Turn a Backyard into a Paradise

Landscape Equipment Tree Spade

Turning a backyard into an inviting and comforting oasis away from the noise and stress of the outside world can be a rewarding adventure for a homeowner. Not only can owners benefit from color changing seasons, but each new year is an opportunity to blend new with the old in their backyard landscape design. Plants grow and spread as the design blends into to an ever more beautiful environment.

Nursery professionals are the best resource for advice to achieve the desired effect. They understand how plants complement each other aesthetically, but also growth rates and compatibility among different types of vegetation.

Budget

A beautiful landscape does not require a massive investment. However, a starting budget can be a guide for what is accomplished that season and more can be added each year. Landscape designers can create an outstanding starting plan and “phase-in” new elements each year.

Collaboration among the homeowner, the landscape designer, and the nursery can yield magnificent results at a reasonable cost.

Creating a Backyard Landscape Design

Begin with a sketch. A landscape designer makes topographical measurements and uses a property survey as a starting point. With this information and a target focal point, a series of sketches will show the major elements of the backyard plan.

Whether using a computer program or staying with drawings on graph paper, plot the underlying grid of the area. According to hgtv.com, National Gardening Association supplies tips for creating a workable landscape plan.

  1. Set fixed features, such as the back of the house, garage, fences, trees, entryways, sprinkler systems, and so forth.
  2. Identify the directions, east and west, to understand where the sun will track.
  3. Try out all your ideas. Experiment with pathways, shrub and tree placement, planting areas, water features and additional fixed elements. If sketching, use tracing paper over the basic sketch to try out various ideas. With a computer program like Google Sketchup, several designs can be tried and saved.
  4. Add patio or seating areas and items like a fire pit as the focal points.
  5. Consider practical matters such as wheelbarrow access, electrical outlets, irrigation, water faucets, and lighting.

Final Backyard Landscape Design

Plan plantings to provide the amount of color, contrast, and privacy you desire. Sketch in the types of plantings and planting areas to provide the shade, color, and seasonal change that keeps the area attractive throughout the year.

 

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Pests and Weather Can Destroy Your Trees

While we enjoy the shade, beauty, and environmental contributions of trees and plants, they do have their share of enemies. Adversaries like insects, freezing weather, deer, and gnawing rodents can seriously harm them. Mourning a dried and drooping skeleton is more than a sentimental response when your livelihood depends on supplying healthy plants.

Protecting Your Trees

How do we protect them from this diverse brigade of attackers?

Experienced nursery workers know that the care of healthy trees and plants is a year-round job.

Many nursery managers, tree farmers, and home gardeners have experienced the devastation of extreme winters. Tree and shrubs suffer mightily with the effects of early and late frosts, variable temperature ranges, blizzard-like winds, and sub-zero temperatures that accompany winters.

According to gardeners.com:

  • Early cold spells can damage tissues before they can harden for the coming winter.
  • High winds can dry out plant tissues and evergreen foliage.
  • Frozen soil prevents trees and plants from replacing the water they lose through evaporation.
  • Midwinter thaws cause plants to leave dormancy to grow new shoots, which die quickly with the next cold period.
  • Variable and alternating temperatures literally “heave” new plants out of the ground.
  • Deer, rabbits, and mice gnaw the base of plants when other food sources have frozen.

Preparation for Winter

  • Healthy trees and plants are more likely to survive winter than ones that struggle because of limited sunlight, water, or nutrients. Make sure they have enough of each.
  • If insects have had their way in the summer, the plant is ill-prepared for winter. Protect them from insect infestation.
  • During late summer, it is a good idea to stop pruning. New growth stimulated by pruning will delay dormancy and cause damage.
  • Stop fertilizing six weeks before the earliest frost date.
  • Keep watering until the ground freezes.

Deciduous Trees

Deciduous trees lose leaves and go dormant for the winter. While these tend to withstand typical winters well, young ones need extra care. Gardeners.com suggests:

  • Add a 3 – 4″ layer of mulch to protect shallow roots of young trees.
  • Surround trunks with tree guards to discourage deer and rodents.
  • Add a wrap to young trunks for protection.

Conifers and Evergreens

  • Provide a windscreen in case winter winds become substantial.
  • Remove excessive snow from overladen branches.
  • Wrap young shrubs with burlap to discourage deer snacking.

Be prepared this winter. It may be another rough one.

 

The Best and Worst Pots for Your Garden

Selecting the right pots for a micro garden is not as simple as grabbing last year’s collection, adding soil, and planting whatever you want. Considerations such as product life and durability are important factors when deciding what goes where.

According to MicroGardener, there are positives and negatives to consider when deciding which pot is right for a specific plant or application. Some factors are:

Economy

Price and value are important. It may not make sense to invest in an elaborate pot that will be concealed by other plants or structures.

Making your own containers from available or discarded material can be rewarding and save money. Be careful that the materials you use are not harmful to the plants. Metal containers such as old coffee cans can work, but these heat up substantially in direct sunlight.

Product Life

Considerations like product life and durability are important factors. If the pot will be sitting in a dominant position for years and years, investing in a more durable and attractive pot may be the best course. If the use is short-term, than cheaper ones can do the job.

Environmental Considerations

Some retail pots require a considerable amount of fossil fuels and minerals to produce. Environmental sustainability is another good reason to consider making your own pots or reusing old ones.

Plant Health

Five elements are necessary to create the right environment for each plant. These are:

Drainage: the pot should have holes at the bottom to allow water to escape to keep from drowning the plant. Plants also acquire oxygen through their roots.

Porosity: porous containers like uncoated terra-cotta, compressed paper, wood, and other natural materials allow water and air to move through them. Moisture escaping through the sides is helpful for the plant and keeps them cool. However, plants will require more frequent watering.

Weight: the overall weight including the pot, plant, soil, and water can add up to a heavy load when you are trying to move the pot.

Food Safety: metals and plastic pots can affect the taste of edible plants, vegetables, and herbs. Better to stay with natural components.

Insulation Properties: plants are susceptible to temperature variations. It is important the soil and roots are insulated as the weather cools. A good thermal pot should have positive thermal properties and be dark in color to attract and hold heat.

 

Do It Right: Use Heritage Oak Farm’s ProLine Nursery Equipment

Heritage Oak Farm of Indiana began by growing, marketing, and delivering trees of all types. Over time, the company developed specialized equipment to facilitate every process.

Their ProLine® group of tree handling equipment is the state-of-the-art answer to saving time and money while reducing damage and adding efficiency. These extensions can be mounted on conventional skid steers and are ideal for tree farmers, professional landscapers, and nursery operators.

Grabber

The Grabber™ is designed to move root balls between 14” and 54” in diameter. Both Grabber models easily attach and come with auxiliary hydraulics. The telescoping arms reach up to 8 feet for easy loading and unloading.

The paddles on the Grabber coddle root balls gently and reduce damage when lifting and transporting. The Grabber can move boulders weighing up to 3000 lbs.

For smaller projects, the ProLine GrabberMINI™ attaches to common walk-behind equipment like Dingo, Ramrod, Ditchwitch, and more.

Swingin’ Grabber

The Swingin’ Grabber™ is designed for growers operating in compact spaces. The device can turn 90° and lift trees within narrow rows without turning the skid steer.

Forques

Alternatively, as paddle attachments on the Grabber, Forques™ are designed for moving multiple root balls at one time. Forques can handle three 24” rootballs at once and benefit from the Grabber’s extending arms for placement of the stock.

PotHandler

The PotHandler™ handles some specific transplanting jobs. Capable of gently lifting and carrying even delicate terracotta pots up to 40” in diameter, the PotHandler encircles pots with 4 padded paws.

Tree Tyer

The Tree Tyer™ gently lifts and compresses the tree limbs for manual tying.

Pot Forks

The Pot Fork™ consists of multiple tines that allow the operator to move multiple pots sized from one to fifteen gallons. The equipment adapts to any size pots and may be custom designed and built by Heritage Oak Farm.

Shovel

For transplanting, removing rocks, and more, the ProLine Shovel™ is more precise and easier to operate than standard tree spades.

Tree Auger

ProLine’s Tree Auger™ makes quick and neat work of digging holes for planting while eliminating any hand digging.

Grapple

The ProLine Grapple is available in 48” and 60” lengths. The Grapple is ideal for collecting and moving logs, limbs, and other debris from a site.

Contact Heritage Oak Farm for more information about their ProLine group of versatile tree handling equipment at 888.288.5308.

 

Equipment Solutions for Tree Planting

Landscape Equipment Tree Spade

Building upon their decades of growing, moving, and planting trees and plants, Heritage Oak Farm of Indiana has developed a super efficient line of equipment specifically designed to make each phase of this hefty work easier. From lifting and hauling to placing and planting, their ProLine™ equipment can manage trees of any size without manual effort.

Equipment Designed for Each Step

Trees and their rootballs can be extremely heavy and cumbersome when you consider that a young 10-foot tree might come with a 38-inch rootball and the total weighs about 1,000 lbs. A twenty-foot tree and ball can weigh up to 6,000 pounds.

Even a gang of healthy nursery workers cannot efficiently move an average sized tree without some mechanical assistance.

Equipment for Moving Trees from Nursery to Destination

The ProLine Grabber™ and Swinging Grabber are extensions for late model skid steers that lift and move various sized plants and tree rootballs without distorting or damaging them. Equipped with paddles to carefully lift and carry the material, the Grabber can handle rootballs as large as 54” in diameter. The Grabber is capable of lifting and hauling items that weigh up to 3000 lbs.

The Grabber with extendable arms is capable of lifting trees up to a height of about eight feet to a flatbed for hauling to another site.

Digging the Hole

Trees require a hole that will sufficiently surround and cover the tree ball. The ProLine Tree Auger cuts through the hardest soils and keeps the dirt from falling into the hole while digging. The result: a clean, precisely dug cavity, sufficiently broad and deep enough to lower the tree ball for perfect planting. As a result, there will be no hand digging.

Transplanting Trees

ProLine Shovel™ is designed for transplanting trees from one onsite location to another. The Shovel can lift rootballs up to 40” and carry them to another place.

Lowering the Tree

Once the hole is properly dug using the ProLine’s Tree Auger or Shovel, the Grabber can retrieve the tree, and by using the extendable arms, place the tree precisely in place.

The whole process can be mechanized and accelerated which will eliminate damage to the tree and physical harm to individuals.

Contact Heritage Oak Farm

For more information about ProLine Nursery Equipment, call the experts at 888.288.5308.

 

Starting Your Own Nursery

For anyone who enjoys growing plants and trees, why not go into business for yourself? Starting a backyard nursery can be a relatively easy and profitable business to initiate. The demand for healthy well-nurtured plants and trees continues to grow.

According to American Nurseryman, the industry sales grew by 18% between 2009 and 2014 to $13.8 billion. Professional landscaping and home gardening continues to grow as the trend to dressing up older homes and the construction of new ones expands each year.

Growth of Demand

Growth has been fueled by the garden centers connected to just about every “big box” retail, hardware and grocery stores. Stand-alone nurseries have continued to proliferate in many regions.

For supply to match the demand, large and small wholesale nurseries have popped up just about everywhere. Many of the garden centers rely on local “backyard” gardeners to supply the young plants and trees that are mature enough to showcase and sell.

What Should I Grow In My Nursery?

Before starting out, the first step is to investigate which products would be most marketable. You should talk with some established garden center and nursery managers to determine what supply issues may need to be filled to meet the growing demand. The spectrum of opportunities may be fairly broad, but each retailer needs a continual supply of a variety of healthy young, yet maturing plants that have a high probability of survival. Specific plants may be difficult to source or the supply has been limited. So you might be able to provide a solution to their sourcing challenge.

Match the demand with your capabilities and space. In the first year, you may want to specialize in only a few varieties as you work through your process.

How Do I Start a Nursery Business?

Here are some important steps toward realizing that extra income or even starting a new career:

  • Educate yourself. Understand all there is to know about growing healthy plants from seedlings to marketable items.
  • Check zoning restrictions: Determine if you can legally operate a nursery on your premises.
  • Know your sources: Talk with wholesale nurseries about purchasing plugs, liners, and whips that are infant plants and trees that you will need to manage for future growth. Your startup and ongoing costs will determine your profitability.

High-quality, healthy plants and trees will always be in demand.

 

Equipment to Transplant Trees the Right Way

 

Experienced landscapers know that transporting and transplanting trees is a delicate operation. Removal of the tree from one location, then moving and replanting it in another, exposes many opportunities to damage the tree and jeopardize its survival. Tree rootballs are heavy while limbs are delicate. The combination of these contrasting characteristics makes handling tricky.

Heritage Oak Farm, originally a producer of a variety of tree types for landscapers and developers, uses their vast tree handling experience to create a complete line of nursery and tree management equipment and accessories to simplify handling and moving trees efficiently without damage.

Heritage Oak Farm’s ProLine™ is a complete line of equipment designed to enhance productivity for landscape and nursery workers. Each new concept is extensively field-tested to ensure that it delivers the promise of safety, efficiency, reliability, and cost effectiveness.

The GRABBER™

ProLine “GRABBER™” is an attachment designed for any late model skid steer loader. This extension is designed to lift, move, load, and unload B&B and container trees easily from one location to another for transplanting. The equipment attaches easily and the paddles safely handle rootballs as small as 14” up to large 54” diameters.

For transporting multiple plants, the Forques™ extension can lift and carry three trees up to 28” each. Telescoping arms reach up to eight feet to raise and set trees on truck beds or other hard-to-reach places.

Heritage Oak Farm also produces the GRABBERMINI™ that can be attached to many walk-behind machine models.

POT HANDLER™

Designed by people who have actually done the work, the POTHANDLER is affixed to a standard late model skid steer and is equipped with rounded arms to lift secure tree pots up to 40” in diameter. The rounded “paws” are lined with rubber to handle even fragile terracotta pots gently without breaking during transport.

ProLine Tree Auger

Heritage Oak Farm Tree Auger is designed to penetrate the toughest earth while digging a new home for any transplanted tree. The Tree Augur produces a clean hole that keeps the dirt from falling back as the auger digs deeper. This efficient labor-saving device is designed for a 25° angle and can accommodate any size transplant.

Transplanting Made Easy

With Heritage Oak Farm equipment and attachments, transplanting small or large trees and shrubs become almost automatic. For answers to your questions, call the transplant experts at 888-288-5308.