It’s Time for Trees

Saturday, December 6th, 2008 by Jenny Watts
    • Choose living Christmas trees now. Most will be able to be kept in their containers and used for one or two more years as a Christmas tree.
    • Clean up rose bushes by removing spent flowers and raking up old leaves, but wait until February for heavy pruning.
    • Primroses and pansies will add color to your flower beds and containers all winter.
    • Don’t overwater your houseplants in the winter. Empty saucers after watering.
    • Feed the birds this winter and enjoy the pleasure of their company. Bird feeders come in many styles and make wonderful gifts.

B&B Trees have arrived from Oregon Nurseries

When the leaves have fallen from the trees and the garden seems to be asleep for the winter, many new plants are arriving at the nurseries in a form called B&B, or “balled and burlapped.” Trees and shrubs, which are not generally grown in California, arrive at this time of year from Oregon nurseries in B&B.

These plants are grown in field rows in the rich soil of the Willamette Valley in Oregon for two or more years. Some kinds of plants develop faster when field grown and make bushier and somewhat more sturdy specimens than container grown stock of the same age.

B&B plants are dug up with soil intact, wrapped with burlap, and tied with twine. Most of these plants are large, evergreen or deciduous trees. They transplant best during late fall and early winter.
Dogwoods, Japanese maples and tulip magnolias are the most popular along with hemlocks, cedars, ginkgo trees, redbuds, beech trees and, of course, Christmas trees.

These include Colorado blue spruce, Douglas firs, Alberta spruce, Grand firs, White firs and Noble firs. There are many fine specimens available now.

Dogwood trees have either white, pink or red flowers and some varieties have variegated leaves as well. They grow to about 20 feet tall with spreading branches that cover themselves with flowers in the spring.

Tulip magnolias range from the smaller star magnolias, with their many-petaled white flowers, to the larger multi-trunked trees with pink or purple flowers that look like giant tulips on bare branches.

Japanese maples have been developed over the centuries until today there are over 250 cultivars grown. During the B&B season, a number of varieties are available, ranging from lace-leafed dwarfs to tall, graceful trees.

Specialty trees include Gingko “Saratoga”, with its beautiful, apple-green fan-shaped leaves that drop in the fall in a blanket of gold; Tricolor beech trees, which have an attractive layered look to their branches and striking leaves of green, white and pink; and Japanese snowbell with its delicate pink bell flowers that hang down from the branches in clusters in June.

When selecting a B&B plant, be sure the rootball is sound and hasn’t been broken. Avoid plants that feel loose in the rootball, as it may indicate that some of the small roots are damaged. Always pick the plant up by the rootball, not by the trunk or stem.

To plant, dig a hole only as deep as the rootball so that it will be sitting on firm soil. Leave the burlap on the rootball as it is placed in the hole. Fill the hole up half way with native soil, then cut the strings and lay the burlap down into the hole. Fill up the hole and water the tree.

Don’t miss out on the fine selection of beautiful specimen trees and shrubs now on display at local nurseries.