Everything listed under: Tahoe Trees

  • Christmas Tree "Business"

    12/24/2017 - 1:00PM - I just closed the gate and put the last three, 4-ft Silvertips out by the gate. It is MY tradition to come down here on Christmas Eve, if we have a few trees left and help the last-minute arrivals to Truckee find a tree for the family decorations. 

    My very first job, when I was 11 or 12, was working for an Apple orchard / Christmas tree farm in Pollock Pines, just after we'd moved there from the Peninsula. My job was to know the different trees, show folks where they grew, carry the bow saw, ensure that we saved the lowest branches for "turn-ups" (stump-culture) and to help carry the tree back to the office. I loved tromping through the woods, helping people find their trees.  I worked at Harris Tree Farm for several Christmas seasons and then started working at Santa's Acres, a little further away (my mom had to drive me).  I later worked there in the summers, shearing (with a machette) and shaping the trees in spring and summer, removing weeds, repairing irrigation and eradicating 1000's (upon 1000's) of gophers. - I think there might have been two winters, while in college, where I did not help folks with Christmas trees...  Everyone is happy when they come to get a tree and I have a blast.  

    We care deeply about the quality of our trees. We cut some, as late as possible, often risking life and limb driving crazy places in blizzards, because we wait as long as possible so our clients have the freshest possible trees.  We order trees from growers who love the industry and who use sustainable practices. One of our favorite growers only uses compost teas and measures his brix ° to ensure their sugar is as high and thus their water holding capacity is as high as possible.  Then we keep the trees wrapped, and covered in the shade, essentially refrigerated (or frozen) so they stay as fresh as possible, only bringing a few at a time out into the sun.

    The ONLY part of Christmas tree sales I have any distaste for is the wooden stands that allow the trees to dry-out.  We go to great lengths and risks to cut trees as late as possible and then carefully protect the trees post-harvest.  It is like being a florist with beautiful fresh-cut flowers, lovingly grown and kept fresh in water being sold to someone who will be putting them in a dry vase.  Other than that.  I LOVE helping folks with Christmas trees and I hope you've enjoyed any trees you've picked-up from us.  Merry Christmas.  Happy Solstice.  All the best to everyone for a hopeful and better New Year.

  • Early Spring Mountain Gardening Classes 2017

    Every spring here is different. 
    We gradually open the nursery as it is appropriate to bring in hardy plants, to uncover and display the ones we have and to encourage planting as the snows melt and the snow storms abate.  We've been open 4 days a week since early April and go to 6 or 7 by early May if warming continues. We will have more snow, of course.  We are bringing a few loads of hardy perennials, color and vegetables each week. With some big loads of trees and shrubs arriving the week of 5/10. We usually offer classes in April and then begin again July through October. These are some early offerings.
    • April 24 - Garden Resurrection and Repair (Spring Cleaning) - 4:00PM @ Lake of the Sky Garden Club, Art Center in Tahoe City. Eric (a long-time certified arborist) was invited to speak after this particularly destructive winter. (visit our webpage). 
    • April 29 - Spring Gardening (w/ focus on basic pruning and damage repair) - 11AM-12PM @ Villager Nursery - Rob & Eric are offering this very basic class.
    • May 4 - Container Vegetables and Productive Tomatoes - 5:00-6:00PM @ Villager Nursery - Villager staff have been instructing mountain gardeners on successful varieties and techniques for over 40 years. (May the Forth be with You!). Hand-Out Here 
    • June 2-3 - Villager / Kellogg / G&B Free Planting Days - Friday & Saturday - You buy the plants and pots and We (Eileen, Gisele, Mike & Duncan) plant them for you using premium Master Nursery Gold Medal potting soil and authentic, organic G&B Fertilizers. Organic gardening specialist and educator with G&B Organics, Gisele Schoniger, will be here Friday and Saturday to answer ANY and ALL compost, mulch, organic landscaping or soil biology questions you can conceive of. 
    • NEWS - the late July 2017 Lake of the Sky Garden Tour has been cancelled "due to the unusually harsh winter". It would have been in Incline Village this summer. For information about joining this very active garden club check the website here.
    Visit & LIKE our Facebook page for random details, frost warnings, or specials on plants & fertilizers and check-out our website for good how-to resources.Ideas on pinterest. Photos on instagram. (check out Joey's @highsierrawildflowers on Instagram) 
  • February & March

    I was just looking back at the rains, snowfalls, low-temps, high-temps for the Feb & March. We didn't see much sun. I grew up in California and in the Sierras.  I'd been to Utah, Coloradoo, the midwest in winters and my memory was of extreme cold, squeaky snow, frozen fingers. I'd been plenty cold skiing and sledding as a kid in the Sierra, but out there, I didn't want to play outside.  Someone who'd moved to Truckee from the east to ski told me years ago that the Sierra winter is 2-3 days of snowfall followed by a week of sunshine, and throughout my life, that been largely true, I just didn't know that it was unique. This winter did not feel that way. I recall shoveling, a lot. The crawl-spaces flooded. Trees bent, broken or up-rooted. I hate to admit that I didn't feel much like getting out and enjoying that white sh*t.  

    We did have some beautiful spring-like days in March, which is normal, followed by more and more winter, which is also normal.  For folks that have moved here after spring 2011, this "spring" might seem unfair but I assure you it is by-far the norm. 

    From a gardening, landscaping and ecological perspective, the soils have been well insulated, are warm and many plants have been able to produce roots all winter long. Hardy seedlings are emerging beneath the melting snow and the ample soil moisture promises an amazing summer of wildflowers. I just walked along one well traveled road with five pounds of native wildflower seed mixed with Biosol.  Like those bulbs and sunflowers on Glenshire Dr. that Katrin and I planted, I hope to see these for years to come. 

    Voles, who do not hibernate, have been eating and breeding all winter, well hidden from their normal predators. We're just starting to see what havoc they have wreaked. 

    I'm enjoying raking my lawn in narrow paths AS the snow melts, just a little, every couple of days and it is a very manageable job.  We're expecting our first load of compost, including topper, in early April and I'll spread that around on the freshly raked turf.  I have SO much pruning and clean-up to do. I'm trying to follow the snow-melt to stay on top of it. If you lost plants, we are very sorry.  We did too and so did most folks. Snowshoing through the woods you can see that this was a harsh winter ALL around, MANY native trees and shrubs suffered damage as well.

    The snow-plow loaders pushed piles and ramps of snow thirty feet into my yard and I've yet to see the tops of many plants while the rotary plows that came through on some very cold nights literally shattered my blue spruce. I've seen the same on native fir. These plants all have root systems to support them, plenty of moisture in the soil and a determination to live and grow. Plants may develop a little "character" that stays with them forever and we'll be able to look at the dog-leg in a tree 20 years from now and say - "Ah! That's from the winter or '16-17".

  • Smart Mountain Lawns

     

    Our Truckee Donner PUD irrigation days are Tuesday and Friday and lawn's are our largest outdoor consumer of water yet they are not as bad as they are often made out to be. They clean volumes of air pollutants and dust and they produce vast amounts of oxygen and they give us an outdoor room where our children can run. (“Plant containers, trees, shrubs, groundcover, and vegetable gardens may be watered as needed when using automatic drip irrigation or hand watering.”) Please Share this.

    My lawn tips: • Keep lawns small. Sheet Mulching is an easy method of reducing your extra turf without injuring tree roots. Mow tall and leave the clippings. Lawns mowed to ≥3" use less water, have far fewer weeds, require less fertilization and require less frequent mowing than short lawns. The longer blades photosynthesize far better (feeding and encouraging deeper roots) and they shade the soil surface (reducing temp's, moisture loss and impeding weed growth). • Aerate and Topdress (with a deep-tine or plugger aerator - Truckee Rents) twice a year (or at least once) and then top dress with your own mature compost or bags of Kellogg Topper (a fine screened mature compost). Aeration opens compacted soils and allows for deeper water penetration and better aeration (healthy soils, roots, microbes NEED oxygen). Topdressing compost adds humus that helps soil hold much more water, reserve nutrients and supports microorganisms that break-down lawn clippings, digest & excrete organic fertilizers and protect the lawn from pathogens. We apply 2cu.ft. over 200 sq.ft. and it defies logic that it helps as well as it does. It really helps lawns retain moisture through the summer. • Use organic fertilizers. We usually apply BIOSOL (food-grade organic cottonseed & soy meals that have been completely digested by fungi :) in fall. Biosol seems to minimize rodent damage under snow in "normal" winters and releases throughout the rest spring and summer. We use G&B Organic Lawn Fertilizer in spring (and at a lighter rate every time we aerate & topdress) to give lawn a little boost while the living microorganisms in the fertilizer go to work digesting the brown straw (no, it's not "thatch") left over after every winter. • Water deeply and infrequently. In a normal summer I'll water 3 days a week in July & August but 2/week June & Sept. and occasionally, as needed in the shoulders. This summer I'll water Tuesday & Friday. Break-up your irrigation on watering days. For example, if you put your gauge out on the lawn and found it takes 30 minutes to apply 1/2" of water, then water for 10 minutes at 5am, 10 min at 6am and 10 min at 7am. Like a light rain, the first watering, wets the soil, breaks the surface tension and allows the next watering to go deeper without running-off, the third, allows water even deeper into the soil. Do not water for 10 minutes at 5am, 10 min at hood and 10min at 5pm as the moisture will simply evaporate & transpire without getting to the deepest roots that you are really trying to encourage.  This is especially important if you have any slope to your lawn or if you planted sod (often grown in dense Nevada clay). Syringing is a technique, used in the hottest weeks, where we apply 1-2 minutes of water to the lawn, near the hottest time of day (on your lawn) in order to cool the grass blades, increase humidity and halt evapotranspiration (moisture loss) for a few hours which actually saves much more water than it uses. On those Tuesdays & Thursdays, in July & August, you might try this at ~about~ 2:00pm.  Watering late in the day is generally discouraged because moist leaf surfaces at night invite disease.  • If you have dandelions it is a strong indicator of poor soil (bluegrass in rich soil, will not allow many weeds). Aerate & top dress more frequently and avoid chemical fertilizers.  There is a relatively new natural selective herbicide (Natria) of chelated iron, that kills broadleaf plants in lawns without killing grass.

    Bluegrass can go many months without water in a summer dormant state and come back to life when moisture returns. Turf-type Tall Fescues are slightly more drought tolerant in a daily basis but will die in a month without any water. Fine Fescues Meadow Blend (meadow-like grasses) are shade tolerant and can stay green on once a week watering and once a month mowing. Native Grass Blend is six species we selected for relatively short growth, drought tolerance and the ability to thrive when grazed (or mowed occasionally). Clover added to a lawn at 1/4-1/2 lb / 1000 sq.ft. reduces the lawn's need for fertilizers, improves the color of the grass and the lawn as a whole, improves the soil, and is NOT a weed in lawns. Bluegrass is a weed, that's why it makes such durable turf.

     

  • Education & Villager 2015 SPRING Classes

    Villager 2015 Spring Classes - When I first worked with Villager Nursery in 1984 (~8 years after the existing florist was purchased) we began giving classes & sending out informational newsletters. Education in natural sciences gave me a strong bent toward environmentally conscious organic landscaping including natural pest controls and using as many drought tolerant and mountain-native plants as possible. Rob joined us just 2 years later and taught us the wonders of bat guano, worm castings and many organic fertilizers.  The tradition of education and working WITH our ecosystem, continues to this day. We are very disappointed and concerned about the drought AND we have been promoting drought tolerant landscaping and native plants since 1984. Most folks water far more than they need to. Back to the reason for this post, our SPRING class schedule is here if you'd like to see it. For MORE info sign-up for our VERY occasional e-mail newsletters and visit us (better yet, do LIKE us) on Facebook.


  • We want your garden to succeed.

    More on Odds - As I mentioned previously, we are not just master gardeners (we teach master gardeners), not just arborists though ISA certified, not just contractors though licensed, we have university degrees in Horticulture, Botany and Ecology within which we frame and sort all the information we constantly gather. We have very keen eyes for interesting irregularities and trends in native and planted landscapes. We have many decades each, experimenting (succeeding and failing) professionally (and personally - in our own gardens).

    AND we have YOU and thousands of other clients who, over the years, generously share many and varied experiences with us, increasing our knowledge of scenarios, causes and effects, which we then use to formulate hypotheses. We test, retest, evaluate and ultimately derive conclusions which we use to help more clients with questions and issues.

    Mother Nature has very poor survival rates for most plants. Plants survive by luck and by millions of attempts - 99.999% failures. Our job is to dramatically increase odds toward 99.999% successes.  We try. We certainly have success rates in the high 90%'s though we always strive for 100%.  Nothing makes us happier than an entheusiastic client who comes in the nursery HAPPY about their plants... nothing.  We LIVE for that! 

    We and our staff all know that we never guess, we truthfully tell you the best plant for a given situation, even if we don't have it, we remind you of what you do need and don't sell you anything you don't need. We don't like killing plants any more than we like wasting resources.  We want to increase your odds of success. We want you to succeed.Red Fir Forest


  • Truckee Trees, Truckee Bulbs, Truckee Seeds, Truckee Shrubs, Truckee Perennials

    In the populated locations of the Sierra Nevada (or the Rockies for that matter) the climate does not get much more challenging than it does in Truckee, Glenshire & Hirschdale.  Trees, Shrubs, Perennials, Groundcovers, Bulbs and Seeds that thrive in Truckee, plants that the Villager Nursery offers, will grow well anywhere in the mountain west.  Really.  We have MANY wonderful clients from Reno, Colfax, Nevada City, Downieville, Quincy, Portola, Meyers and more mountain-top, glacial valley and upper foothill locations.

    Fall sales are "technically" over, and we have one more load of trees arriving approx. 10/25.  We are like the trees at the Villager these days... changing color but not yet dropping our leaves.  We have begun cutting back perennials and fertilizing with Biosol and Gardner & Bloome but we have not yet begun putting the plants into the shade for winter.  Fall IS for planting and, in the sun at least, the soil is actually still accumulating the warmth that encourages root system expansion.  

    Do not forget to keep your plants and lawns moist.  It does not take much but do not let your plants dry out. Once a week-or-so is probably plenty, less often in shade.  Hopefully you got the memo and  mulched ALL bare soil with Gromulch and wood chips to reduce moisture loss, keep out weeds, reduce temperature swings in the roots and to feed the soil.  Winterizing Class Saturday 10/26 from 10-11am. ($5-ish donation to the Farwest Nordic Junior Ski Program).

    Get your BIOSOL now before we run out again.  Sign-up for the newsletter to receive wonderful coupons and timely advice. Check-in with us or even "Like" us on Facebook just for the fun of it. Or look for the BIOSOL give-away deal!

  • Truckee Trees, Truckee Bulbs, Truckee Seeds, Truckee Shrubs, Truckee Perennials

    In the populated locations of the Sierra Nevada (or the Rockies for that matter) the climate does not get much more challenging than it does in Truckee, Glenshire & Hirschdale.  Trees, Shrubs, Perennials, Groundcovers, Bulbs and Seeds that thrive in Truckee, plants that the Villager Nursery offers, will grow well anywhere in the mountain west.  Really.  We have MANY wonderful clients from Reno, Colfax, Nevada City, Downieville, Quincy, Portola, Meyers and even many more high foothill to summit locations.

    Fall sales are "technically" over, and we have one more load of trees arriving approx. 10/25.  We are like the trees at the Villager these days... changing color but not yet dropping our leaves.  We have begun cutting back perennials and fertilizing with Biosol and Gardner & Bloome but we have not yet begun putting the plants into the shade for winter.  Fall IS for planting and, in the sun at least, the soil is actually still accumulating the warmth that encourages root system expansion.  

    Do not forget to keep your plants and lawns moist.  It does not take much but do not let your plants dry out. Once a week-or-so is probably plenty, less often in shade.  Hopefully you got the memo and  mulched ALL bare soil with Gromulch and wood chips to reduce moisture loss, keep out weeds, reduce temperature swings in the roots and to feed the soil.  Winterizing Class Saturday 10/26 from 10-11am. ($5 donation to the Farwest Nordic Foundation).

    UNTIL we start putting plants away (~after Halloween):  

    20% OFF Trees and Shrubs*    

    *except the spruce we've just brought in for living holiday decor.

    40% OFF 4" & Quart Perennials (not woody)

    30% OFF #1g and larger Perennials

    Awesome and hardy wildflower-type bulbs, Garlic and more.  Wildflower seeds for Tahoe, Truckee and the High Sierra along with, always, the best advice for far-better-than-average successes.  

    Pumpkins: 3.99 each.

    Get your BIOSOL now before we run out.  Sign-up for the newsletter to receive wonderful coupons ad timely advice. Check-in with us or even "Like" us on Facebook just for the fun of it.

  • Happy Birthday Villager

    December 1, 1975 - December 1, 2013

    We have continued to grow and branch and flower and fruit and hedge and adapt in order to offer our clients an interesting, useful and beautiful selection of plant materials and products that insure your successes.  "We've killed thousands of plants, testing them in our own gardens, so our clients won't have to."

    Our Founder, Jeanette Harper and a partner finalized the purchase of the existing florist in the Gateway center 12/1/1975 and celebrated with Champagne in the office of the Gateway Motel with Roxie Arche and Azad McIver (Our current location is Azad's old home and dairy). 

    Eric showed-up in 1984 and Rob a couple of years after that.  Quite a few nurseries have come and gone in Truckee in 38 years. Some only lasted a season some for a decade or more.  We needed to move our nursery from Gateway to our current home in 1999. The reality is that Truckee is a ridiculous place to run a retail nursery. It seems that you have to be crazy. We also happen to be fanatical botanists and ecologists hell-bent on providing education and materials to local gardeners to show them that they CAN succeed in this harsh climate.

    We've thought that we could just offer the 20% of the plants that 80% of clients ask for and we'd be probably be profitable ... But what about the other 80% of really cool unique native and hardy plants that people SHOULD be using..? And what about that 20% of customers who LOVE natives or thrill at really cool, unique plants, bulbs and seeds from the far coldest corners and peaks around the globe?  It's more interesting the way we've been growing.  We are continually aware that we have YOU to thank for keeping us rooted in Truckee.  Thank You!

    Villager Nursery: helping mountain gardens thrive since 1975.  Experience you can trust / Information you can use.

  • 5 Paths to Abundance in your Mountain Garden next Spring and Summer


    1. Plant Trees and Shrubs Now. Deciduous trees and shrubs including apples and berries will produce as much as 80% of their annual root system expansion in fall, AFTER they lose their leaves. Don't miss this opportunity for amazing growth in your garden.(Trees and Shrubs 20% off and Buy-2-get-1-FREE fruit trees and berry bushes)
    2. Plant Perennials Now. Perennial flowers, herbs and vegetables will produce many more roots this fall. They'll rest in your soil over winter and rise with our natural spring schedule to produce far more bounty next summer. (Flowering perennials 30% off, perennial herbs and vegetables 50% off!)
    3. Apply Biosol in Fall. Biosol is a humus rich, natural and organic, slow-releasing fertilizer that improves soil while providing essential nutrients for plants and the billions of micro-allies that help plants thrive. For gardens, orchards, flowers, lawns, meadows and forests. (see coupon in newsletter...or sign-up for the next one)
    4. Topdress Your Gardens.  Applying Gromulch, Bumpercrop or Black Forest Mulch over the soil between plants protects shallow roots, introduces composting microorganisms, ads humus and provides a perfect transition layer under coarser wood or bark mulches. Gardens with more mulch suffered far less in last winter's drought. (ALL mulches, composts and potting soils are buy-4-get-1-FREE through 9/17)
    5. Go into winter with moist soil.  Make sure that after the plants have gone dormant, you continue to water occasionally to keep soil moisture plentiful.  Your plants' expanding root systems need the moisture to keep on going long after the tops appear to be asleep.  We often say water one-last-time around Thanksgiving but you may need to water after that.
  • Freeze-Drying Winter '11-'12

    January 2007 was similar to this December-January '11-'12. That cold dry year the ice skating was spectacular voles damage was minimal and many plants suffered.

    The process of preparing for winter in hardy plants goes something like this: Plants sense shortening days and cooling temperatures and produce chemicals to start the processes of dropping leaves or closing stomata (the holes they “breathe” through). Food is moved to the roots and important compounds in leaves are recycled and stored away. When freezing begins, water moves out of the cells and into the intercellular spaces (between the cells). This water freezes, but the cell’s contents, with higher concentrations of sugars and salts, have much lower freezing temperatures (like salt water or anti-freeze). As temperatures drop, more water moves out of the cells and solute concentrations in the cells increase, and freezing temperatures drop further. The cell membrane, which is inside the rigid cell wall, actually pulls away and makes room for the ice crystals between the cells.

    If temperatures drop too quickly, water cannot move out of the cell fast enough, ice forms inside the cells and in pores of the cell membrane. As you might imagine, jagged ice crystals inside the cells rip them apart and if enough cells die, the plant dies. This is damage we see frequently suffer in spring.

    This winter, before it finally began to snow, the days were sunny the nights were very cold, the north-east winds were blowing and several things happened.During the warmer sunny days, plant tissues warmed up enough to thaw and begin photosynthesis. Cells woke up and filled with water. At 3:00 PM in mid January, the warm afternoon sun had the plants thinking it was spring, just before the sun went down. The air temperatures were already below freezing and without the sun on the stems, leaves or needles, the temperatures plummeted and many plants suffered – This damage often shows-up as “freeze-cracking” , split bark or tissue damage on the southwest side of trees.

    In many other locations the dry wind and sub-freezing temperatures caused the ice between plant’s cells to sublimate (change from solid to vapor). When the ice around the cells was gone, the cell membrane was exposed and the little moisture remaining in the interior of the cells dried up – This is “freeze-drying”.

    This winter, some plants just dried-up. The soils became so dry that even roots died. I lost 2 of 7, 14 year-old currants. Sometimes there is no telling why some one plant dies and another survives. In the wild it is the same story, one manzanita is dead and 3 feet away another is fine and 12 feet further another is dead and so-on. It could have been one branch of a pine 30' away provided a few extra crucial minutes of shade in mid January or the one plant's roots just happened to be under a large rock... it is fascinating and frustrating at the same time.

    In home landscapes, many people may have saved their plants by watering in January and people with 3-4" of mulch throughout their garden suffered far fewer losses than most. NEVER underestimate the wonders of mulching.

    In the nursery, we lost huge numbers of plants in pots this winter. We tuck the plants together for the winter and put shade around them to trap snow but this winter they froze and dried. You cannot water a frozen container plant because the water freezes and suffocates the roots so we tried to lightly mist them and just raise the humidity but it was largely ineffective. We really need a cheap used snow-making gun for winters like this one (many larger nurseries in the mountain west have them.)

    We don’t have a huge variety of broadleaf evergreens that grow well here but there are a few. Manzanita, Huckleberry Oak, Live Oak and Ceanothus and Mt. Mahogany are some of our broadleaf evergreen natives. Many of these suffered this winter, especially those exposed to the north-east winds (see photo of fried manzanita and dead squaw-mat).  I have not seen damage on any Mountain Mahogany.

    I’ve also seen damage on Native Incense Cedar, Giant Sequoia, Lydia Broom, Hardy Holly, Hardy Rhododendron, Dwarf Alberta Spruce (it often suffers sun scald), Cotoneaster and Bear-Berry Manzanita.

    We are still waiting to see what has survived but many are pushing some new growth. Meanwhile, we've fertilized with Biosol and Dr. Earth and with seaweed to stimulate roots.


Contact Villager

Villager Nursery, Inc
10678 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, CA 96161-4834
Central Truckee, exit 186 off I-80
(530) 587-0771
www.villagernursery.com
info@villagernursery

Founded 1975, Incorporated 1990

California Nursery License 1975
No. C 3976.001, Co.29CA
Contractors License 1977
No. 413907-C27 LS
ISA Certified Arborist: Eric Larusson
No. WE-7983A

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