#ProPlantTips

#ProPlantTips by Nature Hills Nursery

Read and watch our #ProPlantTips how-to series of articles and videos.

  • How to select certain plants to match your site conditions and read Plant Highlight Facts
  • "Farmer's tricks" for planting tips
  • Pruning techniques for both spring, summer and fall blooming shrubs and trees
  • How to handle common plant diseases
  1. Early Spring Pruning Tips For Best Flowering

    Spring has sprung in the more southern areas and from the coasts, and will be working its way north.

    Upon your first spin around your yard in spring you will tend to take your pruning shears with you. There are many plants that will appreciate some necessary pruning, and there are some plants that you should not prune at this time of the year.

    Let’s cover some plants that are best NOT pruned in early spring. Basically, any early spring flowering shrub or tree should not be pruned because you will be removing the flower display – really the whole reason to grow those plants.

    Azaleas and Rhododendrons are a prime example of a plant that should not be pruned now. All of the flower buds

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  2. Keep Bird Feeders Clean During Winter

    Perhaps you’re not in an area that gets snow, but rain and other elements can cause your bird seed to need some attention.

    Wet birdseed can spoil quickly. Bird feeders need to be cleaned to prevent any disease from spreading. Check to see if the seed you offer is dry and make sure the trays have the hulls cleaned off. Add fresh seed if needed. ⠀

    The best approach is to spray diluted bleach and water solution on the feeder, let it dry, and then refill. Keep your feathered friends happy and healthy with fresh seed and water! 

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  3. Plant Shade-Loving Perennials in Lieu of Grass

    Do you have trouble growing grass? Some trees cast a lot of shade and can make it difficult to grow grass beneath.

    Instead of fighting the shade and trying to keep an attractive lawn beneath, why not eliminate the turf area and include some of your favorite shade loving perennials?

    As you can see in the photo, we eliminated grass and included some Ferns and Brunnera. Then with the available colors and sizes of Hosta varieties, you can create an interesting Hosta glade underneath your trees. A 2-3” layer of shredded mulch around the plants will finish the look and keep the weeds down. The mulch will also help to retain moisture.

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  4. Don't Plant Trees Too Deep

    Planting trees and shrubs too deep will cause a slow death for sure. 

    It is so very important to be sure that you plant your new trees and shrubs at the same depth as they are growing in the container that you received them in. If you are working with bare root plants be sure to plant all roots just under the soil surface and not bury them too deeply. Many times, the planting depth is visible on a bare root plant showing where they were grown at the nursery. 

    Planting your trees and other plants too deep where there is less oxygen in the soil and can cause root girdling and death of your plants. 

    Roots like to grow in the warmer soils closer to the surface where they can grow out in all directions to find food and water. Most tree roots can be found in the top eighteen inches of soil and many feet away from the

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  5. Snow: Natural Insulation, and its Free

    It’s only natural for us plant nerds to like to try growing things that may or may not be perfectly hardy in our yards. Or, maybe you have some rose bushes or other plants that might benefit from having some additional winter protection.

    For those of you who live in the colder regions where you get snow throughout the winter… keep this in mind when you are out moving that snow out of the way of your sidewalks and driveways.

    Snow makes the perfect insulation for your plants. Roses for instance will love having the snow piled up and covering as much of the stems as you can beneath the snow! Just be careful not to pile heavy snow on top of plants that might get crushed. 

    The rose bushes in this picture welcome the addition of piled up snow protecting the cold and wind off the canes closest to the ground. The parts that sti

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  6. Brighten Winter With Bloom Pads

    Bloom Pads from Nature Hills will make spring arrive early inside your home.  Brighten the bleak winter days with bursts of colorful flowers and super fragrance!

    Bloom Pads are spring flowering bulbs that are placed between two pieces of biodegradable paper.

    Here is how to best handle them:

    Your Bloom Pads were just delivered!  Simply put the bulbs in the vegetable drawer of your fridge.  Keep them in the pads they came in, and don’t store them with apples or fruit.  Chill them in the fridge for 12-16 weeks.  Bring them out of the fridge, planting the entire pad just under the soil surface.  Be

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  7. Bare Root Plants: SOAK ROOTS – PLANT – SOAK SOIL = SUCCESS

    Bare root still good to ship until mid-June.

    Bare root plants are dormant and are shipped without any soil on the roots and no leaves on the stems. The roots are wrapped in a medium to keep them moist during shipping however. The plants will start to grow once they are planted into warm soil and catch up to the plants in your landscape before you know it. 

    Bare root plants are kept dormant in our coolers so the plants still think it is winter until they are taken out and planted. Look at a cherry tree recently planted and notice the new growth coming.  

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  8. The Cottonless Cottonwood

    What are all those fussy things floating around in the air?  They are plugging up the screens in our house.  They are plugging up your air filters. 

    The Dandelion plants are kind of done showing their fussy seed heads so it can’t be those.

    In most cases, you are seeing the seeds from Cottonwood trees.  They are those large, stately trees that you most commonly seen in the western states.

    Nature Hills sells two different kinds of Cottonwood trees that are seedless and do not produce any of the messy, fuzzy seeds that you see at this time of the year: the Siouxland Cottonwood and the Hybrid Poplar.

    Why plant a Cottonless Cottonwood tree?  They are wildl

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  9. Deer Damage

    Deer browsing on only the green foliage of the Arborvitae is very common in areas where there is a lot of deer pressure.  Many times, customers are confused about the damage being a disease or other problem other than deer eating the foliage off the bottoms where they can reach it. 

    Get to know what plants are magnets for the deer in your area.  Ask your local ag extension office if they have a list of plants that deer prefer in your area.

    Keep in mind that deer may prefer different plants in different areas.  The other factor to keep in mind is that if deer do get hungry, they may eat most any plants

    The other thing to know is that any time you do introduce new plants into an area, the very first day deer may sam

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  10. Check Your Roses Please

    You overwintered your roses.  You cut back your roses this spring before they started to grow.  The new growth is pushing out, and the foliage looks great. 

    Bam…. that is just the time that bugs start to eat that clean, beautiful foliage.  Get out and check your rose bushes to see if there are any holes in the leaves, any bugs chewing or crawling on the tops or the undersides of the leaves.  If you are in an area that has Japanese Beetles, it is probably too early yet, but be on the lookout for them too.  Aphids, chafers, beetles and anything else… be on the lookout.     

    How to treat the bugs on your roses?  Choose the weapon that works for you.  Maybe you can physically just remove the bugs with your fingers?  Insecticidal soap can work and needs to be re-applied as rain washes it off.  Other insectic

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