PLANT TREES

The Beauty of Spring: Flowering Crabs

The beauty of spring: Flowering Crabs

For many gardeners the first couple weeks of May are their favorite time of the year.  Tulips, daffodils, bluebells, rhododendrons, creeping phlox and other flowers are in full bloom. To top off the spring glory, flowering crabs and other spring blooming trees are in full array.

Flowering crabs are a great addition to any yard.  They are hardy and easy to grow. Blooms range in color from white to pink to reds and sizes vary from 8’ to 30’.

Now is a good time to purchase and plant a flowering crab as you will be able to see bloom colors at the nursery.

New varieties of crabs have been chosen so that they have no berries or very small berries. In addition, they are resistant to a fungus (cedar apple rust) that would cause older varieties to lose their leaves by July.  New varieties also come in dwarf sizes for the homeowner with limited space.

Here are some of our favorite varieties of flowering crabs:

Prairie Fire: (probably our best seller) – blooms are deep pink/red, grow 15-20’, small berries birds will mostly clean

Spring Snow: White blooms, no berries, grow 25-30’

Rejoice: Semi double rose pink blooms, grow upright 15-20’, small berries birds will mostly clean

Royal Raindrops: Leaves are burgundy, flowers deep pink, grow to 20’, small berries birds will mostly clean

Camelot:  Dwarf, grow 10’, Buds red changing to pink and then fade to white, blooms follow entire length of branches, small berries birds will mostly clean

Golden Raindrops: White blooms, tiny golden yellow fruit (1/4”), grows upright (20’), vase shaped

Showtime: Large bright fuschia pink showy flowers in the spring, dark green foliage with a red overlay, grows 15-20’

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WHAT WE RECOMMEND: SPRING FLOWERING TREES

EARLY SPRING BLOOMERS

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WHAT’S NEW FOR TREES

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What’s NEW for Trees

The number of new varieties of plants coming on the market is literally exploding!! We struggle to keep up with all of the new options. Growers are propagating new varieties of old favorites that are now more disease resistant, less finicky about watering, grow faster, bloom longer, have more vibrant colors, and are dwarf versions of the parent plants.

At Natural Plus we carry a large collection of some of these newer varieties, as well as the “old favorites”.  Here are a few of the newer varieties that might interest you:

 Shade/Larger Trees:

ElmsElms are back! The elms that survived Dutch Elm Disease have now been propagated and are resistant to Dutch Elm Disease. Elms have a beautiful upright vase shape and would add a nice option to your yard.

Maples– Some maples are selected for fast growth, some for vibrant fall colors, etc. Many of these have now been crossed and have both characteristics. Some newer varieties of maples include:

Autumn Blaze: A cross between a silver and red maple. Upright growth. Vibrant red fall color. Fast growing but not as sturdy as hard maples.

Brandywine: A cross between October Glory and Autumn Flame. A small seedless maple (25’). Outstanding fall color from red to red/purple.

Burgundy Belle: Oval shape. Grows to 45’. Fall color brilliant red changing to intense burgundy.

Fall Fiesta Sugar Maple: Leathery green leaves, resistant to sun scald and frost cracks. 50-75’. Fall color oranges and reds.

Red Sunset:  2000 Tree of the Year, A Rubrum Maple, upright, brilliant red fall color, grows 50’

Magnolias – We are offering some varieties this spring that are hardy for our zone:

Royal Star: Small tree 10-15’, Small white fragrant blooms spring

Gold Star: Grows 20-30’, Light yellow flowers spring

Sunburst: Grows 30’, Lemon yellow flowers spring

Crab trees add spring color to your landscape

Crab trees add spring color to your landscape

Smaller/Dwarf Trees:

 For people with small spaces, there is now a wider selection of dwarf trees.

Crabs are now resistant to Cedar Apple Rust (which caused the trees to lose their leaves mid-summer). The apples are very small and will be cleaned by birds.  Some newer selections of crabs include :

Camelot: A very small crab with blossoms changing from red buds to pink to white, very small berries, grows 10’

Prairie Fire: One of the deepest pink/red blooms, small berries, 15-20’

Royal Raindrops: Burgandy red foliage with deep pink blossoms, grows 20’

 Tree Hydrangeas : These are basically a hydrangea bush on a stem and grow only 8-12’ tall! We carry several varieties including:

Limelight: Lime green/white large blooms in summer, grows 8’

Quick Fire: Large white blooms turning deep pink/red, grows 6-8’

Vanilla Strawberry: Large white blooms turning pink, grows 6-8’

Tree Lilacs: These are basically a Dwarf Korean Lilac or a Miss Kim Lilac on a stem. These will bloom in early June and the fragrance will fill your entire yard.  Grow 5-6’.

Read more about what we recommend for SPRING FLOWERING TREES.  

EVERGREENS

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Evergreens add year round beauty and interest to your yard. They add shade, habitat, and protection for wildlife. Evergreen windbreaks slow down winter and summer winds to reduce heating and cooling bills.

Years ago choices were limited and evergreens planted around home foundations often became over-grown and unruly. Today we have hundreds of varieties to choose from.

Here are a few common varieties of evergreen options today:

Low Growing Evergreens

Some low growing evergreens may get only 6 inches tall but spread 6-8 feet. These are useful on banks or wherever you want to fill in an area with a low growing shrub. Some varieties include Blue Chip Junipers  and Icy Blue Junipers. 

For evergreens around a foundation, there are new dwarf varieties that stay small and compact and require little or no trimming. Some of these include Hetz Midget Arborvitae, Danica Arborvitae, and Blue Star Junipers.

 Mid-size Evergreens

There are many new varieties of mid-size evergreens that grow anywhere from 3 to 6 feet tall. They come in a variety of foliage and colors. Mint Julep junipers are deep green and are a good foundation plant. Sea of Gold Junipers are green with golden tips for added interest. Globe Blue Spruce grow 4-5 feet tall with a rounded shape, a very blue color, and require little or no trimming. Dwarf Norway Spruce also grow into a similar size and shape but are a deep green color.

If you have a lot of shade, Yews are your best option. These are deep green, soft needle evergreens that tolerate full or part shade. Taunton Yews grow 3-5 feet tall and wide and can be trimmed.

Upright Evergreens

For some added height, upright evergreens are a good choice. Emerald Arborvitae are deep green and grow 12-15’ tall but only 3-4’ wide. Blue Arrow Junjpers grow 12 feet tall but only 2 feet wide. Techney Arborvitaes are often used on farm windbreaks. They grow about 15 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide. There are many varieties of upright junipers, yews, and other arborvitaes to choose from.

Evergreen Trees

There is nothing more stately than a 100 year old, 100 foot tall  drooping Norway Spruce. These have survived the test of time. Unfortunately some tall evergreens have become susceptible to disease. 20 years ago Colorado Spruce were a favorite, but these have now become prone to a disease and are no longer recommended.

Eastern Red Cedars are the only native evergreen to Iowa. These have also survived the test of time and can be seen growing wild in ditches and along roadways. Although they are not the most beautiful shape, they survive the tough Iowa winters and thrive here.

Ornamental Evergreens

One of the most fun new additions to the plant world are ornamental evergreens. A Globe Blue Spruce Tree is basically a Globe Blue Spruce on a 3 to 5 foot stem. Some old traditional evergreens are now trimmed into pom pom shapes, spirals, and other interesting forms. These all add interest and some fun to your landscaping.

Globe Blue Spruce in the snow

Globe Blue Spruce in the snow

Care and Maintenance of Evergreens

Care and maintenance of evergreens will extend their life and keep them looking beautiful. New plantings should be watered 2-3 times a week for the first season. Established plantings are usually self sufficient but still need to be watered in prolonged periods of dryness. Be sure plants are well watered going into winter. This helps prevent winter burn.

It is good to fertilize evergreens with Miracid fertilizer at least 2-3 times during the early growing season. It is best to not fertilize in the fall. Trim evergreens to keep a nice shape. Most can be trimmed in the early spring. For evergreen trees it is often recommended to trim one half of the “candle” as new growth emerges.  

If you have a special need for an evergreen or have questions, feel free to call the nursery.

PLANTING TREES FOR FALL COLOR

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PLANTING TREES FOR FALL COLOR

The beauty of fall colors touches the soul. Take time to pause and enjoy this special time of year.  The reds, yellows, and oranges of trees in the fall all add to the fall splendor.

Here are some Natural Plus favorites for adding fall colors to your yard/landscaping:

Ornamental/Smaller Trees with Fall Color (10-30’ size):

·      Amur Maple           Brilliant red fall color, clump or single stemmed

·      Serviceberry          Orange/reds , berries for birds, clumps or singles

·      Hot Wings               Reds/oranges with bright red seed pods

 

Larger Shade Trees with Good Fall Color (over 30’)

·      Aspen                                               Quaking golden yellow leaves

·      Birch                                                 Yellow, clump or single stemmed

·      Ginkgos                                            Golden yellow (slow growing)

·      Lindens                                            Yellow, heart shaped leaves

·      Locust                                               Yellow wispy leaves

·      Maples: Autumn Blaze               Brilliant Red, fast growing

·      Maples: Burgandy Belle                    Burgundy Red

·      Maples: Emerald Luster                    Golden Yellow, fast growing

·      Maples: Rubrum                           Bright Red

·      Maples: Sugar                                Multiple varieties – oranges, reds, yellows

·      Red Oaks                                         Red

·      Witch Hazel                                      Fragrant yellow blooms in fall