Blog

  1. How to Thin Fruit - Video Tutorial

    Watch the video below to learn the art of fruit thinning by one of America's premier fruit experts, Ed Laivo.

    Benefits of Thinning Fruit

    • Avoid diseases by thinning
    • Increase fruit size
    • Improve color in your fruit
    • Increase sugar content in your fruit

    Here's what you'll learn:

    1. How to space the fruit on the limb
    2. How to properly pull immature fruit during thinning

    Thinning is an art form that helps your apple, peaches and nectarine crops. Homesteaders, urban agriculturalists, and homeowners - enjoy the fruits of your labor!

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  2. Your Plants Need Water, But Not Too Much!

    Did you know that you can kill some plants just as easily from too much water as not enough water?

    The confusing thing is that a plant that is being overwatered even looks like a plant that does not have enough water – wilting, brown leaf tips, yellow leaves, and leaves that fall off the plant. 

    Factors that can cause overwatering

    Soil type makes a huge difference in the frequency that additional water may need to be added. 

    • In sandier soils, you will need to water your plants more frequently, as the rain or irrigation drains away from the soil quickly. 
    • Heavier clay soils will not allow the water to percolate as quickly and will hold the water in place for a longer time.  Adding water to clay soils too frequently can cause big problems. 
    • Plants grown in containers depend upon you to supply the proper amount
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  3. Tips and Tricks to Establish your New Plants in Spring and Fall

    Nature Hills offers plants two ways, container grown plants and dormant bare root plants.  Let’s take a look at tips and tricks to ensure success.

    Establishing Bare Root Plants

    Bare root plants are shipped dormant and without any leaves and no soil on the roots! They are dug in fall after they have been exposed to frost and the plants have started to go dormant. Garden experts shake off all of the soil from the rootsBare root plants remain dormant until they are shipped to you.

    How? They are stored in a cooler with no soil on the roots (at a controlled very high humidity) just above freezing. So bare root plants can be shipped from November through the winter (in milder climates) all the way into June.  All bare root plants will be carefully wrapped to keep the roots covered and moist at all times during shipment.

    Soaking your

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  4. Small Plants, Color are trending…

    Are you are out looking for a new home?  New construction or perhaps an existing home?  What do you notice about the older homes?  In many cases, the older homes have big, overgrown plants in their landscapes. 

    It is pretty amazing how you can change the look of an older home by updating or renovating the landscape.  Many older homes have landscapes that “date” them.  Like clothes, or hairstyles or eyewear…landscapes are designed differently today than they were even a short while ago.  Not only an older landscape design, but older plant selections that have really outworn their stay.  After a while, pruning may not be the answer.  Maybe it is time cut off or tear out those outdated shrubs and start over with a fresh new look. 

    What do you notice about new homes that have been newly landscaped?  Not only are the plants smaller but you might notice more colo

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  5. Mulch is where it is at …

    It’s sold in bags at the gas station or grocery store.  It’s sold at box stores.  It’s sold in bulk at lumber yards and landscape companies.  There are all different kinds of mulches available.  Bark chunks, shredded hardwood, double shredded, chipped and dyed mulches are available in different colors, and let’s not forget arborists chips that are available for free in many areas. 

    Why mulch? 

    Plants benefit greatly from a layer of mulch over the roots of new and existing plants.  Arborist wood chips are preferred because not only does it help retain moisture, but it actually absorbs moisture and helps to prevent runoff and the water ends soaking into the soil.

    Mulch applied to the soil surface helps to moderate the temperature keeping it cooler during the hottest times of the season and of course holding the heat a bit when the temperatures dip.  Mulch ap

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  6. Success with Summer Planting

    Planting continues all season long with high quality container grown plants from Nature Hills with great success!

    As the season changes, so do our care suggestions for the types plants being delivered during the heat of the summer.  Water is crucial for the plants survival right at the start. 

    The key to understanding container grown plants is that they only take water from the soil that we shipped with the plants.  The plants are growing full speed now with heat and longer days at the nursery.  The roots have now filled the pots and have infiltrated all the soil within that pot. 

    At the nursery they are getting watered once, maybe twice each day possibly including a cool down watering during the heat of the day. This container grown plants need to be completely saturated and if you take the time to do just that, the success rate is beyond belief. 

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  7. Big & Beautiful Perennials

    Have you ever heard the garden saying regarding establishing perennials: “the first year they sleep, the second year they creep, and the third year they leap”?  Nature Hills is making it easy to make the leap and create big impact with well-established perennials for your backyard oasis.

    Last year, we geared up our perennial production and started growing beautiful specimen perennials in big #1 container size that are 6-8 inches across and hold about a gallon of soil.  This crop is now ready for your landscape.  These #1 perennials are going to present well in your landscape and will “leap” much sooner for you.

    Growing perennials a year ahead gives these plants time to multiply and grow to a nice size in our pots.  Many other growers pot up small liners and force them out in a greenhouse then ship them in the same season.  These #1 plants we

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  8. When to Prune Flowering Shrubs

    It is important to know when to prune your flowering shrubs, so you get the most flowers.   Timing your pruning is the key to success. 

    Many early spring flowering plants already made their flowers all hidden and tucked away in the growth from last year.  Pruning at the wrong time will eliminate those flowers.  Here are some tips to keep you in the know.

    Let’s take a Lilacs for example…

    If you are out in the yard and your Lilac looks large and you have a pruner in your hand, it is late summer - and you just cut off the tips of the branches – your lilac will not bloom in the spring.  Let’s say you pruned them in fall, the same thing would happen in spring – no flowers.  Let’s say you prune your Lilacs in early spring before they leaf out - same scenario because you are removing the flowers that formed in the growth that developed last year. 

    There are m

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  9. You Can Change the Color of Some Hydrangeas

    There are many kinds of Hydrangeas available today. Maybe the plant breeders went a little crazy introducing new selections recently. The good news is there are a lot of Hydrangeas with new color options, smaller plants, and more flower power!

    Nature Hills offers many options with some of the newest and the best.

    There is one group of Hydrangeas with pink or red flowers that can be changed to blue or purple flowers by altering the soil pH. This group is called Bigleaf Hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) and the flower color can be changed by growing the plants in a lower soil pH.

    There was a breakthrough with this species of Hydrangea that opened the door to growing them in colder regions. Then the plant breeders went to town introducing many new varieties with many new shades of reds, pinks,

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  10. Please Don’t Roll Your Lawn

    Each spring, we see people having their lawn rolled. One of the biggest problems of growing most plants - whether roses, trees, or even grass – is soil compaction.

    Lawn rolling uses a heavy weight to roll over your grass area to eliminate bumps or imperfections. But please do not compact your soil.

    If you have imperfections in your lawn, you are better off raking topsoil into the lower areas and filling them in, INSTEAD of rolling and compacting your soil.

    Leave the lawn rolling to the amateurs and allow your lawn the opportunity to breathe!

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