The Woodlands of Missouri

The Woodlands of Missouri
...a stroll through the forest, a beautiful diverse biome.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall Tree Planting is Here!

Fall Tree Planting is Here!

Now is time... Finally, as our temperatures have dropped, good amount of moisture in the ground, and the trees starting to change color, we can resume lifting and shipping of many of the trees.

What is really fascinating to watch, is how the trees respond to the seasonal weather. In July, it is typically really hot and dry, with warm night time temperatures. Then comes August, also warm, but we seem to get a rash of storms which creates a flux in the 'hot-dry continuum'. This often sparks a pre-fall response of some trees like the Aspen and Birch, where some of the inner less energy-efficient leaves turn yellow and drop off. In the tree nursery, we push this by keeping the tree beds and containers drier, which tends to push the early seasonal response. Then as normal, temperature and moisture jump all around throughout August and September, which makes the trees slow down their growth.

Then somewhere between mid-September to mid-October, there is more rain, cooler night temps, dramatically so compared to the previous fluctuations, yet with warm days. Hence, we have Autumn as we know it. But watching the trees respond is interesting, as more and more of the leaves, not just the inner less productive leaves, but all of them start to turn colors. And more tree species start changing as well. As this signals the time where the last bits of sunlight-energy are being stored in the roots, trees can then be lifted and shipped in this pre-dormant or lightly dormant condition. Granted, it is always preferred to ship trees when fully leafless and dormant, but many (hardwood) tree species can be handled earlier.

Keep in mind, that Fall tree planting is not for everywhere. We like to say, in general, the northern half of the country (basically Plant Zones 1-5) should not plant in the Fall, just because the window of opportunity is short. Even planting a lightly dormant tree, although it would sit fine, it may still be frost-heaved or damaged by the forth-coming colder weather. If in doubt, wait until late-winter or early spring.

On the other side, the south half of the country (Plant Zones 7-10), we generally say - "Plant, plant, plant..." and "Plant all winter!". Zone 6, is a middle-ground, can be Ok for Fall tree planting, it depends, more of a case by case basis.

Planting trees in the Fall can work out, it really comes down to your area, the type of trees, and timing. But we are excited that many of our trees are ready or getting close to that point where general shipping can resume...


Written by Empire National Nursery, Your North Carolina Source for Fast Growing Trees.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Juvenile Trees - "Grow Up!"

Juvenile Trees - "Grow Up! "

Are your trees growing up wild and undisciplined? Is their bad behavior due to an unruly upbringing? No... actually, in reference to trees, we’re referring to growth rates.

One of the most asked questions we get has to do with "how fast a tree will grow". That is actually a very difficult question to answer (accurately), as are growing children... granted they are completely unrelated subjects. But tree growth is a complex set of inter-related factors, influenced by its environment, similar to children and the home, but still unrelated topics...

As every tree growing situation can be highly variable, it is next to impossible to accurately guess how much a particular tree will grow over a given period of time, in a specific location, although some generalizations can be made. If the chart is visible on your screen, then it will help add some light to the growing situation.

For most trees, from a fast growing willow (like our Ameri-Willow hybrid), an oak, quaking aspen, or whatever, seedling growth starts out relatively slow. As the tree becomes established, the momentum of grow speed increases, where the juvenile years typically have the fastest growth rate. How many pairs of shoes has your kids grown out of over the past several years? There is some similarity there, as juvenile life-forms of all types have their fastest rates of growth. Now for trees, this is where the species and/or genus will largely dictate the capacity for growth speed, secondarily influenced by the growth environment. Then after they "release their wiggles", so to speak, trees reach a mature phase where the rate of growth greatly slows down.

In general, and over the broad spectrum of tree species, it is the willows and poplar trees (including the aspen) that have the fastest "capacity" for juvenile growth. Oaks and spruces, are generally slower growers during this period, but individual species like the Pin Oak and Norway Spruce have a fairly fast early growth potential. All trees will go through a growth cycle similar to the bell-shaped curve on the graph. The shape will vary as per species, but this is typical of all growing things. "To every thing, there is a season."

Given each tree species has a capacity for increasing growth rates during the juvenile years, it then becomes the growing environment that will enhance or detract from the trees ability to reach its potential (puns about our school system aside). The basic primary factors include, sunlight, water and nutrients, and climate.

Some trees grow better in full sunlight, others grow their best with some shading. A fast growing birch tree may grow three to four feet a year during juvenile its period in full sun, but with increased competition for sunlight (shading), that rate will drop significantly, even to the point of little or no growth at all. The Red Maple and Tulip Tree on the other hand, may benefit from partial shading during the early years, where their growth rates might not slow down. This is when knowing your trees and your growing conditions makes a huge difference in potential growth expectations.

Water and nutrients certainly are key factors in all trees and plants, no big surprise. Ever plant a Redwood in the desert? How about planting a pine tree in a swampy location? This is the extreme in what we refer to as "off-site" planting, but the moisture regime has a lot to do with growth rates. Too little or too much water will obviously hinder growth. Either they dry up, or they drown... The nutrients in the soil are vital to growth, and if they are limited, this too can greatly influence tree growth.

Since the climate in this country varies in every situation and to the extreme, it is easy to understand how climate will influence the tree growth rate. If your growing seasons are long, like in south Florida, then you can expect a willow to better reach its juvenile growth potential, than in Minnesota with its relatively short season. Tree growth rates are not just species related, but also time influenced. Short season, shorter period of time for a tree to get growin’. Longer seasons, longer opportunities for growth.

All of these conditions, in combination, will determine how fast a particular tree will grow in a particular location. There are a number of other factors that can influence a trees growth rates, like soil conditions, animals, string-trimmers, etc. But for a general understanding of growth rates, we hope that answers some of the tree growth questions.

Juvenile trees... "can’t live with ‘em, can’t shoot ‘em."

Written by Empire National Nursery, Your North Carolina Source for Fast Growing Trees.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remember 911 - Support Our Troops!

Help Support Our Troops

September 11th, 2001... Never forget... What a shame and a tragedy, but a "wake-up call" for US all! We live in a fallen world, and it will get worse as "the end of all things draws neigh..." And to hear that our Rat of a president wants to put a shrine to "his" people where Americans gave their blood? As we say in the South, "lynch 'em". In the meantime, there is Hope and purpose.

This is a Great opportunity for All of US to help our countrymen fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other parts of the world. "Our" freedom and safety is being bled for by our brothers, husbands (and wives), our friends and neighbors. How many people do you know actively serving? Can you help?

How nice it is to sit here safe and sound in our homes, surfin' around, and checking out sites like this... but, please consider and give thought to those who are making it happen. No games, no hype, this is not about sales... it's about wanting to do something for our troops. There are a number of things we can all do to help, and we just ask that you consider doing something...

If you can, pray for our troops, their safety, their families here, and that they come back home soon. Also, pray for our leaders, that they make "good" (or better) decisions with foreign affairs. Then, there are a number of practical ways you can help. When you're at a restaurant or the airport and see a serviceman (or woman), buy them a meal and offer your thanks. Get involved in a local organization or church that has a program doing something hands-on. Check out the web for organizations that directly serve them (there are a bunch), and find a spot where you can help. There are care-boxes you can do, and many of these have care-package programs that can help you serve. Remember, Christmas is not that far away, and most of our troops will not see their families (again).

Do you have a few extra dollars? Will you consider donating time if not money? Not on this webpage, but there are others places that are set up to support our troops with your donations. Go plug: "" into the search box below and go to their site, and learn more about them, and how you might be able to help out. Or, use the search box to connect to some of the other webpages that can help you help them.

We too are trying to do something... and putting page together, we are hoping to encourage others to get involved one way or another, and providing a direction to find out more places that are hands-on. We are greatly saddened that the wars are dragging on and on... Nobody wants this, but the reality is that they are there fighting to keep us safe, fighting to insure our freedoms. We should all care! Help do something... One of our little slogans is, "Even one small seedling can grow into something big". The same might be said for even taking a small action to help our troops. Even one small prayer or action might make a huge difference in the life of a soldier.

Like the Giant Sequoia trees, let us stand Mighty and Strong with our troops and each other. Reach out and reach up...

A Soldier

He is that fallen lance that lies as hurled,
That lies unlifted now, come dew, come rust,
But still lies pointed as it plowed the dust.
If we who sight along it round the world,
See nothing worthy to have been its mark,
It is because like men we look too near,
Forgetting that as fitted to the sphere,
Our missiles always make too short an arc.
They fall, they rip the grass, they intersect
The curve of earth, and striking, break their own;
They make us cringe for metal-point on stone.
But this we know, the obstacle that checked
And tripped the body, shot the spirit on
Further than target ever shot or shone.

-- Robert Frost, 1936

Thank you for reading this...

Written by Empire National Nursery, Your North Carolina Source for Fast Growing Trees.

Friday, August 27, 2010

When Best to Ship Trees?

Generally, most trees, fast growing trees, slow-growing trees, and especially evergreen trees, are best shipped from October through early Spring. Best after they become dormant in the Fall, and outside of this time period, they can be iffy...

Take delivery early! Temporarily plant the trees in pots (or clumped together in a single pot) and hold them in the garage or other protected area until 'your' conditions are ready to plant. This way, the trees arrive dormant and are held in dormancy pending your climate warming up. Then they are better acclaimated and immediately available!

Think about it... plan on it. Any questions, do ask us...
Fast growin trees for home and garden landscaping from Empire National Nursery

Written by Empire National Nursery, Your North Carolina Source for Fast Growing Trees.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Trees Need Shade Too

Aside from the current flooding, did you know that trees need shade too? Newly planted trees, or those planted in the last year or so, can greatly benefit from partial shading.

We plant some trees with the hope of them growing up to shade our homes, thereby making it cooler inside during the summer blaze, as well as saving money on air conditioning, or reducing the  greenhouse effect, etc. Good reasons, all of them, but in order to get a newly planted tree established, often they need help. Shading can benefit a young tree, giving it that little extra "umph" when it most needs it - the first season (or two). Even the "fast growing" trees, like the willows and poplars, can benefit from shade.

Consider, a newly planted tree doesn't have the roots system firmly or widely established. Hey, just planted, the soil is loose, the roots are in a wad, and its already wilting... The newly planted are just not ready to handle the blazing days to follow. They can and they will (or are suppose to), but they need some help. If not correctly planted or/and watered sufficiently, wilting is the first sign of stress. Longer term stress can cause the limited root system to die back, which can summer-kill the tree. Watering alone "can" do the trick, but overwatering is almost as bad as underwatering (the roots can't breathe). Limited water, very warm soil surface temps, or roots that can't breathe, contributes to the stress on the 'lil $5.95 tree.

We are big proponents of having a thick mulch layer around newly planted trees. Mulch helps to moderate soil moisture and temperatures, but in many cases, mulching may not be enough. Shade helps. The idea is that if you can block the mid-day sun, which causes the most stress on the tree, that will add some relief to the roots and leaves, even for a few hours. The mid-day is when the sun is most intense, and typically when the humidity is the lowest. This causes stress on the roots and leaves, as noted.

So, what to do is add some shade. There are several ways to do so, so just get creative about it. One of the simplest ideas is to drive in a stake (wood or pvc) on the sunny-side, just outside the tree planting hole. Attach a piece of wood or cardboard to the stake. "Wa-la..." partial shade. There are other materials or structures to use for sure, but the goal is to reduce the amount of full blazing sun for a time during the mid-day. You can build a cage , a tower, or whatever, but the tree getting too little sun, is almost as bad as getting too much. Keep it simple, keep it cheap.

Having a partial sunblock for a couple hours during the hottest part of the day, during the first season (at least), the overwhelming stress on the newly planted tree roots will be greatly reduced. Reduced stress will result in that fast growing shade tree to survive its first summer, allowing it to grow on its way to shading the house.

Happy shading...