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. 

Again, refer to 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.  Helpful tips for watering trees on our Watering 101 Guide.

 

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 Sacramento.

Legacy Trees

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

Pruning 101

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Feb 4, 2016 9:57:15 AM

pruning_woody_plants-resized-600-011342-edited.jpgPruning is the act of selectively trimming plant material in order to direct growth. This is done to promote better flowering or fruiting, accentuate a plants natural form or increase it's vigor. Everyone who gardens will eventually utilize pruning to maintain their plants health or appearance, so if you're uncertain about how to prune a specific plant visit one of our five locations and let us walk you through the process. 

The right tools are key to the pruning process. 

Here are our recommendations: 
Prune Like a Pro

When is the best time to prune?

For the majority of plants, the best time to prune is in late winter to early spring. This is because a dormant plant is less likely to have a stress reaction to the removal of limbs and foliage. 

It's better to prune towards the end of the dormant season because:

  • Dense branches can help insulate a plant from frost damage, so you want to leave them on during the coldest parts of winter 
  • Late winter is right before new growth happens in spring, so a plant is ready to close off the wound as quickly as possible when it starts growing as soon as the weather warms up
  • Deciduous plants have no leaves, so it's easier to see their natural forms and access the branches which need to be pruned

Fruit trees, roses, perennials (such as lavender and sage), grasses and most shrubs are pruned at this time of year. Fruit trees and roses can be pruned in several different ways depending on their type, age and desired use. 

Click the link below for tips on pruning roses:

Pruning Roses

Click the link below for tips on pruning fruit trees for the home gardener:

Backyard Orchard Culture

There are some exceptions to the rule, some plants should not be pruned in late winter to early spring.

The following categories of plants should be pruned at different times of year:

  • Apricots and cherries are susceptible to fungal and bacterial infections, and open pruning wounds in cooler weather can exasperate the issue. They should both be pruned after fruiting in late summer or fall. 
  • Trees, shrubs and vines which bloom in spring are blooming on old wood, meaning wood that developed the previous year. As a general rule, any shrub or tree which blooms in spring should be pruned shortly after they've finished blooming. 
  • Hydrangeas- if you have an everblooming variety of Hydrangea such as the 'Endless Summer'® or 'Let's Dance'® series, they can be pruned throughout the year. The varieties which bloom annually shouldn't be pruned after mid-August. 

What types of pruning cuts are there?

Heading: Heading cuts prune away the tip of a branch, or it's terminal shoot. This is usually done to stop a branch from growing longer, and encourage bushy growth from lateral shoots. A heading cut on the main leader of a tree, is known as topping. Topping will stunt the tree from growing taller, and is not generally recommended. 

Blueberry_pruning-resized-600.jpgThinning: Thinning cuts (pictured) are where you select a lateral branch you would like to shorten, trace it back to it's point of origin, and cutting it off there. Thinning reduces size while maintaining a plant's natural form–ideal for pruning Japanese Maples. For plants which send up branches in a clumping pattern directly from the ground, the branch is traced back and cut at ground level. 

Shearing: Shearing is a type of pruning in which a lot of small branches are cut with "heading" cuts all at once, usually flush to the same level vertically or horizontally. Shearing encourages dense, uniform lateral growth for a neat and trimmed form–typically to maintain hedges and topiaries.

Note: Whenever shearing a hedge, always shear it at a slight angle like a pyramid, where the base is wider than the top, so that the top of the hedge doesn't cast shade and prevent light from reaching the lower branches. 

Pinching: Pinching is a way of preventing a bud from developing into a branch or flower. It is generally only done to new growth or herbaceous plants, anything soft enough to be severed with your fingers. This method is good for directing growth of young plants, and preventing flowering or fruiting. 

Topics: Winter, Tree, Shrubs, Pruning, Roses, Fruit Trees, Japanese Maples, Perennials

Caring for Trees in a Drought

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Aug 12, 2015 4:39:02 PM

Sacramento is the city of trees, boasting one of the largest urban forests in the nation. With mandatory statewide watering restrictions, many people are wondering how they can keep their trees healthy on a limited watering schedule.

The Sacramento Tree Foundation recently launched a new campaign called Save Our Water & Our Trees to bring awareness to the value of continuing to care for and plant trees even in low water years. California has a Mediterranean climate, and our state will continue to cycle through periods of low water. It is more important now than ever that people plant shade trees and nurture their established trees so they may preserve their countless benefits for generations to come. 

shade_trees3

Here are some simple ways to care for trees during low-water years:

  • Trees do best with deep watering, which means very slowly irrigating the soil so that the water percolates down through to where the roots are, as opposed to running off or only saturating the first few inches of soil. To facilitate a slow, deep soaking, try using a drip system with a timer. 
  • Mulching around the tree about 2-3" thick will suppress water-thirsty weeds, cools the soil, and reduces evaporation of water from the soil by up to 70%. To prevent crown rot, be sure to keep the mulch 6" away from the trunk. 
  • If you are planting a new tree or have a tree that is on a slope, try creating a "basin" of raised soil a few feet around the circumference of the trunk so the water is sure to seep down into the root zone where it's needed. 
  • Keep a bucket in the shower to "cold-catch" water as your shower is heating up. You can feel good about using water that would have gone to waste to help save your trees.

Things to avoid:

  • Pruning. Unless you are removing branches that are already dead, refrain from doing any heavy pruning on a stressed tree during the summer. Stressed trees send out chemicals which attract insect pests, and pruning wounds make them even more susceptible to infestations.
  • Fertilizing with Synthetics. Unlike organic fertilizers, synthetics cause trees to push a lot of unsustainable water-thirsty growth. 
  • Watering with Sprinklers. Sprinkler systems put out a lot of water very quickly, which is okay for watering shallow-rooted plants such as turf, but less than ideal for trees.
    Unsure of how to begin? come into any Green Acres Nursery & Supply Garden Solutions department and we'll walk you through the steps of retrofitting your sprinkler system to drip. 

How do I know when to water?

The frequency of watering depends on three main factors: your soil's texture, the tree's species and its age. 

1. Soil Texture 

  • If you have dense clay soil, the particles are very small with little space for the water to move through, meaning that you must water very slowly. However, it also dries out very slowly so it's best to water deeply, yet infrequently.
  • If you have sandy soil, the particles are large and therefore water moves through it rapidly. It will also dry out quickly, so you may need to water more frequently. 
  • If you have loamy soil, the particles are medium-sized and tend to allow water to move through at a moderate pace. This is the ideal soil texture, usually people have combinations of all of the soil textures throughout their yard. 

No matter your soil texture, you should always probe your soil at least 6" down to determine how moist it is at that depth before watering. If the soil is crumbly or hard, add water. If it is sticky or moist, do not water. 

More information about how soil's texture affects your watering needs...  Watering 101

2. Tree Species

If you are planting a new tree, consider planting one that will have low or moderate water use once established. All young trees need regular water to develop a healthy, extensive root system. However, a young tree will only need 10-15 gallons per week, which is negligible when you consider all of the benefits that tree will eventually provide. 

Here are some shade trees which are well adapted to the Sacramento region: 

Small-Medium

  • Crape Myrtles
  • Chinese Pistache 'Keith Davey'
  • Arbutus 'Marina'

Medium-Large

  • Chinese Elm
  • Scarlet Oak
  • Tupelo
  • Ginkgo 'Autumn Gold'
  • Raywood Ash

This is just a small sampling, there are many other trees which are low-water when established that may be the right fit for you. For more information, check out Top 10 Legacy Trees for the Sacramento Region, or come into any Green Acres Nursery & Supply location and we'll help you find what you need. 

3. Tree Age

Young Trees (>5 Years old)

  • Roots are located mostly a few feet around the trunk, to a depth of 12-18"
  • Requires 10-15 gallons of water per week
  • Slowly soak the area around the base of the tree 2-3 times per week with 5 gallons each time

Established Trees (5+ Years old)

  • Roots are located mostly outside of the dripline, or the width of the tree's canopy, to a depth of 1-2'
  • Avoid watering near the trunk, or on the foliage 
  • Expand your watering to accommodate the tree's expanding dripline as it grows

tree_dripline

In addition to these three main factors, it's important to account for environmental conditions which affect how much water is used by the tree. Trees planted near heat traps such as driveways and foundations may need more frequent irrigation. 

Best Irrigation Methods

  • A garden hose on a slow trickle
  • A soaker hose, such as Dramm Tree Soaker Ring
  • Irrigation tubing with drip emitters built in (inline tubing)
  • Micro-spray emitters or any other low-flow drip system
  • Deep Drip Tree watering stakes 

More information on irrigation efficiency and other water-saving tips...  #waterwise

Topics: Tree, Irrigation Tips, Drought Tolerant

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_leaves

  • 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.
 
 
  
 
 
acer_palmatum
 

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.

Watering

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.

Fertilizing

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.

Pruning

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.

Troubleshooting

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

Why Gardeners are Choosing Columnar Apples

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Oct 22, 2013 5:23:00 PM

columnar apples

Have limited space but love growing fruit?  Why not grow columnar apples?

What are columnar apple trees?  

They are apple trees that grow UP, like columns.  The tree grows vertically with almost no branches and are an excellent space saver.  They can be planted in the ground or in containers.  They work especially well in small areas like decks or patios and grow up to 7-9' tall at full maturity.  Delicious apples are produced in clusters along the trunk off of short spurs.  Depending on the variety chosen a pollinator may be required, so check with a nursery professional for more details. 

Why plant columnar apples?

If space is an issue or if you are just nuts about planting edibles be sure to look into columnar apples.  A typical apple tree can get up to 20 feet tall.  However, with columnar apples you get the fresh produce in a fraction of the size.  

columnar apples

When do they produce?

Apple season is here!  It begins in September and goes through November depending on the variety.  The beauty of the columnar apple is that you get gorgeous full sized fruit the first year you plant them!

columnar apples

Planting Ideas

Try planting columnar apples in two twin containers, we think they look especially lovely when they are flanking a front door or entry way.  If you have a sunny back patio plant in a line of containers like glazed pottery or whiskey barrels.  This can act as a privacy screen to help separate you from the neighbors, or simply to separate your outdoor space.  

Planting Requirements:

  • Plant in full sun.  (At least 6 hours of sunlight per day)
  • Plant trees 2 feet apart
  • Plant at least 2 trees for cross-pollination purposes
  • Water regularly during fruit development

Want even more garden tips for Sacramento?
 

Subscribe to E-Newsletter

 

Topics: What Can I Plant This Season?, Edibles, Tree, Planting Ideas, Backyard Orchard

Why Crape Myrtles Take the Stage This Summer

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jul 15, 2013 9:54:00 AM

 

crape myrtle




The Crape Myrtle,
or Lagerstroemia indica, gets its name from the abundant spires of crepe-like flowers that it bears in the warm, summer months. These showy flowers combined with attractive bark, beautiful fall foliage water-wise properties and high durability have made the Crape Myrtle a popular choice within Northern California landscapes.

 

 

 

 

crape myrtle tree

 

A Little Background Information

 
Lagerstroemia indica are native to South East Asia, Australia, Oceania and the Indian sub-continent, making them a perfect candidate for the dry heat in regions of Northern California. Known to some as “living bouquets,” their floral tufts range in color from soft lavender to vivacious red and many shades in between. The Crape Myrtle comes in a wide variety of sizes and is available as a tree or shrub. Gardeners may choose from a dwarf that can remain as small as 3’ to a tree that can reach up to 30’ high.

 

 

 

 

plantingmyrtle

How to Care For and Maintain Your Crape Myrtle

Crape Myrtles are some of the most accommodating plants, thriving in dry, full sun and requiring less maintenance than most trees and shrubs. Follow these simple tips to help ensure its success in your garden:

Be sure to plant in a dry, full sun area and thoroughly soak the root ball at time of planting. Click here to refer to our planting guide for a complete how-to on planting any tree or shrub.

 

Crape Myrtle Shrub, Natchez variety

  • Implement a deep watering schedule until the Crape Myrtle has become established (usually 3-5 years). Once established, the plant can survive off of less water and really utilize its drought-tolerant abilities. Smaller trees will reach this point quicker than large trees.  
  • Clip spent flowers to promote a round of additional flowering throughout the season.

  • Choose the right variety for your space to avoid unnecessary pruning. If needed, refrain to light pruning in the winter and early spring.

 

 

 

This Season's Top-picks

These popular varieties of Crape Myrtles have won the hearts of many gardeners and landscapers alike,
making them top-picks of the season!
  

#1 Dynamite

Dynamite Crape Myrtle flowers

#2 Red Rocket

Red rocket Crape Myrtle flowers

#3 Tuscarora

Crape Myrtle Tuscarora lg

#4 Catawaba

Catawba Crape Myrtle Variety

#5 Natchez

Natchez Crape Myrtle flower

 

Come catch a glimpse of their luscious flowers and learn more about this amazing plant. Feel free to stop by any of our locations and we can help you find the perfect Crape Myrtle to fit your landscape. 

 

Want other low water planting ideas? 

Drought Tolerant Plants

Topics: Shrubs for Sacramento Area, Tree, Shrubs, Low Water Plants, Planting Ideas, Summer

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