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Nature Hills Nursery Garden Blog

  • When is the best time of day to water plants?

    Best time of day to water plants?

    When is the best time to water plants?I know you've thought it, but were too afraid to ask anyone. Fear not! You're in good company. We get asked that question a lot around here. "when is the best time of day to water plants?" Super easy answer -  Watering in the morning is usually the preferred time.

    "But, what if I can't do that? I can barely get the toast and coffee in my mouth as I'm running out the door to work in the morning!"

    You'll be happy to know that watering any time of the day can be done, especially if you are using soaker hoses or watering with a wand. Applying the water below the foliage is the goal. Continue reading

  • Why Do People Paint Tree Trunks White?

    White Painting Tree TrunksSo, you're taking a Sunday drive and come upon a grove of trees that look like they've been vandalized. The trunks have all been painted white about 6 feet up the tree! What in the world is going on here? Well, there are several reasons for white painting tree trunks.

    For one , it's an effective method of reducing re-infestation of borers, etc., that either hide in trunk bark to overwinter or overwintering in soil to crawl up the tree in spring.

    It is also the traditional way to protect fruit tree trunks from heat and sun is to paint them with a thick coat of lime and water. Most of the time the lime and water are heated to make the coating last longer.

    Continue reading

  • Pinching Back Plants

    Pinching back sounds like it would hurt doesn't it? I remember getting pinched when I was younger and it usually meant I had done something to deserve it.  It sure didn't help me grow, even though I did learn not to do whatever caused the pinching again. Even so, I did grow, didn't I?

    As counterintuitive as this sounds,  pinching back plants can actually produce more flowers and even more foliage on a plant. It helps the plant to put out energy on new growth. To pinch back, you will want to make sure that the plant is at least 2-4 inches tall.

    Continue reading

  • Pruning Lilacs

    Pruning Lilacs

    Lilacs are low-maintenance, easy to grow, and are very hardy plants. They offer good summer shade once they have reached their mature height, and do provide privacy from the neighbors! The average size for a lilac bush is approximately 10 feet (3.04 m).

    Tackling the job of trimming, shaping, and pruning lilacs is easiest when you know how. Pruning should be done immediately after the flowers have died off. With a little pruning knowledge and how to replenish the old wood with new shoots, the shrubs can last a lifetime.
    Continue reading

  • Tree Pruning

    Tree pruning videos at times can get somewhat long and actually boring. This tree pruning video is approximately 1 minute in length and gives several great tips.

    This video covers pruning small branches to an example of a tree that was improperly topped, along with tools you will need to prune your tree.
    Continue reading

  • Growing Amazing Fruit: Techniques for Success (public domain image)

    Growing fruit trees in the continental United States normally dictates that we plant deciduous fruit trees. An exception would be citrus fruit trees, which are grown in subtropical zones (zones 9 and 10), or in containers for inside temperature control. Nursery grown fruit trees are usually orchard quality trees that are grown by fruit growers and the backyard gardener for producing backyard fruit.

    The zone in which the fruit grower is located is critical for success for the many fruit varieties that are offered. All nursery grown fruit tree varieties have zone recommendations on the tags or in the nursery advertisements. Zone specifications are just as important to the backyard fruit grower as the professional orchard fruit grower.

    Most subtropical fruit trees are evergreen. The subtropical fruit trees will withstand some below freezing weather if they are in their dormant season or semi-dormant season. In temperate climatic zones, the fruit grower will need to move the citrus varieties inside during the winter months. Temperate zone fruit trees would include apples trees, cherry trees, pear trees, and peach trees. Subtropical fruit trees would include orange and lemon trees.

    Cherry TreeCaring for fruit trees is much the same as caring for any plant. Proper soil, drainage, moisture, and fertility conditions would need to be maintained. Proper care for the fruit bearing branches is unique as compared to other trees.

    Pruning fruit trees should begin at an early age. Most fruit trees produce more quality fruit, and live longer, healthier lives if properly maintained and pruned. Fruit tree pruning does not need to be complicated or confusing. Many times the nursery will do the initial pruning on the dormant fruit tree. If the fruit tree arrives already pruned from the nursery, it can be planted without further pruning.

    If the dormant bareroot tree arrives with long branches and over 3 foot tall, prune the tree to knee high and cut the side branches back by at last 2/3rds to promote vigorous new growth. Top pruning induces lateral branch growth, and in fruit trees, this produces a more easily accessible tree branch and shapely form. Pruning also diverts the expenditure of nourishment to form woody growth to that of buds and fruit.

    Fruit trees are fast growing. After the spring flush of growth, cut the new growth back by ½. In late summer, prune the new growth on the branches back again by ½. The 2nd year pruning of the backyard fruit tree is the same as the first. Cut back new growth by half in the spring and again in late summer. In the 3rd year, choose a height and do not let the tree get any taller.

    Tree height is a decision for the pruner. When there are vigorous branches above the chosen height, cut back or remove them. I n late spring or early summer, pinch back all new growth. Size development and low fruiting wood is determined in the 3rd year. Each branch should have at least 6 inches of free space around them. Remove all crossing branches that are too close together. Keeping fruit tree branches open to allow more light and freedom for bee movement is important. Sunlight and bees carrying pollen should allow for more and larger fruit. All varieties of fruit trees can be maintained at a predetermined height if pruned consistently.

    Pollination of backyard fruit trees is just as important to the small property owner as it is to a professional nursery. Many varieties of fruit trees are not self pollinating and require another fruit tree for pollination. Every fruit tree needs pollen to set fruit regardless of zone. Nursery grown apple trees will have pollinators by every row of apple trees. Even if the apple tree is known as self-fruitful, pollen from other compatible apple trees can assist in setting more fruit. Cross pollinizing varieties should bloom at approximately the same time as the other apple tree.

    Crabapple trees are exceptional pollinizers because of their heavy blooming characteristics and their length of bloom period. Other fruit trees, such as sweet cherries, need pollinizers to produce fruits. Sour cherry trees are mostly self-fruitful. Many peach, pear, and plum trees are self-fruitful and will benefit from having a compatible pollinizer close by. Lemon and orange trees are mostly self-fruitful.

  • How Much Sun Do Fruit Trees Need?

    Fruit Trees and SunlightThere is something very satisfying about going out into your own yard and picking a fresh, ripe piece of fruit right off of the tree, isn’t there? Here at Nature Hills we hear stories all the time from our friends in Florida and California about the pleasure they get from having fresh fruit from their clementines, kumquats, and lemons. Our Georgia friends write in about their peaches and nectarines. And don’t get us started on the apple lovers out there! Continue reading

  • Pruning Rose Of Sharon

    Rose of Sharon

    Rose of Sharon blooms later than most shrubs.  Satin rose and other rose of sharons, produces beautiful saucer size blossoms begin in the summer and continue until fall.   Pruning rose of sharon each spring will produce fewer flowers, but they will be much larger.  If you give it an occasional pruning, it will produce an array of smaller blooms that will cover the entire shrub. Continue reading

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9910 N. 48th Street, Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68152