Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Penstemon 'Margarita BOP'

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jul 30, 2015 5:45:00 PM

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Penstemon 'Margarita BOP'
Penstemon 'Margarita BOP' is distinctly different from other varieties of Penstemon, even at first glance. That's because atop it's compact 2' x 2' mound of foliage are dozens of flowers, which may be sky blue, or iridescent violet, or somewhere in between. This California native perennial was a chance discovery by Las Pilitas Nursery sometime in the early 80's when the workers noticed that this little Penstemon which sprung up on it's own was flourishing despite never being watered, fertilized or tended to. Las Pilitas Nursery is located in Santa Margarita California, and the 'BOP' stands for Back of Porch where the original specimen thrived for over a decade, until it was accidentally smothered by cement. 
Rarely in the garden, do you find a plant that manages to look so good with little maintenance. So 'Margarita BOP' is truly a treasure. If it's ethereal blue-violet flowers don't entice you, maybe the fact that it is drought tolerant, thrives in full sun, and attracts hummingbirds, just might. 

It's McKenna's Pick-of-the-Week because:

"It's an easy-to-grow perennial that comes back strong every year! The flower color is spectacular, and I'm impressed by how it blooms all summer without a lot of water."






Are you crazy for California natives? Learn more about the best California natives for the Sacramento valley.  

Our Favorite Natives


For more ideas on how to re-vamp your yard to be more water wise, check out our Drought Tolerant Plant List.

Topics: Native Plants, Waterwise, Sacramento Low Water Plants, What Can I Plant This Season?, Flowers in the Heat, Low Water Plants, Sacramento Gardening, Summer, Drought Tolerant

Tomato Troubleshooting

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jun 30, 2015 6:14:00 PM

stupiche_tomato-resized-600So you've planted your crop and they've grown up big and strong...what could possibly go wrong?

As every experienced farmer knows, growing veggies is not always easy. There are plenty of pests and diseases that can plague your poor plants and minimize your harvest.

Never fear, Green Acres Nursery & Supply is here to walk you through some common problems and give you the tools and the know-how to fix them. 

Expert Help Available:  
Not sure what troubles your tomatoes? Just take a picture and/or sample into your nearest Green Acres Nursery & Supply Garden Solutions department, and we'd be happy to help you.


 Blossoms falling off and not producing fruit. There are several reasons flowers will drop:

  • Insufficient Pollination: If the flowers are not visited by pollinating insects, they may fail to produce fruit.
    • Solution: Planting flowers around your vegetables can help attract beneficial insects to your garden. You can also hand-pollinate them gently with a small paintbrush.
  • Inconsistent Temperatures: When temperatures reach extremes, it can cause stress to the plant and make pollination difficult.
    • Solution: Mulching can help ease this stress, and will help conserve moisture in the soil. Creating windbreaks around your tomato garden can also help regulate temperatures. 
  • Improper Nutrition: When tomatoes are fertilized with high nitrogen fertilizers, they will push a lot of leafy growth and will not put energy into producing fruit.
    • Solution: Be sure to fertilize your veggie garden with an organic food specifically formulated for them, such as E.B. Stone Tomato & Vegetable Food.
  • Infestations & Fungi: If your tomato is suffering from pests, it will likely be too stressed to produce a good yield.
    • Solution: Bring a sample and/or picture into your nearest Green Acres tomato-hornworm1-406835-editedfor help identifying and eliminating pest problems. 

Problem: Tomato horn worms (pictured) are chewing the leaves of your plant.

Solution: B.T. is a bacteria-derived pesticide which kills the worms, and is safe to use on edibles even up to the day of harvest. 

Problem: Tomatoes crack leaving unattractive scarring on the fruit

Solution: Cracking fruit is usually the result of inconsistent watering. To fix this, mulch around the tomato plant, leaving 4-6" around the base of the plant, open for air circulation, and consider installing a drip system which will regulate water levels.

Problem: Brown, mushy spots on the bottom of tomatoes known as Blossom End Rot. Blossom End Rot can be caused by two main things: calcium deficiency and uneven watering. 

Solution: Mulching around your tomatoes will help keep the soil evenly moist.

Solution: Bonide Rot-Stop® is a great tool for helping combat calcium deficiency of tomatoes, peppers and melons.*

*It is always a good idea to test the soil first before adding amendments.


Want to learn more about growing tomatoes?

Tomato Tips


Topics: Edibles, Beneficial Insects, Tomatoes, Sacramento Gardening

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Coneflower 'Double Scoop Cranberry'

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jun 25, 2015 3:42:00 PM

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: Coneflower 'Double Scoop Cranberry'


Coneflower or Echinacea is a classic garden staple for a multitude of reasons. It's easy to grow, tolerant of a wide variety of soils, blooms profusely summer through fall, and thrives in our hot, dry summers. Because of it's amazing versatility, it has been hybridized into many fantastic colors and cultivars, one of the most dramatic being the 'Double Scoop' series. Tantalizing in their color descriptions: Cranberry, Orangeberry, Bubblegum, and Raspberry, this series has some of the largest flower-size of all the Echinacea family.  


Reaching about two feet tall and wide with a sturdy, well-branched form, this lovely perennial also makes a great container "thriller". It's deer resistant and drought tolerant when established. Plus, it makes a great addition to the cut-flower garden that will come back reliably every year. 

It is Matthew's pick-of-the-week because:

"The vibrant color that radiates from these blooms attract beneficial insects to the garden."









Click for more tips & tricks on attracting beneficial insects to your garden!

Appealing to Pollinators

Topics: Waterwise, What Can I Plant This Season?, Flowers, Flowers for Hot Weather, Low Water Plants, Beneficial Insects, Sacramento Gardening, Summer Flowers, Drought Tolerant

Manage Landscape Water Use with Moisture Manager

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jun 25, 2015 10:43:07 AM

Looking for ways to stretch water in your landscape? A healthy landscape adds value to your home, improves quality of life, and helps cool the climate. Moisture Manager is one of the best preventative measures you can take to keep your plants hydrated during low water seasons.

How does it work?

Moisture Manager uses a patented blend of liquid humectant and hygroscopic compounds known as Hydratain which helps improve the water holding capacity of your soil. Hydratain basically captures small amounts of precipitation and keeps it in the soil where it can be accessed by the roots, rather than being lost to evaporation. It also helps keep the soil moisture levels consistent no matter what your soils texture is, which helps the overall health of your plants during the drought and beyond.


Applying Moisture Manager to your landscape means instant water savings of up to 50% less water.

One quart covers 3,500 sq/ ft and each application lasts 3 months. For more tips on reducing landscape water use, check out our water-saving resources:


Topics: Waterwise, Irrigation Tips, Sacramento Gardening, Drought Tolerant

So Many Benefits to Gardening

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on May 13, 2015 5:08:00 PM


Mandarins-846282-editedEating Fresh, Healthy Food

Some of our best gardening efforts result in a fresh supply of fresh fruits and vegetables — which makes it easy and fun to eat healthy.

Did you know that many water districts do not have the same watering restrictions for edible gardens as they do for the rest of the landscape? Contact your local water district for more information.
Veggie Calendar   


Provide Habitat for Wildlife

Bees, butterflies, birds and other beneficial wildlife. Consider your garden an oasis for creatures big and small. Look for California natives are favorites of our local wild friends.  

Tip: Keep a bird bath clean and filled with water and watch the wildlife flock to your garden.

To keep your garden thriving with less chemicals, practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

Intro to IPM





Bring Community TogetherRaleyFieldGarden-945172-edited

Everyone wants to live in a place with established landscaping. That's not just an opinion, it's science! That's because plants improve air quality, and cool the climate which encourages people to spend more time outdoors. Neighborhoods with established landscapes and large trees have:

  • Higher property value
  • Lower crime rates 
  • Healthier, happier communities overall

Best practices for watering trees

  • Water deeply, yet infrequently
  • Use drip irrigation for slow watering applied directly to the root zone
  • Expand your system to match the width of the drip line as the tree matures



Topics: Sacramento Gardening

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

Spuds 101 - How to Grow Seed Potatoes

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Nov 8, 2014 11:04:00 AM

Why use certified seed potatoes?

Unlike certified seed potatoes, the potatoes that you find at the grocery store are often treated with growth inhibitors to keep them from sprouting. Also, they are not guaranteed to be disease free, and they usually produce spuds that are not uniform in shape.

What kind of certified seed potatoes does Green Acres carry?*

Red LaSoda

Days to Maturity: 80-100

Red LaSoda has a good general disease resistance, and red skin and white waxy flesh. Keeps well, and adapts to a range to climates, withstanding cold, heat and drought.

Alegria Yellow

Days to Maturity: 85-95

Alegria Yellow is prized for its attractive uniform appearance, high yield and low susceptibility to rotting. It produces a stable yield in a variety of different growing climates. It is characterized by golden yellow skin with creamy yellow flesh, and a flavor similar to Yukon Gold.

Accord White

Days to Maturity: 80-90

Accord white is an early producing variety with a high yield. It has creamy skin and creamy white flesh with a uniform oval appearance. Good disease resistance, but relatively short storage potential.

Potatoes thrive in moderate temperatures, not too cold or too warm. Ideal temperatures range from above freezing to below 70° F. Because they are a tuber, they require rich light textured soil with good drainage. If you have poor drainage or heavy clay soil, we recommend planting in raised beds or containers. Heavy clay soil can sometimes deform the shape of potatoes.

In the Sacramento region, potatoes are typically planted between mid-November and March.  


Planting in the ground

Seed potatoes should be planted in rows 12” apart, and the rows should be spaced at least 18-20” apart. First, dig the furrows of your rows at least 4” deep. Cut your seed potatoes into 1 ½ ” pieces with at least two eyes per piece, or leave them whole depending on how large they are.  If you cut them into pieces, let the pieces dry for a day or two before planting, to prevent rot. Lay the seed potatoes in the furrows, eye side up and cover with 2” of soil. Water thoroughly, and then wait. As the potatoes begin to sprout, gently pile more soil on top of them, until your furrow has turned into a mound 4” above soil level. Cover rows with a 2-4” thick layer of mulch to conserve moisture and insulate tubers should the temperatures drop below freezing.

Planting in pots

Fill the bottom of a large container (at least a 15 gallon or larger) with 6” of a rich potting soil or compost. Place seed potatoes, or seed potato pieces on top of the soil, about 12” apart. Top with 2” of soil, water, and wait for them to sprout. After they have begun to shoot up past the soil, continue the process, gently mounding soil around them as the shoots grow, until you reach the top of your container.  Some people apply this method using tires or stackable crates, which allow you more vertical growing space.


Soil should be kept moist, but beware of overwatering if you choose to plant in the ground. Soggy soil will result in rotten potatoes.


Use a starter fertilizer upon planting, we recommend E.B. Stone Sure Start.  Then fertilize with tomato and vegetable food according to the package direction.


Harvest “new potatoes”, or the smaller less mature spuds when the plants begin flowering. Reach under the first few inches of soil and pull them off the plant. Harvest the mature potatoes once the plants turn brown. Harvest time is between 80 and 120 days after planting, depending on variety. When harvesting,  dig carefully to avoid damaging the tubers.

*Available while supplies last, check stores for inventory 

  Veggie Planting Calendar

Topics: Edibles, Sacramento Gardening, Fall Veggies

The Top Nine Japanese Maples for the Sacramento Region

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Oct 22, 2014 5:09:00 PM

Native to Japan and Korea, Japanese maples are prized as specimen trees because of their handsome sinewy trunks and graceful branching habit. They come in a variety of sizes and forms, such as upright, weeping, broad leaf or lace leaf. Our Japanese maples are supplied by reputable growers such as Monrovia, Western trees, Kraemer's and Matsuda's. The varieties listed below are some of the most popular cultivars carried by Green Acres Nursery & Supply.


  • Acer palmatum
Height: 15-25ft
Width: 15-25ft
This is the basic, un-grafted seedling form. It has broad green leaves and a mottled gray-green trunk. Fall color is yellow, orange and red.
  • Bloodgood
Height: 15-18ft
Width: 15-18ft
A perfect specimen of a red, upright maple with deep reddish purple foliage. Foliage retains deep color well into the summer. Bright red fall color.
  • Crimson Queen
Height: 9ft
Width: 9ft
Beautiful weeping lace leaf type with striking burgundy foliage. Fall color is bright reddish purple.
  •  Emperor One
Height: 15-20ft
Width: 15-20ft
An upright variety with bright red leaves. It's comparable to Bloodgood, but grows slightly faster. Scarlet fall color.
  • Inaba Shidare
Height: 8-10ft
Width: 4-6ft
An elegant lace leaf specimen with unusually large leaves. Holds its deep reddish burgundy color through the summer. Crimson fall color.
  •  Red Dragon
Height: 4-6ft
Width: 3-4ft
A dwarf form of weeping maple with beautiful red lace like leaves. Does well in containers. Bright red fall color.
  • Sango Kaku
Height: 20-25ft
Width: 18-20ft
This beautiful coral bark maple has year round interest. Leaves emerge bright green in the spring, and turn yellow in the fall. Bright red bark is visible in the winter.
  • Seiryu
Height: 10-12ft
Width: 10-12ft
An unusual upright variety with delicate lace like leaves. Bright green leaves turn orange and gold in the fall.
  • Viridis
Height: 4-6ft
Width: 8-12ft
A beautiful example of weeping green lace leaf. Leaves emerge yellow green and have a showy yellow gold fall color.

Sun Tolerance

While most varieties of Japanese maples will not thrive in full sun in our climate, some can adapt to sun very well.  Varieties which have broad, red leaves tend to adapt the best, while lace leaf varieties don’t fare as well.  The key to successful adaptation is sufficient irrigation, and a thick layer of mulch to blanket the roots away from the trunk.

Tip:  When the Sacramento heat is unbearable, application of Bonide™ Wilt Stop can help your tree adapt to the afternoon sun by creating a protective barrier, slowing water loss through the leaves.


Japanese maples have very delicate leaves, with thin branches meaning water doesn’t move very quickly up from the roots, and their leaves will show damage if the soil becomes too dry. A 2-4” layer of mulch around the roots slows the evaporation of water in the soil, keeping the roots cool and moist. To avoid crown rot, keep the mulch a few inches away from the trunk of the tree.

The frequency of watering a Japanese maple depends on:

  • Soil texture
  • Sun exposure
  • Wind exposure
  • Size of the tree
  • Season

There is no single answer on how many times per week you should water your tree, because it varies so much depending on the factors listed above.  However, it is always a good idea to water deeply, yet infrequently.  Each time you water, thoroughly penetrate the root zone, and give the water a chance to evaporate out of the soil before watering again.


When planting, use a slow release starter fertilizer, rich in phosphorus, to help develop a strong root system.  We recommend E.B. Stone Organics Sure Start.  Japanese maples are sensitive to accumulated salts in the soil, using an organic fertilizer is the best way to avoid that. As the nutrients in organic fertilizers break down, they feed the microorganisms in the soil, slowly releasing nutrients and building the overall health of your soil.

Once the tree is established, feed it regularly with an organic tree and shrub food.  Apply fertilizer from the time leaves emerge in spring until dormancy.  If your tree is visibly stressed, avoid fertilizing it.  Fertilizers are for stimulating growth, and stressed trees need time to recover.


Japanese maples have a naturally graceful growth habit.  Accentuate their natural beauty by thinning to allow light into the canopy, and avoid “heading” or “shearing” cuts.

Each year, remove any dead branches or branches that are crossing.  It’s always better to prune off a branch while it is small than it is to prune a large branch; it will leave a smaller wound.  Avoid early heavy pruning if you would like your maple to acclimate to the sun. The tree will need as much energy as it can get from its leaves to build its sun tolerance. The best time to prune is in late winter, before the tree leafs out.  Because it is still dormant, you avoid shocking it too much, and because it has no leaves you can see the structure of the tree more clearly.


Signs of stress mean, it’s time to do an inspection.  Closely examining the tree from the roots up is the best way to assess the problem. Keep in mind, a newly planted tree may just be experiencing transplant shock and will likely recover once it’s established.  New trees acclimating to the sun may show signs of sunburn on the outer leaves for the first few years.


Inspection Check List:

  • Starting at the roots, probe the soil with your fingers (wait a few days after watering). Does the soil feel wet? If so, there may be a problem with the drainage, or you are watering too frequently. Tree roots need oxygen as well as water to thrive, so soil should never feel wet for long periods of time.
  • Examine the crown of the tree where the roots meet the trunk. Is it above or below the soil line? The crown should never be allowed to sink below the soil line, or become buried by mulch. The crown should be flush with the soil level. It is easier to add more soil than it is to remove it, so always plant on a slight mound to compensate for settling.
  • How does the tree trunk look? The bark on a Japanese maple is very thin, and damaging it will slow the growth and vigor of the tree. Apply white tree trunk paint to remedy this scorching.
  • Finally, examine the branches and leaves. Leaf curling, ants, oozing sap and yellowing leaves are some symptoms of a pest problem.

    Be Sure to Plant Trees Correctly With our Free Guide

    Tree Planting Guide


Topics: Tree, Planning Your Landscape, Pruning, Sacramento Gardening

WPA Rock Garden is a Local Waterwise Landmark

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jul 7, 2014 5:07:00 PM

WPA Rock Garden 1 resized 600

WPA (Work Progress Administration) Rock Garden began as a depression era project, completed in 1940 and is still thriving today over 70 years later. 

The WPA Rock Garden is located approximately 200 yards west of the Sacramento Zoo in William Land Park. It is truly a gem! Not to mention a wonderful destination for any Sacramento garden enthusiast, especially those interested in waterwise plants.

The one acre garden is comprised of 37 beds containing trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants that perform well in the Sacramento Mediterranean climate. To fully appreciate the garden, it is recommended to visit it frequently as different plants bloom throughout the year. Best blooming time is from late January thru May. The WPA Rock Garden is full of water-wise plants that flourish with little summer watering. The garden has always been a role model of water efficiency.

daisy mah

The lady behind the magic…

Daisy Mah (pictured left*) – nurtured the garden from May 1986 until October 2013.  Many people call it Daisy’s garden since she planted most of the plants that made it the botanical wonder that it is today. Daisy started many of the plants from seeds that she cultivated in her own backyard. When Daisy took over the garden in 1986 it was in severe disrepair. 

The WPA Rock Garden was overrun by invasive groundcovers like Algerian Ivy, Vinca Major and Hypericum. It was quite an ordeal getting the garden in shape and removing all the invasive groundcovers and weeds. Daisy consulted various seed catalogues, local nurseries, as well as nurseries from around the world looking for interesting specimens. The garden now is chock full of interesting and rare plants. One example is a massive Bunya Bunya Tree (Araucaria) that Daisy planted from a seed cone given to her by a friend. One of Daisy’s prized possessions is a Cashmere Cypress that she also grew from seed. This Cypress is stately and looks like a weeping Italian Cypress. This tree is so rare in fact, that it would be difficult to find another one of these particular Cypress throughout the entire U.S.

Daisy retired in October 2013.  Duane Goosen, a well-known Sacramento City Arborist, took over the garden maintenance when Daisy retired. The garden continues to flourish with Duane’s expertise in pruning and horticulture. Daisy visits the garden regularly and offers Duane guidance as he familiarizes himself with his daily chores of maintenance. Daisy plans to return part time to the gardens. We are certain that both the garden and Daisy will continue to shine on.

The WPA Rock Garden is a living piece of history free to the public and open every day. Be sure and bring your camera and imagination along to capture the unique beauty of the WPA garden!

Enjoy these goregous photos from the garden earlier this spring.

water wise plants

flowering trees

water wise plants

water wise plants

water wise plants

*Photo of Daisy Mah credited to Inside Publications 

Topics: Waterwise, Drought Resistant, Sacramento Gardening

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