Fine Gardeners Blog

Over Mulching: Are You Guilty of It?

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fine Gardeners, Brookline, Needham, MAMany people are under the impression that lots of mulch is good for plants so they pile it up around their perennials, trees and shrubs year after year. After 5 years of adding 1 to 3 inches annually, you could have as mulch as 5 to 10 inches of mulch built up around the stems of your shrubs and trunks of your trees. This is actually detrimental to your plants and most commonly done by commercial landscape companies.

Have you ever noticed the mounds of mulch around the trees in parking lot plantings in many plazas and shopping malls? In our trade we call that 'volcano mulching'. Excessive mulch smothers the roots of plants and sheds water away from the roots. It will cause the decline of plants over time.

The optimum thickness of mulch should be maintained at about two inches. This is enough to suppress weeds and aid in retaining moisture for the plants. Fine Gardeners recommends adding only half an inch to one inch as needed to maintain a two inch thickness. Only use a dusting near the crowns of perennials, shrubs and tree trunks. Your plants will thank you if you follow these simple guidelines for garden maintenance and you'll save money by using less mulch.

For more information on garden design and maintenance, contact Fine Gardeners.

Fine Gardeners Are Different From Conventional Landscape Companies

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Fine Gardeners, Brookline, Needham, Newton, MAWhat makes fine gardeners different from conventional landscape companies?

What is fine gardening?

Fine Gardeners have a high level of gardening practices which are horticulturally based. It requires experience, science, and artistic sensibilities. The skills include: selective pruning, extensive plant knowledge and care of shrubs, trees, perennials, annuals, and weeds. And, Fine Gardeners also have to be familiar with common pests and diseases.

Not to disparage conventional landscape companies, but....

  • Conventional landscapers are better suited for more basic, low plant density landscape settings. Fine gardening companies are needed for more complex, high-plant density landscape settings.

Fine Gardeners

  • Focus on all things plant-related using appropriate horticultural practices for each task
  • High level care of plantings with skilled gardeners and appropriate supervision
  • Utilize very basic hand tools
  • Tend to be small companies with a close personal/business relationship with the client
  • High attention to detail and can resolve issues at each visit
  • Cater to the client's needs
Pruning and trimming trees:

Fine Gardeners Primarily hand prune trees using selective pruning techniques. First we identify the tree or shrub in order to enhance the plants natural form. Aspects of tree pruning include: structural pruning, corrective, thinning, and reduction. Specialty Pruning includes topiaries and espaliers.


Our attitude is that weeding is part of the job. We have horticulturists working on site who can identify plants and weeds in case there is a question. Employees are trained to ask first. "When in doubt, don't pull it out." Pre emergent herbicides are sometimes used for problem areas, especially where no mulch is used.

Lawn Maintenance:

Most fine gardening companies don't do lawn maintenance. The few that do will mow weekly as long as it is needed and only apply treatments as needed. If a problem exists, we will take the necessary measures to resolve it. Preventative measures are never a good idea. People shouldn't take antibiotics and other meds if they are not sick. Your lawn is no different. A more holistic approach is better for your lawn and the environment.

Fine Gardeners are used to working on their knees, sometimes your hands are the best tools! For more information on gardening and garden maintenance, contact Fine Gardeners.

horticulturally savvy gardeners
Fine Gardeners