Come Meet the Experts at Dig into Spring

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Mar 17, 2015 3:37:41 PM

Green Acres is hosting our third annual Dig Into Spring Ideas Fair at our new location in Elk Grove, March 21 & 22, and we want you to join us!

Dig Into Spring Event

In addition to food trucks, music, raffle prizes, vendor booths and seminars, we are very excited to host book signings by two local gardening experts: Carolyn Singer & Michael Glassman!

Carolyn Singer is a local gardening guru and author of the Deer in my Garden series, as well as her new book: The Seasoned Gardener. Residing near Grass Valley, Carolyn's Deer in my Garden series is the result of much trial-and-error testing in her own garden, to determine which plants really have the best deer resistance in the Sierra Nevada foothills. 




Her newest book is titled The Seasoned Gardener: Five decades of sustainable & practical garden wisdom. It is a compilation of articles she wrote for her column 'The Seasoned Gardener', published by The Union in Grass Valley. 

Carolyn will be signing books at our Dig Into Spring Ideas Fair on Saturday March 21 & Sunday, March 22 from 11am-4pm. 



Michael Glassman is an award winning landscape designer and consultant with over thirty years of experience designing breathtaking landscapes in Northern California. He has authored and co-authored five books, including the Kinder Gardens series, a playful series of books geared towards getting young children interested in gardening. 



 His newest book is titled The Garden Bible, a step-by-step guide to planning and designing your dream garden, which will be published in Spring of 2015.  

Michael will be signing books at our Dig into Spring Ideas Fair on Sunday, March 22 from 11am-1pm.


Check out our seminar schedule below for details on our weekend-long Dig into Spring workshop series!
Seminar Schedule

Topics: Free Events, Planning Your Landscape, Sacramento Gardening, Deer Resistant, Green Acres Events, Landscape Design, Events

Are you a Water-Wise Homeowner?

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jan 15, 2014 3:11:00 PM

water wise

Gardeners know that water is an essential part of plant sustenance and growth. Roots take moisture from the soil and carry it to the plant’s trunk, stems, and leaves. Moisture is constantly released by a plant as part of its breathing process, called transpiration. 

Understanding how to water your plants properly can save you money and make the gardening experience more rewarding.Read on to learn our best practices for watering.  

Consider these variables to determine best watering practices for your landscape: 

  • Plant type 
  • Soil type
  • Plant size
  • Season
  • Plant location


  1.   Is it your lawn?  An annual, native shrub or shade tree? 
  2.   Is it newly planted (less than 2 years old) or is it an established plant? 
  3.   Is it planted in a container or in the ground?  The same plant will require  more water if planted in a pot versus in the ground.

Plants are typically classified as high, moderate or low water plants.  The following is a guide to help understand which plants are each category.  

Plants with High Water Needs: Plants that require a lot of moisture

  • Evergreen trees
  • Certain fruit trees
  • Small shrubs
  • Many vines
  • Certain perennials
  • Roses
  • Many vegetables
  • Lush ground covers

waterwise landscape resized 600

Plants with Moderate Water Needs: Plants require regular moisture and shouldn't be too wet or too dry.

  • New plantings of drought tolerant plants and succulents
  • Ornamental trees
  • Shade trees
  • Shrubs


Plants with Low Water Needs: Plants need less than regular moisture. Watering every 2-3 weeks.

  • Established drought tolerant plants and succulents.  
  • This category includes water-wise perennials, certain fruit trees, and a large selection of trees & shrubs.  

Define your landscape. Is your yard a high, moderate or low water landscape?


Sandy Soils

  • Coarsely textured and have large pores in the soil therefore they do not hold moisture well
  • Soil drains quickly. Plants may need more frequent watering.

Loamy Soils

  • Medium texture and are composed of clay, silt, and often organic matter.
  • Ideal soil
  • This rich soil holds moisture well.
  • Checking soil in between waterings will prevent over-watering.

soil types

Clay Soils

  • Fine textured with very small pores in the soil so there’s little air..
  • This soil holds onto water a long time and does not drain quickly.
  • Clay soils need slow, deep watering to allow the water to percolate down to the root zone.




Potting Soil

  • Ready to use for plants in containers.
  • Most are designed to hold moisture well.
  • With containers it is important to keep the pot raised on ‘pot feet’ to assure proper drainage.

Describe your soil type.Is it sandy, loamy, clay, or potting soil? Soil testing kits are available to determine what soil type you have. Try soil amendments to make existing soils richer in organic matter and closer to a loamy state. 


The larger the plant typically the more water it will need. Unless it is an established drought tolerant plant.




  • During spring the ground is warming up and plants are coming out of dormancy- its an ideal time to plant.
  • If using a drip irrigation system, trees and shrubs should go on separate valves as their watering requirements differ.
  • After new plantings the soil needs to be kept moist but not soggy. With established plants allow the soil to dry slightly before watering again.  
  • Depending on rainfall frequency your established landscape will need to go back on a regular watering schedule. Drip irrigation can be turned back on but adjust frequency and time according to the weather. 


  • Most watering mistakes occur this time of year. Soil should never be soggy especially overnight as this increases the potential for disease and pest problems.
  • The daytime temps can be extreme; however plant stress does not always indicate to water more.
  • Confirm that drip irrigation emitters are flowing properly.
  • Small plantings such as annuals and hanging baskets will need deep watering more often. Established shrubs and trees benefit from deep infrequent watering.
  • Deep watering encourages roots to go to deeper soil levels.
  • Established natives will only need occasional watering.


  • Daytime temps can be warm, but the evening temps cool off.
  • Very ideal time to plant, especially California natives and other low water plants. 
  • Monitor drip according to temperatures.


  • Most shrubs and trees are dormant but still will require occasional watering.
  • The ground is cold and will hold onto water longer. The soil should not go completely dry.
  • Drip irrigation needs to be adjusted and often can be turned off especially during a wet winter. Tip: Try Hunter Solar Sync sensor which automatically adjusts water based on enviromental needs.
  • During a freeze it is crucial for the plants to be hydrated. Water before applying frost cloth to insulate your plants.


Watering practices vary depending on the plant’s location. Imagine you have a plant that gets 6 hours of full, hot afternoon sun. It will require more water than that same plant with morning sun and afternoon shade. Adjust watering times on irrigation systems accordingly.Take adjacent reflective heat sources such as walls or concrete patios into consideration, these surfaces absorb heat from the sun and radiate them onto your plants into the evening. 

waterwise succulents 





Topics: Waterwise, Irrigation Tips, Reduce Water Costs, Landscape Design

Low-Water Plants

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jun 28, 2013 2:03:00 PM

low water plants

The upcoming season will be a hot and blistery summer.  Plants will have to manage the heat and try to thrive in bone dry soil after having a particularly dry winter.  Keeping plants watered through the dry season is a necessary challenge.  Since resources- including time, money, and water- are precious, we want to give some tips to maintaining your landscape effectively through water-wise gardening practices.

Good Watering Practices

Water-wise gardening begins with a consistent and water-efficient method of watering.  Take some time to review your watering system, including irrigation, timers, and hoses.  Are you making the best use of available water?  Have you ever walked around your neighborhood in the summer and seen streams of good water running off from a broken sprinkler? The Sacramento Bee reports that landscape water is responsible for 65% of household water usage. The good news is you can use water responsibly and it's easy. 

Four tips for reducing water usage: 

  1. Plants should be watered early in the morning for minimal evaporation. Set your automatic timer for the hours of 5 - 8 am.  
  2. More specialized irrigation systems include controllers with sensors that directly respond to local environmental data.  By using smart technology, plants are only watered as needed. We suggest the Solar Sync system by Hunter.
  3. Drip irrigation is the most efficient water-conserving method of irrigation.  With drip irrigation, water is released to plants slowly and steadily in droplets. Drip irrigation uses water sparingly and can be used with excellent results for plants and shrubs with low-to-moderate water requirements.
  4. Lastly, simple upkeep of your irrigation system improves the long term functioning of equipment, and reduces unnecessary water waste. Make sure the controller is updated for the season. Check for leaks in hoses and irrigation valves. 


Choose the Right Plant for the Right Place

Plant selection is the second aspect of water-wise gardening.  If you have full sun, poor soil and want to minimize the use water then it's important to choose sturdy and unthirsty plants. There are many plants with low-to-moderate water needs that will look stupendous in the garden. 

Listed below are a few examples of ideas for low-water-use plants for full sun. Many of which attract beneficial insects and butterflies!  As a rule of thumb, when choosing plants, look for California or Mediterranean natives. They tend to do well in our climate and have low water needs. As an additional resource, the UC Davis Arboretum has a list of plants called the Arboretum All Stars which have been thoroughly tested, and proved their ability to thrive with limited water.

  • Perennials: Salvias, Lantana, Lavender, Coreopsis, Echinacea
  • Cacti: Agaves, Yucca 
  • Grasses: New Zealand Flax, Red Fountain Grass, Melinas 
  • Groundcovers: Lantana, Manzanita
  • Trees & Shrubs: Crape Myrtle, Butterfly Bush


Lavenders and salvias (sage) have bright, colorful blooms for full sun and the salvias are available in a wide variety of colors. They can grow to two-to-four feet tall and wide, depending on the variety.


Agaves and Yuccas are desert plants so they'll feel right at home in a full sun, low water environment.  


You can choose a grass-type plant such as New Zealand Flax for their foliage, to create some variation in plant appearance.  These are mid-sized plants with dramatic appeal.  Also, red fountain grass is a stellar accent grass that adds both color and texture with one plant.


Drought tolerant groundcovers are a great choice for vast areas or hillsides. Lemon Thyme is a beautiful low growing goundcover. For a taller (2-3 ft.) option, try trailing Lantana which comes in white, purple and yellow. Manzanita is native choice for a hill side. 

low water plants

Trees & Shrubs:

Some shrubs that work well in low-water gardens include Butterfly Bush (Buddleja), Rockrose (Cistus) and Japanese Barberry. Trees, including Strawberry Tree Arbutus ‘Marina’, Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia) (pictured), Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis) and others, can tolerate minimal water and continue to contribute shade and beauty to the landscape.

Landscape with the Aim to Conserve

Your garden will benefit from some rehearsal of good landscaping principles that emphasize conservation. Aim to choose plants that are compatible with your area’s conditions. Knowing plant size, season of flowering, and seasonal maintenance can be important considerations. 

Sun and water requirements are a big factor for water-wise gardening. Try to group plants by their water needs.  All plants, including low water plants, will need moderate water to become established.

You can always get creative with water-wise gardening. Xeriscaping means creating a low-water landscape through the use of low-water plant choices and also landscaping methods.  For example, landscaping with sand or rock in open garden areas is an attractive way to reduce water usage by decreasing plant area that requires watering. 

Drought tolerant plants are well-suited to growing en masse.  Attractive landscapes will exhibit multiples of plants for a massed effect. Repeated colors also add strength to the overall garden character.  

Maintaining a thriving garden over summer requires flexibility and often some experimentation, so have fun with it.  

Topics: Irrigation Tips, Flowers, Planting Ideas, Reduce Water Costs, Landscape Design

Diversifying Space Through Plantings

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Apr 29, 2013 9:35:00 AM

We are working on a series of blog posts about how plan your landscape before you plant.  If you need a refresher on the first article in the series, click to read Landscape Programming Like a Pro.

In the last article, we touched upon landscape programming which combines the elements of your site with the activities that would be best supported. Now let’s expand that by diversifying space through plantings.  First things first, you need to learn an important defintion...transition space.

front door resized 600Transition space divides the passive and active areas in the yard as well as the public and private realms of the property. Take your front door as an example.  For privacy sake, most homeowners would prefer that their front door would not be directly open onto the street or sidewalk.  There are various practicical reasons for this, but it is also important for design and aesthetics.  A front door of a home needs transition space between the public and private realm. So, the front patio, walkway and swinging gate all act as a transition space or slight barriers between the street and your front door. Walkways and gates are great, but to better improve the transition spaces we can use plants, structures and materials to help with that transition.  All of these items should support the scale of the home or building. For example, tall, park-like trees or short, bonsai-type plants would be out of scale for a typical one-story residence in the Sacramento area.  We need to find plants in between very tall or extremely short to work as transition pieces in the landscape.  Here at Green Acres, we meet with homeowners from our area on a daily basis and many of them followup and tell us what worked.  Below are some plants that come highly recommended from Green Acres plant experts and our customers who planted them.

Evergreen plants are a nice choice for transition spaces.  Try these evergreen plants to help increase transition space in your yard:

diversifying Space through plantings

  • Sky pencil Holly (formal upright shape) available in 1, 5 and 10 gallon
  • SkyRocket or Spartan Juniper (formal upright shape) available in 5 and 15 gallon
  • Icee Blue Podocarpus (formal upright shape) available in 5 and 15 gallon
  • 2-Tier Privet or Boxwood Topiary (formal upright shape) available in 5 and 15 gallon
  • ‘Teddy Bear’ Southern Magnolia (informal upright shape) available in 5 gallon
  • Compact Cherry Laurel (informal upright shape) available in 5 and 15 gallon
  • African Boxwood (informal spreading shape) available in 1 and 5 gallon
  • Grevillea (informal spreading shape) available in 1 and 5 gallon

grevillea1 resized 600

Next, let’s work on diversifying the original 5 landscape elements from the last article:


  1. The Envelope: To diversity and strengthen the envelope of your property, plant a mixture of evergreen and deciduous plants. If you want privacy, try planting upright shaped plants from the list above.  'Icee Blue' Podocarpus is a wonderful upright choice. If you want to enjoy your view of the horizon plant lower plants from the list above like Grevillea, or African Boxwood.
  2. Openness to the Sky: To increase the amount of openness to the sky plant trees close to the house for summertime shade and perhaps along the outer corners or a tree cluster for visual impact. Having some openness to the sky means allowing full-sun and native plants to thrive (such as Western Redbud, California Lilac, Ground cover Manzanita, Flannel Bush, and Santa Barbara Daisy). Leaving some openness is valuable.  
    diversifying plantings
  3. Landscape Style: Hone in on one type of landscape style for your property. You can expand upon it later-but for now, try and emulate one style.  If it’s an English Cutting Garden-use lots and lots of spring-autumn perennial blooms: Spirea, Lilac, Lavender, Bachelor’s Buttons, Shasta Daisy, Salvia, Butterfly Bush, Penstemon, Coreopsis...If it’s a coastal or California native garden use: Arbutus marina, Western Redbud, California Lilac, Pride of Madeira,
    Coffeeberry, Flannel Bush, California Fuchsia, Santa Barbara Daisy.
  4. Architectural Footprint: If the architectural theme of your home is lacking a cohesive aesthetic try adding architectural elements such as welded-wire trellis’ (at the Roseville location for $50 and up), welded-wire arches, or oversized glazed pottery pieces to flank the left and right sides of the front walkway or back patio. This will rapidly increase overall visual appeal.
  5. Diversity of the Site: To expand site diversity, look at all the ways your yard is monotone or the same-and now change it. Use evergreens and deciduous plants together; push taller plants up against shorter plants in front of the planting bed. Place bright red Cordyline or Pink Stripe New Zealand Flax against a monotone wall of evergreens. 
Diversifying space through plantings

Look better? We thought so! These are just a few tips when trying to diversify your landscape space.  Visit us if you have questions about specific plants or would like more inspiration for your landscape.  If you need some professional advice, then we invite you to visit our store's contractor board.  We list contact information from local landscapers and designers that can help.



Contact Us!

Topics: Shrubs for Sacramento Area, Planning Your Landscape, Planting Ideas, Landscape Design

Landscape Programming Like a Pro

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Mar 29, 2013 10:16:00 AM

Interested in improving the flow of your property?

Landscape programming is a great way to assess your space and utilize it to its full potential. Here’s how to get started:
landscape programmingGet to know your property by thoroughly evaluating the site during the different seasons of the year. Walk around the area in order to help you gain perspective on the overall “feel” of your environment. If it’s a newly acquired property, try to envision what the landscape looks like during all the seasons of the year.

Once you’ve observed the space from an outsider’s perspective, sit down in the yard and immerse yourself in the environment. Observe the following elements:

1) The envelope: What surrounds the area? Is it water, a tree line, a fence?
2) Sky visibility: Is there anything obstructing the view of the sky?
If so, is it over the whole space or just the perimeter? Is it densely or lightly obstructed?
3) Landscape style: What is the dominant type of planting on the site? Meadow?
Forest? Orchard? Mixed? Does it match what you envision for the future?
4) Architectural influence: What is the overall architectural theme of the house or site? Does that match up with your preferred style?
5) Diversity of the site: How diverse is the site? Is it primarily shady or sunny? Does the site have subtle or drastic transitions in the terrain? Is it colorful or monochromatic?

landscape programming
There is no singular “ideal design” to fit everyone’s yard. The answers to the questions above help us to understand if the present site conditions are functional for the future design. For example, we wouldn’t want to plant an orchard immediately next to a formal Japanese garden because they require different water, sunlight, and growing needs. An orchard needs active year-round maintenance and heavy equipment hauled in occasionally. A Japanese garden, on the other hand, is a sacred space that requires privacy, a diverse assortment of plants, and quiet areas for contemplation.

When a professional landscape designer evaluates a site, they take into consideration the property owners’ desired use of the land in conjunction with the physical limitations of the area.  They look for complementary programs and match those to an area, and they set aside space for one activity to smoothly transition to another (i.e. an open lawn with a shade tree that can support picnic use, dog play, and a volleyball court during summer months).

landscape programming

Be it a sprawling country estate or a unique urban lot, you must now consider the 4-5 activities the site will be primarily used for. These guide the site program. Here are some examples of activities you may want to facilitate in your backyard:
1) A medium sized area to play with the dogs
2) A quiet courtyard seating area with a diverse plant palette
3) A fenced area for growing fruit and vegetables
4) An open area for mixed use (room for painting, a place for bicycles, and outside storage)
5) A cool patio area for outdoor dining in the summer

Once you have prioritized your desired activities, look for the space in the yard that is best suited to each activity. Consider how the outside envelope factors, such as loud neighbors or a busy street might affect that program. Also examine how the sky visibility, landscape style, architectural influence, and site diversity all play a role in shaping the site program.

landscape programming

Assess which of your desired activities are “passive” and which are “active”; keep the passive activities away from the exterior envelope as they benefit most from a quiet, protected environment. Active activities involve high energy and movement, such as sports whereas passive activities involve relaxing, such as reading a book. Passive and active spaces benefit from a cushion of transition space dividing them. This is where the magic of diverse plants, winding pathways, stone walls, arbors and other yard elements assist in softening transitions. Areas near doorways are typically active; areas deeply buffered through transition space are passive, while areas along property envelopes are transitional spaces between public and private space.

Once you match your site activities to site functionality you can program like a pro! The well designed landscape will smoothly incorporate the physical elements of the site with its projected land use. The idea is create a cohesive program which respects the diversity of site, as well as complimenting its overall architectural style.  

With water prices rising each year there has been an increased interest in Water Wise Landscaping.  If you would like to use low water plants in your landscape we have a resource for you!  

Low Water Plants


Topics: Landscape Design

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