OPC Blog - Organic Care For Trees, Lawn & Landscapes

On this page, you'll find all of our many blog posts on tree and lawn care, common pests and diseases, DIY techniques, the best trees and shrubs for your property, seasonal tips, and so much more. Enjoy!

Bacterial leaf scorch symptoms on elm leaves

Bacterial Leaf Scorch: FAQs

Brown, dying or scorched-looking tree leaves, especially on oaks, could be due to bacterial leaf scorch, which is fatal. Learn how to identify, control, and prevent it.

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praying mantis

Beneficial Insects – Praying Mantis

Learn how to attract praying mantises to your New Jersey yard, which ones to buy (as an egg case), when and where they appear, what they eat, and more

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a birdhouse hangs from a tree branch in the summer, green leaves from the tree are in the foreground

Summer Tree Care Checklist

What to do (and not do!) during the hot, dry summer months to ensure that your trees are healthy and beautiful throughout the entire year.

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ladybug feeding on an aphid

Are Beneficial Insects REALLY Good For Your Yard?

We answer all of your questions about beneficial insects in your garden, including what they do, the different types, how to attract them, their many benefits, and what not to do if you want to get these incredible insects to come over to your house.

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Why Grow Native Plants in Your NJ Yard?

Native plants have many benefits for both you (e.g., lower maintenance costs) and the local wildlife and there are many beautiful plants to choose from.

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Close-up of two eastern tent caterpillars, destructive pests in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

Controlling Eastern Tent Caterpillars in Your NJ Landscape

If your trees have “tents” in the branches and are losing leaves, it’s probably the Eastern tent caterpillar. Learn how to identify and control this pest.

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Shrubs with green, yellow, and red foliage covered in a light snow

Best Trees & Shrubs For Winter Interest

While you can’t change the weather, you can make sure your winter landscape still catches your eye. How? By planting these shrubs and trees with striking bark and branches, winter fruit, early flowers, and attractive deciduous forms!

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yellow tape with the word "caution" in front of grass and trees

Is Your Tree Dangerous? How to Identify Potential Safety Hazards

Often, a tree’s internal damage can’t be fully evaluated from the outside, and the behavior of a declining tree can’t be predicted. Learn to identify signs of serious damage to help prevent your trees from becoming a hazard.

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bark stripped off of a tree in the Central New Jersey area

What is Stripping the Bark Off My Trees in Winter?

We share details on the rodents and other critters that eat or tear bark off trees in winter (some also eat tree roots), which trees they prefer, and how to prevent winter tree damage from these pesky varmints.

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blog burl

What is a Burl?

We cover what a burl is, what it’s made out of, how it’s formed, which trees are more likely to grow burls, and what you should (and shouldn’t!) do if you find a burl in one of your trees.

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witches' broom in pine tree

Witches’ Broom in Trees: What, Why & What To Do

What is a witches’ broom, what causes it, and what should you do if there’s one in your tree? Learn about these abnormal clusters of twigs and if they’re harmful for your tree’s health.

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hedge for privacy

Best Shrubs & Trees To Use For Privacy Hedges & Screening

Although there are many choices, there are some shrubs and trees that work better than others as a hedge, windbreak or privacy screen. Here are our top recommendations for homeowners in central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania.

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spotted lanternfly with wings outspread

Facts About Spotted Lanternfly In New Jersey & Pennsylvania

Spotted lanternfly is a destructive, invasive pest that has recently spread from Pennsylvania into New Jersey where it’s damaging crops, trees, fruit, herbs and more. Learn how to identify and report it, your treatment options and why removing Tree of Heaven is a good idea.

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pinecones and pine needles on the ground in fall

My Evergreen Is Losing Its Needles! Is That Normal?

This fall, have you noticed evergreen needles (from trees like pine, spruce, fir, yew or arborvitae) turning yellow and/or falling to the ground? What does it mean? Why is it happening? Should you be concerned? Find the answers in this Q&A.

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raking up thatch on a lawn

Dealing With Thatch Buildup in Lawns

Thatch is one of those turfgrass issues where a little is good for the lawn, but too much causes problems. A thin layer of thatch actually helps reduce wear and tear and can increase the life of your lawn. But when thatch is allowed to build up to more than ½-inch thick, it provides a…

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compost tea in a tank truck from Organic Plant Care LLC in Flemington NJ

Soil Conditioner (Compost Tea) Builds Soil Health For Better Plants

Healthy soil is necessary to grow healthy plants. It really is that simple. And applying a soil conditioner, such as compost tea, can make it much easier to build soil health.

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tiger mosquito sucking blood

Protecting Yourself From Mosquitoes in New Jersey & Pennsylvania

Few things turn an outdoor gathering from memorable to miserable faster than pesky – and disease-carrying – mosquitoes. Learn the things you can do to minimize the risk of mosquito bites, and how we can help.

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diseased pear tree leaves

5 Worst Tree Diseases in Central NJ & Eastern PA

Our area is home to a number of damaging diseases that injure, deform and kill trees and shrubs. In this article, we share five tree and shrub diseases commonly found in our area and describe what to look out for, the trees or shrubs that are typically infected, and available treatment or control options.

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emerald ash borer side view

Why Use Green Prism Traps to Monitor Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)?

Collecting EAB population data using prism traps plays a critical role in improving EAB treatment outcomes and minimizing your management costs. In this article, we describe how prism traps work, where they’re placed, and exactly how they help save your ash trees from the destructive emerald ash borer.

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rejuvenation pruning - forsythia

Rejuvenation or Renewal Pruning to Restore Overgrown Shrubs

One of the things you might want to consider doing this spring is rejuvenation pruning (basically, cutting shrubs down to the ground). Done every three to five years, this extreme method of pruning can rejuvenate an overgrown or unsightly shrub. But, to be successful, it should be done at the right time, in the right way, and to the right shrubs.

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