Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Transplanting BIG Trees

Anyone can transplant a tree, right? Just dig it up, drag it where you want it, and re-plant it. But beyond the size and weight of the large material we deal in at our Nursery, which requires heavy machinery, these simple steps will usually result in a tree that is suitable only for some vigorous fireplace work.

Here are two large Oak trees at our Nursery, both upwards of 20 + feet tall. How do we manage to transplant successfully such large material?

It begins with the root system - surviveability of the trees is dependent on digging  a large percentage of the roots. To do so requires a tree spade - a tractor with blades that can dig down and capture as much as a 48" wide swath of earth and roots at the base of the tree.

These root balls can weigh as much as 1,200 pounds!
Our guys then wrap the root ball in burlap and strap it all up tight in a wire basket. This 'ball & burlap' method protects the root system during transport.

All trussed up, these trees are then loaded onto a flatbed trailer for transport to their new home.

As are these Natchez crape myrtles.

At the destination, our guys lower this crape into a pre-dug hole. Notice how we plant the tree with the burlap and wire basket still on. This protects the integrity of the root system, allowing it time to adapt to its new surroundings and grow healthy roots into the surrounding soil.

These newly installed Hollies will do just fine - with the help of plenty of water!

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Poolside Patio

Most things are not better than a poolside patio. But contrary to our wishes and dreams, poolside patios do not build themselves. In fact, it takes remarkable skill and perseverance to build one. It is work that literally proceeds from the ground up.

Meaning, before the patio, you must first clear the ground - in this case, of a large poolside crape myrtle. A crape myrtle this size has a very large root system, all of which needs to be removed before the patio work can begin.

Here our guys are demonstrating the traditional pick and shovel technique which, combined with appropriate muscle, has been in use for this type of work since well before the 19th century :)


The ground cleared, the patio work proper begins. Here are pictures of our men Amando and Chuy cutting and placing stone, and at times, kicking up a cloud of dust in the process!

 A bit of clean-up on the finished product ....

and ... c'est fini!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December Garden Tips

Tip for December: stay inside and thumb through your stacks of unread garden catalogs for December garden tips that permit you to stay inside by a cozy fire. Then extend your research to include tips that permit you to stay by the fire with a hot buttered rum. Then take a nap.

But if you insist on actually doing something outside in December, here are some links to some timely articles, with some highlights and our own comments in [blocks]:

From About.com
Keep an eye out for bark damage from ice & deer

Spray broadleaf evergreens with anti-desiccant, to prevent dehydration

Use the branches from your Christmas tree as protective mulch
[Post December 25th, of course!]

Keep watering newly planted trees and shrubs
[Especially if you have recently invested in Ben's Creek Nursery's Installation Services; hint, hint]
and specific to the Southeast region, they tell us:
Be prepared for sudden swings in temperature and protect tender plants with row covers, newspaper or blankets

Prepare your planting beds now, with compost and manure, for planting in early spring

You should still be able to plant trees and shrubs
[Especially by investing in Ben's Creek Nursery's Installation Services; double hint, hint]

Start pruning your wisteria by removing the longer canes
[For those of you with wisteria; for those without, use this time to toast yourself with another hot buttered rum].
Then there is this article from the venerable Southern Living:
Grow some Amaryllis
[An indoor activity; I like it]

Display some Hollies - '... hollies are ideal living Christmas trees. ‘Oakland’ and ‘Robin’ hollies are outstanding evergreens both as specimens and for large hedges.'
[Not sure about 'Oakland'; we used to have some Oakleaf Hollies, and currently have some nice specimens of the Robins. Both are Red Holly cultivars and very popular, although we don't usually sell them as Christmas trees]

Feed the birds
[and watch them eat]

Add mulch
[As we have oft advised, e.g. here, 'mulch in the summer, mulch in the winter, it doesn't matter, keep mulching', it is an all year round, all season, all climate benefit to your yard and garden]
Click the links to read the full text of the articles and/or to avoid our commentary.