Let’s Talk About the Importance of Potassium for the Lawn

Potassium (K), the last number of the N-P-K fertilizer analysis, is a vital “vitamin” for the grass that helps it ward-off diseases during cold, harsh winters. Accordingly, when grasses are deficient in potassium, they are susceptible to temperature changes. Potassium also helps lawns absorb more nutrients in the soil. The grass uses potassium to effectively make proteins and starches to store for the winter.  

Apply Jonathan Green's Winter Survival as your last fall fertilization of the season. Winter Survival’s high-K formulation (10-0-20) is ideal for the lawn as the winter approaches. Some competitive fall fertilizers have high amounts of nitrogen in them. Too much nitrogen applied in the fall encourages lawns to keep growing into the winter, a time where it should be dormant. This excessive “winter” growth will foster spring diseases, like red thread and snow mold.

Let’s Talk About Second Chances

All too often this hot and dry summer season, customers have returned dying plants to Zaino’s Nursery and Garden Center due to lack of proper watering. Watering is a simple yet essential daily part of caring for trees and shrubs that unfortunately goes unchecked once planted in the ground.

The following is an example of how proper watering can make all the difference in the health of a new shrub.

In July, a customer returned two hydrangeas for store credit. A Zaino’s Associate took one look at the plants and knew they were not dead and that the shriveled leaves were due to insufficient water.

The Associate took one hydrangea under her care. She pruned out all the dead leaves and blooms, gave it a thorough watering, and crossed her fingers.

She took the plant home and watered it regularly in its original container for weeks. Notice all the healthy new growth.

In September, she gave the hydrangea a new home in her garden bed.

Let’s Talk about Over-seeding an Existing Lawn

Lawn Seeding Guide, Why, When, and What Products to Use for Best Long-term Results


Over-seeding, planting grass over an existing lawn, helps to correct turf that is damaged and thin from environmental stresses which can include:

  • Nutrient deficiency
  • Low pH
  • Temperature extremes
  • Over- or under-watering
  • Faulty irrigation system
  • Watering during the wrong time of day
  • Soil problems
  • Prolonged exposure to shade or traffic


If your lawn looks and feels worn-out, the cooler temperatures at the end of summer, and the beginning of fall lend themselves to the perfect time to over-seed and feed the lawn. The seed will germinate better when temperatures are cooler, rainwater is plentiful, the ground is still warm, and weeds are less active and competing for water and nutrient.


Now that you have decided to over-seed, the next important step is to select a grass seed that will fill bare stops quickly and create a green and healthy lawn in the future. Zaino’s Nursery and Garden Center is proud to carry Jonathan Green Black Beauty Grass Seed products and recommends Black Beauty Fall Magic.

Black Beauty varieties:

  • Include beneficial endophytes, which help to make the grass naturally resistant to insect damage
  • Are drought- and disease-tolerant
  • Have an incredible dark-green color
  • Need far less water and fertilizer than competitive cultivars

Your lawn’s pH should be between 6.2 and 7.  If you are uncertain of the pH level, stop by Zaino’s and pick up a pH test kit. If your pH is low (below 6.2), then be sure to grab a bag of Mag-I-Cal to adjust it. 

Adding Jonathan Green Love Your Soil helps to loosen soil that is hard and compacted. Growing a lawn under these conditions is difficult because water and air will not be able to penetrate the root zone.  Without grassroots turf has very little ability to take up water and nutrients. An application of Love Your Soil will help to correct the problem.

Giving your lawn an extra boost of nutrients to store up for those winter months will give your grass a jump-start in the spring. Green-Up for Seeding and Sodding is rich in potassium, an essential nutrient needed for the root development of grass seed and newly cut sod.  Use Green-Up for Seeding and Sodding ON THE SAME DAY that you seed or sod.  Of course, if you have a soil problem (pH or compaction), then you will use Mag-I-Cal and or Love Your Soil ON THE SAME DAY, as well.

If you have additional questions about the use of any of these products, please stop by Zaino’s Nursery and speak to a Zaino’s Associate. We are here to help!

Watering Tips During Periods of High Heat

With the summer heat firing up, it is essential that we spend the extra time watering the plants new to the garden and those that have been in the landscape over the years. 

When should you water?
The best time to water your garden is from 6 am to 10 am. Watering early in the morning gives your plants plenty of time to drink up the water and any moisture on the leaves to dry off before nightfall. If that isn’t possible, the next best time is from 4 pm to 7 pm.
Try to avoid watering at night, as cool and wet conditions could encourage fungi and bacteria to develop and slugs, snails, earwigs, and other pests to appear.

Can you rely on sprinklers and irrigation systems to get the job done?
Unfortunately, NO, just like people, plants need thorough hydration during times of excess heat. New plantings that haven’t yet established their roots and flowering containers are certainly more vulnerable during excessively high temperatures.

Newly planted trees, shrub, annuals, and perennials in the ground benefit from a long, deep soaking up to three times a week and may need more during stressful heatwaves. Watering by hand with a garden hose at the base of the plant allows the water to penetrate slowly and fully into the soil. A good rule of thumb is to water slowly, to a depth of at least 6 inches for approximately 20 minutes. We know that may seem like a long time; however, the roots of your plants will be encouraged to grow deeper and stronger, and the extra moisture will protect them from the hot soil surface.

Container plants are more susceptible to drying out than their in-ground counterparts. During those hot summer days, these potted plants need special attention and may require watering every day or even twice a day. It may also be helpful to move them to a partially shaded area in the afternoon.

Is mulching helpful?
Absolutely! Organic mulch like shredded bark or wood chips conserves moisture, smothers weeds, regulates soil temperature to keep plant roots cool in summer, and adds small amounts of nutrients to the soil through decomposition. It also prevents soil (and whatever fungi and bacteria are lingering in the ground) from splashing up on the leaves while watering, which reduces the spread of disease.

Water your plants, but hold back on fertilizing, why?
Very high soil temperatures (above 85°F) can cause plants to go semi-dormant, so they use very few nutrients while they’re in survival mode and aren’t prepared to make use of them. Withhold the fertilizers (or apply a weaker diluted solution) until the weather cools off a bit and your plants have a chance to recover. 

Let’s Talk About How to Control Lawn Disease

Lawn fungal diseases take on a variety of forms – from dead-looking brown patches to highly visible spots, threads, rings, or slimes that can be challenging to treat. A lawn disease targets specific lawn types, at certain times of the year, under certain conditions.
For example:

  • Brown patch strikes during hot, humid weather.
  • Fusarium blight prefers hot, drought conditions.
  • Dollar spot tends to surface when nights are cool, and dew is heavy.

How to Control and Treat Lawn Fungus

The fungus is seen most often at temperatures above 80°F when humidity levels are very high. It spreads through mycelia, which travel from leaf to leaf. Mycelia use water and moisture as a “highway” to move throughout the lawn. Therefore, it’s vital to water in the morning and NOT at night to ensure that water doesn’t stay on the grass leaves too long. Mycelia look like spider webs on the lawn, which appear before damage occurs. If you see these “webs” on the turf, Zaino’s Nursery and Garden Center recommends applying Jonathan Green Lawn Fungus Control, a systemic fungicide used for preventative and curative treatments or Bonides, Infuse Lawn and Landscape, a powerful systemic product that prevents and cures lawn fungus.

Jonathan Green Lawn Fungus Control
Bonide, Infuse Lawn & Garden

Zaino’s Nursery also recommends applying Mag-I-Cal PLUS or Love Your Soil on the same day to increase water penetration into the soil and will limit the “driving” of mycelia. These products work hand-in-hand to control lawn fungus diseases and promote a healthy lawn all summer long.

Tips for a Healthy Lawn

Follow these steps to help take control of fungal diseases in your lawn:

When and How to Water Your Lawn:
Water early in the morning, to allow the grass blades to dry during the day. Give your lawn one inch of water per week, and use a rain gauge to keep track. Water deeply, but less frequently, to encourage stronger roots and to allow the water to absorb properly.

Proper Mowing Height and More:
Mowing at the proper height stimulates a healthy growing lawn to resist fungus. The lawn should not be cut lower than 3". Low cuts and dull mower blades will scalp the leaves and create wounds in the tissue. Such wounds limit the natural ability of grass to resist infection.

Mow your lawn when the grass is dry, particularly if you already have a fungal disease. Keep the mower blades sharp. As stated above, a dull blade inhibits the grass to ward off fungus. Sharp blades, on the other hand, cut cleanly and allow the plant to heal and recover quickly. If you have fungus, try to mow the affected areas last to avoid spreading it.

Aeration is Important:
A layer of compacted soil just 1/4 to 1/2 inches thick can make a significant difference in the health and beauty of your lawn. Aeration creates holes down into the soil to alleviate compaction so air, water, and nutrients can reach grass roots and can be done every year or two.

Apply and rake in a layer of rich, organic top-dressing to improve the soil, increase drainage, and help combat disease.

Remove thick buildups of thatch in your lawn to allow the soil to breathe. Moisture trapped in the thatch layer promotes fungus. If your thatch layer is more than ½ inch thick, de-thatch your lawn in the fall.

Plant Proper Grass Type:
Rather than fighting nature to have an exotic lawn, choose a grass type that’s suited for your climate, soil, and light conditions. Well-chosen lawn types are stronger and able to fight off the normal fungal spore’s native to the area.

Air Circulation:
Many lawn fungi develop under moist, still conditions. Thin out trees and shrubs to allow air to circulate all over your lawn, and plant shade-tolerant grasses under trees.

Avoid walking on or compacting snow in your yard during the winter, since heavy snow layers can breed snow molds that emerge in spring.

Let’s Talk About Container Gardening

Container gardening instantly fills a space with color, decoration, and texture. We love them for their space-efficiency and mobility, arranging them to fit wherever we choose to set up our garden.

To get started, choose the perfect container for your setting, then select three common elements which are called the THRILLER (tall, showy, focus plant), SPILLER (trailing plant), and FILLER (plants that fill in the spaces). Within each element, you can choose the colors and looks that you like, then build from there!

Unique qualities that exhibit colorful foliage, shape, & dramatic flowers.
Persian Shield

Mounding plant that fills in the spaces to add color and texture.

Trailing variety that spill over the edge and soften the look.
Creeping Jenny

Put it All Together

Tips on Containers

  1. Containers can be anything, but they need drainage holes!
  2. Plant sun plants with sun plants and shade plants with shade plants. 
  3. Choose plants that have similar water needs (no cacti with those water plants.) 
  4. Choose something that spills over the edge and something with height and something that fills in the middle ground.
  5. Choose Bumper Crop potting soil, a blend of sphagnum peat moss, well-aged compost, perlite, kelp meal, dehydrated hen manure, lobster and seaweed. The compost naturally retains moisture and adds microbiology that your plants will thrive in.
  6. Water your container when the top of the soil is dry to the touch. Water until some liquid comes out of the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot.

Fruit Tree Planting Tips

To plant a fruit tree, wait until spring to get a grafted fruit tree from Zaino’s Nursery & Garden Center. For your tree to grow to full maturity choose an open, sunny spot in the yard with enough space, and air circulation. Once you’ve found the right place for the tree, dig a hole twice as wide as the spread of the roots of the tree you’re planting and place the tree in the hole. Then, gently press the soil around the roots and thoroughly water the roots. Add stakes around the tree if it needs support to stand up and add fencing to protect it from animals.

Let’s Talk About Chef Jeff’s Menu of Herbs

Parsley, basil, cilantro, mint, thyme, oregano, and rosemary are herbs that add not only enticing aroma, fresh flavor and vivid green color to food but also have remarkable health benefits. When you move beyond thinking of herbs as mere garnishes and start to see them as major culinary players, a whole world of nourishing taste opens up to you.

Sweet Basil is an aromatic, annual herb with a compact habit and white flowers in summer.  Use fresh or dry to complement Italian cuisine.  Perfect for adding flavor to all tomato-based dishes, in pesto sauce, and salads.  Plant in gardens and containers in fertile, well-drained soil.

Chives are a grass-like perennial herb with thin tubular foliage, and edible purple rose flowers in June.  Flowerheads can be cut and used in floral arrangements.  Great with potatoes and eggs or as a garnish for soups, salads, soft cheeses and sauces.  Best grown in containers or garden borders in average, well-drained soil.

Cilantro is a widely used annual herb with flat parsley-like leaves and white flowerheads in summer.  The fresh leaves are ideal for South-East Asian, Mexican and Middle-Eastern cuisines.  The seeds and roots are also suitable for pickling — plant in average, well-drained soil.

Dill is an aromatic herb that has plumes of finely cut foliage and springs of greenish-yellow flowers in summer. The seeds and leaves work well with potatoes, eggs, fish, chip and vegetable dips, or seafood dishes. Also ideal for pickling. Plant in average, well-drained soil.

Oregano is a culinary herb with small gray-green, spreading foliage.  Edible white to purple flowers in summer. Use fresh or dried to add flavor to Italian, Greek and Mexican cuisine. Best planted in borders and herb gardens in well-drained soil.

Italian Parsley is a strongly flavored biennial herb with flat, dark green leaves, used fresh or dried to complement Italian cuisine.  Perfect for adding flavor to all tomato-based dishes.  Ideal as a garnish for sauces, butter, fish, dressings, and stuffing.  Plant in border gardens and containers in fertile, well-drained soil.

Peppermint is an aromatic, dark green leaf with a strong peppermint flavor and mauve flowers in summer.  Use fresh as a flavoring in desserts, iced drinks, salads, and garnishes.  Popular in potpourris and sachets. Plant in herb gardens and containers in fertile, moist soil.

Rosemary is a beautiful shrubby herb with bluish-green, needle-like foliage and edible blue flowers.  Sprigs may be used fresh or dry in meat dishes, soups and stews, and to flavor oil and vinegar.  Ideal for garden borders, grown as an informal hedge, or potted topiary.  Plant in average well-drained soil in full sun.

Sage is an aromatic perennial herb has downy silver-gray leaves and edible blue flower in summer.  Perfect as a seasoning for stuffing and sausages, or used dry to make a soothing tea.  Also used as a medicinal herb.  Plant in garden borders in average, well-drained soil.

Thyme is an aromatic, gray-green, shrubby herb with lavender colored flowers in July.  Use fresh or dry in fish, poultry and vegetable dishes, and as a medicinal herb. Plant in garden borders in very well-drained soil.

Let’s Talk About Chef Jeff’s Tomato Varieties

Tomatoes need a long growing season with moderate temperatures, full sun and nighttime lows need to between 60 to 75 degrees for tomato flowers to set.  To support the growing fruit plant along a trellis or in a tomato cage to have a secure base to stake the plant as it grows.

Beefsteak – Large Fruit (12-16 oz) – Highly disease resistant
Big Boy – Large Fruit (12-18 oz) – Meaty texture, Smooth Skin
Early Girl – Medium/Small Fruit (4-6 oz) – One of the earliest to fruit
Beefmaster – Medium/Large Fruit (8-12 oz) – Highly disease resistant

Mr. Stripey – Very Large Fruit (16-24 oz) – Great color and flavor
Mortgage Lifter – Super-Large Fruit (2-3 lbs) – Outstanding flavor and texture
Brandywine – Medium to Large Fruit (10-16 oz) – The best for flavor
Jet Star – Medium Fruit (8-10 oz) – Sweet Flavor

Sweet 100 – High-yielding – Extra Sweet flavor
Grape – Excellent Texture – Highly disease resistant
Rapunzel – Super High-yielding – Sweet flavor
Yellow Plum – Unique color and shape – Super-sweet flavor

Lemon Boy – Medium Fruit (6-10 oz) – Low acidity
Black Krim – Medium to Large Fruit (10-12 oz) – Robust Heirloom flavor

7 Mosquito Repellent Plants

Most insect-repelling plants work their magic with their unique and natural fragrances, which keep annoying mosquitoes away while introducing pleasing scents throughout your garden.

Place these seven plants in large quantities in your outdoor living spaces for their colorful and fragrant display, which also will keep the mosquitoes away.



Lemon Grass




Scented or Citronella Geranium

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