Articles in Category: Classes

It's Time for Bare Roots!

on Thursday, 02 January 2020. Posted in Edibles, Fruit trees, Classes, New Plants

Fruit Tree and Berry Season

homeWinter2017 Bare Root Fruit Trees and Berries

Foggy mornings, cold nights, soggy ground, and winter storm warnings - that means it’s a perfect time for planting bare root trees and shrubs! Our first shipments of bareroot have already arrived, so this is the perfect time to start making your 2020 fruit tree wish list.

Bare roots, for those unfamiliar with them, are dormant plants (generally fruiting trees and shrubs) that are sold with exposed roots. We hold them here at the nursery in bins filled with soil, to keep the roots from drying out. When you buy them, we dig them out, pop them into a plastic bag, and you’re on your way! And although bare roots look a little…unimpressive…at first glance, there are a lot of great reasons to consider planting a few this winter.

              Selection: You’ll find the biggest selection of fruiting trees and shrubs at this time of year - ranging from hard-to-find food plants like quince, jujube, elderberry, currants, and hops; to a larger selection of sizes (from dwarf rootstock to semi-dwarf) and varieties of fruit (five kinds of strawberries, five kinds of grapes, ten kinds of peaches and four persimmons!).

              Price: Because these are bare roots, nurseries have a lot fewer costs invested in them: no containers, no soil, no fertilizer - and they haven’t spent months (or years) caring for them as they’re growing out. Those savings are passed along to the buyer, and they can be significant.

              Mid-Winter is a great time to plant: It might seem counter-intuitive, but this is a wonderful time for planting trees and shrubs. The ground is moist and plants are dormant, so plants are far less likely to go into transplant shock than they are during warmer and drier times of the year. In addition, because the ground is soft, tree-sized holes are a lot easier to dig!

              Getting to the root of it all: Plant roots are amazing structures: they hold plants in place, pull water out of the soil, and store the nutrients plants need to grow and be healthy. And root structures are incredibly variable. Some plants produce lots of thin, fibrous roots; some rely on a long taproot; and others have root structures that branch as widely and intricately as the above-ground part of the plant. And yet, we rarely get to see them! This is probably the only time you’ll have the opportunity to see the whole plant you’re working with. And that can help give you a better understanding of what your trees and shrubs need in order to grow and thrive.

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There are just a few things you’ll need to keep in mind when planting bare roots, in order to get your new plants off to the best start possible:

  • Try to get your bare roots planted within a few hours of getting them home. Your bare root plants are dormant, but they’re not indestructible. If you can’t get them planted immediately, make sure you keep roots from drying out between the time you bring your plants home and the time you get them planted.   You can keep them moist inside the plastic bag for a couple of days.  It is best to heel them into some soil or moist bark if you can’t plant them right away.
  • Hold off on fertilizing your new plants until all risk of frost has passed. Fertilizing too soon can push leaf growth before their roots have had a chance to get established. In addition, new leaves are thin and tender and can be killed by late frosts.
  • It is best to prune back the branches of your bare root tree.  You want the top of the tree to be more in line with the root system.  This will help give the roots a better chance at supporting what is up top.  Have more questions?  We can help at the nursery or come to our fruit tree pruning classes on Feb. 15th and Feb. 22nd!
  • Please feel free to ask us questions! The staff here at Shooting Star is happy to help you with suggestions about the best varieties to plant, how much space your plants will need, and what pollinizers (if any) your plants will need in order to produce fruits. We can even give you a few simple pruning suggestions to get you started on the right foot with your new plants.

Fall is the best time for planting

on Monday, 05 August 2019. Posted in Landscape contractor, Classes

Fallscaping- the benefits of fall planting

Fall is in the air.  It may not seem like it with the smoke and the temps still in the 90s.  But the days are getting shorter and we know that cooler temperatures and autumn rains are right around the corner.  

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You won't want to miss that prime opportunity to get planting.  Fall is the best time to plant in the Rogue Valley.  Especially higher investment plants like shade trees.  There is less stress involved when transplanting them during cool weather and when they have started to go dormant.  We like to define fall as when we start to get some rain, the days have cooled off and are shorter.  That can mean late September or early to mid October.  The Rogue Valley doesn't have the extreme winters of the east coast, so we can enjoy fall planting into November and December when trees and deciduous shrubs are fully dormant.  

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Top 5 Reasons for Planting in the Fall~

1.  Cool weather means less stress on the plants (and the gardeners!).

2.  The soil is still warm so root growth continues during the fall months; getting the plant better established for the following summer.

3.  You can plant more drought tolerant plants and have to water them less because they will be more established than a spring planting.  If we have a dry fall, you will still need to water deeply until the rain is more consistent.  

4. You can plant more natives and support wildlife and local habitat.  - Natives will have happier roots with a fall planting.

5.  The soil is easier to work with over the wet soils of spring.  So make the most of those crisp autumn days!

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The nursery has a whole series of fall classes to support you in your gardening endeavors.  We are fully stocked for fall, it won't be the dregs left over from summer.   Fall is a great time to add some color or texture to your garden.  Think ornamental grasses, seed heads, and crimson fall leaves.   If you think you need an expert eye on your landscape, contact us about our design and consult services.  Happy Planting!

Fruit Tree Season is Here!

on Friday, 06 January 2017. Posted in Fruit trees, Classes, New Plants

New Fruit tree varieties by Joey Sparks

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With these cold winter months ahead many gardeners are eager to get back outside and work on projects. Bare Root Fruit tree season is here!  So many great varieties of fruit trees are available this time of year that become harder to find during the rest of the growing season. While we carry all of the classic favorites like apples, cherries and pears, we also bring in some in some unusual fruit trees such as persimmon, walnuts, and Chinese Jujube.  

Most people prefer to grow fruit varieties they are more familiar with, like ones they purchase at the store (Pink lady Apples, Santa Rosa Plums). While these varieties are popular for good reason, consider planting a lesser known fruit tree like the ‘Chocolate’ Persimmon or a Mulberry. You’ll never find them at the store- often because they aren’t bred for a long shelf life.  So, you can enjoy unique flavors right from your yard!  

 

chocolate persimmonThe non-astringent ‘Chocolate’ Persimmon has bright orange skin and brown flesh, thus it’s reference to chocolate.  The fruits form and color late in fall and resemble lanterns hanging from the tree after leaf drop. Letting the fruits freeze on the tree a few times before harvest is recommended to enhance sweetness. The rare ‘Chocolate’ variety has a hint of nutmeg spice along with the sweet flavor.

 

 

black beauty mulberryMulberries you will almost never see at a store or even a farmer’s market because they are best picked ripe from the tree and tend to get juice down your arms in the process.   But they are worth the mess- with a flavor and look similar to blackberries, but almost more complex.  They have elongated black fruits and can make a large bush or small tree that could be hedged.  Just plant it far away from the family vehicle.  We carry the variety 'Black Beauty' which is hardy to Zone 7.

 

 

One confusing topic when it comes to fruit trees is pollination. Fruit trees are either self-fertile or they require a pollinator. If a tree is self-fertile that means that it will produce fruit on its own without the help of another tree. If a tree requires a pollinator than you need to plant two or more varieties of that species that are compatible.  There are several pollination charts out there to reference.  Our fruit tree descriptions tell you if they are self-fertile or need a pollinator.

 

class pruning older fruit treesExample: A Granny Smith apple is self-fertile as well as a pollinator for the ever-popular Fuji apple. They would make a great pair! One type being sour and one sweet.  But even if a fruit tree is self-fertile, it will set more fruit with other fruit trees of the same species nearby. Don’t stress too much about how close they are to each other, bees are pretty good at traveling. The important point is that diversity is a good thing .Growing fruit is a rewarding experience. It allows you to share food that you’ve grown with friends and family. It’s important to grow fruit that you not only like but will also use. You would be surprised how fruitful a couple of trees can be once they mature.

 

class asian pear espalieredWhat if I am limited in space? You’re not alone: if you would like to grow more varieties than your space will allow there is a way. One solution is to plant genetic dwarfs like the ‘Dwarf Empress' Peach or 'Golden Prolific' Nectarine. These compact trees only reach about 5’ tall and wide, while still producing a healthy amount of tasty fruit! Another solution is to use a technique called espaliered pruning. This allows you to control the size and form of your trees. Espaliered trees are also a very beautiful way to incorporate fruit trees into your landscape and garden space

 

Be sure to pre register for any upcoming classes you are interested in.  Many of them have limited spaces and the fruit tree classes are always popular.  Looking forward to seeing you!

 You can also see descriptions of most our fruiting trees and shrubs here.  Our availability is always listed here.