When is the best time to plant trees?

Now is the ideal time to plant trees your family will love for generations to come!

By Chris Leinster - August 8, 2019

There are many hot days left in the season, but the stifling heat of mid-summer is behind us. With cooler temperatures and rain in the forecast, now is the perfect time to buy trees and to have them professionally delivered and planted in your yard!

I’m often asked “when is the best time to plant a tree?” The answer, of course, is 20 years ago! Kidding aside, if I needed another tree in my own yard now would be an ideal time to plant. The temperature is cooler, precipitation returns, and we still have three to four months of the growing season left. This means trees have a chance to “root in” before winter creeps in.

Truth be told, there is no great time to plant in Colorado. Spring is about as ideal a time as any, but late frosts and hail can ravage newly planted trees. We plant all summer long, but we must take special precautions to alleviate heat stress and transplant shock. Fall is an excellent time to plant, especially as the leaves drop from the trees as they transition into winter dormancy. The trees over-winter in the ground, and roots begin to establish long before any top growth is evident. Still, severe winter weather and frozen ground can take a toll on vulnerable newly planted trees.

All things considered, now is an excellent time to plant! You still have a few months to admire your tree as it adjusts to its new surroundings and spreads its roots into the amended soil of our planting zone. These new roots give the trees an advantage as winter sets in. They will be better suited to handle the stress of wild temperature swings and deep freezes. As the soil warms up in late winter, the roots will “wake up” and begin to soak up nutrients. By this time next year, you should experience a flush of new growth and your trees should be well on their way to providing years of enjoyment for generations to come!

If you look to the east the next time you head to the airport, you’ll get a good sense of what kind of trees like to live here- meaning, virtually none. In my native Virginia, abandoned farmers’ fields would be naturally re-forested within a decade. This is not the case in Colorado.

While Colorado is blessed with about as an ideal climate as possible for us hairless monkeys, she’s about as tough on trees as it gets. Late snow loads and hail storms assault trees in the spring. Summer brings blistering heat and severe drought, intense sun and dry air. Fall can bring early snow storms and drastic temperature swings. Sometimes winters are so cold it will split the trunks of even established trees. Heavy snow can bring massive limbs crashing to the ground.

All that said, trees have many benefits that enhance our lives and landscapes. With a little extra effort and lots of care we can enjoy many of our favorite trees from around the world in perpetuity. All they need is a little water and nutrition, especially during the establishment period. Downtown Denver is an urban forest with many splendid specimen trees- proof enough that you can successfully grow trees for your kids and grandchildren to adore.

If you’ve been thinking about adding a tree to your yard, whether it be for shade, privacy, or just something beautiful to admire, now is a great time to get it done. Call Happy Trees today and we will help you select the perfect tree for your needs. It’s easy! Give Happy Trees a call today!
 
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Many shrubs are available in tree form!

The top tiny trees for tight spaces

By Chris Leinster - July 15, 2019

As the population continues to proliferate along Colorado’s Front Range, builders are cramming houses closer together. Yard space is sacrificed for expansive living spaces, and massive McMansions are crammed onto lots where quaint bungalows once stood. In many neighborhoods, roof top patios offer the only place to plant, and rooftop gardening is becoming increasingly popular. Happy Trees is receiving many requests for smaller stature trees that won’t outgrow the slender spaces afforded them. The following are the best picks for petite trees for smaller spaces.

There are a few columnar or “fastigiate” forms of trees that provide screening and privacy where space is at a premium. If you need four season privacy, evergreens such as Juniper, Pine, and Spruce offer the best seclusion. There are many varieties of upright Juniper. ‘Skyrocket’ is the skinniest with about a 3’ span. ‘Wichita Blue’ spreads about 6’ wide and has lacy blue needles that give it a soft appearance. Check out ‘Arnold Sentinel’ for a columnar pine. If you like Blue Spruce, you’ll love the ‘Fastigiata’, an upright form.

Since we’re outside mostly over the summer months, deciduous trees like Crimsonspire Oak and Franz Fontaine Hornbeam offer super slender screening or stately accents. Many families of trees have upright forms. Maple has ‘Autumn Gold’, which is still a big tree but with a skinnier profile. There are a few Crabapple varieties like ‘Red Baron’ with upright canopies. Crabapple even have dwarf varieties like ‘Sargent Tina’ with a weeping habit. ‘Coralburst’ makes a petite patio tree, and ‘Lollipop’ is almost comical with its perfectly globular 8’ crown. There’s even a columnar form of Golden Raintree!

I hesitate to include Japanese Maple as they just don’t like Colorado’s dry air. They are irresistible though, and avid gardeners can try to pamper them to maturity. Another rarity for our climate is Seven Son Flower, which is about as close to a Crape Myrtle as we can grow at our altitude. Check it out!

Japanese Tree Lilac, Saskatoon Serviceberry, and Winter King Hawthorn are smaller trees for confined areas. Where space is really restricted, you might look to tree forms of what are generally considered shrubs. Many of our favorite shrubs can grow quite large, and if pruned properly they can lose their bushy form and be trained into small trees.

Viburnum, Ninebark, Rose of Sharon, Lilac, and Smoketree can grow upward of 15’, which is generally considered the transition where woody plants are classified as trees or shrubs. By selectively pruning out competing branches, these shrubs can be transformed into multi-stemmed small trees. As the plants mature, 3-9 stems can support an overhead canopy. If left alone, these manipulated plants will eventually revert to their bush form, so trim off unwanted leaves and branches like a Bonsai master as they appear.

Single trunked forms of these plants are sometimes available where the growers graft the shrub onto a single stem. These are specialty items that are seasonally available.

Happy Trees can provide the perfect tree for your needs whatever they may be. There’s the right tree for every situation, so if you don’t see what you need on our website, just call and we’ll fix you up with exactly what you need.
 
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What are those trees with the magnificant Pink Flowers?

And where can I buy them?

By Chris Leinster - April 23, 2019

Spring flowering trees are bursting into bloom bringing delightful color to our home landscapes. Happy Trees delivers and plants large trees so you can experience this beauty and wonder in your own yard! Follow the links for pricing and planting information…

Pink Flowering Prairiefire Crabapple http://happytrees.co/products/7263/Prairiefire-Crabapple

Fuchsia colored Royal Raindrops Crabapple http://happytrees.co/products/7256/Royal-Raindrops-Crabapple

White flowering and fruitless Spring Snow Crabapple http://happytrees.co/products/7255/Spring-Snow-Crabapple

Crabapple are among the hardiest flowering trees with the showiest display of colorful blooms. They have prolific flowers that can range from ruby red, pink, fuchsia, lavender, or white depending on the variety. I prefer to stick with varieties that produce tiny fruits that persist on the tree and dry up like raisins for the birds to snack on throughout the winter.

Newport plum have delightful pink flowers and burgundy leaves throughout the summer http://happytrees.co/products/7225/Newport-Plum

Canada Red Cherry have showers of white flowers followed by glossy green leaves that fade to burgundy. In June, new bright green growth appears on burgundy branches for a two-tone effect. Check them out! http://happytrees.co/products/7267/Canada-Red-Cherry

Chanticleer Pear are valued for their upright oval appearance, abundant white spring flowers, and a burst of red-orange-yellow fall color! http://happytrees.co/products/7218/Chanticleer-Pear

These are just some of the spring flowering trees available for planting right now. If you don’t see what you want just click or call and Happy Trees will help you find exactly what you are looking for and we’ll do the shopping for you.

Happy Trees is the easiest way for you to buy trees! You don’t need to waste your weekend driving out to the country to shop for trees. Happy Trees will help you determine the best tree for your needs and we will email or text photos of the available trees for your consideration. Once you accept your trees our crews will deliver and plant them for you. It’s easy! Give Happy Trees a call today! (720) 343-7263.
 
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Its Time for Planting Spring Flowering Trees!

The Top 5 Spring Flowering Trees your Family will Treasure for Generations to Come!

By Chris Leinster - April 9, 2019

Another arctic storm is bearing down on Colorado, bringing much needed moisture but also worrisome freezing temperatures. This is happening just as flower and leaf buds are opening up on most trees throughout the region. Hopefully your trees are still holding onto winter dormancy. If so, this storm will pass with little effect. If buds have broken open, they could suffer damage as the temperature dips into the low twenties.

Don’t worry, trees have latent buds for just such an occasion. They will open up after the storm passes in response to a late freeze. Nevertheless, as sure as the sun will come up tomorrow, your ornamental flowering trees are preparing to burst open with an array of colorful flowers. Here are the top five flowering trees for Colorado’s front range that will decorate your yard for generations to come!

Flowering Crabapple- Crabapple are the undisputed kings of spring color! They have prolific flowers that can range from ruby red, pink, fuchsia, lavender, or white depending on the variety. Most Crabapple are small to medium sized trees that have a perfectly rounded form like a lollipop. There are some with a more upright habit like ‘Royal Raindrops’, and even a columnar form as with ‘Red Baron’. ‘Red Jade’ has weeping branches, and ‘Sargent’, ‘Coralburst’, and ‘Lollipop’ are petit patio trees for small spaces.

Some varieties of Crabapple have rather hefty apples which can be a nuisance as they drop on your sidewalks and lawn. I prefer these in your neighbor’s yard, but if you have a naturalized meadow or pasture these are quite striking. ‘Bechtel’ and ‘Brandywine’ have the most stunning pink flowers that resemble roses, but those are followed by racquetball-sized fruit. ‘Radiant’ Crabapple has reddish-pink blossoms and bright red fruit that is actually quite showy, but again a little messy.

If you want the beauty without the mess, look for varieties that produce tiny apples that shrivel up like raisins and persist on the tree. These include ‘Perfect Purple’, ‘Prairiefire’, and ‘Royal Raindrops’. ‘Spring Snow’ is the only sterile variety. It has abundant white flowers and will produce no fruit. There are hormone sprays that can be applied to disrupt fruit production, but don’t overlook the ornamental attributes of fruit or the forage value to wildlife.

Crabapple tree leaves can range from glossy green to red to burgundy. With a range of shapes, flower colors, and leaf color, there is a Crabapple for every gardener to enjoy all year long! Check out our on-line catalog for more information or give Happy Trees a call for availability.

Flowering Pear- Pear trees are very popular for their upright oval habit and abundant reliable flowers. Unfortunately, Pear trees only have white flowers, but they also pack a punch of fall color ranging from gold to red to burgundy. There are many varieties of Callery Pear that are virtually indistinguishable. ‘Jack Pear’ is a dwarf tree suitable for smaller spaces. Ornamental Pear are fruitless and mostly considered very clean trees.

Plum- Ornamental Plum trees are peppered with delightful pink or white flowers in early spring and burgundy foliage throughout the summer. ‘Newport’ has showers of pink flowers and an upright oval appearance. ‘Princess Kay’ is a petit version with double white flowers, perfect for around the patio. Closely related to Plum is the Canada Red Chokecherry. These have sprays of delicate white flowers in early spring followed by bright green leaves that fade to burgundy over the summer. In June, the tree has a two-tone effect as bright green leaves emerge on burgundy branches.

Serviceberry- a Colorado native that is found in woodland areas, usually along streambanks and marshy areas. It performs best in shade and will tolerate wet conditions. Dainty white flowers decorate the tree in early spring, and the fall color is an explosion of red-orange-yellow. Serviceberry produce berries that are quite delicious if you can beat the birds to them. You can pick them off the tree like blueberries or make jams or pies if you can gather enough.

Serviceberry can be a traditional single-trunked tree, but is perhaps best as a multiple-stemmed tree or large shrub. ‘Autumn Brilliance’ has an upright vase shape. ‘Shadblow’ is smaller with a more shrub-like appearance. There’s even a newly introduced columnar form called ‘Rainbow Pillar’ with a spread of only 10’ and a very colorful fall display.

Redbud- I hesitate to include Redbud as they just don’t like Colorado’s dry air and the failure rate is unacceptably high. They can grow here however, and the lavender flowers are so delightful I would be remis to make this list without including them. They are understory trees in the wild found under the forest canopy, and therefore they prefer shade. They are best planted downtown in established neighborhoods with protection from winter winds. Having said that, I often stumble across thriving Redbud planted out in the open and seemingly doing just fine. Because of the hardiness issue I can sell Redbud at a discount but with no guarantee.

Redbud are still worth considering for the right location. They have very graceful branching with an upright vase-shaped canopy. The prolific flowers sprout right out of the branches and even grace the trunk of the tree! The chartreuse flowers have an orchid-like appearance and the trees stop traffic when in full bloom. They are a perfect compliment to a koi pond or cottage garden, and if you can get one established you will be the envy of your neighborhood each spring.

All of these trees are in stock and available for planting as soon as this last gasp of winter passes this week. Happy Trees is a virtual nursery without a physical location. You can shop online without having to slog through a muddy nursery and Happy Trees will do the shopping for you! We will send pictures of the trees we select for your approval, or you can arrange to shop in person by appointment. Please visit our catalog of trees at www.happytrees.co, or call (720) 343-7263 and we will be happy to assist you.
 
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Seasonally available large caliper Fruit Trees here now!

Treat your family with a Fruit Tree or Hobby Orchard!

By Chris Leinster - April 3, 2019

Seasonally available large caliper fruit trees are available and in stock now! Fruit trees usually appear only in early spring, and once they’re gone we won’t see them again until next year. Have you ever considered planting fruit trees in your yard? How about a small hobby orchard to feed the neighborhood? Nothing beats stepping out into your backyard and chomping into a juicy apple or peach freshly plucked from a tree in your own back yard. Before you commit here’s a few tips to help you achieve a bountiful harvest year after year.

Be warned, fruit trees are a hobby and considerable attention is necessary to protect your tender fruit from voracious insects and pesky bacteria and fungi. This can be done organically, but timing and careful monitoring is required to treat the trees as pests appear.

Horticultural oils such as sesame oil can be used to control most insects such as aphids, scale, mealy bugs, and mites. Oils are also effective in preventing the introduction and spread of many fungi and bacteria, and most can be applied up until harvest.

Insecticidal soaps are also an effective way to control insects without harming your fruit or loved ones. The soap dries out the exoskeleton of most soft-shelled insects, and also helps control bacteria and fungi.

Pyrethrins are organic chemicals extracted from geranium plants that act as a natural insect repellent. These are generally considered organic and safe, however care should be taken not to inhale or consume the chemicals, and fruit should be washed before eating.

Trees that become infected may require more aggressive chemical treatments. Some are available commercially, but you may want to have your trees treated by a professional arborist.

Even if you’re fruit survives the summer, ravenous squirrels often ravage the fruit just before harvest! Having said all that, spraying the trees a few times a year and warding off the squirrels really isn’t all that much work and the payoff is sensational! With a little patience and the right know-how you’ll have baskets of fruit for your family and neighbors to enjoy in no time.

Don’t overlook the ornamental characteristics of fruit trees either. Most have stunning flowers and handsome leaves as well. After all, most of our ornamental flowering trees like Crabapple and Chanticleer Pear originate from the same parent lineage, they have just been hybridized for ornamental attributes rather than produce. If you’re going to plant a tree for screening or ornamentation anyway, you might consider one that produces edible fruit as well!

Commercial fruit growers prune their trees into tortured habits. Some of this is to promote fruit production but mostly they do it to make the fruit more accessible at harvest. You don’t need to aggressively prune your home fruit trees to get results. Let them grow naturally, prune mostly for aesthetics or to thin out branches, and you’ll have more fruit than your family could possibly consume.

I don’t include fruit trees in my on-line catalog, but here’s pricing for delivery and planting for 2” caliper trees currently available. Call for pricing and availability on larger caliper trees or just delivery only:

Apple- Royal Gala, Honeycrisp, Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious-   $775
Apricot- Moorpark, Chinese-   $775
Cherry- Bing, Montmorency, Black Tartarian, Bali-  $775
Peach- Elberta, Polly-  $800
Plum- Santa Rosa, Mount Royal, Toka,
Pear- Bartlett, Summercrisp-  $775

Price includes delivery, soil amendment, tree stakes and supports, and top dress mulch, just like our other trees. Other than treatments described above, care for your fruit trees just as you would any other tree as described in our tree care guide. Consistent watering is essential for fruit production, and winter wrap is definitely recommended, as it is for all newly planted trees.

* This article is intended to introduce gardeners to the possibilities of growing fruit trees and is not intended to be an authoritative reference. Happy Trees can provide more information to prospective clients upon request. Always buy chemicals and seek advice from local independent garden centers. unlike the big-box stores, they usually have experienced experts on staff. Always follow label directions and wear protective clothing when applying any pesticides. Use caution not to harm bees or other beneficial insects. Take extra precautions around koi ponds and pets.
 
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