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Felipe Benavides

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How To Liven Up Your Yard With Great Landscaping Ideas

Posted by Felipe Benavides on 8/15/2017


A beautiful landscape is a sure-fire way to increase property value. From xeriscape to tropical designs, to curb appeal makeovers and backyard transformations, homeowners can get creative with the endless array of landscaping possibilities. So, whether you are working with a blank-slate or your yard is in serious need of a makeover, Moon Valley Nursery has the perfect trees, shrubs, and plants for the perfect spot in your yard. Plus, with our expert design professionals ready to make your dream landscape a reality, it could not get any easier! Update your landscape and reap the rewards! Here are some of our best landscaping ideas and the trees, shrubs, and plants ideal for any size yard!

Front Yard Makeover Ideas

Cypress-4.pngLet’s face it; your front yard can make or break your home’s curbside appeal. Coming home to a dull-looking front yard is not just uninteresting, it can also affect your mood. Line driveways with shrubs and taller plants that welcome you home with color, induce happiness, add curb appeal, and may be able to add privacy too. We like to plant Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens 'Glauca') in rows near driveways, where their narrow, columnar form and lush dark blue-green foliage brings a stately, formal look, as well as creating a great privacy hedge.

Palm trees are always an excellent choice for a front yard, especially when placed on each side of a driveway or to create an inviting tropical appearance and a tranquil setting. The Pindo Palm (Butia capitata) is a small to medium palm ideal for smaller front yards, with silver-green, graceful arching fronds that add a big splash of tropical color wherever planted. King Palm (Archontophoenix alexandrae) features dark-green fronds that rarely drop below the crown shaft adding a vibrant color that makes the lime-green crown shaft pop, so they are an ideal focal point in any front yard, especially for coastal Southern California. Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana), we love these palms for smaller front yards, especially in SoCal because they grow slowly and their fronds grow a deep green color and arch from the crown outward to create a tropical canopy for shade. Palm trees look incredible with night time landscape lighting too!

hibiscus-8.pngAnother fantastic way to liven up a front yard is with Roses (Rosa). Let roses take over your garage, and they will welcome you home with a pleasant fragrance and an array of colors that are sure to make you smile. How about a floral walkway to your home? When used as hedge material, roses, as well as Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinenses), with their very lush, dark foliage and beautiful flowers, are sure to get your yard noticed for all the right reasons as they line the pathway to your front entrance with beauty.

We do not always have the time to take care of trees and plants, which is why big oak trees, such as Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) are so perfect for a front yard. These natural beauties will thrive in your front yard with little to no attention. Drape them with Spanish moss or have one installed in a spot to where it can cool a hot side of your home. This oak is one the entire family will love, especially bigger trees that are just begging to be explored.

For Entertaining or Relaxing

magnolia-7.pngLove entertaining guests? Your friends and relatives are going to want to hang out in a yard that excites, looks beautiful, and feels comfortable. Shade. If you plan to invite guests to your backyard barbecue or outdoor party they are going to need a place to stay cool, especially if the days are sunny and warm. Shade trees run the gamut from large palm trees to bigger trees with a wide spreading canopy. Magnolia trees, such as Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem' are the perfect size for smaller yards and can grow a large spreading canopy that provides plenty of cooling relief. As a bonus, powerfully fragrant white flowers bloom throughout summer and fall, delighting the senses whether you are entertaining guests or trying to get a little r&r to recoup from the party.

Of course, you may want to eat outside, and there is more to it than picking the right tree; the tree needs to be planted in the proper area for the best shade coverage. Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia) never get too big, so they will never take over your yard and are ideal for patios. Your guests will gush over the profuse summertime bloom, with colors that range from pink to purple, rose, lavender and white. Also, when the temperatures soar, the flowers are abundant, and the foliage is enough to provide shade, so they have a way of making people feel more comfortable and relaxed, even in the heat! As a bonus, these smaller trees look stunning, even when not in bloom, especially uplit with landscape lighting, showing off the multi-trunk form and attractive bark that varies from creamy white to cinnamon, gray and sandy brown.

bamboo.pngAfter all your guests have left and you need a spot to chill, there may be no better place than resting on a hammock between two bigger Piru Queen Palms (Arecastrum romanzoffianum) with a refreshing drink in hand and nice soft pillow to rest your weary head. You can also create a quiet, private spot in your yard to relax by surrounding it with plenty of greenery such as vines, succulents, and bamboo such Timber Bamboo (Phyllostachys oldhamii) or Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica), which is an upright evergreen shrub with soft draping foliage.



Landscaping with Edibles

oranges-3.pngAnother great landscape idea is one that features trees with edible fruits, nuts, and citrus. An edible landscape is great on so many levels. After all, fresh really is best. You get to grow your own food, so you know exactly how it has been grown and where it comes from. Worried about feeding your family citrus and fruits sprayed with pesticides? Grow your own, and you never need to worry about that. Plus, most of the fruit and citrus trees are excellent shade providers too. Also, if you want to cover up any unpleasant odors, why not plant Lemon trees and Orange trees near open windows so their aroma can fill the room with fresh, citrusy goodness. Plant avocado trees on a slope or use them near fence lines to create a privacy screen. Of course, it pays to be a good neighbor, so be sure to share the bounty!

Topics: Expert

Why Box Trees Are Better Than Field Dug Trees

Posted by Felipe Benavides on 7/20/2017

Learn Why MooN Valley Nurseries
Has The Best Trees

Box trees are the best for a reason!


You’ve probably seen our advertisements proudly declaring that Moon Valley Nurseries is “The Largest Box Tree Grower in the United States” and maybe you asked yourself, why are box trees better than field dug trees? We asked our experts and here’s what they had to say.

Bigger Box Trees are a Better Value
We know you have options and we aim to give you the absolute best option of all. You get more bang for your buck when buying a box tree from Moon Valley Nurseries. This is because we actually have the right sized tree in the right sized box. So many other nurseries sell much smaller trees in a big box and sell them at the bigger box size. Not at Moon Valley. There are other reasons besides monetary to buy box trees from us, rather than field dug trees from someplace else.

Root System: consider this, the root system of a field dug tree has had a major part of its root system severed at the time of harvest. Whereas the entire system of a box tree is left intact. So basically, field dug trees are going through transplant shock and will have much slower growth due to the root system being severed. In other words, once dug, field grown trees have a reduced root system.

 Easy, Proper Planting: box trees are easier to plant for any landscaper, contractor or by our own professional landscaping crew. Field dug trees are much heavier when compared to box trees and are harder to handle. Field grown trees are often lifted and planted incorrectly. Lifting by the trunk can result in trunk damage and will cause severe injury and may kill the tree.

Of course, then you’ve got those trees that are grown in plastic containers. And as we all know by now, plastic is bad for the environment because it cannot be as easily recycled, especially if planted into the ground. So, just say no to trees grown in plastic containers!

With a Box Tree You Get:

  • A straighter tree
  • A tree that is much easier to load and unload
  • Planting is always guaranteed to be planted at the right depth because the box is actually set into the hole
  • Box trees are 100% recyclable wood
  • Box trees are generally what most architects spec on their jobs in the Southwest
  • A much greater selection of trees available during most times of the year when compared to field dug trees

Why Pay for the Dirt (When You Don’t Have To!)
At most other nurseries, you get a smaller sized tree in a large sized box, so you, the customer, are basically paying for the box size price filled with a bunch of dirt, rather than getting the bigger tree you want at the right price. At Moon Valley we value engineer all of our trees, which basically means you aren’t paying for the dirt. Les Blake, owner, Moon Valley Nurseries, said “we value engineer all of our products, not only are they grown from our selected mother trees in our labs, they’re also a tree that we guarantee always. When you purchase a tree from Moon Valley, you’re absolutely going to have the finest quality tree.” Mr. Blake explained further that “over the last 25 years we’ve found that our customers do not want to pay for dirt.” For further proof, compare what other nurseries sell as box size trees to what we sell. The difference is obvious. With us, you get a bigger specimen tree sold in the right size box, not some tiny tree in a large box filled with a bunch of dirt, which you’re paying for! 


Topics: Expert

How To Care For Succulents In Southern California

Posted by Felipe Benavides on 7/6/2017

 Keep your succulents looking good all year long

Easy steps anyone can do!


Succulents are an amazing addition to any landscape and they get extra bonus points because they can grow in both warm and cold seasons. Everyone loves to have the unique colors, textures, shapes, and flowers that can add variety to any spot in your yard. People throughout California and the world for that matter rave about these easy succulents are to grow and care for. There are endless ways you can plant them and since they all bloom are different times throughout the year,  you can expect them to have interesting colors almost all year long! Here are some tips to help your succulents thrive, whether you’ve got them planted in a rock garden or in a nice pot.

Water Requirements
If you purchased a succulent in a black plastic nursery pot be sure to remove it right away and plant into the ground or in a non-plastic container (plastic can significantly increase the heat around the plant's root zone.) Most succulents will need some water all year long and need to be watered thoroughly. Once established, most can go for long dry periods before receiving any water thanks to the water that’s stored in the actual plant. For best results, water early in the morning so the succulent will have enough time to dry out to prevent rotting and sunburn. If Santa Ana weather conditions persist, we recommend watering in-ground succulents every 10 to 14 days. If you’re growing in a container, watering once a week is sufficient. It’s important to remember to never allow succulents to sit in water, these plants hate wet feet because it can lead to rot and disease.

Light Needs
Unless the weather is extremely hot, most succulent varieties will need at least half a day to a full day of sunlight. In areas where the weather is very hot, we recommend placing them in a nice spot with some afternoon shade. Unfortunately, once sunburn patches are prevalent, they cannot be reversed, so be sure to pay attention to sun exposure. Of course, your plants in the sunniest areas will also require a bit more water.

Fertilizer and Soil Requirements
Most succulents can do just fine with very little fertilizer. We recommend feeding and watering them with a well-balanced fertilizer once a month. Too much fertilizer can encourage too much growth, which in turn will give your plant a weedy look, so keep this mind when feeding. When it comes to soil, succulents require good drainage and aeration. Always remember, that they do not want to sit in water. 

For erosion control and Firescaping
In Southern California, the probability that you have a slope somewhere on your property is high. As far as succulents go for erosion control, you’ll want to avoid the ice plant because as the mass grows heavy, it may slide down a slope and take much of the soil with it. Instead, we recommend planting succulents on a slope as an accent. Wildfires are something we need to worry about here in Southern California especially in the inland areas where wildfire is a common occurrence. Fleshy succulents, such as Sedum are a great choice for any firewise landscape because they store water in their tissue, which can resist fire. Another good choice for a firewise landscape design is Ice Plant (Delospema nubigenu), which can also add a brilliant splash of color.

Topics: Expert

Learn How Trees Can Help You Save On Your Electricity Bills

Posted by Felipe Benavides on 1/23/2017

Start saving today

Tips from our nursery pros!Chinese-Elm-4.png

Let’s face it, energy is a resource that is bound to be more expensive in the future. Living comfortably shouldn’t have to cost a fortune. The good news is that you can do something to lower your utility bills that will not only save you money, it will also add value to your property. Homeowners can cool off their house with shade trees. Houses shaded by trees stay cooler, naturally, than homes lacking shaded trees. And cooling off your house naturally is far less expensive than turning on your A/C and forking over tons of money each month to pay your utility bills. Of course, it needs to be the right trees planted in the right place to cool your house and save energy.

How Much Can You Save on Utility Costs with Shade Trees
Homeowners can save quite a bit of energy and money by planting trees around the house. For instance, using a model of a 2,500-square foot unshaded house in Sacramento, a computer program at the University of California, Davis, predicted that shading the house’s east and west side (including windows) could reduce energy use for air conditioning by as much as 40 percent annually.

Follow the Sun’s Path
Location, location, location…Yep, location is key when planting shade trees to cool the house. Basically, follow the sun’s path. The path along which the sun travels from morning to afternoon, and from winter to summer, helps to determine the best locations to plant trees that are going to have a substantial effect on lowering utility bills.

Of course, it’s not always about cooling your house, sometimes you want your house to stay warm, especially during those colder months. A deciduous tree or semi-evergreen is ideal for both summer and winter times. With a deciduous or semi-evergreen tree, the sun can shine through its leafless canopy in the winter to let in some sunlight and heat into your house. During the summer heat, a larger sized deciduous or semi-evergreen tree with a sprawling canopy is an ideal choice for use as a shade tree around your house. Buy as big as you can because bigger is better for the greatest effect on utility costs.

Where to Plant Trees for Best Effects
In order for trees to have the biggest effect on utility costs, you’ re going to have to think about the right location on your property to plant them. For best results, shade windows first as the sun shining directly through a window can heat up a home quickly. Plant trees on the east, south, and west sides near windows, and if possible, position the tree just to the side so they can provide shade without completely blocking the view. As tempting as it might be, don’t plant too close to the house. Yes, the closer you plant, the more shade you’ll get. However, planting trees too close can cause roots to damage the foundations, so plant trees 5 to 10 feet away from the foundation. Another good place to plant shade trees is over a paved area. Shade trees can reduce heat stored or reflected in paved surfaces. Plus, shading a paved area such as a paved patio can create a nice garden retreat. It’s also a good idea to plant shade trees near air conditioners. Keeping your air conditioner cool can reduce its workload and cut down energy consumption.

Smart Trees for Shade
At Moon Valley Nurseries, we have bigger trees for sale, ready to provide the shade you need to cool or warm your house, naturally. Here are a few of our favorite trees, in stock and ready to be delivered and planted by our professional landscape crew.

Ficus-march.pngFiucus Nitida

Instant shade is what makes the Ficus our #1 selling tree. These evergreen trees perform well in any landscape. They create a very dense canopy of thick, rounded green leaves all year that create a very thick shade that can keep your cooling costs down in the summer. They handle the heat very well and can be pruned to any shape. When it comes to clean-up and maintenance, you can go ahead and put your rake away, because Ficus is just about the cleanest tree you’ll ever purchase. We offer three different variations of Ficus: Single-trunk, multi-trunk, and column, which are a great choice as a barrier for blocking sun, noise, wind, and those pesky neighbors. 

tipu-6.pngTipu Tree
Homeowners looking for an attractive shade tree with striking features will love the Tipuana tipu tree. This fast growing medium to large sized tree can provide a great amount of shade to cool your house, while beautifying any location on your property. It’s a showy, semi-evergreen that puts on a unique show of golden blooms from late spring into early summer that contrasts beautifully with its feathery, bright bluish-green foliage.


Chinese-elm-1.pngChinese Elm
Chinese Elm tree, ‘True Green’, is an excellent choice for sundrenched Southwestern properties because it can bring a massive amount of shade to any property. Native to China, this large, semi-evergreen tree has been widely used in parks thanks to its wide, natural umbrella-shaped shade capabilities, making it an ideal shade tree to naturally cool down your house. Moon Valley Nurseries carries the ‘True Green’ strain, which does not weep. The ‘True Green’ strain features small, deep green leaves and is prized for its upright, rounded growth habit favored by many homeowners.

Palo-Verde-3.pngMuseum Palo Verde
A hybrid of different, older Palo Verde species, the Museum Palo Verde brings the best qualities of each, resulting in a beautiful shade tree with fuller, yellow-green foliage and striking green, thornless trunks. The multi-trunked, sculptural shapes of these attractive trees provide a stark contrast and beautiful accent to almost any landscape, as well as providing the shade you want in the summer and letting the right amount of light in during the winter. 


ArZ-Ash.pngArizona Ash
The Arizona Ash is well suited to handle all extreme temperature changes. In the fall, this deciduous tree’s foliage turns into a vibrant golden color. The Arizona Ash is seedless and only requires one clean up once the leaves drop. The tree grows its leaves back quickly in the spring, which provides maximum shade in the summer months. Its canopy of shade covers a large amount of territory and its flowers form in small clusters in the spring. 




Moon Valley Nurseries is your one stop shop for all your landscape needs. Our experts have decades worth of experience and they will be able to assist you with any projects or questions you may have. Remember to change your watering schedule as we enter the winter and be sure to map a Moon Valley Nurseries locations right here.

Topics: Monthly Tips

Environmentally Friendly Ways To Recycle Your Christmas Tree 

Posted by Felipe Benavides on 12/28/2016


Real Christmas trees are beautiful, especially the ones available at Moon Valley Nurseries Christmas Tree Lots. The aroma, the perky needles, the greenery – these are just some of the things we love about real Christmas trees. After all, real trees aren’t some fake plastic tree imported from China, processed and manufactured with a bunch of synthetic materials that are harmful to our environment. No, real Christmas trees are biodegradable, so they can be easily reused and recycled for mulch and other purposes. 

By the time the New Year rolls around, you can tell it’s a good time to recycle that real tree. Once its lifespan has run its course, you’re left with a corpse of a tree that needs to be disposed of before it starts to rot, stink and leave a mess of needles all over your floor. Of course, there are many ways to recycle your Christmas tree, and doing it in an environment-friendly manner is the best option for both you and the environment. Don’t be that person that tosses the old tree into the trash bin leaving an unsightly mess and angering your neighbors. There are plenty of options for recycling your tree and feeling good about your environment-friendly action, all the while taking care of one of your New Year’s Resolutions - doing your part in helping to care for our environment.

Real Christmas trees are biodegradable. Perhaps you or one of your neighbors owns a chipper (or rent one) - this is the best DIY mulching option. Remove the branches and place them in the chipper for fantastic mulch to use in your landscape. Homemade mulch can last up to two years! When you add in the essential micro and macro nutrients and specialized blends that make up our Moon Valley fertilizer products, your plants will thrive all year long. Mulch is also great for suppressing weeds!

Create a Bird Feeder
Stick a whole Christmas tree into the ground or leave it in a stand for an excellent backyard bird feeder. The entire family will get a kick out of this natural bird sanctuary. Add popcorn strings, stale bread, cranberries and other assorted goodies and watch as a variety of birds such as Chickadees and Song Sparrows come for the food and hang around for the shelter. Within a year, the branches will become brittle so you can easily break the tree apart by hand and get ready to repeat the process once again.

Fish Feeders
Bird’s aren’t the only wildlife that benefit from environment-friendly tree recycling – fish can too. Homeowners with private fish ponds can sink a tree into the pond, creating a terrific refuge and feeding area for fish. It’s a good idea to attach a heavy weight to the tree to keep it sunk. Be sure to remove any decorations and the stand! Happy fish, happy planet.

Soil Erosion Barriers
People living in coastal communities and near lakes and rivers can recycle Christmas trees for use as an effective sand and soil erosion barrier. Recycled trees are excellent for shoreline stabilization and managing river delta sedimentation. Christmas trees can also be used to trap soil and organic debris from a gorge where the water is carrying away soil. Simply attach a stake to your tree in the waters path!

Get Creative!
You can always get creative with a dead Christmas tree. Woodworking hobbyists can make coasters by cutting thin slabs off the trunk. Sand them down into a smooth finish and apply a thin coat of polyurethane to keep the sap off tables and glassware. We’ve seen tree trunks made into candlesticks and even birdhouses. You can also cut off all the branches and use the trunk to edge a garden. A strategically placed trunk can become a resting spot for birds and other small wildlife.

Curbside Collection Programs
This is probably the easiest option for most and surprisingly environment-friendly. Your city may have a curbside pickup option that will turn your tree into usable mulch for use in city parks, etc. This way you don’t need to lug an old tree around town, burning gas, to take it to the nearest drop-off recycling center. Just be sure to remove any old ornaments, tinsel, lights, stands and check for any size requirements. Find your local hauler. Typically, the providers will collect trees during regular pickup schedules on the two weeks after Christmas. If your local hauler is Waste Management Inc. (WM) click here to find your local service provider.

In certain areas with tree recycling/mulching programs, they’ll not only recycle the old tree, they’ll turn it into a bag of mulch you can use in your landscape. This mulch can be used to enrich or insulate the soil, helping plants grow better, and creating an attractive landscape cover that can help retain moisture in hedges and around the bases of trees. Use this mulch in combination with Moon Valley Nurseries fertilizer products and watch as your landscape explodes with healthy-looking growth!

Note: Never burn your Christmas tree in an indoor fireplace or wood stove.

Moon Valley Nurseries is your one stop shop for all your landscape needs. Our experts have decades worth of experience and they will be able to assist you with any projects or questions you may have. Remember to change your watering schedule as we enter the winter and be sure to map a Moon Valley Nurseries location right here.

Topics: Christmas Trees

Tips For Buying & Caring For Your Fresh Cut Christmas Tree

Posted by Felipe Benavides on 12/1/2016


There’s nothing quite like a freshly-cut Christmas tree to trigger the senses of the most wonderful time of the year. A fresh-cut tree fills the home with the sublime aroma that defines the Holiday Season. Of course, most of this is lost on old, wilted trees that are often found on many of the big box tree lots. This is because many big box tree lots sell trees that were cut weeks before.

Click here to download you $6 OFF coupon for our Christmas Trees

Here’s the good news - Moon Valley Nurseries express-ships premium quality, real Christmas trees from our sustainable farms within 48 hours of cutting! In fact, our environmentally friendly trees are fresh-shipped on a daily basis, from sustainably grown Christmas tree plantations in the Pacific Northwest.  We take pride in supporting USA grown, local tree farmers and sustainable plantations that support local agriculture.

At our Moon Valley Nurseries Christmas tree lots, you’ll find premium, fresh-cut trees such as our Noble Firs, Grand Firs, and Dougas Firs. Our freshly-cut Christmas trees are kept in water, so you’re guaranteed to get healthy, upright trees with perky needles and an aroma that is sure to please the household.

Tips for Buying Fresh Cut Trees

  • Buy from a reputable tree lot - Moon Valley Nurseries tree lots have express-shipped trees delivered from our farms to our lots within 48 hours of cutting.
  • Support local, USA grown tree farmers – freshly-cut Christmas trees are farmed specifically for their purpose and support local agriculture.
  • When buying, trees should feel heavy, so compare the weight of the trees (you don’t have to completely lift the tree)
  • Let your nose be your guide – fresh cut trees have an unmistakable, pleasing aroma.
  • If there are lots of needles on the ground around the trees, go someplace else.
  • To check a tree’s freshness, pull your hand towards you along the branch. When you do this, the needles should not fall off.

Tips for Caring for the Fresh Cut Tree at Home

  • Water is the vital element to caring for the Christmas tree in your home.
  • Fill the tree stand with water and keep it filled. A freshly-cut tree can consume a gallon of water in 24 hours.
  • Never let the water level go below the tree’s base.
  • Keep the tree away from heater vents or other heat sources. The lower the temperature, the better the tree will do.
  • Place the tree in a dark, shady spot in the home.
  • Use professional tree preservatives, do not use sugar or soda pop.

Visit one of our Christmas Tree lots for the freshest trees at the lowest prices – guaranteed! Our super fresh trees are express shipped within 48 hours of cutting, so you know you are getting the absolute freshest trees available. Our Christmas trees and lots have been a family tradition for thousands of families for over 20 years. We are sure to have the perfect Christmas Tree for you and your family waiting in our lots! We carry all of the major varieties like Noble Firs, Douglas Firs, Grand Firs, Fraser Firs and more, in sizes that range from 3 to 15 feet!

Topics: Christmas Trees