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Answers to your Frequently Asked Questions


Nature Hills Nursery has created a list of commonly asked questions and listed the answers to those questions on this page as a resource to you.

General FAQ's
Do you have a print catalog that you mail?
What is a zone?
What zone am I in?
Does Nature Hills offer a guarantee?
Can I order over the phone?
Can I place an order without using a credit or debit card?
When do you start shipping?
When do you stop shipping?
Do you ship outside of the continental United States?
Will you sell or publish my personal information?

 

FAQ's about our plants 

What is a bare root tree or plant?
What is a Nature's Pride Select plant?
What are the advantages of a Nature's Pride Select plant?
What is a Nature's Pride Potted plant?
What are the advantages of a Nature's Pride Potted plant?
How can I find out if a plant will be OK in my zone?
Where are your plants grown?
Why do you ship trees and plants to some states and do not ship to others?
How often should I water new plants?
What does slow, medium, and fast growth mean?
How close can you plant plants to each other?
Generally, how deep and wide do tree roots grow?
Will tree roots get into my sewer lines, water lines, swimming pool, or my septic tank leech fields?
How far away from a sidewalk or driveway must I plant a tree to keep the roots from damaging my sidewalk or driveway cement?
Can you change the color of a hydrangea?


Do you have a print catalog that you can mail? 

Yes. Click here to order our free catalog. We have suspended mailing another catalog, but by adding your name to our list, you will be sure to receive our next mailing, if we do issue one.

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What is a zone?

The Continental United States comprises of about 10 climatic zones. The prevailing climate is colder in zone 2 than in zone 10. Plants are very seldom capable of being vigorous in all zones; therefore they are classified as being adaptable in comparable zones.

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What zone am I in?

Use our Zone Finder at the top of this site. Enter your zip code into the zone finder and submit. Your climatic zone number will be displayed.

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Does Nature Hills offer a guarantee?

We do guarantee our plants. Click here to view the terms and conditions of our guarantee.

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Can I order over the phone?

Yes! Call us at (402)934-8116.

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Can I place an order without using a credit or debit card?

At this time we only accept credit cards or bank debit cards for payment.

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When do you start shipping?

Items that are ready to ship immediately will say state a specific shipping time right next to the item on the product page.  Some items, like bareroot plant material, are shipped seasonally in either the spring or fall.  Start times on seasonal items are based upon the weather, and can vary from year to year.  When in doubt, call our customer service department (1-888-864-7663), and we can give you our best estimate based on the current weather condtions.

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When do you stop shipping?

We ship hard goods all year long, while our green goods are shipped during the spring / summer and fall / winter planting seasons.  We will continue to ship as late as possible, as long as the whether will permit safe arrival to your shipping location.

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Do you ship outside of the continental United States?

No, at this time we do not ship outside of the continental United States.

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Will you sell or publish my personal information?

Never. We ensure your personal information is kept in strict confidentiality. Click here to view our privacy policy.

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What is a bare root tree or plant?

A bare root tree or plant is lifted from the soil in the dormant stage and all the dirt is removed from the root system.

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What is a Nature Hills Select plant?

A Nature Hills Select plant is removed from the soil in its dormant stage. It is then graded for size and quality. The dirt is removed from the root system. The plant is kept in a dormant state until shipping.

Nature Hills Select plants may also be called "bare root."

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What are the advantages of a Nature Hills Select plant?

Bare root plants are less expensive because they are grown outside without being placed in containers. They are lighter in weight (no soil on roots), which decreases shipping and handling costs. Larger trees can be shipped without the soil on the roots.

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What is a Nature Hills Potted plant?

A Nature Hills Potted plant, just like is sounds, is a plant that is grown in a pot.  Sizes can vary, depending on the age and root structure of the plant.  The larger the pot size, the larger and more developed the root system.

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What are the advantages of a Nature Hills Potted plant?

Potted plants can be planted and shipped both in the actively growing state and in dormancy. The roots in the pot tend to be better developed and that equates to more tolerance of transplant shock and survivability.

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How can I find out if a plant will be OK in my zone?

Every plant has been classified to be vigorous in the zones exhibited on the plant description and order pages on our web site. Simply find what zone you are in and make sure any plant you buy covers that zone in its Available Zones.

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Where are your plants grown?

Many of our plants are grown locally. Some of our plants are contract grown with seasoned growers in the geographic location where our hardy plant varieties grow best.

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Why do you ship trees and plants to some states and do not ship to others?

Each state's agricultural departments regulate which plants and trees can be grown in their respective states. Some states are quite restrictive when they deem that a tree or plant has the possibility of carrying a disease that may prove harmful to existing plants.

Some states also ban the shipment of all potted plants. Those states are, AK, AZ, CA, HI, ID, MT, OR, UT, WA, and WV.

We endeavor to respect the laws of every state that we ship plant products to, therefore we will not ship a regulated species to any state for any reason.

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How often should I water new plants?

Newly planted materials need water, on the average, at least once a week. Very dry or hot weather can accelerate the need for water. Under extreme conditions, supplemental water should be applied every other day. Make sure the water is applied where the root systems can readily access the moisture.

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What does slow, medium, and fast growth mean?

It is difficult to categorize the growth habits of the many plants that we sell. A slow growing tree or shrub would be a plant that grows less than a foot a year. A fast growing tree or shrub may grow in excess of 2 1/2 feet a year.

The categories slow, medium and fast, try to describe the growth of each plant within their unique species.

Growth rates of the various plant classifications are estimated based on the plant being placed on a good site, with good fertility, adequate moisture and being planted correctly.

 
Slow
Medium
Fast
Trees
Less than 1 foot
1 to 2 feet
More than 2 feet
Shrubs
Less than 1 foot
1 to 2 feet
More than 2 feet
Perennials
Less than 1 foot
1 foot
More than 1 foot
Fruit Trees
Less than 2 feet
More than 2 feet
More than 3 feet
Ferns
Less than 3 inches
More than 3 inches
More than 6 inches
Ground Covers
Less than 1 foot
More than 1 foot
More than 2 feet
Vines
Less than 2 feet
More than 2 feet
More than 3 feet

The growth rates must be interpreted very broadly. Many plants within their own sub-species have unique growth rates.

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How close can you plant plants to each other?

Ultimately this is a consumer preference choice. Most plants will grow in close proximity to one another. Planting them close together prohibits the plant from expressing their true botanical form. This may be preferred if you are attempting to form a screen or hedge.

If your preference is to not have the plants touch each other when they reach maturity, you need to determine the mature spread of the plant in question. The mature spread of each plant we sell is displayed on each plant web page. Example; a plant with a 4 foot spread should not be planted closer than 2 feet from another plant.

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Generally, how deep and wide do tree roots grow?

90% of tree roots are located in the top two feet of the soil. The other 10% of the root system can go much deeper, 12 feet and more. Tree roots need oxygen to provide nourishment to the tree. There is more oxygen in the top two feet, so that is where the majority of the roots can be found.

Deep rooting depends on the species, the soil, and the availability of moisture. Very heavy and hard clay discourages deep root growth. Sandy or loamy soil allows for deeper root penetration.

Heavy lawn watering encourages more surface rooting.

Tree roots extend beyond the drip line of the tree canopy. As a general rule, the farther away the tree roots are from the tree, the smaller the roots are in circumference.

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Will tree roots get into my sewer lines, water lines, swimming pool, or my septic tank leech fields?

The answer is yes if there is a leak and the leak is in the proximity of tree roots. Tree roots seek water. If a water source is available because of a leak, or an opening in a leech field line and there are tree roots in the area, they will quickly invade the area and take advantage of the available moisture.

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How far away from a sidewalk or driveway must I plant a tree to keep the roots from damaging my sidewalk or driveway cement?

An informative article from Iowa State University about roots and trees:

Sidewalks and Trees
How many times have you gone for a walk and noticed sidewalks cracked or heaved out of place because of tree roots? Unfortunately this problem is all too common. Not only are the damaged sidewalks a potential accident for pedestrians, correcting the situation can be damaging to the tree. Prevention is the best possible way to avoid having to deal with problem tree root systems. When root problems develop, root pruning may be necessary. Root pruning, however, should not to be taken lightly.

Avoid planting trees in areas with less than three feet between paved areas. In areas with 3 to 4 feet between paved areas, plant trees that grow to a mature height of less than 30 feet. In areas with 5 to 6 feet between paved areas, select trees that mature about 50 feet tall. Reserve trees that mature higher than 50 feet for areas with at least eight feet between paved areas. This allows adequate space for the tree roots.

Avoid planting shallow rooted tree species near sidewalks. Norway maple (Acer platanoides), red maple (Acer rubrum), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), ash (Fraxinus spp.), sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera), pin oak (Quercus palustris), poplars and cottonwoods (Populus spp.), willows (Salix spp.) and American elm (Ulmus americana) are examples of shallow rooted trees.
Consider installing expansion joints in the sidewalks near trees. This will limit possible sidewalk replacements to just a few sections rather than large areas. Curving and narrowing sidewalk sections near trees might also reduce heaving. Building sidewalks on beds of coarse gravel is also effective at slowing or stopping the heaving. Tree roots will not grow through porous gravel; instead, they grow deeper. The installation of removable or adjustable semi-permanent pavers near trees can serve as alternatives to poured sidewalks. The pavers can be altered when required to compensate for tree root growth.

Install root barriers along the tree-side edge of the sidewalk. The barrier will force tree roots to grow deep below the sidewalk, thus preventing heaving. Barriers can be made of plastic or geotextile fabric. It should extend one foot deep and at least 5 or 6 feet in both directions from the point on the sidewalk edge closest to the tree.

Whenever trees are root pruned, there is always some risk of tree failure. Many factors are involved. Tree species, age, size, site conditions, existing problems, vigor and extent of pruning are just some of the factors. Mature trees are less tolerant of root pruning than young trees, trees on sites exposed to high winds are less tolerant than sheltered trees, and trees with defects or poor general health are not good candidates for root pruning. The closer to the trunk the roots are pruned, the greater the effect on the tree. A rule-of-thumb is to make all cuts at least a distance of three times the trunk diameter from the outside of the trunk. Thus, root pruning of a tree with a trunk diameter of two feet should be done no closer than six feet from the trunk. Make all cuts even farther from the trunk for trees which are judged intolerant of root pruning.

When root pruning mature and intolerant trees use a stump grinder to level the offending roots. Grinding produces less damage than indiscriminate root pruning. After grinding the offending roots, add coarse gravel as a base for a new sidewalk or pavers. Root pruning machines and vibrating plows cause less damage than do trenchers and backhoes. Prune only one quadrant of a tree's root system in a given year; wait at least two years before pruning another quadrant.

Trees tolerant of root pruning include elm, ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis), red maple, silver maple (Acer saccharinum), and sycamore (Platanus occidentalis). Intermediate trees include ash, linden (Tilia spp.), Norway maple, oak, and willow. Trees intolerant of root pruning include beech (Fagus grandifolia), birch (Betula spp.), conifers, Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford'), sugar maple, and tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera). Many trees intolerant of root pruning exhibit problems with windthrow following pruning.

Because trees can experience tremendous damage following root pruning, have the trees inspected by a certified arborist prior to pruning. He or she can help predict how the trees will respond to the procedure. When contemplating tree planting make sure and consider all aspects of the trees location. Look up for power lines, down for underground lines, and around for potential trouble spots. Many future problems can be avoided by taking a few moments for proper planning.

This article originally appeared in the March 31, 1995 issue, p. 36.

Prepared by Sherry Rindels, Department of Horticulture Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

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Can you change the color of a hydrangea?

With the exception of some hydrangeas, such as the white varieties, most hydrangea color depends on the PH of your soil. The more acid in your soil, the more blue. The more alkaline in the soil, the more pink they become. Too encourage pink, add lime. The pink will not appear right away but over time.


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