Why Pollinators are the Bomb

Posted by Kellie Natoli on Jun 24, 2016 2:11:08 PM

We've spent this week celebrating pollinators...  

Birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, and other small mammals that pollinate plants are included in this group of amazing beings.  Thank you for your enthusiasm celebrating National Pollinator Week from June 20- June 24, 2016.  In case you missed it, learn why we think so highly of pollinators.

The main reasons why pollinators are the bomb:

  • Pollinators provide pollination services to over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1200 crops.  That means pollinators are responsible for 1 out of 3 bites of food we take each day. 
  • Pollinating animals travel from plant to plant carrying pollen on their bodies in a vital interaction that allows the transfer of genetic material critical to the reproductive system of most flowering plants.
  • Pollinators provide pollination services to over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1200 crops.
  • If we want to talk dollars and cents, pollinators add 217 billion dollars to the global economy.
  • Honey bees alone are responsible for between 1.2 and 5.4 billion dollars in agricultural productivity in the United States.
  • Pollinators support healthy ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, protect from sever weather, and support other wildlife.

 

Enjoy these photos of beautiful pollinators throughout our nursery.
#pollinatorweek #pollination #Sacramentonursery


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The infamous Buckeye Butterfly.  One of the most prominent and common butterflies in Sacramento.  They keep our gardens pretty and our tomato plants producing fruit.  

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One of the beetles that pollinates...a lady beetle or lady bug to be exact.  Did you know that lady beetles also eat aphids?  They can eat upwards of 100 aphids per day!  

 

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This photo was snapped by one of our favorite patio personnel, Deborah at our Elk Grove store.  She has a keen eye for insects, since her background is in entomology.

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 Yes, according to the Native Bee Conservancy, even frogs can be considered pollinators.  Do you see him?  Hopping from one plant to another he deposits pollen can be a pollinating powerhouse.

 

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Butterfly on, that's right, you guessed it, BUTTERFLY Bush!  Any variety of Buddleia is a butterfly magnet.  Buddleia = Butterflies

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And of course the most popular type of pollinator, the bee.  First stop, hydrangea, and hopefully it's next stop is our veggie garden.

 


Thanks for celebrating National Pollinator Week with us this week.  We hope that you learned a thing or two about these beautiful and essential creatures in our habitat.  Without them, we'd surely be hungry, or at least lack much of the variety of fruits and veggies available to us in California.  

If you already have a pollinator habitat, consider registering it with the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge to help the cause.  If you would like more pollinators in your yard, next time you're thinking of what to plant, give a nod to a pollinator and plant something to keep them coming back.  
 

Interested in plants that attract pollinators seasonally?
download our guide!

 

Pollinator Plants



 **Credits**
Thank you to Pollinator.org for some interesting statistics about pollinators.  Thank you to Ashley and Deborah from our stores for your stellar photos.

Topics: Flowers, Butterflies, pollinators, Bees, Million Pollinator Garden Challenge

Mulch 101 for Sacramento Gardeners

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jun 22, 2016 5:16:53 PM

Mulch, compost, amendments....These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are some important distinctions between what they are and how they're used. Here's the dirt on these soil-enriching products and the differences between them:

CompostSoil in hand

Organic Matter (OM) is the portion of soil that contains animal and plant remains at varying stages of decay. When OM has decomposed to the point where it's dark brown and fine-textured, it's called humus. Composting is simply the act of cultivating OM into humus in a controlled environment to hasten the decomposition process.

Incorporating compost has many benefits for plants, including:

Soil Amendments 

Green Acres Nursery & Supply carries a wide variety of packaged soil amendments from E.B. Stone Organics, GreenAll and G&B Organics. We've carefully selected a large variety of bagged amendments which are specially formulated for specific plant groups like, acid-loving plants, such as azaleas and camellias, for example. Amendments are used to supplement your existing soil and should be mixed 50/50 with your native soil when planting.  

Benefits of amending:

  • Helps break up hard pan and clay
  • Feeds microorganisms in your soil
  • Improves structure, texture and soil fertility

MulchMulch

Mulch is chipped materials which are laid on top of the ground. Mulches which are made of organic materials such as wood have many benefits for plants, including:

  • Keeps soil evenly moist
  • Eventually breaking down, feeding soil microorganisms
  • Regulating ground temperature
  • Suppressing weeds
  • Reducing erosion

There are several different types of wood mulch, and they function mostly the same way, so choosing the "right" type is really just a matter of personal taste.

Some tips on mulching:

  • With shredded bark, a 2-3" layer is sufficient to suppress weeds, reduce evaporation and regulate temperature
  • With medium or large chunks of bark, ideal depth is 3-4" thick
  • Mulching isn't just for trees and shrubs! Annuals, perennials and even veggies all benefit from mulching. 
  • To prevent crown rot, always keep it 2-3" away from the base of the plant

For Sacramento gardeners especially, amending your soil and mulching are some of the easiest things you can do to help your plants survive the sweltering Central Valley summers.

Want more tips on keeping plants happy in the heat?  Saving H2O in the Landscape

Topics: Compost, Soil Amendments, Mulch

Tree-Planting Tips to Avoid Common Mistakes

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jun 18, 2016 3:53:27 PM

shade_trees2.jpgTrees are a valuable investment–they help cool our homes, clean the air, provide habitat for wildlife and make our neighborhoods a pleasant place to live. Planting properly increases their ability to provide these benefits.

 

Take a look at our top five recommendations for planting trees:

1. Spare Your Back...Don't Dig Too Deep

When you're planting, be sure to compensate for the settling of air pockets in the soil, which can eventually result in the plant sinking down a few inches from where you planted it. Print our tree planting guide for reference. Dig your hole wider than it is deep, with an undisturbed "pedestal" of soil for the root ball to sit on. The pedestal keeps it from settling below the soil line. Remember, the majority of tree roots are in the top 24" of soil, roots tend to go wide rather than deep.

2. Stakes Promote Strength

When you buy your tree, you'll notice it has a small stake attached to it, usually tied to the trunk with green gardener's tape. This is the nursery stake, also called a transportation stake, to help trees survive transport in the nursery. It's not substantial enough to support the tree after it's been planted, and should be removed and replaced with two proper tree stakes, or lodge poles, and one or two flexible ties. Staking is essential for supporting your tree while it's developing an extensive root system, and until it can support itself. Allow for flexibility in the wind to grow a strong trunk. 

See our tree planting guide to learn about best practices when staking trees. 

3. Watering Longer, Less Often

Say it with me now: deep, infrequent watering; the best irrigation practice for most plants, and it's essential for trees. When we say "deep" that means getting water all the way to the root base. Drip irrigation is ideal because it can release a very small amount of water, over a long period of time, which thoroughly saturates an area with minimal soil erosion and runoff. Generally speaking, the top six inches of soil should be allowed to dry out before being watered again. 

Depending on the size of the tree, it's location, your soil texture and the season, this may be two-to-three times per week at first, while the tree is getting established. To get on the correct schedule, start off by probing the soil before each watering, if it's moist six inches down by the rootball of a newly planted tree, there is no need to water. Click the button below for more helpful H2O tips for trees. 

Watering 101

4. Right Tree, Right Place?

For long-term benefit, select a tree that will fit in the space you've chosen to plant it, do well in your soil, and be happy with the exposure it will get. Green Acres Nursery & Supply partnered with the Sacramento Tree Foundation to publish The Shady Eighty, a tree guide packed with information about trees that thrive in the Sacramento region. Visit any one of our five locations, to pick up the guide and we we'll be happy to show you which trees will work for your specific situation. 

5. TLC (Transplanting Love & Care)

Transplanting can be a traumatic experience. It's stressful to be transported to a different spot, uprooted, stuck in the ground and expected to acclimate to a completely new environment. There are a few things we recommend to ease the transition and help trees become established more quickly:

  • Wilt_Stop-2-826069-edited.jpgMulching regulates soil temperatures, slows the evaporation of water in the soil, mitigates erosion, feeds beneficial soil microorganisms, and suppresses water-thirsty weeds. To set yourself up for success, every tree you plant should be mulched at least 2-3" deep around the base of the tree (leaving six inches of bare soil around the trunk). 
  • Fertilize with an organic starter fertilizer such as E.B. Stone™ Sure Start™. It contains beneficial organisms, such as mycorrhizae, which form a relationship with roots. That symbiosis extends the capacity of roots to take up water and nutrients. Plus, because it's organic, you don't have to worry about shocking the roots, or burning them, with salt build-up. 
  • Check the weather after transplanting. If temperatures are above 90°F or it's going to be very windy, mist the foliage of your tree with Bonide Wilt Stop® to help slow transpiration (water loss through the leaves). 
Now that you know how to care for your living investment, check out the Top Ten Legacy Trees for the Sacramento Region 

Topics: Tree, Irrigation Tips, Sacramento Trees, Mulch, Trees

Show us How You Fixed it for Good

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jun 16, 2016 5:51:06 PM

Green Acres Nursery & Supply is teaming up with Save Our Water to inspire you to rethink your yard with simple upgrades to improve your water efficiency in the landscape. 
 
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Participating is as easy as 1-2-3! 
 
1. Snap a Picture of Your Water-Wise Upgrades
What does a water-wise landscape upgrade look like? It can be anything from using mulch to help slow the evaporation of water from the soil, to converting your irrigation system to drip, to planting drought tolerant plants. There are hundreds of ways you can help reduce your water use, without compromising your beautiful landscape. 
 
  Saving H2O in the Landscape
 
Want some inspiration for low-water landscape designs? Join us for one of our free California Landscape 2.0 Workshops this summer!
 
2. Share Your Water-Efficient Upgrades on Instagram or Twitter
To participate, simply use the hashtag #ifixeditforgood and #idiggreenacres on Instagram or Twitter along with pictures of little improvements you have made in your landscape from June 15 to September 15, 2016.  We'll select some participants to feature on our website and social media as a Water-Saving Partner. 
 
3. Inspire Our Communities
Let's show our friends and neighbors just how effective it is to make simple upgrades to save our water–for today and long term. Every adjustment, no matter how small, contributes to healthy landscapes with less water waste in our communities, and that's good for all Californians. 

#ifixeditforgood Contest

Topics: Smartscape, Waterwise, Sacramento Low Water Plants, Irrigation Tips, Organic, Low Water Plants, Drip Irrigation Supplies, Drought Tolerant, Mulch

Gardening Tips to Beat the Sacramento Heat

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on May 31, 2016 6:48:34 PM

Check out this video for a few quick fun ideas


When temperatures soar, plants can get stressed, and it's often hard to know how to help them. Fortunately, there are many ways you can help mitigate the effects of heat stress now, and for summers to come. 

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Immediate Solutions

Water Properly

Our first impulse when temperatures spike is to water plants more. It seems to make sense; we are thirsty and therefore our plants probably are too. The problem is plants don't really "drink" water like we do. Their roots absorb water vapor. That's why deep, yet infrequent watering is best. Put down enough water to slowly and thoroughly soak the root ball. Provide enough time for the plant to take it up through the roots, and allow oxygen back into the soil, before watering again.

If you're unsure about whether your plants need water, probe the soil several inches down. If it's moist, no need to water. For trees and large shrubs, use a soil probe to a depth of at least six to seven inches. 

Tip: It's best to water early in the morning to hydrate plants so they can withstand the daytime heat. Watering at night can encourage fungal issues, and should be avoided whenever possible. Use a nozzle with a shut-off valve if you do not have a drip system in place.

Watering 101


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Extra Care for Container Plants

Container gardens dry out more quickly, and plant roots can be adversely affected by radiated heat from the pavement. Be sure to use "pot feet" to insulate container plants from radiated heat underneath. For hanging baskets or plants in hard-to-water spots, Soil Moist can help. Soil Moist is a granulated polymer which absorbs water and slowly releases it to help extend the period in between watering. 

 

 

 


Mulch

Mulching helps slow the evaporation of water and insulate the soil temperature to keep the roots cool. It also breaks down to mulch.jpgfeed microorganisms which help improve soil structure, leading to better water penetration. 

All wood mulches offer these benefits, but only if they are layered to the proper depth:

  • Layer large chunks of bark at least 3-4" thick, because the large pieces allow for lots of water and air to penetrate the soil.
  • Layer smaller chunks of bark 4" thick. They fit tightly together, but allow air to circulate, while retaining moisture. 
  • Shredded mulch should only be layered 2-3" thick, because the fine-textured pieces knit together to keep the moisture in. A thicker layer can create a lack of air flow, which can lead to unhealthy soil conditions.  


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Bonide Wilt Stop®
For tender plants, new transplants or especially stressed specimens Bonide Wilt Stop® can make all the difference. Wilt Stop is an all-natural, resin-based foliar spray which helps plants survive heat by slowing transpiration (water loss through the leaves). 

 

 


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Future Prevention

Plant Shade Trees

A strategically planted shade tree in your yard is extremely effective at preventing plant stress, and can help cut energy costs. The best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago, but the second best time is today. Check out the top ten Legacy Trees for Sacramento to get an idea of which tree is right for you. 

 

 


Penstemon_Margarita_BOP.jpgPlant for our Mediterranean Climate

The right plant in the right place will always fare better in stressful situations. There are hundreds of water-wise options available, check out our water-wise plant list below to get inspiration:

Drought Tolerant Plants

 

 

 

Rethinking your yard in favor of water-wise options? Check out our California Landscape 2.0 Design Templates for ideas and inspiration. 

Topics: Irrigation Tips, Drought Tolerant, Mulch

Our Plant Pick: Flowering Maple

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on May 13, 2016 3:46:03 PM

Our Plant Pick: Flowering Maple

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Flowering Maples (Abutilon spp.) are one of the most versatile and accommodating evergreen shrubs for shade. They come in a variety of colors, including yellow, red, orange, white and many shades of pink. There are compact varieties, which stay small and mounding, and vining-shrub types which can be pruned to stay low or trained vertically onto a trellis or fence. 

Kristina_Abutilon-959714-edited.jpgProbably their most attractive quality has to be how easy they are to grow. Flowering Maples are very forgiving of occasional neglect and flower sporadically spring through fall, attracting a variety of pollinators such as hummingbirds to the garden. A chameleon of a shady border, Flowering Maples will fit perfectly in the ground, containers, trained into a small tree or trellised onto an arbor or wall. 

They're Kristina's plant pick because:

 "The beautiful bell-shaped flowers are almost always blooming, and the hummingbirds love it!"

Looking to attract the attention of feathered friends?

  Hummingbird Plants

 

Topics: Container Ideas, Hummingbirds, pollinators, Flowers for Shade

Million Pollinator Garden Challenge

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on May 2, 2016 2:57:43 PM

Did you know that one out of every three bites of food you eat is supplied by pollinators? 


Poppybees-1.jpgOne of the largest threats to pollinators today is a loss of habitat and food, and the Pollinator Partnership has come up with a creative solution. The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge encourages gardeners to devote a planting space to pollinator-friendly plants, and then register their garden here, in hopes of reaching one million registered gardens.  

Registered gardens include the location, size and the varieties of plants included in a garden. The Pollinator Partnership website is rich with resources about what types of plants are best for the pollinators in your region

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Green Acres Nursery & Supply has a large selection of flowering perennials, trees, and shrubs (including California natives) which attract all sorts of pollinators such as bees, bats, butterflies, and birds. 

As of spring 2016, there are almost 200,000 registered gardens, and we'd like to help the Pollinator Partnership reach their goal! 

Click the button below to learn about how to create a pollinator-friendly garden.

Appealing to Pollinators

 

 

Topics: Butterflies, pollinators, Bees, Million Pollinator Garden Challenge

Garden Gifts for the Botanically-Minded Mom

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Apr 28, 2016 6:38:06 PM

DSC04225.jpgMother's Day is upon us, so you may be searching for the one thing that will make Mom feel special–not just for the day, but for years to come. If your mom is botanically-minded and enjoys the simple things that remind her of her garden, then Green Acres Nursery & Supply has something we're sure she'll love. 

Not too long ago, a small group of the Green Acres team went in search of items we know gardeners will treasure. Being planting enthusiasts ourselves, we have a pretty keen understanding of what gardeners—with thumbs of all colors—enjoy. We found tools that will last generations, small projects that will get your hands dirty, and things that will personalize your garden retreats. Here's a look at a few things we found...

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Burgon & Ball Garden Tools
Heirloom-quality crafted to last–add gloves and a gift card for Mom. Functional, beautiful and sized for women's hands. Made with waxed FSC beachwood handles, brass and stainless steel. 
Prices start at $30

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Urban Agriculture Flower, Herb, Arugula, Lettuce, and Pepper Garden Kits
Unique recycled tea bag containers with organic seeds and soil–try a mix of herbs for Mom's
favorite recipe.
Herb and Flower Kits $15
Arugula, Lettuce, and Pepper Kits $17

 

 

 

FlashPoint2.pngFlashPoint Candles

Outdoor Candles
Soy wax is hand-poured for an artful touch–Mom is sure to love any of blended citronella scents, while keeping mosquitoes away. The handmade earthen clay pottery piece can be repurposed once the candle is finished. 
Prices start at $55

Indoor Minis
FlashPoint minis are made with soy wax and clean-burning cotton wicks. Choose from a variety of subtle garden scents like Tomato Chile Lime, Blueberry Parsnips, Peony, Peas & Pear, and more. Designed for countertops, baths, coffee tables, end tables...
$9.50 each

 

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Garden Terrarium Kits
A stylish way to display and inside garden–Mom will have fun planting a terrarium with plants you select for her.  The kits come with a 100% recycled glass terrarium—in tabletop and hanging styles— along with charcoal, orchid mix, terrarium soil, moss, gravel, stones, decorative accents and building and care instructions.
Prices start at $30

 

 

 

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One-of-a-Kind Bolga Baskets
Hand-made baskets from Ghana are unique, colorful and can be used all kinds of things: for harvesting veggies, holding a potted plant, as a garden tool basket, or for grocery shopping. Add a potted houseplant, or seed packets and soil, with a nice garden trowel for a fun gift. 

Prices start at $12.50

 

 

 

Topics: Gift Ideas, mother's day, terrariums, garden gifts

The ABC's of N-P-K

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Apr 18, 2016 9:21:55 AM

Fertilizers are an essential tool in any gardener's artillery. Even if you start out with excellent soil, over time the nutrients will be depleted and need to be replenished.  

Fertalizer_NPK-01-542778-edited.jpgThere are many nutrients which are essential to plant growth,  broken down into two groups: macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are used by plants more than micronutrients, the primary macronutrients are nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (often abbreviated by their elemental symbols as N-P-K).

These three elements are indicated on every fertilizer package in that order, here's what they do:

N- The first nutrient listed on the box is nitrogen, which primarily stimulates vegetative, leafy growth.

P- The second is phosphorous, which is used by the plant for root development, flowering, and fruiting. 

K- The third is potassium, which assists plants in developing vigor and overall health by facilitating sugar formation. 

Most of the fertilizers you find in the nursery are formulated for specific groups of plants, such as the E.B. Stone Tomato & Vegetable Food pictured. This is because the ratio of N-P-K is important to direct growth for certain plants. For example, if you feed your tomatoes a fertilizer with relatively high nitrogen, they may push a lot of leafy growth at the expense of fruit. 

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At Green Acres Nursery & Supply, we primarily recommend organic fertilizers because they contain natural sources of macro and micronutrients, which feed the organisms in your soil to promote better soil health long term. They also contain mycorrhizae, which is a relationship between fungi and roots that facilitates better nutrient and water uptake. Finally, organics contain less salt than synthetic fertilizers, which can help plants use less water. 

Tip: Use a Soil Test Kit to determine what nutrients your plants may need. 

For more information about which fertilizers are right for which plants, visit the Garden Solutions department at any of our five locations

Topics: Fertilizers, Organic, Organic Fertilizers

Our Plant Pick: Columbine

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Apr 13, 2016 6:18:56 PM

Our Plant Pick: Columbine
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Columbine (Aquilegia spp) is truly a perennial for the birds. It's botanical name comes from the Latin word aquila, which means eagle, referring to the flower's spurs which resemble an eagle's talons. It's common name is derived from the Latin word columba, meaning dove, as the inverted flowers of certain varieties resemble five doves huddled together. Finally, the beautifully spurred petals of this perennial are loaded with nectar, making them irresistible to hummingbirds. 

Nate_Aquilegia-158903-edited.jpgColumbines are happiest when nestled in dappled shade or morning sun; they're not suited to afternoon sun in the Sacramento Valley. Reaching only about 1-2' high and wide, they're excellent for filling a spring pot-up, or tucked into a shady bed. They can be found in a myriad of colors, and even when they aren't in bloom, their delicate foliage lends textural interest to the garden. Their best quality has to be the beneficial wildlife they attract- from hummingbirds to butterflies, very few pollinators can resist the charm of this whimsical woodland plant. 

It's Nate's plant pick because:

"It's very versatile, you can grow it in a container or in the ground and it's a hummingbird magnet!"

Want to make friends with small-winged wildlife? 

Appealing to Pollinators

Topics: Flowers, Container Ideas, Hummingbirds, Butterflies

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