Tag Archives: arbor hills trees and landscaping tips omaha

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.


Landscaping ideas for your yard this Spring


It’s obvious, landscaping and tree planting can really enhance the beauty and enjoyment of your property.


Flowering trees are beautiful for any yard, especially during spring. Trees can even save you money on your household energy costs when placed correctly for shading the home.


A “tree wall” is also perfect for those harsh Nebraska winds. Especially if you live on acreage or in a place with low tree coverage.

Trees & Fire Pit

This year, popularity is growing for an “outdoor living room”. While it can be beautiful,  it is important that the outdoor living and entertaining space fits your personality, family’s needs and budget. This is a perfect example of a backyard “living room” with a fire-pit and lovely patio.


Another popular landscaping idea this spring is unique walls and pathways. Building brick paths and stone walls creates a great flow for your yard. Brick and stone paths are a great way to transition from front yard to back yard.

We hope we’ve helped you drum up some great landscaping ideas that will help enhance your yard. If you need any help with your landscaping plans, please call Arbor Hills. We would be happy to help you with any questions.


Great Tips for sucessful spring gardening!

  1. Plan ahead – know the area you are going to plant. How much sun does it get? Morning or evening? Any partial shade? Know the orientation of the garden … if it faces west with no trees to shade it a bit, it will be hot. I mean, hot! What’s the drainage like … what’s the soil like. If you know these details you’ll be able to match up plants that like or at least tolerate those conditions. If you don’t know these factors, good luck!
  2. Honor the seasons – fall and spring are the best times to plant most anything. The soil is warm enough for new plants to get settled in and get their roots established. When it’s too hot or cold, that root growth doesn’t happen. Also, there are warm season and cool season plants … especially vegetables and annuals … that love one season, hate the other. Don’t go putting that tomato or it’s summer veg pals (squash, peppers, eggplant, corn)into the ground until the nighttime temps are 60 degrees or above.
  3. Shop at the Independent Nurseries – I am not a snob about shopping at the “Big Box Stores”. I love them, to tell the truth. But, the independent nurseries are so much about variety and unique treasures … if we don’t support them we’ll lose them, and that would be a shame!
  4. Ask for help – the people who work in nurseries usually love plants and love sharing their knowledge. If you’ve done #1 above you’ll put them in a position where they can help.If you’re at a #2 nursery, the quality of their advice will be sooo much better!!!
  5. Don’t Overbuy – resist impulse shopping … your plants will do much better if they get in the ground quickly. Sure, some plants can survive in their nursery pots for a long time, but, they’ll be so much happier in the actual ground
  6. Be Easy on Yourself – gardeners grow those green thumbs, they weren’t born with them! And the road to being a successful gardener is to have many a failure! An example of my own. I’ve been really keen on CA native plants the last couple of years. One that early grabbed my interest was the Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia). It was so prominent in the hills around Hollywood, they named the area, well, Hollywood! Because it has red winter berries (that the birds love) it’s also called Christmas Berry. Well, I killed 2 before I learned that just because it’s drought tolerant, doesn’t mean it can survive without water in it’s nursery can. I think the phrase is “drought tolerant once established”, and now I know what that means!
Written by: Jeannie Hanson Sacramento, California

The Impact of early blooms! The effects of Omaha’s March 2012 weather on plants, insects and more…

This is an interview from National Public Radio that caught our attention. We found the transcript and thought we would share it with you!

The weather has been unseasonably warm in the Northeast and plains states — so warm that some plants are blooming early. Melissa Block talks with Jake Weltzin with the U.S. Phenology Network about what that means.

So whatever happened to March coming in like a lion? It’s been downright lamb-like lately, more like May or June temperatures than March. The colors tell the story on the weather map, a huge swath of orange and yellow across much of the country.

It was 81 degrees in Omaha and Chicago earlier this week. And it’s been so warm here in Washington, D.C., that the famed cherry blossoms will be at peak bloom weeks earlier than normal. Which got us wondering – how does an early bloom affect plants? And what does it mean for bugs?

Jake Weltzin has some of the answers. He’s an ecologist and the executive director of the USA National Phenology Network.

Jake, welcome to the program.

DR. JAKE WELTZIN: Thank you very much, Melissa.

BLOCK: And let’s define phenology. Just a bit here: The shorthand, I gather, is nature’s calendar. You’re looking at the effect of climate on the lifecycles of plants and animals.

WELTZIN: Sure, phenology is sort an old-fashioned term for the study of when things appear. And what we’re interested in here is the timing of spring blooms and migrations and hibernations. So we have to think about the entire season, not just when things wake up in the spring but when things go to sleep in the fall, if you will.

BLOCK: OK. And you’ve been collecting data from people all over the country. What examples have you gotten so far this spring about when things have appeared?

WELTZIN: Well, it’s a weird spring this year, that’s for sure. Sap is flowing early in Vermont and New Hampshire in the maple trees, and so we have to think about the timing of maple syrup production. Lilacs are coming out very early. In the Milwaukee area, we’ve got flowering fruit trees that have been out and done already and are producing fruits in Georgia. So we have all hosts of odd things happening this spring.

BLOCK: You know, I remember thinking when I saw my daffodils coming up super early this year that I just sort of wanted to push them back under the ground.


BLOCK: Go back in there where it’s safe. If a plant or tree does bloom or leaf out early, does that affect its seasonal cycle for the rest of the year?

WELTZIN: We don’t really know for a lot of plants. And we’re just starting to get that information organized. Some plans do, indeed, have a deterministic lifecycle, which means that if they come up early they will shut down early. Others are indeterministic and they’ll grow and grow and grow all season long.

BLOCK: You know, when you think about this you inevitably think about possible role of climate change. Does this pattern to you seem like a fluke, just a one-time thing, or a reflection that you that you’ve been seeing of a trend over a number of years?

WELTZIN: We are seeing strong trends almost wherever we look. In the last decade, we’re actually now starting to be able to say OK, well, we see patterns of plants and animals coming earlier. And we have better and better climatological records, temperature records, and we can start to link those together. And there’s a paper coming out it seems every week now that’s saying OK, here’s a trend in bees coming out 10 days earlier over the last 130 years, and we can attribute that to warming temperatures.

BLOCK: Since we’re seeing these were temperatures so early, what does that mean for insects? Are we going to be seeing a really big swarm this year?

WELTZIN: That’s an excellent question and we are worried about that, because some bugs are good and some bugs are bad. Some bugs do pollination services for us and they pollinate plants so we can have fruits and crops. Others carry diseases. And there’re so many different kinds of bugs, it’s hard to know exactly what all those patterns might be. But we sure don’t want to have West Nile virus coming earlier in the year when the bugs come earlier.

So, generally yes, you would find a strong relationship between the timing of flowering and insect activity. They’re both driven by temperatures. In fact, we’re seeing some cases where insects like bees are tracking plant flowering.