Friday, April 24, 2015

Early Success from the Tree Fields

The focus of this article will turn all heads to the dedicated crew at Loma Vista's tree farm under the leadership of Manuel Lopez.  

Manuel Lopez

Manuel has been with Loma Vista since 1992 when our tree fields were at our Olathe location. In the early days, it was Manuel, owner Mark Clear, and a handful of people, including Lyndsi after school and summers, growing and harvesting our trees. 

Today, 30 men, 4 tree spades, and a master plan were the ingredients to a very successful early spring shipping season. 

tree spades

tree load
This year we sent 60 loads to our out of state customers.  We knew this timely six week execution would be a challenge, but one that was welcomed by the Loma Vista team.  Not only were these orders a priority, the crews were also digging and shipping to both of our distribution centers in the metropolitan Kansas City area.  

fresh load of trees

In addition, the crews worked hard re-planting the fields at Willow.  1,000's of liners were planted in the fields this spring. The tree crews worked diligently seven days a week, dusk till dawn.  Not to mention dancing around the unpredictable weather of the Midwest.  My hats off to the crew at Willow.

Caarpinus fastigiata field shot
With spring harvest wrapping up, we are already planning for fall harvest and next spring's also.  We have great crops of Crimson Sunset, Redpointe, Sun Valley, Autumn Splendor, Autumn Blaze and Hot Wings Maples coming on.  Plus, Royal Raindrops Crabapples, Chanticleer Pears, Quaking Aspens, Espresso Coffeetrees, and Serviceberries too.  Oaks include Kindred Spirit, Regal Prince, Crimson Spire and Heritage. Norway Spruce, White Pines, and upright junipers are a few of the evergreens we grow.
Summer is a great time to tour the tree fields and book your orders for the upcoming harvests. Orders for fall 2015 and spring 2016 placed this summer will receive priority when the orders are allocated in September.  

Contact your sales representative to make arrangements to tour the fields or email us at  We'd love to show you what we are growing and introduce you to some of the dedicated crew that are growing your trees.  

By Jeremy Amos, Farm Direct Inside Sales, Loma Vista Nursery

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Spring in Full Swing

We have an early start to Spring. It really is in full Swing!!  After perusing the nursery, I thought I would share a few items that caught my eye.

Sunburst Hypericum        
Hypericum Sunburst - Nice big full plants this year. Great yellow flower that is later in the season. Hypericum has good drought tolerance as well.

Snow Day Surprise Exochorda 
Exchorda Snow Day Surprise - I know this plant has been mentioned before, but it has awesome white flowers right now. It is 4ft by 3.5 4ft wide at maturity. This plant should be in everybody's yard.

Amber Jubilee Ninebark 
Amber Jubilee Ninebark - Starting to flush and is showing it's beautiful burnt orange foliage. These are also nice full plants. Likes a little afternoon shade for best results in my opinion.

Oso Easy Lemon Zest Rose 
OSO Easy Lemon Zest - These 3PW are sweet!  Matures 18-30 inch by 18-30 inch, disease resistant, self cleaner and provides plenty of canary yellow flowers. Easy enough for any novice gardener to grow.

Perennials are coming on strong and looking great! You better get them while they last.

May Night Salvia 
Salvia May Night, one of  last year's hot sellers, always a good performer.

Carnival Series Heuchera
Our new Carnival Series Heuchera are popping out like crazy.

Kamtschaticum Sedum
Kamtschaticum ellacobeanum Sedum looks great!!

These are just a few of the many great plants that are flushing hard and looking great for spring sales. Just give a us call if you need more information or would like to schedule a tour of the container farm.   913-897-7010 or email us
By Steve Bridges, Sales Representative, Loma Vista Nursery

Monday, April 13, 2015

Proven Winners Resources

Jodi, our new representative from Proven Winners, was gracious enough to spend an entire day with me touring our farms and helping educate us on all the available resources PW has to offer.  It was a bit overwhelming.  Below are some of the top resources that are very helpful to us and may benefit you as well.

Big Life Goji Berry 
PW ColorChoice Edibles
We have Goji Berry ready for spring shipping.

Summer Shandy Hop 
Summer Shandy Golden Hop in the pipeline.  

Sugar Mountain Blue Haskap  
I look forward to trying the Sugar Mountain Blue Haskap.

We get quite a few calls about care and pruning for hydrangeas.  This guide really simplifies everything and is a great resource.
Little Quick Fire Hydrangea 
My favorite new PW hydrangea is Little Quick Fire.

PW Seasons of Interest Poster
There are very nice, low maintenance PW Shrubs that offer three seasons of interest, dwarf habits, and low water usage.  They are great solutions to landscapes in our region.
Oso Easy Lemon Zest Rose
Some of my favorites are Oso Easy Lemon Zest
Spilled Wine Weigela 
Spilled Wine Weigela
Cityline Venice Hydrangea 
Cityline Venice Hydrangea and Fine Line Buckthorn.  
Please contact your sales representative for more information or email us at
By Lyndsi Oestmann, Vice President, Loma Vista Nursery

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Substitutions - Turn that Frown Upside Down

happy face

Happy spring, everyone!  This time of year, it is always an adventure when sourcing plant material.  The word substitution is thrown around A LOT, partly due to the time of year and the minute to minute fluctuation of inventory and availability, and partly due to shortages of plant material that we are all experiencing.  Before I worked in the nursery industry as a consulting landscape architect, I dreaded that word as much as the next guy because it meant I had to compromise my vision for the project.  But since my conversion from the dark side to the plant world, I have learned to have flexibility in my plant selections and to be open to substitutions because there may be new or better varieties out there that I didn't think about or know about that may actually make the project more successful.

Here are some of my favorite substitutions you should consider that will make your projects and customers happy!

Crimson Sunset Maple (sub for Crimson King Maple)

Image - JFS
A cross between Acer truncatum and Acer platanoides,Crimson Sunset is a great hybrid maple that takes the best traits from each parent species, making it an extremely tough new variety that has better success in a red-leafed maple.  With slightly corky bark that makes is less-susceptible to sun scald and waxy red leaves that are tatter-resistant, this upright oval tree can handle a wide range of conditions.  Plant it with confidence!

Hot Wings Tatarian Maple (sub for Amur Flame)

Acer tataricum 'Hot Wings' is simply one of the most unique mid-sized trees out there!  With an upright oval form and yellow to orange fall color, it's most spectacular and unique feature is the reason to plant this tree.  Hundreds of whirlybirds (or samaras as they are more technically called) emerge in late spring and turn a bright red color in June.  I once had someone ask me what the blooming maple was that we had in the nursery and it turned out to be Hot Wings! It truly appears to have red blooms from a distance, which is a really unique bloom color from a tree in June!  And oh yeah, this tree is tough and can handle most any condition!

Fine Line Buckthorn (sub for Emerald Green Arborvitae)

Love them or hate them, Emerald Green Arborvitae is a very unique plant that fits a very unique profile as far as a skinny, upright evergreen with a very compact mature size.  However, they are incredibly difficult to get established and keep alive and have a high mortality rate in our area, mostly having to do with our heavy clay soils and getting the moisture right with this plant.  And there are not many plants that can be substituted for it.  This is where I like to recommend Rhamnus frangula 'Fine Line' as a possible substitution as it is far more tolerant of a wide range of conditions.  It is not an evergreen, but it has a dense upright branching structure and the bark is a dark cherry brown, giving this plant plenty of winter interest and some screening value.  People often like Emerald Green Arborvitae because of its lush green and soft texture and Fine Line replicates the soft texture with its lacy, long leaves that give a semi-tropical feel to the plant during spring, summer and fall.  And Fine Line fits the same mature size and form, but with far more durability, making it a logical and more successful option.


Flutterby Petite Tuitti Fruitti or Flutterby Pink and CranRazz Butterfly Bush (sub for Lo & Behold Blue Chip)

One of the most popular shrubs of recent years for hot and dry sites has become Lo & Behold Blue Chip Butterfly Bush.  While I am a proponent of all things that draw butterflies, especially the Monarchs, Lo & Behold Blue Chip has not proven to be as great as originally thought due to cold hardiness issues.  Newer dwarf, controlled growth Buddleia introductions from Ball Horticulture and Proven Winners in the past few years are far better performers with great colors and longer lasting blooms.  The Flutterby series from Ball features Petite Tuitti Fruitti and Flutterby Pink, two dwarf to medium sized plants.  Proven Winners' CranRazz has a fantastic bright fuchsia pink bloom that can be up to 24" in length per flower petiole, giving a spectacular summer show. 

Indian Steel Indian Grass (sub for Northwind Switchgrass or Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass)

Image - Hoffman Nursery

With hundreds of grasses to choose from, it is easy to forget about some of the native cultivars, but please don't forget Sorghastrum nutans 'Indian Steel'!  This wider-bladed, steel blue foliage grass is an outstanding clump-forming grass that can handle a wide range of sites, including ones with poor soil.  The seed heads rise above the 3' x 3' grass in summer and produce a loose mass of golden stalks with feathery seed heads to a maximum height of 5'.  In my opinion, this grass combines my favorite attributes of Northwind Switchgrass (color and wider blades) and Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass (golden plumes).

Little Goldstar Black-Eyed Susan (sub for Goldsturm)

Image - Ball Seed
Rudbeckia fulgida 'Little Goldstar' gets a gold star for its performance in our area!  It is shorter than the old standard Goldsturm, but boasts many more blooms and less of an issue with black spot, making it a great introduction that outperforms its counterpart. 
If you have questions about these or other substitutions, one of my favorite parts of my job is to find solutions to problems in the landscape through the use of plants.  I am always happy to discuss your plant needs to find a solution for you and your clients, so call or email anytime!

By Chad Weinand, PLA, LEED AP, Business Development, Loma Vista Nursery

Rejuvenate or Replace?

The average landscape is said to be planted and last eight years but many plants will perform much longer with the proper planning and care.  If you plan and give space for the mature size of the plants, the bulk of the landscape will last decades.  However, customer expectations are often of a newly landscaped property that instantly looks established.  This style leads to overcrowding and constant pruning.  Also, with the drought of 2011-2012 and winter freeze of 2013-2014, many plants checked out faster than expected.  

Some big woody plants can be rejuvenated over the years. Using the 1/3 rule, remove a third of the oldest wood each year to keep new wood coming on.  This will keep the plant controlled in size.  Another method of keeping a plant in check, is to do a hard cut.  Take the plant to the ground and it will come back from the root.  This can be done if the plant is in good health but has just gotten out of control.  It will take 2-3 years for a plant to recover from the hard cut method.  

With some plants, constant shearing will set them up to fail. The continuous pruning limits the leaf surface area on a plant and can lead to decline.  The plant will not be able recover if it also experiences summer scorch or an insect infestation such as spider mites.  

On many plants, rejuvenating is easy to do.  I like to let the spring flowering plants flower first and then cut back hard.  On later flowering plants, go ahead and start pruning early in the season.  This will give you the most regrowth as possible for the next year's flower show.  If you cannot rejuvenate an older shrub, plant replacement may be necessary to match existing shrubs.  

Don Mann, Certified Arborist, Certified Chemical Applicator, Loma Vista Nursery