Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Grafted Fruit Tree Planting Part 3: Top Dress and Mulch!

Follow our three part photo essay on grafted fruit tree planting.
Part 3: Top Dress and Mulch!
A newly planted tree should be watered approximately once every 3-4 days during the first growing season. This is best done by soaking the tree canopy drip zone using a sprinkler or due to area or budget constraints by filling a temporary water basin. Build the walls of your watering basin above the surrounding soil level about 5"-6" (photo).
Watering basin walls should rise above the surrounding soil level. The soil level within the basin walls should be level with the surrounding ground (photo).

This will protect the trees trunk from becoming buried over time if the basin should fill in.  After backfilling hole with native soil and making the water basin apply Earth Magic to the soil surface within the basin (photo).
Earth Magic (TerraPro)  is a concentrated humus product that contains a broad spectrum of beneficial soil microorganisms, including mycorrhizae fungi, and a high percentage of Humic Acids. Humic Acids help soils retain water and mineral nutrients and also helps to build soil structure.
Next apply Protein Crumblies  (photo).
Protein Crumblies is a source of nutritional calories for feeding the soil microorganisms found in Earth Magic as well as your soil. Protein Crumblies also provides a source of slow release nitrogen for both soil microorganisms as well as plants.
To learn more about Earth Magic and Protein Crumblies (photo) as well as Humic Acids and Mycorrhizae Fungi please visit the Soil Secrets Website.

After Earth Magic and Protein Crumblies application, cover with organic mulch like wood chips, pine needles, or pecan shells. Mulch acts as an insulator keeping the ground cooler, retaining moisture, and suppressing weeds. Optimum Tree Growth will occur if you mulch the tree canopy drip zone or basin with organics or wood chips to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. After mulching, fill the basin with water (photo).
At planting give your tree a good soaking (photo).

Depending upon planting season watering requirements will differ. Generally in summer water about every 2-4 days and in winter about once every 3-4 weeks. Winter watering is limited to keeping the soil moist enough to prevent roots from drying out. Print a copy of our complete tree and shrub care guide which includes how to water, feed, prune, and stake at the following link: Tree and Shrub Care Guide
Written by:
Stephen Sain
Staff Plant Physiologist

Monday, February 20, 2012

Grafted Fruit Tree Planting Part 2: Plant Your Tree!

Follow our three part photo essay on grafted fruit tree planting.
Part 2: Plant Your Tree!

Ensure your planting hole is large enough to accommodate the entire root system (photo).

Bare-Root Fruit trees should be planted back at the original soil level with the graft exposed well above soil level. A close examination of your tree’s trunk will indicate where the original soil level was. A color difference on the trunk is usually indicative of the original soil level (see photo).

For container grown trees, carefully remove the tree's root ball from its container, taking care not to break or damage the root ball.  Minimize touching the roots with bare hands as lotion and acids from your skin can cause damage. Place the tree in the center of the hole on firm ground so the root crown is level with the surrounding soil.  Check that your hole is deep enough for planting by placing a shovel handle level across the hole. The shovel handle level will indicate planting depth on the trunk (photo). Adjust planting hole depth as needed.

Backfill the hole with the soil you removed (original soil). Discard any grass and weeds from the soil. Do not add soil amendments.  Try to use pulverized soil like that of a gopher mound (photo).

As you continue to fill the hole, once again ensure the original planting depth is at soil level (photo).

Ensure the graft is exposed well above soil level (photo).

Do not pack the soil around the tree roots; instead use water to settle the soil into the voids of the hole. Do not place any kind of fertilizer tablets into the backfill. Do not use any kind of root stimulator or fertilizers in the hole with newly planted trees.
For optimum tree growth, watering with a sprinkler is best. The zone that needs to be watered is the same area the tree needs to expand its root system out into, the first growing season. This zone has a radius of many feet. If a temporary water basin is needed, make it as big as possible (photo).
Build the walls of the basin above the surrounding soil level (photo).

Using basin watering long term will affect the over all size, growth rate, and health of your tree. Roots only grow into moist soil, limiting that area greatly increases your chances for problems with tangled roots, limited growth, lower nutrient up take, poor anchorage (trees being blown over in strong wind) and stress. A stressed tree is more vulnerable to bugs and diseases. Do not depend on drip irrigation to water trees as it will not create a large enough wet spot in the ground to grow a satisfactory tree.
Look for our grafted fruit tree planting.  Part 3: Top Dress and Mulch!

Written by:
Stephen Sain
Staff Plant Physiologist

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Grafted Fruit Tree Planting Part 1: Dig the Hole!

Follow our three part photo essay on grafted fruit tree planting.
Part 1: Dig the hole!

Dig a hole that is large enough to accommodate the entire root system. This is generally about 1.5 to 2 times the diameter of the root mass or planting container. Dig a Square hole not a round one (see photo). Tree roots are more likely to get stuck or ‘root bound’ in a round hole. Square holes with their corners allow roots to more easily escape the hole.

Holes dug in heavy clay very often have smooth or glazed sides (photo). This is a result of the shovel compressing an already tight clay soil structure. This will occur whether the hole is dug round or square. Soil compaction can make it more difficult for tree roots to escape the hole. Why is it important to encourage roots to escape the planting hole? The simple answer is: anchorage. The further tree roots spread out from the planting hole the better anchored your tree will be. A well anchored tree is less likely to fall over in high winds or because of a heavy fruit load.

There are two easy ways to remedy smooth wall surfaces in your planting hole. First, use your shovel and roughen the wall edges until they are no longer smooth (2 photos).

Second, you can also pour hydrogen peroxide down the sides of the hole photo).

The hydrogen peroxide will fizz and bubble and loosen up the sides of the hole making it easier for roots to escape (photo). Pour 2-3 quarts down the sides of the planting hole.

This is the same hydrogen peroxide you find at your local pharmacy (photo).

Allow the hydrogen peroxide to stop bubbling before planting your tree.

 Look for our grafted fruit tree planting.  Part 2: Plant Your Tree!

Written by:
Stephen Sain
Staff Plant Physiologist

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tis The Season For Bare-Root Fruit Trees!

Late winter to Early Spring is Bare-Root fruit tree season. What is a Bare-Root Fruit Tree? Bare-Root fruit trees are those which have been harvested while still dormant (leaf-less) and sold without soil around their roots (see photo).

There are several advantages to buying bare-root fruit trees. First is price, which is generally lower than container established trees. Second, is the great diversity of available varieties from which to select. Many nurseries offer standard, heirloom, or less common fruit tree varieties as bare-roots. Some nurseries will also do custom grafting of a variety if it is not in stock. Custom grafting not only allows you to select your variety but also allows you to select a suitable rootstock to match your particular soil situation.  Finally, transporting and planting your bare-root tree is easier because of reduced weight and root mass, since no soil is attached. All you need to do is keep the roots moist and protected from freezing until planting. Remember to plant grafted fruit trees with the graft exposed above soil level (see photo).

Trees That Please Nursery has the following Bare-Root Fruit trees available for immediate planting.

  • Braeburn     - crisp, tangy, sweet flavor, self-fruitful, ripens late season, good keeper.
  • Gala               - dessert apple, sweet, rich flavor, self-fruitful, ripens mid-season.
  • Jonathan      - excellent fresh-eating apple, sweet, tart flavor, self-fruitful, ripens early-season
  • Red Fuji        - crisp with sweet flavor, self-fruitful, ripens mid to late-season, good keeper.
  • Lapins            - large, dark-red, sweet cherry, self-fruitful, similar to Bing.
  • North Star    - large meaty pie cherry, eat fresh or use for pies, self-fruitful.
  • Harrow Delight       - Bartlett like fruit, heavy bearing tree, needs a pollinator; Fire-blight resistant.
  • Seckel                        - sweet, spicy, rich flavor, smaller tree, self-fruitful; Fire-blight resistant.
  • Warren                      - sweet, juicy, buttery fruit, no grit cells, self-fruitful; Fire-blight resistant.
  • Shinko Asian Pear   - Apple Pear, sweet, juicy, crisp fruit; needs a pollinator; Fire-blight resistant.
  • Stanley           - European Plum, Sweet & Juicy Fresh, Dry into Prunes, self-fruitful, late bloom.
  • Green Gage   - European Plum, Dessert Plum Sweet & Juicy Fresh, self-fruitful, late bloom.
  • Flavor Queen     -Plum / Apricot Hybrid, Candy like sweetness; needs a pollinator
Contact the nursery at treesthatplease@comcast.net or by phone at 505-866-5027 for more information about Bare-Root or container grown fruits.

 Written By:
Stephen Sain
Staff Plant Physiologist

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chisos Red Oak – A New Mexico Native Shade Tree!

Chisos Red Oak (Quercus gravesii) is a New Mexico Native Oak that can be fast growing with annual growth of up to 4’ per year ultimately reaching 35' tall and 25' wide (see photo).

Like all oaks it has deep roots so can be planted closer to structures than surface-rooted trees like cottonwoods and mulberries. The Chisos Red Oak can be very long-lived, so plant it wisely so generations can enjoy its shade and beauty. In the wild, it is often found on drier hillsides growing in limestone soils (see photo).  

It produces brilliant red-maroon fall color that then fades to a chocolate brown color (see photo).

Chocolate colored leaves hang on tree through winter, finally falling with the spring winds or when new growth begins. Chisos Red Oak does best in well-drained soils but also tolerates clay soils with low to regular water. This combination of growth characteristics make the Chisos Red Oak ideally suited as a shade and specimen tree. It is hardy to USDA Zone 4. Our container grown Chisos Red Oaks survived the -20 degree February 2011 freeze with no damage.

Written by:
Stephen Sain
Staff Plant Physiologist

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Flowering Pears: Two Spectacular Shows Annually

Looking for that special flowering ornamental to spotlight or be the centerpiece of your landscape? Flowering Pears can add Color and Pizzazz to your landscape. Flowering Pears produce two spectacular shows annually. In spring, they are literally covered with a profusion of white flower blossoms. In fall, they produce brilliant red-maroon leaf color. In between shows, they have beautiful glossy green leaves. Flowering Pears are not messy trees as they do not produce large edible fruits. They sometimes produce small remnant fruits about the size of marbles. And the show just keeps getting better! Each Year as the canopy size increases, so does the show.  Flowering Pears are not well-suited for xeriscape or rockscape gardens as they require regular water for optimal growth and seasonal color displays.

There are several flowering pear varieties available including:

Bradford Pear (Pyrus calleryiana, ‘Bradford’)
            Is a non-fruiting ornamental pear grown for its profuse white spring flowers and red maroon fall color. It has a wide-dense upward growing canopy making it a good choice for smaller areas. It grows 8”-15” annually reaching up to 25'-30' tall and 15’-20’ wide. Bradford Pear does best with regular water. It’s hardy to USDA Zone 4.

Cleveland Select Pear (Pyrus calleryiana, ‘Cleveland Select’)
            Is a non-fruiting ornamental pear grown for its profuse white spring flowers and red maroon fall color. It has a pyramidal shaped canopy and considered to have sturdier limbs and wood than Bradford Pear. It grows 1’-2’ annually, reaching up to 25'- 30' tall and wide. Cleveland Select Pear does best with regular water. This tree is hardy to USDA Zone 5.

Aristocrat Pear (Pyrus calleryiana, ‘Aristocrat)
            Is a non-fruiting ornamental pear grown for its profuse white spring flowers and red maroon fall color. It has an upright pyramidal form with a dominant central trunk making it ideal for lining streets, drives, walkways, or for use in small spaces. It grows 1’-2’ annually, reaching up to 25'-30' tall and 15’-20’wide. Aristocrat Pear does best with regular water. This tree is hardy to USDA Zone 4.

Contact the nursery for more information about Flowering Pears and other ornamentals at: treesthatplease@comcast.net.

Written by:
Stephen Sain
Staff Plant Physiologist

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why No Till?

Please see the following Power Point No Till and Water, by Mark Scarpitti.

Michael Martin Meléndrez

Michael Martin Meléndrez and his wife Kari Meléndrez, own three New Mexico agri-businesses based out of Los Lunas, New Mexico.  Trees That Please - a tree farm and nursery, Soil Secrets LLC a manufacturer of biological soil management products, and Soil Secrets Worldwide LLC - the international division.  

Michael prefers to be known as the son of his Father, Sam Melendrez, a well known farmer and retired John Deere implement man from Las Cruces who’s a descendent of Pablo Jose Melendres, the founder of Las Cruces.  Michael is proud to say that his Father is his mentor and hero, who helped him start Trees That Please.  Michael’s goal in starting Soil Secrets was first to discover ways of fixing soil and in particular the soil of his future botanical collection, now known as the arboretum.  He also wanted products that he could use at Trees That Please, which mimicked the process of nature and utilized only ingredients that could meet the benchmark of organic, but also have the highest standard of efficacy in the industry.  Today the products of Soil Secrets go beyond Trees That Please and products sold to home-owners, as they pass the most stringent tests for efficacy and are now used in farming, mine reclamation and Brownfield reclamation across North America, with expansion now going global.

Michael is a strong advocate of using plants that are native to the Chihuahuan Desert Region and in particular the many species of Oak, which today his nursery propagates and grows. He also developed a botanical garden of trees called the Arboretum Tomé, a large collection of Chihuahuan Desert species of oak, as well as many other tree species from around the world. The Arboretum was started in 1987 with soil that was toxic to many plants, as it was Saline Sodic and very alkaline.  The soils have since been rehabilitated using the biological soil management products and protocols formulated by Soil Secrets. Michael loves oaks, and is one of the original members of the International Oak Society, started back in the early 90’s, now represented by plant scientists from every continent and many nations of the world.  At the next world conference of the International Oak Society in Bordeaux-France in 2012, Michael has been asked to present a lecture on Integrated Soil Management using the Bio-Geo-Chemical Process of Soil Building and Plant Nutrition. 

As you can see, Michael is all about growing plants and fixing soil, using the natural processes of Nature, and he hopes that you will someday visit his nursery and arboretum in Los Lunas New Mexico.   

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Valentine’s Day - What you gonna do?

Are you tired of giving flowers that wither and die after a few days? Looking for something that lasts longer? Say I Love You with an Ever- or Long-Blooming Flowering Plant! Why not plant a permanent reminder of your love and devotion?

Long blooming flowering plants are those which bloom spring through summer until frost. Trees That Please Nursery stocks long blooming roses, shrubs, and trees to meet your size and space requirements. Long-blooming rose varieties include:

‘Carefree Sunshine’               Yellow Flowers
‘Iceberg’                                 White Flowers
‘Hot Cocoa’                            Smokey Orange Flowers
‘Chuckles’                              Pink Flowers
‘Golden Showers’                   Yellow Flowers
‘Tropicana’                             Orange-Pink Flowers
‘Winnipeg Parks’                   Dark Red Flowers
‘Burgundy Iceberg’                Purple-Red Burgundy Flowers
‘Morden Sunrise’                   Orange-White Flowers Changing to Yellow

Need something larger, consider a large shrub or small tree like:

Chaste Tree is a fast growing shrub with multiple trunks growing to 15'-20' tall and wide. The Chaste tree produces lavender flowers in clusters from summer until frost that attract butterflies and honey bees. This tree has aromatic leaves and is very heat tolerant. The Chaste tree is best planted in full sun with low to regular water.  Hardy to USDA Zone 7.
Desert Willow - is a multi-trunked tree to 15' tall and wide, taller if pruned into a single-trunk specimen. Desert willows are extremely well suited for the xeric landscape or to cool down a west or south facing wall. They produce orchid like flowers that attract hummingbirds and bloom from summer until frost. Trees are available with white, pink, or burgundy colored flowers. The desert willow does very well on low water but if watered more regularly flower production is increased. Hardy to USDA Zone 6.
Trees That Please Nursery has a great selection of Valentine’s Day Long-Blooming plants for that special someone. So express yourself with a long-blooming plant that says I Love You all season. For questions please contact us at: treesthatplease@comcast.net; Phone: 505-866-5027.

Written By:
Stephen Sain
Staff Plant Physiologist