Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tallgrass Prairie Preserve

My family first moved to Kansas in the mid-1870's.   One of my favorite drives is on the Kansas Turnpike between Emporia and Cassody, Kansas.  I love to drive through the Flint Hills in the spring and summer to see the rolling hills of grass as far as the eye can see.  I like to imagine the vast prairie my relatives saw when they arrived here 140 years ago. 

prairie grasses
If you want to step back in time, be sure to take your family on a day trip to theNational Tallgrass Prairie Preserve just North of Strong City Kansas ( 20 miles West of Emporia on Highway 50).  It is the site of the old Z Bar Ranch, which consists of approximately 11,000 acres of natural tall grass prairie.  There are several miles of trails to hike, but they also have a bus that will take you out onto the prairie.  One of my favorite spots is on a hill in the middle of the preserve that you can see for 22 miles.  From one vantage point, you can image you are back in the mid-1800's overlooking the prairie as it once looked.  You can't see any man made objects, no fences, houses, barns, telephone poles, etc.  It is quite a site!  
road in the prairieWhy not add some native prairie grasses to your landscaping projects this spring?  All of the native grasses are well suited for the varied Kansas & Missouri weather.  All are very drought tolerant. Loma Vista has several native grasses in production with most available to ship now or later this summer:  Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), Little Bluestem(Schizachyrium scoparium), Indian Grass(Sorghastrum nutans), Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum) just to name a few.  Give your sales rep a call or email us atsales@lomavistanursery.com to put together an order.  

Kevin Snider, Accounting Department, Loma Vista Nursery

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Winning Combination!


Case study:
Plaza street trees 
  
A year ago in the summer of 2014, Highwoods Properties contacted its landscape maintenance company, Signature Landscape, about adding and replacing street trees throughout The Country Club Plaza. Over the years, only a handful of pears, red oaks and pin oaks have lived and become large enough to provide significant shade, but most trees had not survived despite several attempts to bolster the urban canopy with new plantings. Most recently, they had tried some 3-inch caliper Dawn Redwood along West 48th Street, all of which perished under the harsh conditions like many attempts in the past.
Brad Drees, Director of Asset Management for Highwoods, knows all too well the struggles to planting and keeping trees alive on the Plaza:
"Keeping trees alive on the Country Club Plaza can be a difficult task due to the small area they have to be planted in, the heat reflecting from the hard surfaces, auto exhaust and ice melt applied in the winter."
Timing on such a high profile installation is critical to the success of the project and so is the tree or plant selection. In this case, the conversation started in late spring and planting was to be done as quickly as possible, which put installation into late summer. In addition to the hazards listed by Drees above, this presented possible problems with availability and the potential for transplant shock and death in a typical KC summer.  Without automated irrigation, and  very limited canopy space, the list of varieties that can be used with any expectation of success shrunk even further. Aesthetics and whether a consistent tree variety for each block was the answer, or if a more diverse, park-like mix was the smart thing to do to avoid problems with pests in the future that we don't know about yet (with EAB making itself at home in all of our ash, that was fresh on our minds) was also a factored.
Loma Vista's team of experts collaborated  with folks from Highwoods and Signature to recommend a mix of 2-inch and 2.5-inch Columnar Tuliptree, Heavenly Gate Ginkgo, Swamp White Oak, Pacific Sunset Oak, Patriot Elm, Green Pillar Pin Oak and Summer Charm Tree Lilac. About half of the trees were available in balled and burlap stock from spring dug crops, but the other half needed to be container grown trees, which drew some hesitation from Highwoods. But because of the timing and the fact that the trees were essentially going permanently into larger containers, and because container trees suffer less transplant shock in stressed planting times and they establish faster, the decision was made to mix in some container trees, which were the Ginkgos, Maples, and Elms.
One year later, the container grown maples and elm are establishing quickly and are out-growing the B&B trees, but all are looking good. Only time will tell the true tale of whether we have been lucky with the mild temperatures and ample moisture or if the selection of tree varieties played into the success of this project. But so far, the trees have had a great start and they are adding to the ambiance and enjoyment of the historic landmark shopping district in our great city. Drees adds:
"We purchased 84 trees from Loma Vista and Signature planted them in July and August of 2014 and so far have a 100% survival. We can't get any better success than that!"
We are proud to have played a role in this important project and look forward to enjoying our trees on the plaza for years to come!

  

By Chad Weinand, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP, Loma Vista Nursery

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Come and get your fruit!

Loma Vista Nursery is growing fruit trees in #7 and #10s! I am so excited to have wonderful varieties of lovely apples, sweet cherries, peaches, pears, plums and serviceberry to add to your sweet line of fruit for your nursery.  It is what every sustainable garden really needs.

 
Elberta Peach 
Elberta Peach

 
Prunus Superior 
Superior Plum

 

This line of trees will be ready to ship at the end of this month; place your orders now for fall fruit trees. Our lineup includes Gala and Honeycrisp apples; Rainer, Bing and Black Tartarian sweet cherries; Elberta and Early Elberta peaches; Bartlett and Tawara™ pear (what is this one?! I'll will go in more detail in a moment) and, Superior and Toka Plums. Along with our small fruits like Goji berry, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries round out our delectable fruiting selections.

 Tawara Pear

Now without any further ado, (drumroll please) introducing the Tawara™ Pear selected from Fort Collins, Colorado! This was a originally a bonsai tree that was planted by Vick Tawara in the late 1970s at his house on a southwest corner, exposed to all the elements in the high desert plains, where the Tawara™ pear still lives. Even after last year's polar vortex freeze in November, this tree is doing great. Talk about hardy! Introduced in the First Editions™ product line, this is a lovely Asian pear that is hardy to zone 4 (maybe even hardier). Growing to a height of 15-18' x width of 8-12', this wonderful edible has with a light tan to brown fruit that has a crispy apple like texture. Perfect for fresh salads, storing, and canning. Although it is self-fruiting, you will get a better fruit set with a cross-pollination of another fruiting pear like Bartlett. Welcome aboard fruiting pear!

 

As with all fruit - maintenance is key. Make sure you are giving your customers all the needed information to make the home orchard a success. Check this out:

 
for a helpful publication on training and pruning of fruit trees.

 
 
Read more at


Give your sales rep a call to place an order or for additional information.  Or, email us at sales@lomavistanursery.com.  

By Michelle Cadena, Sales Representative, Loma Vista Nursery

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses add a visual interest to the landscape. They help prevent soil erosion, provide a habitat for wildlife, are easy to maintain, handle heat well and once established, don't require a lot of water.  There are a variety of sizes, colors, textures and leaf shape.  Small compact grasses work well as borders or can be used in containers. Large varieties add height to any area as a specimen plant or grown with perennials such as Echinacea, Rudbeckia , Liatris and Perovskia.   Five of my favorite grasses are:

 Feather Reed Grass
Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' 
  • Narrow, upright, clumping  habit
  •  Pink Feathery flower turning wheat colored
  •  5-6' by 2-3'
Elijah Blue Fescue
Festuca ovina 'Elijah Blue'
  • Small, dense mounds of silver-blue flat or rolled blades
  •  Flowers slightly above with a tan-beige coloring
  •  1' by 1'
Maiden Grass 
Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus'
  • Dense, upright clumps of arching green blades
  •  Red to brown in the fall, seedheads are copper colored
  •  6-7' by 5'

Indian Steel Indian Grass 
Sorghastrum nutans 'Indian Steel'
  • Upright native grass with blue-green foliage
  •  Foliage changes to light brown with yellow stems in the fall
  •  3-4' by 1-2'
Prairie Dropseed
 
Sporobolus heterolepis
  • Mounding native grass with arching green blades
  • Seedheads smell like buttered popcorn
  • 1-2' x 1-2'
By Kate Williams, Sales Representative, Loma Vista Nursery

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Looking Ahead

I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.  I am writing this ahead of the weekend but it does look like there is rain in the forecast.  Again.  Same story, different day for us in the Kansas City area and many of you as well.  My theory is that all of this rain is creating pent up demand so I am looking ahead. 

 
June at Loma Vista Nursery brings new crops of finished containers including container trees.  I haven't spoken to one person that hasn't had trouble finding products this year.  So if you are searching for trees, take a look at the container tree section of our availability.  Even better, come take a look at what we have growing.  We would love to give you a tour.

 
Crimson Sunset Maple #25 1.75
 
Crimson Sunset Maple  #25 1.75" caliper
Available NOW
Crimson Sunset resembles Crimson King in foliage but is a truncatum hybrid so it will tolerate the heat better than other purple leaf plants.  These beauties are available now.

 
Hot Wings Maple #25 1.75
Also available NOW, Hot Wings Maple #25 1.75" caliper

 
Showy red seeds will soon be adorning these smaller accent trees and look something like this...
Acer Hot Wings is a tough tree, drought tolerant, and it's size makes it well suited for the smaller home landscape.

 
Hot Wings Maple

 
Ginkgo biloba varieties will be available June 15. The leaves of the ginkgo are so striking!  You don't need much more than that for a selling point.

 
Heavenly Gate #25 1.75" caliper

 
Heavenly Gate Ginkgo #25 1.75
 
Ginkgo biloba Chi Chi #25 2" caliper

 Chi Chi Ginkgo

 
Sawtooth Oak #25 1.75" caliper
Available NOW

 
Sawtooth Oaks
 
Loma Vista Nursery continues to expand and improve our container tree production.  We are excited about container trees and the flexibility they offer our customers and our industry.  If you are interested in seeing more pictures, just send me an email.  I have more that I would be happy to share with you. Caitlin@lomavistanursery.com 

Caitlin Hupp, Sales Representative, Loma Vista Nursery