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

Category Archives: Trees & Shrubs

How the weather affects landscape plants

Today we live, work, and play in controlled environments. Climate controlled homes, cars, workplaces, and even athletic stadiums allow us to enjoy ideal conditions every day. Unfortunately, for plants and turf, environmental changes impact them daily. So, how does the weather affect the plants? Most plants are rather resilient and can tolerate average conditions and moderate change, but it is the extreme and sudden changes that result in stress and potential harm to your landscape.


Water is essential to all plant life, and it is needed for healthy growth and development. Whether it comes in the form of rain, sleet, snow or from irrigation, the amount and duration influence plant growth. Not enough water affects the plant’s ability to produce food through photosynthesis, resulting in a lack of nutrients. Too much water may injure plants as well.

Excessive or continued rainfall can compact and/or erode soil, resulting in poor growing conditions. Erosion can leach nitrogen and other vital nutrients out of the soil, leaving plants with a lack of nutrients needed to thrive. When the soil is saturated for an extended period, oxygen becomes depleted causing the plant’s root system to degrade. As root loss occurs, plants can no longer take in adequate moisture and nutrients from the soil.

Winter precipitation also affects landscape plants. Snow can protect plants from fluctuations in soil temperature, but the weight of snow can damage stems and branches. Additionally, water inside a plant can freeze causing cells to expand and destroy the plant from the inside. This may cause wilting of the plant, even after the cold and frosty weather has gone. Water can also freeze the outside of a plant’s foliage causing desiccation injury. In addition, frozen soil reduces a plant’s ability to take in water and nutrients.


How does cold temperature affect plant growth? Air temperatures influence all growth processes including seed germination, respiration, transpiration, and photosynthesis. Warmer than average temperatures cause plants to mature early, but extreme heat leads to slower growth. Colder than average temperatures also slow growth leading to dormancy in some plants.

Significant changes in temperature can also damage plants. Freezing and thawing of the soil may cause shallow-rooted plants to heave. Warm early season temperatures will initiate growth in plants, if that is followed by a cold snap or frost, it can damage buds, flowers, or the new growth. We probably have all seen plants affected by frost.


Wind is essential in plant growth as it aids in the pollination process of certain types of plants and grasses; however, wind can also cause adverse effects such as desiccation injury and loss of leaves and structural damage. Plants lose moisture through their foliage and high or consistent wind will increase the rate of loss. If the plant cannot replace the water fast enough, it may become discolored and drop leaves or needles. This can be a major issue in the winter if the ground is frozen and the plant cannot take in water from the soil.


Further, light is a factor that affects plant development and growth. As you may already know, sunlight is essential for photosynthesis. Location is key and plant specific, this is especially important when designing a landscape. Keep in mind that changing conditions such as new construction, installing a fence or trees growing larger can alter the amount of sunlight reaching plants, resulting in stress and/or decline.

Helpful hints to minimize the effects of weather

It is best to select native plants when designing a landscape.
• Select plants that are more resistant to insects and diseases.
• If deer frequent the area, choose deer resistant plant material.
• Do not overcrowd an area, allow space for good air circulation.
• Select plants suitable for your USDA hardiness zone.
• Proper planting depth is key.
• Maintain proper cultural practices.
• Set up a plant healthcare program to feed the plants and control insects.
• Choose the right plant for each location. Think about how large the plant will be in 10, 20 or even 30 years. Learn more about planting the right plant in the right place here.
• Do not plant a shade lover in full sun, sun lover in full shade or plants that like dry conditions in low wet areas. For more planting best practices, check out this blog.
• Ensure evergreens have adequate soil moisture prior to winter. Apply an anti-desiccant to broadleaf evergreen shrubs at the end of the growing season to reduce winter injury through water loss.
• Mulch your beds regularly, maintaining 2-3 inches of mulch. Too much mulch is not healthy for the plants.
• Do not shovel snow containing de-icing salts onto plants.


The effect of weather on plants varies widely from plant to plant. Making educated decisions prior to planting combined with proper maintenance is essential in having a healthy landscape. Take the time to research your plant list and contractor prior to all installation jobs. If you have questions about the plants on your property, contact our office at 908-281-7888 or request a free estimate online.

Removing Dead Ash Trees

Do you have an ash tree on your property? Have you been treating it for the Emerald Ash Borer? If the answer is yes, you should continue to have your arborist treat them for the foreseeable future. If you answered no, chances are the tree is dead, or close to it due to the Emerald Ash Borer. If you haven’t been treating the tree, removal of the ash tree should be high on your list of priorities. Dead or dying ash trees can be a safety hazard.

Ash trees in our area have been under attack from the Emerald Ash Borer since it was first confirmed in Bridgewater, New Jersey in 2014. These insects are believed to have hitched a ride from Asia on shipping pallets to ports in Michigan, where they were first detected in 2002. Since then, they have wreaked havoc on ash trees throughout the country.

In many parts of the country, the ash tree is a native species and grows in forested areas. It was until recently, a desirable street tree in neighborhoods for their shape and ability to provide much needed shade to properties. Unfortunately for the ash trees that grew in the forest, most have succumbed to the damage caused by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The damage is evident as you drive along Routes 287, 78, and 80 in New Jersey during the summer months. If you see clusters of dead trees in the woods, chances are they are ash trees.

The Emerald Ash Borer Life Cycle

The EAB larvae damage and eventually kill the trees by feeding on the cambium. This is where fluids and nutrients translocate through the tree. Since the larvae of the EAB create galleries in the cambium, it blocks the flow of water and nutrients moving up from the roots. In most cases, ash trees will exhibit signs of decline from the top down as the larvae work their way down the tree over the next couple of years. The average time from initial infestation to death is two to four years.

The adult EAB is metallic green with a flat head and will fit on a penny. It flies around during the early summer while feeding on the leaves of ash trees before mating. Eggs are laid, and the larvae are born a few weeks later. The larvae will feed throughout the winter and into the following spring before turning into adults. As the adults emerge, they leave holes in the tree that are “D” shaped and slightly smaller than a pencil eraser. The rule of thumb is if you can see these holes at the bottom of an ash, it is likely too late to treat the tree. You may also see what is known as “blonding.” This is where woodpeckers are pecking away at the bark looking for these insects. Other tell-tale signs of EAB are bark flaking and sucker growth.

When is it time to remove the Ash Tree?

If you have ash trees on your property that are dead or declining, it is important to have them removed sooner rather than later. Ash trees can drop large limbs without warning once they have been decimated by the EAB, potentially causing damage to your property. Why is that? The larvae feed on the cambium and the galleries disrupt the flow of water and nutrients, the tree dries out very quickly and becomes extremely brittle. In fact, many tree companies will not climb dead ash trees because of how brittle they are.

Depending on the location of the tree, they may use a bucket truck or crane if they can’t just drop the tree as a whole and cut it up on the ground. The more dangerous trees would be along sidewalks, roads, over a deck or a play area, next to a house, or over a driveway where a car could be parked. If you have damaged ash trees it would be best to remove them sooner rather than later.

If you elect to have your ash tree removed, it is important to hire a certified arborist. A list of state licensed tree experts can be found on njtreeexperts.org. A certified arborist should be able to do a risk assessment of the ash tree to determine its health and the best course of action.


Currently, the Emerald Ash Borer will continue to cause damage to ash trees for the foreseeable future. For the ash trees that are not treated professionally, there is a good chance they are already severely damaged. Before the tree has a chance to fall and damage your home or property, it is highly recommended to have an arborist remove the tree. If you have ash trees on your property and would like to talk to a professional, give our office a call at 908-281-7888 or request a free estimate online.

Shot Hole Disease

Have your landscape plants ever looked like someone shot at the leaves with a shotgun? If so, it is possible that the plant has shot hole disease.

What is shot hole disease?

Shot hole disease, also known as Coryneum Blight, is a very common issue found on landscape plants in New Jersey. This disease is primarily found on cherries, plums, and laurels; however, depending on environmental conditions, it can be found on a variety of other species. Many people think the leaves are being eaten by an insect. The main difference between insect damage and shot hole disease is the shape of the holes. If the holes are generally irregular in shape, it could very well be insect damage. If the holes look more rounded, then shot hole disease could be the culprit. Shot hole disease favors wet conditions. The longer the leaves stay wet, the more likely it is for shot hole fungus to develop. The last few springs in New Jersey have been extremely favorable for shot hole fungus on landscape plants. Once the disease infects the plant tissue, reddish brown spots will develop on the leaf and they eventually fall out, leaving holes in the leaves.

Reducing wetness minimizes exposure

Since shot hole disease favors wet conditions, make sure your shrubs are not being watered via overhead irrigation, especially laurels. While it is important to water your plants, a dripline irrigation or soaker hose placed directly at the base of the plant is the most efficient method. Overhead irrigation allows the leaves to stay wet for extended periods which can provide optimal conditions for shot hole disease to thrive. If the affected plants are planted too close together or they have grown into each other, it is advised to selectively prune them in such a way to allow for better air flow. This will allow the leaves to dry in a reasonable amount of time. While there are some cultural practices you can do to help alleviate the conditions for shot hole disease to thrive, we cannot control Mother Nature. If the winter and spring produce abnormally wet conditions, then shot hole disease can be prevalent in the landscape on a variety of trees and shrubs.

Clean out debris!

Sanitation is key. For landscape plants, such as laurels, it is advised to rake up the debris and old leaves under and around the plants. The disease spores can ‘hibernate’ in the debris, waiting for optimal conditions before becoming active. Removing the debris will reduce the possibility of the disease forming.

What if my plants already have it?

If your landscape plants have shot hole disease, it is best to let it be, the damage can’t be repaired. The leaves will fall off at the end of the year or next spring’s growth will help hide the old infected foliage. However, if you have high-profile laurels or trees that get the disease year after year, then it would be prudent to speak with an arborist for care options like pruning and shot hole disease sprays with a fungicide.

In conculsion

Shot hole disease is regarded as a ‘cosmetic’ disease. This means the disease is a visual nuisance more than anything else. There are fungicides on the market that are labelled to treat for this disease, but the timing of the application is extremely critical. There is only a small window of opportunity to treat for this disease to achieve good control. For that reason, fungicide use should be left in the hands of a professional. Sound cultural practices are the way to go, do your best to avoid overhead watering and remove debris from under and around the plants.

If you are in our service area and have any questions or concerns about your trees and shrubs, feel free to contact us.

OH Deer – Deer eating more “resistant” plants

As deer populations rise and their habitat decreases, their food supply also dwindles. Year after year we receive calls about deer resistant plants being eaten when the plants were supposed to be disliked by deer. In some cases, it may be a little nibbling and in others, plants are completely devoured. So why is this happening?

Deer eat or at least try just about anything, especially in the winter months. Some of the feeding damage we see occurs when deer take a few bites and realize they do not like that plant. This little bit of nibbling can cause major damage if there are several deer trying the same plant.  In this blog we will discuss plants that deer tend to avoid as well as some they can’t get enough of!

Knowing your plant material

First, let’s look at plants that are known to be favored by deer. Deer prefer arborvitae, yews, hostas, and daylilies to name a few favorites. These are plants we would not recommend planting in your landscape if you want to avoid deer feeding damage. In our area, you don’t have to drive far to see a row of arborvitaes that look like lollipops, the bottom 4 or 5 feet are defoliated, and the entire top half looks great. If you have any of these plants in your landscape, keep reading to find out what to do to help minimize damage.

Deer are also tricky and may not eat the same plants at your house as they do at your neighbors. In some cases, we see deer feeding on one plant at your house and a different set of plants at your neighbors. You may ask why are my mums eaten, but not my neighbor’s mums? It is likely because you are on the path they travel each day, but your neighbor is not. As they walk back and forth through your yard they stop and eat before moving along to their next stop. Your neighbor’s plants will likely remain safe until food runs out at your house or they change their path.

Deer not only eat perennials in summer and evergreens in the winter, they also eat twigs, buds, acorns, and berries that are within reach. They were once reluctant to eat some deer resistant plants, like hollies but we now see significant feeding damage during the winter months. So, what are some deer resistant plants? Deer do not like fragrant plants like lavender, sage and peonies. Boxwoods remain one of the top choices for deer-resistance. But when deer are hungry enough, they will eat almost anything. Resistance does not mean deer proof! When times get tough, deer will definitely eat less preferred varieties in order to survive.

Unfortunately, there are not that many “deer resistant plants” anymore, but there are several varieties that the deer prefer not to eat. When planning a new landscape or updating your current one it would be best to stick with plant material found to perform well in New Jersey such as:

Some other common plants that fare well in New Jersey weather and are less likely to be eaten by deer include:

  • Cotoneaster
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Lavender
  • Sage
  • English Ivy
  • Pachysandra
  • Pieris
  • Viburnum

Other ways to stop deer feeding

As deer evolve and their food supply changes, we need to change as well. We can no longer assume that “deer resistant plants” are completely safe. In order to minimize deer activity on your property there are other methods that are helpful in addition to planting deer resistant plants. One or more of the following may be needed based on site conditions and local deer populations.


  • Apply deer repellents. It is best to contact a professional who can develop a program specifically for your property.
  • Alter the landscape, minimizing the amount of plant material that deer like to eat.
  • Keep their favorite foods closer to the house or in hard to reach locations.
  • Maintain your property and make it less deer friendly. This can be done by eliminating densely wooded areas where they can hide or sleep at night.
  • Install motion-activated sprinklers.
  • Install strong scented plants. If something smells unappealing, deer will avoid the area.
  • Use hedges to create a border to alter their travel paths.Lining the perimeter of the property can deter them from walking through your yard.
  • Install a fence.
  • Wrap plants and/or install netting for the winter.
  • Place wind chimes near susceptible plants.
  • Incorporate moving décor into your landscape. Such as windmills, objects that spin or whistle.
  • Hang fishing line across areas the deer travel.



A beautiful healthy landscape increases the value of your home and is something to be proud of. When it comes to minimizing deer feeding damage on your landscape plants, planting deer resistant plants is one tool to help, but it will often need to be followed up with some other measures listed above. If you are interested in learning more about deer repellents, contact us for a free estimate, or give our office a call at 908-281-7888.


Bagworms and Treatment Methods

Have you ever noticed pine cone shaped or cocoon-like sacs on ornamental trees and shrubs in the spring and summer time? These are not normal pine cones that we see on evergreen plants in the winter time, instead they are a type of caterpillar that creates this ‘bag’ around it as it feeds on the host plants. Bagworms can cause substantial damage to ornamental trees and shrubs, which makes various treatment options important for homeowners with effected plants.

What do Bagworms look like?

Most notably known for the ‘bag’ the larvae make out of silk has an exterior of leaves or pieces of twigs from the host plant it is currently inhabits.

A close-up look at a bagworm sac.

The larvae are dark brown with a yellow head and yellow and black spots on their bodies. While. the adult males look like moths that are a sooty black color, hairy and have almost clear wings that can span to one inch in diameter. The adult females, seldom seen, and are wingless, lack any functioning eyes, antennae, or legs. The adult females remain in the bag as they are not able to fly or move easily like the males.

Host Plants

Common to the New Jersey and East Coast, the bagworm can affect a large variety of trees and shrubs that are popular to this area. For example, some evergreen varieties of plants commonly affected by Bagworms include; arborvitae, juniper, cedar, fir, pine and spruce. These plants are largely popular among residential landscapes, making heavy infestation of Bagworms detrimental to landscapes in our area. Bagworms are found on other trees an shrubs such as rose bushes, maple, elm, black locust and sycamore.

Bagworm Damage

The primary damage caused by Bagworms is tree defoliation and brown spots. The bagworm larvae feed on the upper layer of leaves or needles on the ornamental trees and shrubs it is attached to. Heavy infestation of bag worms can leave plants looking completely defoliated and can eventually lead to severely damaged trees and even the death of the plant.

Bagworm Life Cycle

The spring time is when we first start to see bagworms hatch and immediately start to feed on the foliage of the host plant. In our area, bagworms really begin feeding on plants between May to early June. During this time, they also construct the bag like outer shell, and continues to feed on the plant only emerging from the bag a small amount when feeding.

In the summer time, the larvae stops feeding on the plant, and this occurs between late July to mid-August. This is when the larvae goes completely inside the bag, closing it up with a band of silk to enter the next stage of its life. This pupal state lasts around four weeks long, bringing the insect to the next season.

Starting in the fall, the bagworm males emerge from their bags as moth like insects. The male insect then flies around to find a female mate. The adult females remain in their bag and produce a pheromone to attack males. Once the insects mate, the female deposits between 500-1000 eggs in the bag and then both adult insects die after reproduction.

Through the winter, the eggs in the abandoned bag remain protected through the harsh weather months. In the spring, the eggs hatch and start the next generation of bagworms.

Bagworm Control and Treatment

There are a couple methods of control when dealing with bagworms; there is manual removal, natural predators, and chemical control. First, we can talk about manual removal. This method is only effective when you have detected the bagworms early; meaning late fall, through the winter, or before the larvae hatch in the spring. You can manually cut the bag from the ornamental tree with pruning shears. We recommend disposing of the bags in a separate bag and removing them off your property Manual removal is also only reasonable when a bagworm population is low.

Natural predators for bagworm control include certain bird species, insects and fungi. We do not recommend relying on natural controls when dealing with bagworm infestation on your ornamental trees and shrubs as damage is still likely to occur.

Finally, there is chemical control. For the treatment of bagworms, we recommend contacting your local ornamental tree service who can safely apply an insecticide in the spring once the larvae have emerged from their bag.


Bagworms can cause substantial damage to ornamental trees and shrubs on a property and we do not recommend ignoring their presence as they can lead to tree death. If you are in our service area and would like to receive an estimate for bagworm treatment, request an estimate today. Our licensed technicians have the knowledge to work with customers on creating a plan to treat the insect.

Boxwood Blight

Relatively new to New Jersey, the destructive disease boxwood blight can cause substantial damage to Boxwood plants. Because boxwoods are commonly used in landscapes in our area, this disease has the potential to be widespread across many landscapes. First identified in the United States in October 2011, the disease made its way to New Jersey two years later. Although the name would allude to this disease only impacting boxwoods, this disease also affects pachysandra and sarcococca varieties. In this blog we discuss the cause and favorable conditions of the disease, how it spreads, what the disease looks like on boxwoods, and finally prevention and boxwood blight treatment.

Technically, the disease is caused by the fungus Calonectria pseudonaviculata and symptoms of the disease becomes evident in the middle to late summer. This pathogen requires warm humid conditions, ideally over 68 degrees, to grow and spread. With the weather patterns that we experience in New Jersey, late May through late September typically provides the warm humid weather suitable for boxwood blight. Additionally, this disease progresses very quickly as a boxwood plant can go from the beginning stages of infection, to having leaves defoliate within one week, if conditions are conducive to disease growth.

How it spreads

How does this devastating boxwood disease spread? The spores produced by the pathogen are sticky in texture and cling to most surfaces that encounter the fungus; pruning tools, vehicles, shipping containers, shoes, clothes and even animals. The disease can also be transported by wind, rain and irrigation water.

Identifying the Disease

Boxwood blight symptoms includes light to dark circles on the leaves of the newest foliage and typically start at the base of the plant and move upward. Over time the spots grow and coalesce with other areas, quickly turning the whole leaf brown. The lesions, or brown spots, can lead to death and leaf drop of the infected areas. Other characteristics of the boxwood disease include dark streaks on the twigs and white structures on the underside of the leaves. In the images below, you can see the early stages of the disease with the picture on the left, and the devastating impact it has on a boxwood as the disease spreads with the picture on the right.


Prevention and Control

What can you do once boxwood blight has been identified in your landscape? Eliminating the fungus on plants that are infected is not possible and controlling the pathogen in the soil is very difficult. Unfortunately, the best thing to do is remove the diseased plant(s) from your landscape to stop the further spreading to surrounding boxwoods. It is important to note that the removal of diseased boxwoods and leaf debris does not eradicate the pathogen alone. The pathogen has been detected in soil for five to six years after removal of the plant, and potentially even longer.

Often times when dealing with a disease in a plant, a fungicide can be applied to suppress the disease, which would allow the plant to continue to grow without the spread of the disease for a number of days. Fungicides can also be used as a preventative measure to attempt to keep healthy tissue from being infected. Unfortunately for boxwood blight, the research has shown limited control even when fungicides are perfectly applied to protect boxwoods that have not yet been infected in an area where the disease is present. The fungicides also have no control in curing a boxwood if the disease is already present.

Ultimately, the best recommendation is the removal of infected boxwoods, fallen debris and surrounding soil and mulch, and to replace with a completely different plant that is not susceptible to boxwood blight. The University of Georgia put together a recommendation of various plants that could be a substitute for boxwood(s) in your landscape; some plants include, pieris, junipers, rhododendron, and euonymus.

Other Boxwood issues

If you are experiencing issues with your boxwood plants, and boxwood blight is not the obvious suspect, another common issues in our area is leafminer on boxwoods. For more information on the damage caused by leafminer insects, check out our blog.


Boxwood blight has proven to be destructive in our area when weather conditions are favorable. With a disease that does not have a cure and rapidly spreads, control and prevention of the disease has been difficult. If you are in our service area and suspect that boxwood blight is found on your landscape please call our office or request a free estimate to talk to a knowledgeable professional about your options.

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.


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.


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.

Right Plant, Right Place

Device to measure soil ph levels and ensure trees are planted in proper location

Landscape plants are a great investment to a property and often easily maintained, but sometimes our plants suddenly stop thriving or die off. Why is that? There are many factors that can cause a decline in plants, whether it’s from disease, insects, a problem in the roots, something internal, structurally or the plant can just be in the wrong location. That’s why it is vital to pick the healthiest plants from a reputable nursery to start with and to know the attributes of the plants you want in your landscape. This is particularly important because landscapes are often planted for aesthetics and not with the overall health of the plant in mind.

Determining Soil Type

First, to match your plant material to the planting site you must determine the soil type. Most of the soil in New Jersey is clay and shale based. This type of soil may be good for some plants and not for others because it is often compacted. Compacted soil can lead to water not reaching the roots of the plants and can cause a drainage issue. It is best to survey the site beforehand and know where the water sits and drains. This is particularly important because some plants like moist soil and some do not. For example, White Pines do not like wet soil, they decline very rapidly in wet waterlogged areas. You wouldn’t want to plant White Pines in a detention basin because of how wet it stays all the time. Organic-rich soil may be added to the planting areas to improve the drainage and soil conditions. You may need a professional to help with site drainage before moving on.

A soil test from a laboratory is also beneficial as it informs you about the nutrients that are either lacking or in abundance in your soil. It also informs you what the pH of the soil is. Certain plants thrive in more acidic soil, while other plants like more alkaline soil. Knowing the pH helps you select the right plants for your soil type. You wouldn’t want to pick two different plants that like different soil pH’s and plant them next to each other, one would do very well and the other might suffer.

Device to measure soil ph levels and ensure trees are planted in proper location

Designating enough space

Another factor when planting landscape plants to address is how much root space and overall space in general there is at the site. If this landscape is next to a house or building, you shouldn’t pick a tree that grows too large or wide for the area you have available. For example, someone plants a blue spruce next to the front corner of their house. It was small and looked great when it was planted but, fast forward 15 to 20 years later and that same tree is now taller than the house and growing into the siding. Not only did it outlive the space, but the roots can also cause damage to sidewalks, driveways, utilities above or below ground and even the foundation of a house. Think about the trees in New York City planted in soil in the middle of a sidewalk; with no space for the roots to grow, eventually the trees die off. Too often we see on the news after a particularly bad thunderstorm, a tree or tree branch that has fallen onto a house or car. It’s best to pick plants that have space to grow but not get too large as they often can overtake the entire space and/or be a danger to life and property.

Sunlight vs. Shade

Next, we recommend determining the amount of sunlight each area of your landscape receives. Based on shade and sunlight availability, picking a suitable plant for that area is highly encouraged. Check the tags of the plants when purchasing them to determine the amount of sunlight each species of plant requires. The tags on the plants contain vital information relating to best watering practices and how much sunlight the plant requires. Some plants require partial shade, or full sun all day. Different problems can arise in a plant being in too much sunlight if it requires more shade or vice versa. A plant such as an azalea can have more lacebug problems in full sun than in partial shade. That’s not to say that the azalea in partial shade never has a lacebug problem, but it being in the proper place helps reduce the issue if the plant is in the right location.

Spring and fall are the traditional times for planting, but modern methods and tools have made it so that you can plant all year long if the soil has not yet frozen. The plants you or your landscaper pick should be installed at a time of year that is ideal for that plant and other environmental stresses are low. The point being, picking the best time of year for the specific plants, with limited stress, is the best option for your new plants.


Almost all landscapes contain either mulch or stones/rocks. Mulch is very beneficial to the landscape, as the mulch decomposes it adds vital nutrients back into the soil. The plants use those nutrients for growth. It is best to use only 1- 3 inches of mulch and keep the root flares of the plants exposed. Trees produce oxygen from the roots, if the mulch is piled too high it basically suffocates the tree or shrub. It can also trap moisture against the bark, causing it to rot. This causes damage and decline of the tree or shrub over time. Mulch also helps reduce weed growth throughout the season. For more information on proper mulching techniques, click here for our mulching blog.

bases of two trees, demonstrating an overly mulched tree and a properly mulched one

The picture on the left shows a tree planted with too much mulch. The picture on the right demonstrates a newly planted tree correctly mulched.


There are many factors that go into choosing and planting a landscape for a homeowner. Whether you plan on doing it yourself, or you hire a landscaper, consider the various factors that can greatly impact the health of your new landscape. Soil type, sunlight, watering practices, root space all greatly affect the livelihood of a plant. If you are in our service area and are planning on installing new landscape plants and have questions, please give our office a call at 908-281-7888.

Pruning Rose Bushes

Removing dead branches from rose bush

Roses produce a great pop of color in a home landscape. With a little pruning knowledge, you can make sure they don’t get overgrown and provide beautiful blooms for you to enjoy year after year. This blog aims to provide some basic information on pruning rose bushes that you have in your home landscape. There are many different types of roses on the market today that may require different pruning techniques, fertilizing and specialized care.

5 Items you will need to prune your roses?

  1. Protective eye wear: Safety first!
  2. Heavy long sleeve shirt and a pair of heavy jeans: The right clothing will help protect you from the thorns when pruning rose bushes.
  3. Good gloves:We recommend gauntlet-style gloves for extra protection up your forearm. If you do not have them, a good pair of leather work gloves will do.
  4. Pruning shears: We recommend Bypass blades, they overlap and make a clean cut like a pair of scissors.
  5. Pruning saw or loppers: If your roses have not been pruned in years, you may need a pruning saw or loppers to remove the larger branches.

When is the best time to prune roses?

Spring is the best time to prune rose bushes. Most of your pruning should be completed in the spring, when the leaves and buds start to come out. Pruning rose bushes is easy, cut out any old or dead wood and then trim the whole plant back by about half its height. In the summer you can “Dead-Head” the spent flowers. Deadheading refers to pruning the old blooms off before they produce seed hips. This will encourage more blooms and keeps your roses looking neat and tidy. Also, you can prune any branches or stems that have died or look diseased or broken. Late fall is the second best time to prune rose bushes. In New Jersey specifically, November is a good time to prune plants. Prune to keep your rose bush from being too top heavy during the winter’s heavy snow weight. All crossing and rubbing branches should also be pruned on your roses. This is a basic pruning strategy for all plants once late fall rolls in. Remove any dead or diseased branches and foliage. We recommend cleaning your cutting tools frequently during pruning with a 10% bleach solution to prevent transferring potential disease issues between plants.


Let’s start pruning your roses!

But first, before we start, don’t be afraid to prune off a branch. Roses grow aggressively, so taking off a wrong branch will not kill your rose bush, in time it grows back. The purpose of pruning rose bushes is to encourage new growth, remove dead and broken wood, and shape the plant.

  • A basic pruning cut: Prune by cutting 1/4” to 1/2” above an outward-facing bud/eye. New stems will grow in the direction of the bud, the goal is to encourage them to grow outward, not inward. Make all cuts at a 45-degree angle sloping away from the bud, allowing water to run off.
pruning tool being used to cut a rose bush

Notice the pruning tool is angled to make a 45-degree cut above a new bud.

  • Start by removing broken branches and dead wood: Remove all broken branches first, then the dead wood. How do you know its dead? The color will be little off, appearing dark brown or even black, it may also look shriveled. Also, you can make a small cut into the plant to see just inside the thin layer of bark, if its brown it’s dead. You should remove all dead wood when pruning rose bushes.
Removing dead branches from rose bush

Remove dead branches when pruning rose bushes.

  • Next open-up the center of the plant: When pruning rose bushes, start at the base of the plant take out all crossing branches, which can rub against each other causing damage and promote disease. The goal is to have upward reaching branches with an open structure. Think about the roses you buy in your local garden store, there is only a few large upward branches, this is the look you want. Remove any thin and weak looking branches, the basic rule of thumb is to remove anything thinner than a pencil.
  • Pruning height: Prune to the height you want your rose bush to be, while keeping a consistent height throughout your landscape. If it is in the back of a border or plantings, leave them a little taller. For the rose bushes in the front of other plantings, prune lower. For hybrid tea roses, the lower you prune, the bigger the flower and longer the stem. These are good for cutting and placing in a vase in your home to show off all your hard work. Leave them a little taller and you will tend to get more smaller blooms on shorter stems.
Crossing branches of a rose bush

This picture shows what a crossing branch looks like.

  • Clean up all the debris: After pruning rose bushes, clean up all the clippings, and any old plant parts including old leaves that are in the surrounding area underneath the plant. Leaves and clippings can harbor insects and diseases, so they should be disposed of away from the rest of your landscape.

Rose bush cleared of all debris

  • Feed your roses: Roses love fertilizer and proper nutrition is very important, so we recommend feeding them with a high-quality slow release balanced fertilizer. Look for a fertilizer intended for roses. Start in the spring when the new growth is about 4 to 6 inches in length, and then every 6 to 8 weeks until the end of August. Roses need time to wind down for the year and go dormant so make sure to stop fertilizing in August.


Some other information about roses

  • Knock Out Roses

Many landscapers use Knock Out Roses to add variety and color to your landscape and require less maintenance. Generally, pruning is not needed until their second or third season, after reaching a mature height of 3 to 4 feet. Prune knock out roses at the same time as other roses. Knock Outs bloom on new growth so they should be pruned back by about 1/3 of their height.  Keeping in mind the overall finished shape you are looking for. Knock Outs tend to grow in spurts, they bloom, then rest, then another bloom. If a mid-season trim is needed, it is best done following a bloom, while in the resting phase. Deadheading will also help to stimulate new blooms. Knock Outs tend to produce a lot of rose hips that will inhibit flowering and triggering dormancy, so trimming them will keep your Knock Outs blooming all year long.

  • What are Rose Hips?

Rose hip or rosehip is the fruit of the rose plant. It is typically red to orange but may be darker in color on some species. Rose hips begin to form after flowering, then ripen in late summer through fall. Leave rose hips on through the fall and winter, they tell the rose it is time for winter dormancy.



Pruning rose bushes is vital to the health of the plant, it helps prevent disease by removing areas that may harbor infestations and encourages flowering. Your roses may look stark after a good pruning, but roses grow very aggressively and will fill in quickly. It’s almost impossible to kill a rose bush by over-pruning. By following these few simple steps will help ensure your roses are happy, healthy, and will provide you with a season of beautiful blossoms.

If you have any questions regarding pruning rose bushes and are in our service area, please give our office a call at 908-281-7888 or request an estimate.

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