Plant Growing Guides

Our goal is to eventually have guides of all types to help you grow your trees, plants, flowers, ornamentals, vegetables, and fruits better. Taking care of these plants does not have to be difficult, but it requires diligence and proper technique. The details of how to plant the seed, water the plant, and health of the soil all matter - to promote optimal growth and healthy roots, you must take this all into account.

We are still building out these guides at this time so that after you put in the hard work, you will have higher germination rates, more vibrant flowers, and sweeter fruits and vegetables. Your trees will be sturdier and live longer.

For now we have accumulated a couple resources and also written some guides for you.

Check out this site for tree guides. We find their website to be reliable and to provide practical information.

Brief Growing Guides:

Hickory Trees

The large, deciduous trees known as the hickory are recognized for their spreading canopy and dense foliage. In Latin, these trees are called Carya of the Juglandaceae family. Some of the most common species of hickory include the pecan, shagbark hickory, pignut hickory and the shellbark hickory.

Hardy in USDA zones four through eight, hickories are strong trees that are native to North America. Because of their large size, hickories are most frequently grown in open areas or large landscapes. They are easy to care for and may grow to between 60 and 80 feet tall. Canopies on hickory trees may grow to 40 feet across.

Care Guide

Some people grow hickory trees for the delicious nuts that they produce. If this is your goal, then it is best to plant your hickory in a spot that gets plenty of sun. Those who are less interested in a crop of nuts can choose a partially shaded spot.

It is wise to keep hickory trees away from places where cars are parked. Falling nuts have been known to cause damage.

Almost any kind of soil type is acceptable to hickory trees. However, good drainage is a must. These slow-growing trees may require between 10 and 15 years before producing a crop of nuts. Keep the soil slightly moist for the tree's first season. In subsequent years, watering is only necessary during long dry spells.

Spring or fall fertilization with a balanced 10-10-10 formulation may be required. To apply the correct amount, measure the trunk's diameter about five feet above the ground's surface. It's appropriate to use one pound of fertilizer for each inch of diameter.

Occasional pruning may be essential to aesthetics and ensuring a greater yield of nuts. It is always wise to remove diseased, broken, or dead limbs and branches. This can be done at any time. Pruning of young hickory trees is relatively limited. All these trees need is one or two strong leaders, which become a scaffold for secondary growth. Pruning during these early years also ensures good air circulation, which can be critical to guarding against pest and disease problems.

Design Ideas

A wide variety of plants may do well as companions to hickory trees. You might consider an oakleaf hydrangea if you're seeking a showy bush with lots of colors. Mapleleaf viburnum is another excellent option. It is native to the eastern U.S. and has a rounded, pleasing shape. Gardeners also may want to try the bottlebrush buckeye, a deciduous shrub that flowers in the summer and thrives in shady spots.

Cottonwood Trees

Cottonwood trees, also known as Populus deltoides, are massive deciduous trees with heavy foliage and large, green leaves. Most species in the family grow to between 50 and 80 feet tall, though some may reach 100 feet or taller.

Popular shade trees, the cottonwood has sprawling branches that have been known to spread as much as 113 feet. In the spring, these trees have fluffy, cotton-like blooms, which gives them their name.

This species is commonly found across North America and Europe with sparser distribution in some regions of Asia. Cottonwood trees are popular because they grow fast and can thrive in wetlands or arid places.

Polpulus Deltoides Care Guide

The main problems associated with cottonwood trees are their aggressive growth, the tendency to produce many suckers, and the tremendous amount of litter that they produce. As long as homeowners are diligent about getting rid of suckers and raking up leaves, they should have few problems with these large trees.

At planting, it's best to choose a sunny spot that gets lots of moisture. Lakes, rivers, and marshy areas provide the perfect environment, but they can grow well in drier areas if they are regularly watered in the early seasons.

Sandy or silt soil is recommended. However, cottonwoods can grow in almost any soil except for heavy clay.

When choosing a spot for planting, keep in mind that the cottonwood will get huge. This means that it is not advisable to plant it next to a structure as the roots may cause problems with the foundation. Carefully consider the location of underground plumbing and wiring as well.

Cottonwood trees can grow as much as six feet each year. This rapid growth can lead to weak wood that may become damaged in windstorms, which is another good reason to keep cottonwood trees away from houses.

Some people control the growth of their cottonwood trees with pruning. The tree becomes dormant each winter, making late winter the ideal time for cutting back its branches.

It is advisable to only use clean pruners for this task because cottonwoods are exceptionally prone to disease.

Companion Plants

Because cottonwood trees tend to love moist soil, it makes sense to choose companion plants that also thrive in these soil conditions. Consider plants such as wild rose, yerba mansa and yellow monkeyflower.

Other attractive options include the black snakeroot, a bush that reaches heights of between two and five feet. It grows well in the shade, making it a good choice as a companion to cottonwoods. Similarly, the three to four feet tall ligularia (also known as ‘the rocket) provides dramatic yellow foliage in late summer even in shady conditions.