Family First!

We use to tell the kids, “Sundays are Family Fun Days at Paul Swartz Nursery” (that would mean they would be working on Sundays).  Well, no more!  We have pondered long and hard and even though we only did 2 months of Sundays in the spring, along with the other 6 days of the week, it was tough!  Life is short and we want those Family Fun Days spending it with our Family relaxing!


When the Forsythia Bloom, Prune Roses for More Blooms

Pruned roses produce almost twice as many flowers as those plants that don’t get pruned.

Start at the bottom and work your way up.  Wear gloves to protect your hands.  Remove any dead, shriveled, black, diseased or broken wood.

Make the cuts on an angle, about 1/4″ above buds.  Tea roses should be 6″ – 8″ long with 3 to 5 strong, healthy canes per plant.  Prune floribundas to 8″ –  12″ in length with 8 to 10 strong canes per plant.  Just remove about 1/3 of the growth on shrub roses and you are done!

Don’t worry about making mistakes, it’s hard to kill a rose with bad pruning. Prune less in the beginning, you can always go back to cut more. 


Summer Plant Health Tip

Summer is a great time for an addition of mulch to your planting beds for weed prevention and better soil moisture retention (2-3” layer).  Be very careful not to mound the mulch up around the trunks of trees, as it can kill the tree.

Maintaining good soil moisture is important – especially for new plantings.  New plantings typically take about 6 weeks to get some new roots established and watering can be less frequent and more at each application.  Ideally, a good, slow, deep watering is required about every 7-10 days for trees and shrubs after they are established.  Newly planted B&B and container plants need to be watched very carefully during that first 6 week break-in period after planting or until they have had a chance to get rooted in.  The easiest method of checking to see if a plant needs water is to stick your finger in the soil it was planted with, and if it feels dry – water it, and if it feels moist – skip watering it.  Typically sprinkler systems do not work well for establishing new plantings unless they are putting water on the roots where needed. 

From Our Friends at Heritage Seed Company

Spring 2014


Crabgrass Control In Your Lawn

  Crabgrass is a summer annual plant that germinates in the spring and produces a large amount of seeds in the summer.  In October the plants drop their seeds which will lay dormant in the soil and germinate the following spring.  Crabgrass likes full sun, warm temperatures and weak or open areas of a lawn. Crabgrass has a very course texture, is light green in color and weakens the health of your lawn.  Crabgrass turns purple in fall and dies with the first frost leaving unsightly skeletons throughout the lawn.


The key to controlling crabgrass in your lawn is preventing it from germinating.  Applying crabgrass preventer will provide you with good control if applied at the correct time.  Once crabgrass has established, pre-emergence herbicides will not be effective. Crabgrass will begin to germinate when the soil temperatures reach the mid-50s, with the majority of the germination occurring when the soil temperatures reach 60-70 degrees.  Another indicator of crabgrass germination is as the Forsythia starts to drop their blooms.  So when the Forsythia is in full bloom, the pre-emergent herbicide should be applied.  Depending on the several factors, the pre-emergent herbicide could last 2 to 3 months, so if applied too early, a second application can be done.


Cultural control of crabgrass can be done by providing proper nutrients to your lawn with regular fertilization and keeping your mowing heights at 2 ½ to 3 inches high.  The best defense against weed invasion is a thick, healthy lawn.  A thick turf canopy will shade the soil and reduce the number of weeds seedlings able to germinate.  Thin or bare areas of the lawn should be reseeded in the fall once any herbicide residuals are no longer present in the soil.


Lawn seed should not be planted less than 4 months before or after pre-emergent crabgrass herbicide is applied.  Please carefully read the herbicide label before application.


From Our Friends at Heritage Seed Company







Spring Renovating and Overseeding Your Lawn

–          Spring is the time to repair damaged lawns.

–          Get your grass thick and healthy to prevent weeds from invading your lawn.

–          With the abundant spring rains, now is the time to reseed the bare and thin spots in your lawn.

–          Shady areas seeded in early spring can establish before the trees have full leaf canopies.



Renovatingif your lawn is more than 50% weeds and dead grass.

It is best to eliminate all living matter by using a non-selective herbicide such as Round Up.


Overseeding– if your lawn is less than 50% dead grass and weeds and your existing lawn is thin.


  1. Remove all excess debris and assess your lawn identifying spots that need reseeding.


  1. If soil is compacted or has a half inch or more of thatch buildup, core aerate area to break up the thatch layer and to loosen the soil so the roots can better absorb moisture and nutrients.  The cores should be 2-3 inches deep and 3 inches apart.  Aerators are available at many hardware, garden centers and rental stores.


  1. For overseeding, plant grass seed with a slit seeder 1/8 inch deep. Seed to soil contact is very important for success. Do not plant seed more than 1/4 inch deep.


  1. When seeding bare spots, loosen soil to 1/2 inch with a rake, spread seed and gently rake seed into the soil.  Cover with straw or pelletized mulch on sloped areas.  The earlier in spring you reseed the area, the better jump you will get on weed growth.


  1. New seeding of large areas, will have best results by planting your lawnseed at half the rate each in a north/south then an east/west direction.  This will give you a uniform blanket of grass.


  1. Apply a starter fertilizer at the rate of 3-4 lbs/1000 Sq. Ft.


  1. Apply irrigation daily so the top ½ inch of soil stays moist until the area is mowed one time. Minimum of 4 weeks of daily irrigation to allow Kentucky Bluegrass to germinate. When the area is mowed once, irrigation should be applied less frequently at higher rates to get the root system to grow deeper.


  1. Begin mowing once the first seedlings reach a height of 2 to 2 ½ inches to allow light to reach the slower germinating species.  When overseeding, continue to mow the existing lawn at 2 to 2 ½ inches.  After 6 weeks, raise mowing height to 2 ½ to 3 inches. Never mow more than 1/3 of the leaf blade in a mowing.


*Mower blades should be freshly sharpened every spring to prevent tearing and ripping out of the ground of new seedlings by dull mower blades.


  1. 9.  Never apply crabgrass or broadleaf weed control products to newly seeded or reseeded areas until they have been mowed at least three times.

Why are my Evergreens BROWN!!!!

Winter burn is discoloration resulting from plants not able to take up moisture from the ground because of our harsh winter and the frozen ground.  This can cause needles or leaves of evergreens to dry out.

Evergreens can loose moisture through their leaves or needles in the winter months.  When the ground is frozen, the plants’ roots cannot absorb the moisture it needs.  Add some sunny days thru the winter and evaporation increases.  Discolored or “burned” foliage may start to appear.  This discoloration usually appears on the side of the plant facing the sun or the side with exposure to the wind.  Please note, this can also occur with plants too close to a dryer or furnace vent.

Please be patient with these plants.  Make sure they have adequate water and wait to trim until new growth appears.