Category Archives: Trees

Old or New Traditions for Christmas at Your House?

1-08-06 christmas tree 011

Image by takfoto via Flickr

Do you have a live tree? Does your family go to a Christmas Tree farm and cut one down? Do you go to the nearest corner lot and pick a tree from the selection they have? Do you shop your local box store for your tree?  Do you patronize your local garden center?   

I ask because there are many options out there for those that still choose to have a live Christmas tree.  Personally if I had a real tree, we’d either cut it down ourselves (we did this for years) or visit the garden center.  I’ve never been a fan of the pop up tents  that literally materialize over night, set up lights and sell trees for much less than the local store that is there for you all year. Just my opinion. I’m blogging, you get to hear it. 

oh christmas tree, oh christmas treeNow…if you choose to have an artificial tree, how often do you replace that tree?  I have a sister that must get a new one every couple of years, myself…mine is several years old.  I chose the artificial so that I don’t have to water it, I can leave it up for 8 weeks if I want to, it looks real and I’m not picking needles out of my carpet until July and mostly because Christmas trees just don’t smell any more!  I have no idea why…it’s too bad though.  Instead, I’ll use a pine scented candle or potpourri.    

   Let me know what your family does for a Christmas tree. I can suggest that if you go with the live trees, be sure to set them out in the yard after Christmas for the birds!  They love them and it’s good winter protection for them!

Have a blessed Christmas to you all!


English: A Christmas Tree at Home

Image via Wikipedia

Cheap Trees Prices Won’t Last!

A tree nursery using gutters to decrease growi...

Image via Wikipedia

Why Tree Prices Will Increase –

This was posted by Bold Spring Nursery.  Very interesting information.

    Usually price increases are a sore topic. In our current economic climate, cost cutting has become a way of life as businesses fight to conserve cash and preserve margins. The unwelcome news of a price increase from a supplier is usually the last thing a buyer wants to hear. The ornamental tree business has been no different. Growers have suffered a crushing over-supply of trees which was, in fact, developing 6 -7 years ago, but was masked by the frenetic pace of construction through the middle part of the decade. When the bubble burst in 2007-2008 the demand for trees was reduced dramatically, beyond what few of us have ever witnessed. Since that time, growers, desperate to maintain a market share, have reacted by cutting prices for each of the last 3 years to the point where prices, on some items, have reached 30-year lows.

    Unlike many businesses, tree growers cannot simply downsize their company to a scale that matches their sales. Existing inventory requires upkeep and that costs money. Like everyone else, growers have aggressively cut costs to try to staunch the negative flow of cash. That is a tall order in a world where the costs of raw materials such as burlap, diesel, and plastic have only increased. So, in many cases, fertilizer, pesticides, pruning, and staking have gone by the board. The results of excessive cost cutting are evident in the marketplace this year and many growers are simply not capable of supplying trees of adequate quality.  For most growers, even the cost of culling bad trees is daunting when cash is tight and so the trees sit around, on display in the fields or, in the case of containers, growing increasingly pot-bound.

    The other major area of cost cutting has been a sharp decrease in tree-planting in nurseries. Many cash conscious growers have realized that if they cannot afford to maintain what they have, then there is little point in putting more trees in the ground. As a result, tree planting has declined 70-80% over this period. This reduction occurred progressively: first by about 20% in 2008-2009 and then an additional 30-40% in each of the two following years. This trend has only just begun to become evident, with many smaller-sized trees and evergreens becoming scarce this spring. Over the next two years the breadth of shortages will increase dramatically and progressively, as more gaps appear while the old inventory outgrows the market, becomes ruined from neglect, is sawed down to increase spacing, or grubbed out entirely to prepare fields for re-planting.

    Growers are watching carefully to see which items are selling out and they will raise prices whenever market conditions allow. This is not a matter of greed as much as survival. Most nurseries are just hanging on and absorbing losses, if they are even doing that. We are all watching while prominent nurseries fail, unable to continue in an economic meltdown that was nearly impossible to predict.

    The shock waves from the sub-prime melt-down will continue to be felt, but will soon be felt in different ways. The crash of demand will be followed by a crash in supply caused by a reduction in the number of nurseries that have been willing and able to continue to risk investment in the planting and maintenance of quality inventory these last three years. And just as the construction boom masked the over-supply of trees 5-6 years ago, the construction bust is masking the currently developing shortage. When we experience even a modest resumption in new construction, the shortages will be difficult to manage.

    It is important for businesses to educate their customers for what is coming. There is a special challenge for those who are bidding projects that are further out. There is a shocking gap between the desperate pricing of 2010-11, and the prices of, even, the over-supplied market of 2007. But when scarcities become prevalent, prices will return to their former levels, and eventually go higher still. That market of shortages may be much closer than you realize. Buyers should be prepared for price increases in fall 2011 and very large increases in 2012 and 2013.

My boss should have been a writer….

Springtime  – Mark Gilson

      I read somewhere that Spring travels north at 16 miles a day.  It’s not here yet, but there are signs that it’s getting close…maybe Cincinnati or Columbus.  I was in a greenhouse the other day and heard a flock of geese making a commotion as they traveled up from the south.  They were more musical than the Canada Geese who overwinter here and I knew immediately that spring was approaching.  Snow geese!  Stepping outside, I watched as their ragged formation passed over a nearby farm, turned briefly to check out our back pond and then resumed their northward progress towards Lake Erie, a short ways away, probably just coming into their leader’s view.  They spend the cold months at the Gulf of Mexico, awaiting some signal, unknown to us, that it’s time to begin their three thousand mile journey to the tundra above the Arctic Circle.  I waved as they passed. 

     The ice on Lake Erie is broken now, drifting in giant flows with open water in between.  One day it’s gone, pushed off by a southern breeze.  And the next day it’s back, acting like a giant ice cube to keep things from getting too far ahead.  I’m reminded of the number sixteen again, for that’s the distance to the horizon on large lakes and open seas. 

     Nursery trucks are all over the local roads, another sign that Spring is approaching!…loaded with balled and burlapped trees and shrubs from Loselys, Klyns, Yoes and others.  Some of the white poly is coming off the hoop-houses at Cottage Gardens and Roemers as crews load containers onto farm wagons. 

     It’s getting close. 

     We’ve enjoyed a few sunny days in a row and I can feel my ‘seasonal mood disorder’ beginning to lift.  I feel like a bear or a wood chuck peering outside the cave, eager to begin another year.  (This metaphor only works until I reflect that they emerge from hibernation substantially thinner….) 

     Another season… 

     Another year…

     My fifty-eighth.  

     What if I could apply the magic of the number sixteen to my own life…subtracting that many years and reliving my forty-second!  Thinking back…I was just entering the most productive and one of the happiest periods of my life!  That Spring our nursery was thriving.  Our boys were thriving.  I was jogging four times a week and feeling better than ever.  I totalled our Ford Aerostar Minivan so we bought a used Buick Park Avenue and drove around pretending we were wealthy.  Perennials flourished and so did everything we touched.  It was a time and an age of renaissance.  Even our favorite artists were doing their best, most creative, most reflective work!  Sting had just won album-of-the-year for Summoners Tale, at age 43.  Annie Lennox had recently come out with Diva (at age 39).  Life remained a mystery, but clues abounded and we felt we were on a golden path to somewhere.   

     Don’t get me wrong.  

     I’m not complaining about fifty-eight.  

     But the world has been roughed up in recent years and so have we.  Business is tough.  We drive utilitarian company vehicles now.  We seem to keep acquiring more debt, more weight and more doctors with medical specialties.  Life is murky, filled with shadows.  Everything is relative. (I think I just paraphrased a line from William Golding  Freefall)  Elusive questions outnumber the hard-won answers. That optimistic and confident forty-two-year-old is a stranger now, a character in some former lifetime.  

     And yet…life is good.  There’s plenty to build upon.  We’re more engaged in our communities these days than ever before.  We’ve got great friends going through the same things we are.  We laugh every day.  Bitterness, cynicism and remorse remain beyond our doors.  Spring is almost here…a time of new beginnings.  I think of Tennyson’s Ulysses, in which the tired warrior and adventurer, late in life, longs again for the sea, for battle, for the unknown:  tho’ much is taken, much abides; and though we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are; one equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but stong in will to strive, to seek to find, and not to yield.  (Despite a reference by the embarrassed Illinois Governor Blagojevich in one of his absurd news conferences, this remains my favorite poem, followed closely by Ferlinghetti’s Dog.)

     Spring is almost here. 

     Life is what we make of it.   

     I’m going jogging! 

The beauty of Trees…

As a nurserywoman….I couldn’t help but share this with you.
by JoyceKilmer  (1886-1918)
I think that I shall never see 
A poem lovely as a tree

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest 
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast; 
A tree that looks at God all day, 
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;   
A tree that may in Summer wear 
A nest of robins in her hair; 
Upon whose bosom snow has lain; 
Who intimately lives with rain.   
Poems are made by people like me, 
But only God can make a tree.

Native Plants of the Year for 2011

American Winterberry Ilex verticillata 'Winter...

Image via Wikipedia

The Lake Erie Allegheny Partnership for Biodiversity (LEAP) has finished the postcards and posters that will be available soon to advertise and promote the 2011 Native Plants of the Year.  Each year a perennial, a shrub and a tree are selected.  These plants are selected because they promote native diversity, attact wildlife, require less fertilizer and watering and thrive under natural conditions.  The winners are…

Liatris spicata – Blazing Star (perennial)

Amelanchier laevis – Allegheny Serviceberry (shrub)

Ilex verticillata – Common Winterberry

Please see the LEAP website for the promotional details of these great natives!

Coming soon! Plant Identification & Information on your IPhone!

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

For those of you that are techies and love plants….here’s one for you! I know I still refer to his book!  Will be nice to be able to access the information we want right there on our phones!

Michael Dirr iPhone app to debut at National Green Centre
Dirr’s Tree and Shrub Finder, a new iPhone app based on Dr. Michael Dirr’s Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, will be introduced at the Sweet Melissa Fashion Show on January 9 during the National Green Centre in St. Louis. Released by Timber Press, the app offers the latest and most reliable information on woody landscape plants; it features more than 9,400 plants; 72 search criteria; 7,600 hi-res color photos and more than 1,120 line drawings

Learn more at: