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Nature Hill's Garden Blog

  • Clematis Pruning

    Pruning ClemantisClematis pruning is the most important factor when considering how and when a clematis will bloom. Pruning clematis improperly will never kill the plant, however it will likely delay the bloom. Not pruning the plant at all will allow the plant to bloom, but proper pruning will cause more and longer blooms. All clematis should be cut back the first early spring after planting. After this, the time and amount of pruning depends on the type of clematis being grown.
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  • Dwarf Apple Trees

    Dwarf apple trees have many advantages to standard sized apple trees. First of all, dwarf apple trees are smaller. This means that they take up less room in a garden. The reduced size of a dwarf apple tree makes it easier to prune, spray and harvest fruit. Additionally, dwarf apple trees will produce fruit earlier than standard apple trees, often only three years after being planted, as opposed to as many as ten years.
     

    There are generally two ways to create a dwarf apple tree. One way is to specially breed them smaller. This is very hard to do and may take hundreds of years. A faster, and much more common way is to graft the tree onto a rootstock that has been Assorted_Red_and_Green_Apples_2120pxselected for its dwarfing characteristics.

    There are several different types of rootstock, and each works best with specific trees. Dwarf apple trees often require much less care than full sized apple trees. The rootstock chosen for the dwarf apple tree will often be much hardier than the original root system of the tree. Also, the smaller stature of a dwarf apple tree will mean that less pruning needs to be done, and the tree will require less spraying. Less tree to care for means less work to do.

    Just about every breed of apple tree can be dwarfed. The type of the dwarf apple tree depends on the variety grafted, while the size depends on the rootstock used. Some rootstock will dwarf apple trees more than others. It is important to select not only the breed of tree desired, but also the size. A dwarf apple tree will grow better in a home garden than will a full sized apple tree.

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  • Planting Cherry Trees

    Planting Cherry TreesPlanting cherry trees in a home garden will allow for delicious fruit that everybody can enjoy. Planting cherry trees does not differ much from planting other types of trees, but there are some special things to consider when planting these fruit trees.
    One is that they are typically not self-pollinating, meaning that only one tree in the garden will generally not be able to produce much fruit. Planting two or more different species with similar bloom times is a good idea.
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  • Apple Varieties

    Apple varieties are sometimes divided into three categories. The first, Apple_pie and largest
    category, are those apples bred for fresh eating. The next category is the cooking apple, and finally the cider apples. Cider apples are typically too tart for fresh eating but they give cider a rich taste that dessert apples, such as a Golden Delicious apple, cannot.

    Apples are mostly bred for skin color, long storage capacity, high yields, disease resistance, and taste. Examples of red skinned apples are Red Delicious, Akane, Cortland, Mollies, and the Spartan. Golden or yellow skinned examples are Golden Delicious, Yellow Newton Pippen, Yellow Transparent, Mutsu, Calville Blanc, and Granny Smith. Striped or multi-colored apple examples are Braeburn, Cox Orange Pippin, Gravenstein, and Honeycrisp.

    The color of the apple’s skin does not determine whether it is sweet, tart, crisp or soft. Apples vary in tastes, textures, and some have very subtle variances.

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  • Pruning Cherry Trees

    dead cherry tree branchOne of the primary problems faced by gardeners when growing cherry trees is that they do not understand how to prune a cherry tree properly.  Pruning cherry trees plays an important role in ensuring proper growth and fruit production. Before growing one, any gardener must fully understand how to prune a cherry tree properly.

    Before understanding how to prune a cherry tree, it is important to know how cherry trees grow. Cherry trees are central leader trees.  This means that there is one main upright trunk, called the leader. All branches will sprout and grow out of this.

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  • Planting Apple Trees

    Planting apple trees in a home garden will allow for delicious fruit that everybody can enjoy. Planting apple trees does not differ much from planting other types of trees, but there are some special things to consider when planting these fruit trees. The location should have soil that is well drained, since standing water will easily kill the trees. The location  should also have good air drainage, keeping low-lying cold air in the spring away from the tree. Apple trees should be planted in November, if possible. They can also be planted up to the end of march.
    The location used for planting apple trees should also provide for full sun access. If planting apple trees in a lawn, the grass should be removed from the planting area in a four-foot diameter circle, to prevent the grass from competing with the young tree for nutrients and water.

    Once the site is selected, the first step in planting apple trees is to dig the hole. The hole Soilshould be approximately twice the diameter of the root system, and two feet deep. The soil should also be loosened up around the border to allow the roots to break through more easily. The roots should be spread out on the loose soil, ensuring that they are not twisted or crowded.

    Soil should be placed around the roots and pressed down firmly, to remove any air pockets. When planting apple trees, it is important to ensure that the location of the graft is at least two inches above the soil. This will ensure that no roots will grow out of the scion.

    When finished planting apple trees in the garden, watering will remove any extra air pockets in the soil. A newly planted apple tree may need to be supported with a stake until the roots can take hold. Mulch should also be applied around the base of the apple tree to help retain moisture during the first growing period.

    Apple Trees for Sale

  • How to Grow an Apple Tree

    Growing apple trees can be a fun and rewarding experience for the home gardener. Growing apple trees is a relatively easy process, and yields delicious fruit that can be enjoyed by everybody.  There are, however, many factors to consider before attempting to grow apple trees in the garden. The first consideration when growing apple trees is what size tree is desired.
     

    Apple trees come mainly as a scion, or top portion, grafted ontoapple tree a rootstock. The type of rootstock used will help determine the eventual size the tree will grow to. Some rootstocks will produce a full sized tree, while others will dwarf the tree and make it grow smaller. Growing apple trees that are dwarfed is more common in the home garden.

    A second consideration before growing apple trees is that nearly all apple trees do not self-pollinate. This means that to grow apple trees that bear fruit, more than one tree needs to be planted. The two or more trees used should also be of different species with similar bloom times. This will provide healthier and more abundant fruit. Some varieties of apple tree will pollinate better than others, and selection should take this into consideration.

    Apple trees will tolerate a wide range of soils, so long as water and nutrients are not limited and the pH level is adequate. The soil used for growing apple trees should be well draining, as standing water in the roots can kill the trees.The location should also be in a higher level, as cold air in the spring will settle in lower areas and possibly damage the tree.

    Apple trees will usually begin to bear fruit in the forth or fifth year. Most varieties of apple trees require a good wind block, as the fruit will get blown off before maturity. Many varieties of apple tree will require 130 to 150 frost free days per year in order to grow properly and bear fruit.

    The fruit of an apple tree will reach maturity at differing times, depending on variety and climate. There is no specific date at which to expect to harvest ripe apples. Observation alone is generally the key to discerning a ripe apple tree. The apples should come of easily with no tearing, and the flesh should be yellow or white. The skin will change from its original color to one that is generally darker. Once the apples look mature, the only way to find out is to take a bite. Mature fruit from an apple tree will be crisp, juicy, and delicious.

    Apple Trees for Sale

  • Butterfly Bush Propagation

    butterfly bush flowerPropagation of butterfly bushes is easy to do. There are several ways to spread these lovely flowering shrubs, and no one is better than the others. Seeds can be sown throughout the area desired, and the plants will grow themselves. Butterfly bush seeds can be found in most nurseries and garden centers.
    Another way of propagating butterfly bushes is by cuttings. Cut off a branch near a healthy bud.  The branch should then be planted in fertile soil with direct sunlight and watered regularly until the roots take hold. This will grow into a full sized butterfly bush in a few years.

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  • Pruning & Trimming Apple Trees

    One of the primary problems faced by gardeners when growing apple trees is that they do not understand how to prune an apple tree properly. Pruning apple trees plays an important role in ensuring proper growth and fruit production. Pruning apple trees begin from the first season after planting, and contiue yearly until the tree dies. Before growing one, any gardener must fully understand how to prune an apple tree properly. Before understanding how to prune an apple tree, it is important to know how apple trees grow. Central Leader Pruning

    Apple trees are central leader trees, this means that there is one main upright
    trunk, called the leader. All branches will sprout and grow out of this. A properly pruned apple tree should have a scaffold shape. This means that there are branches circling the tree, perpendicular to the leader, and there should be an area of about two feet between the levels to allow for light to reach the lower leaves and fruit.

    Pruning apple trees should be done in the winter, encouraging the plant to grow more during the growing season. The first level of branches should begin between twenty-four to thirty-six inches above the surface of the soil. The branches growing out of the central leader should be either weighted down or tied loosely to string to promote outward growth as opposed to vertical growth. Pruning apple trees during the summer will inhibit growth, and should be done once the desired size has been reached.

    Heavy Apple Tree BranchThinning out the fruit is also important to proper apple tree pruning. The fruit grown by the tree is oftentimes too heavy for the branches. When this happens, the branches may break off. Apples should be removed until they are spaced about four to six inches apart. This will reduce the burden on the branch, as well as increase the chances for a full crop the following year.

     

    Apple Trees for Sale

  • Butterfly Bush Pruning

    Butterflybush Cut DownPruning butterfly bushes is an integral part of maintaining these beautiful flowering shrubs. It is fairly easy to prune a butterfly bush, as they are very tough plants. Butterfly bushes will survive just about any level of pruning they are given at any time of the year. There are, however, pruning techniques that will assure faster growth and better blooms.

    Butterfly bush pruned to ground levelWhen the butterfly bush goes dormant, during the winter of zones five and six, is when the most pruning should take place. During this time pruning butterfly bushes should be done all the way to the ground. This will usually take place some time after the first frost, when the above ground parts of the bush appear dead. In zones eight and up, the butterfly bush will be evergreen, and can be pruned to the ground at any time.

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