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Filipe Benavides

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Learn How Trees Can Help You Save On Your Electricity Bills

Posted by Filipe Benavides on 1/23/2017


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 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 are 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 Filipe 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 Filipe 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