Skyrocket Juniper Trees


If you’re interested in spending more time enjoying your yard and less time caring for it, the low-maintenance Skyrocket Juniper is a perfect choice. This forgiving tree will reward you with hassle-free greenery for years to come.

The stately Skyrocket Juniper columnar evergreen grows rapidly to 20 feet, but rarely exceeds 20 inches in width. Dense, gray-green foliage makes the Skyrocket Juniper an attractive and versatile plant for landscaping your yard.


Gardeners use it in narrow, hard-to-fill spaces but it also does well as a wind-blocking hedge for your yard too. Elegant and easy to care for, the skyrocket juniper needs little from humans but admiration; it is resistant to deer and drought.

Once the Skyrocket Juniper is well-established, it’s extremely drought tolerant, As it will grow beautifully in most conditions with only very occasional watering. It grows best in full sun, although it can tolerate some shade. The Skyrocket Juniper is cold-tolerant, too.

If your ready to add a juniper to your yard, call Arbor Hills Trees and Landscaping. We are located in Omaha, Nebraska.




Ornamental Grass: Low maintenance grasses can bring your landscape to life


Several variety’s of Ornamental Grasses are growing in popularity through out the Midwest.  If you are considering a new landscape design or if you are deciding on new plants to spruce up your existing landscape, consider adding ornamental grasses. They offer longevity and low maintenance appeal while making your yard look carefree. The drama and beauty that these native grasses can bring to your Nebraska or Iowa landscape are unparalleled in the landscape design world.   Take a look at why ornamental grasses are well worth a look for your low maintenance landscape redesign.

  1. Once established, ornamental grasses are simple and easy to maintain.
  2. They are resilient to the point of surviving extremes in weather from a wet and rainy spring to the hottest of mid-western summers.
  3. Not only are they hardy, but grasses also lend versatility to your space.
  4. From a more manicured look to the naturalized woodland prairie design, ornamental grasses fit in seamlessly.
  5. Most are virtually disease and pest free.

The Kentucky Coffee Tree


The Gymnocladus dioicus, better known as the Kentucky Coffee tree is a tree in the subfamily Caesalpinioideae of the pea family Fabaceae, native to the midwest of North America, primarily in southern Michigan and Ohio as well as southwest to Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. The Kentucky coffee tree was the state tree of Kentucky from 1976 to 1994.

These trees vary from 18 to 21 meters (60–75 feet) high with a spread of 12–15 meters (40–50 feet) with a trunk up to one meter (3 feet) in diameter. The Kentucky Coffee is a moderately fast-growing tree. With the healthy trees living from 100 to 150 years, this tree is normally long-lived; however for the first six months of the tree’s growth, they often appear dead. This is due to the Kentucky Coffee tree shedding its leaves early during the fall, appearing bare for up to 6 months. When the leaves are attached, they appear bright pink, but turn green to bronze when aged. The bark is similar to black cherry with it’s ash-gray and scaly texture. A Kentucky Coffee tree bears fruit in a hard-shelled bean that is in heavy pods made from wood that are filled with sweet, gooey pulp that is thick. The shape of the pods varies somewhat: pod length ranges from about 5 to 10 inches (130 to 250 mm); unfertilized female trees may bear miniature seedless pods. The seed pods are too difficult for many animals to chew through, and they are too heavy for either wind or water to disperse them. The beans contain the toxin cytisine, which can interfere with breathing, resulting in death in cases of heavy doses. The plant is toxic to some animals.


The Kentucky Coffee is a great landscaping tree for large lawns and parks. The male trees are generally considered more desirable because of the lack of seedpods. However, mature female trees with hanging seedpods can be very attractive in winter.

In the summer and winter, the ascending branches often form a narrow crown. Oval leaflets form in late spring, changing from pinkish to a dark blue-green. The Kentucky Coffee tree tolerates most conditions including drought and pollution. This tree is best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun. However, avoid heavy clays.

For tips and details on the Kentucky Coffee tree, where to plant it, and if it is too toxic for your environment (animals, children, etc) be sure to check with an Arbor Hills Specialist today.

Why it’s important to clean and protect your hardscape

Your Hardscape (brick pavers, retaining walls, natural stone work) were chosen because it offers long lasting beauty. But the beauty of these materials is not impervious to the harsh environment that we have here in Nebraska. Don’t forget that taking care of your hardscape areas is just as important as managing your landscaping. It’s really important to clean and protect your hardscape, to preserve its original appearance.


Keep your driveway, rocks, pavers and walkways clean by power washing two to three times throughout the fall months. Be sure to remove any oil, rust, tars, and efflorescence (the whitening that occurs naturally as water evaporates bringing salts to the surface) from your hardscape. Hardware stores carry various stone and concrete cleaning products like Naptha or mineral spirits, which can help you clean deep and stubborn stains much easier. Maintaining your hardscape annually will help prevent any stains from becoming permanent.



Star Magnolia shrubs and trees


Magnolia stellata, also known as star magnolia, is a shrub or small tree that is slow-growing and native to Japan. These have large, white or pink fragrant flowers with 12-30 thin petals that bloom early in March. Before these flowers bloom, in late winter, this tree begins to grow groups of fuzzy buds waiting to blossom. The flower, once bloomed, requires shelter from frost and wind, which can discolor the blooms.

Star Magnolias grow anywhere from 10 to 20 feet with an 8 to 15 feet spread with a rounded crown shape for a tree or a large oval to rounded shrub. They are best grown in moist, well-drained organic soil in full sun to partial shade, and are intolerant of most urban pollutants. Star Magnolias require medium maintenance of pruning, which should be done after flowering to avoid ridding the tree of its buds that are set for the next season. They grow best when protected from high winds, and it is best to avoid planting these in southern exposures where the buds may open too early in late winter.

Remaining small and compact for several years, Star magnolia is a great flowering tree for a small yard. These can be incorporated with other trees and shrubs into a planted bed for a great look. Try planting near a dark background such as a brick wall or darker trees to show off the flowers. Star Magnolias are great to plant near your patio or deck, where you can enjoy the flowering scents all season long.

For expert advice and the best opinion on where to put your Star Magnolia, consult an Arbor Hills Trees consultant today.

Softscaping VS. Hardscaping – Whats the difference?

If you’ve ever talked to professional landscape company, you have DSCN1638probably heard the terms “hardscaping” and “softscaping.” They are two types of landscaping, and many landscape design companies like Arbor Hills, offer both services.


DSCN2052The basics: Hardscaping and softscaping design are really just two different types of landscaping. In fact, it shouldn’t really be thought of as hardscape vs. softscape design, but rather hardscape and softscape design – the best landscaping actually combines both.

Hardscaping and softscaping should complement each other and landscaping1create a nice balance. You need hardscape designs to make up the core of your landscaping, but remember, no landscape design is complete without the plants and flowers (softscaping)!


Meaning: Hardscaping refers to the solid, hard elements in landscape design that stay the same for several years.

Examples of hardscape designs are:

  • Patios
  • Decks
  • Driveways
  • Walkways and stairs
  • Water features
  • Retaining walls
  • Outdoor kitchens

Many different materials are used in hardscape designs, which include:

  • Slate
  • Flagstone
  • Terrazzo
  • Brick
  • Concrete


Meaning: Softscaping is unlike hardscaping in that it doesn’t have that long-term or permanent quality.

Examples of softscaping includes:

  • Plants
  • Shrubs and hedges
  • Flowers
  • Vines
  • Trees
  • Turf

Softscape designs change more often. You’ll probably change your plant design annually or more often than that, but once you install a new patio, you’ll keep it for a long time – probably 10 years or more.

Vanderwolf the “Pyramid” Pine Tree

Overview: The Vanderwolf Pine (Pinus flexilis) also known as the limber pine, is a species of pine tree that usually grows in the mountains of the Western United States. It offers silver/blue colored needles and does well in rocky soil.  It’s shape and color is what makes it so beautiful, creating a full pyramid perfect for landscaping.
The Vanderwolf is a soft blue evergreen that requires full sunlight to reach a typical growth of 20 to 30 feet with a spread of 10 to 15 feet with a dense pyramidal shape. These trees are non-flowering pines with little maintenance needed.
Vanderwolfs grow best in medium moisture, well-drained soil with full sunlight. These trees are adaptable and once established, they are known to be drought tolerant. This limber pine species forms a large taproot which makes them difficult to transplant once established in a landscape.

Great tips for nurturing your native Nebraska yard including – trees, landscaping and plant life.