Monthly Archives: August 2018

  1. Summer Pruning Tips for 3 Fruit Trees Planted in 1 Hole, or High Density Planting

    Watch as Ed Laivo, one of America's top fruit tree experts, checks the growth on his latest high density planting of Burgundy Plum, Santa Rosa Plum and Emerald Butte Plum. During this video, you'll learn how how he makes summer pruning decisions to keep his fruit trees around 6 feet tall.

    Growing 3 Trees in 1 Hole Delivers Great Fruit Set in a Small Space

    Successfully planting 3 partner fruit trees together in 1 hole has a lot of benefits for your backyard orchard, including cross-pollination and enjoying an extended season of fruit. Keeping your high density plantings at a small size makes for easy homegrown fruit picking.

    Summer is the best time to prune your high density planting. Ed says "The goal is to get good sunlight in the center of the three tree canopy. Pruning the aggressive spring flush of growth keeps your fruit trees to a manageable size."

    Call us to talk about which partner fruit trees are right for your garden: 888-864-7663

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  2. All Things Cedar

    Nature Hills grows many different kinds of Cedar trees, one that should work in your area.  Traditionally, wood from some Cedar trees is very fragrant and resists decay and it gets used for fence posts, shingles and siding for buildings.  It seems that all grandmas had a cedar chest and kept things in that chest that would be protected from bugs getting into it as well.

    Wide Selection of Cedar Tree Varieties For Your Garden

    Deodar Cedar is a large grower that has arching branches so very graceful in appearance and many times in warmer climates it is used for a living Christmas tree.  An elegant evergreen, great in natural groups for screening, or even a specimen as a focal point in your yard or perhaps a potted plant on your patio.  Beautiful fine textured silvery gray evergreen foliage makes this one a winner.  A favorite for the warmer regions in the country.  Deodar Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica 'PIICJ-I') can get 50 feet+ tall and 30 feet wide so give it some room to spread its wings.  A large scale plant for growing in zones 7-11.

    We also offer Japanese Cedar called Chapel View that is smaller plant getting only to 10 feet or so tall and 6-8 feet wide and grows beautifully in warmer zones of 6-9.  A gorgeous soft and natural looking evergreen with deep dark green colored needles with a bluish cast.  The hold that green color all winter long unlike the species.  The perfect way to screen out unsightly views and nosey neighbors.  The bulky pyramidal form is dense and fills in quickly with the plants planted next to it.  Check out Chapel View Japanese Cedar for your next screening project.

    How about a dwarf Japanese Cedar?  Cryptomeria japonica 'Globosa Nana' is a soft green, irregular shaped, mounding spreading plant can be used sheared for a more formal use or allowed to grow naturally and used as a foundation plant.  This little guy gets 4-5 feet high and wide or maybe a bit larger with age and works in zones 5-9.  It makes a friendly fence or killer backdrop to your favorite perennial garden. Slow grower, like well drained soils, full sun or part shade and drought tolerant means easy to grow and little maintenance required.

    Cedar Tree Screens for Privacy

    We also grow Western Arborvitae, classic upright screening plant that is fast growing and excellent used in groups.  Western Arborvitae is Thuja plicata and is sometimes called Western Red Cedar.  We currently have the selection called ‘Green Giant’ which stays a nice soft green all year round.  Left unpruned, and planted in a staggered row, they make fantastic natural looking screen or windbreak or the perfect backdrop to your back or side yard.  Once they get a few feet tall the deer seem to leave them alone.  Western Arborvitae can also be trimmed to make a more formal hedge.   Fast and adaptable and hardy in zones 5-8.  Green Giant will get maybe 40 feet or so and about half that wide when mature.  Watch for other selections as our production facilities finish them for sale.

    How about White Cedar?  Typically we have several different varieties including the smaller globe shaped Arborvitae great for foundation plantings.  Thuja occidentalis is used across a very wide range in many climates and they are very adaptable.  White Cedar is also called Northern White Cedar, or Eastern White Cedar.  A commonly used upright selection is called Emerald Green.  All of the upright forms make nice screening plants, narrow hedges, and can be sheared more formal or allowed to grow naturally and both options work tremendously well.  This group of Arborvitae tolerate moist soils well, yet once established quite tolerant of most situations.  If you have a lot of deer in your area do be careful with this species.  Heights and widths vary depending upon the selection so be sure to keep checking our availability as it changes frequently.  Great green year round evergreen with nice color, very adaptable, and so versatile. 

    Let’s finish here with Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana).  This tough old goat is widely distributed across many states.  Many times you see it growing along roadsides in the sunny, dry and well drained areas.  They tolerate drought, road salt, and deer do not seem to like them as much.  There is a lot of variation with this plant as they seed themselves and can take many forms.  The small berries that can be produced are actually soft cones and the cedar waxwings and other birds absolutely love them!  Eastern Red Cedar is great cover for plenty of wildlife in those open areas where they like to grow.  They are not only good for native plantings, but also work well in poor soils where it can be hot and dry in urban areas too.  In the fall and winter months, the needle color changes from a green or silvery green to a purplish plum color which can be an interesting attribute as well.  Eastern Red Cedar are upright growing and can get 40 or 50 feet and variable width of 12 or 18 feet wide.  A hard working Juniper for open windy areas that take the heat and drier soils. 

    When it comes to Cedar trees, Nature Hills has plenty to choose from.  Having trouble deciding? Let us help you - just call (888) 864-7663




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  3. Boxwood Offer Beauty, Versatility in Any Landscape


    Boxwood - sometimes known as Box - has been around for a long time. They were introduced to North America from Europe in the 1600s. There are almost 100 different species and almost 400 different selections that have been made over the years, and the popularity of Boxwood continues today.

    Boxwood (Buxus) is a broadleaved evergreen. The small, round green leaves remain on the plant year round.  Different Boxwood species can be grown from zones 4 to 9, so when selecting Boxwood for your home, be sure to select the type that will grow where you live.

    This fine textured, green-leaved plant is equally attractive year round as it really does not change throughout the seasons.  For that reason, they have remained extremely popular in the landscape.  They are easy to maintain and can be maintained in the landscape for long periods time.

    How to Use Boxwood

    The classic use for Boxwood is as a hedge and they take pruning beautifully.  They typically put on two flushes of growth, so pruning is not as frequent as many other plants.  Low, sheared hedges are the best for edging a garden bed - adding structure to any garden space.  Imagine a long, rectangular bed edged with a sheared Boxwood hedge and filled with roses, grasses or maybe a mixed perennial border! Brilliant.

    Taller hedges are great for screening or creating garden walls. Outdoor rooms have been done using boxwood for centuries – and that is because they work so well. Deer do not prefer to browse on Boxwood, so no need to fence or use repellents.

    Sheared Boxwood hedges define the space, create pathways, and provide opportunities to include an ornate garden gate in your yard.

    Sometimes leaving a bit of space between plants and planting them in a formal row makes an interesting divider.  Some selections spread out more and can be sheared into rounded forms.  Other cultivars are more upright and can be sheared into a row of pyramidal formed plants as an excellent divider.

    A classic use of Boxwood is at your front entrance.  Perhaps place a container on either side of your door with a sheared rounded or upright form. So elegant and formal! They look great all year round and can be glammed up at holiday time with some tiny LED lights to add interest and whimsy in the winter. 

    Maybe your foundation is slightly exposed and needs some softening?  Boxwood is an awesome solution along your foundation either with sheared formal plants or spreading forms that are allowed to grow with a more natural form (that does not get sheared). 

    Don’t forget about using a specimen plant mixed in with your container plants as topiary, pom pom, or even trained as a bonsai plant.  Boxwood are also a welcome addition to window boxes for year round interest!

    Choosing A Boxwood

    Selecting the right Boxwood for your site is quite simple.  First, know the zone you are growing in.  On our Nature Hills website you can type in your zip code and it will tell you the hardiness zone you’re in. Select a cultivar that works in your zone. Are you looking for an upright form, or a more rounded spreading form?  Use an upright from for taller hedges and either type for shorter sheared hedges.  It’s that easy! 

    Boxwood Pruning

    Pruning is a simple and minimal process from the start. If you are growing your Boxwood as a hedge, spacing can be varied.  It all depends upon how quickly you want your hedge to be a solid mass instead of individual plants.  Smaller plants installed closer together will make an awesome hedge sooner.  Just one important thing to keep in mind with all hedge plants when it comes to pruning: Always try and keep the bottoms of your hedge plants a bit wider than the tops of the hedge plants. If you look at the side of your hedge it should look like this – wider at the bottom and a bit narrower at the top of the hedge. 





    Keeping your hedges wider at the bottom keeps the foliage dense and healthy all the way to the ground-- which is what you want.  This becomes more important as the hedges are taller.  

    Most Boxwood will produce a flush of growth in spring and a lighter flush of growth will develop later in summer.  Formal hedges, topiaries, and formal specimen plants will need shearing after those flushes of growth.  More natural forms of Boxwood will benefit from light pruning.  Just trim off the longest branch tips to keep it “in check” as needed.

    Growing Boxwood is pretty darn easy.  Full sun or part shade, and well drained soil is best.  If you are growing them in pots be sure the soil mix drains well, and the pots have drainage holes in the bottom.  Medium moisture is best - adding water as needed during the dry spells. 

    Boxwood is an elegant plant that is as beautiful in summer as it is in winter, with a wide variety of uses in your landscape.  Check out the many varieties we offer by clicking here.

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