants and want information on caring for them, check out our tree and shrub program. If you have any questions or if you are in our area and would like a free estimate, please call or click here.

 

Spring Flowers

Spring has arrived! With the warmer temperatures, flowers are starting to bloom bringing pops of color to landscapes. If you are interested in adding flowers to your landscape this spring, below we go through the most popular spring flowers seen in our area, how to plant them and the best suited locations for them.

Crocus

Crocus’s are the first to grow and can even grow through a late season snow. Crocus’s have cup-shaped petals and bloom in the colors of yellow, white, purple and lavender, or a combination of colors. These flowers should be planted in the fall before the ground freezes in full sun to partial shade and they prefer well drained areas. These plants grow from a “corm” which is like a bulb. A new corm will grow on top of the old corm each year and regrow the plant. The central corm has tiny corms called “cormels” around its base. Each one of these corms can grow an additional one to five plants. They should be planted two to three inches deep with the wide side down and any foliage towards the top. This plant will continuously grow each season unless conditions are unfavorable.

Daffodils

Daffodils are currently blooming all over the New Jersey area. It is said that there are over 13,000 hybrids of daffodil which range in color from yellow, white, orange, lime green and pink. Daffodils are a perennial that have a trumpet-shaped center (called the corona) set against a six-petal star-shaped background (called the perianth). Sometimes the corona and the perianth are different colors. The bulbs should be planted in the fall, two to four weeks prior to the ground freezing at a depth of six inches or about 3 times as deep as the bulbs are wide. This time frame will give the bulb time to grow out its roots in a cooler climate. These plants are very versatile and can be planted in sun, partial shade and like well-drained soil. Fun fact about Daffodils is that deer do not like them! This makes a great flower to add to your property that you don’t have to worry about the deer eating.

daffodils

Tulips

Tulips are another early annual plant that grows in the spring. Tulips have been cultivated for thousands of years and are native to Turkey. The have a cup-shaped appearance with three petals and come in a variety of different colors; such as yellow, white, red, orange, pink, purple, green and multicolored and the tulip bulbs should be planted in the fall. Tulips require full sun or partial sun and prefer well drained sandy soils. We recommend planting the bulbs six inches deep with the pointed end towards the surface of the soil and a few inches in between plantings.

 

Hyacinths

Hyacinths are a beautiful plant named after the Greek God. This plant grows from a bulb that we recommend you plant six inches deep with three-inch spacing between plants, at a minimum of one month before the ground freezes. This will give the roots enough time to develop prior to the winter. This type of plant comes in a wide variety of colors; such as white, pale pink and salmon pink, pale blue to blue and yellow. It usually grows to about seven inches tall with single or double flowers about an inch long. Usually a “spike” has about 100 flowers on it.  Fun fact about this plant, it’s not just for show in a garden, it is also cultivated for its scent for making perfumes.

Hyacinths

Primrose

Primrose is another beautiful plant that blooms in the spring. They typically grow about 12 inches long in well drained, soft, moist fertile soil. They have oval-shaped petals and grow in clumps. Primroses do well in partial shade; however, they do not flourish during the high heat of the summer. Make sure to cut the heads of the flowers off after bloom and water throughout the hot summer months. They come in a very wide variety of colors; such as cream, white, yellow, orange, purple, pink, blue and red. Often the center eye of the flower is a different color than the petals.

Lilac

Lilac is a beautiful, fragrant plant that blooms in the spring. Lilac ranges in height from 6 to 20 feet, while most commonly plants are in the 8 to 12-foot range. The petals are spade-shaped and grow in clusters.  Their most common color is purple but can come in white, pink, magenta, yellow and blue. They produce a wonder fragrance that is attractive to bees and butterflies. Lilac should be planted in the fall or in the early spring and require about six hours of full sunlight a day. They should be planted a minimum of six feet apart in soil rich in organic matter. Light pruning (if needed) is recommended as heavy pruning and removal of wood will reduce spring bloom.

Conclusion

There is a wide variety of flowers that bloom in the spring that can brighten up your landscape. While planting spring bulbs largely is a task that falls under fall landscaping, there is still time to think about vibrant additions to shrub beds around your property. If you are in our service area and have questions about planting spring bulbs, please give our office a call, 908-281-7888.

9 Ilene Ct, Suite 14, Hillsborough, NJ 08844 United States | (908) 281-7888
Phone: (908) 281-7888