By Luke Kalawsky on June, 17 2021
Landscape Tips Tree Maintenance

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Luke Kalawsky

Luke Kalawsky has a passion for all things trees, plants, and landscape design. He has designed numerous landscapes as the head designer in the Surprise, Arizona region until he became a manager of our Central Phoenix Nursery. He now dedicates his knowledge, expertise, and creative capabilities to help the masses discover how to design, plant, and maintain their landscapes with his writings.

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A good landscaper is something to be treasured. They are able to take care of your yard with expertise, precision, and care. Unfortunately, there are many landscapers out there that don’t quite have the know-how to properly care for your yard or specific trees in your landscape. Our Moon Valley Nurseries’ pros often come across many yards that have fallen victim to improper maintenance caused by landscapers who maybe didn’t have the care or knowledge to keep the landscape looking great. Here are the 5 common mistakes we see many landscapers making in yards across the Southwest. 


  1. Improper Trimming & Pruning
  2. Untimely or Incorrect Fertilization
  3. Using Non-Acclimated Trees & Plants
  4. Leaving Trees Staked For Too Long
  5. Poor or Ineffective Planting Placement 



Moon valley nurseries tree trimmingTrimming and pruning are an essential part of the maintenance routine needed to keep your yard looking its best. However, if done incorrectly, this can actually cause damage to your trees and plants or possibly spread disease. Knowing when and how to make these cuts is the key to successfully pruning and trimming your trees and plants without any negative consequences.


If you or your landscaper are unsure when the best time to cut back your trees and plants is, or how to properly perform the necessary cuts, check out our article on trimming and pruning your trees and plants here!  





Pouring moon juice on wax leaf privet hedgeSimilar to pruning and trimming, knowing when and how to fertilize your trees and plants can greatly affect their success in your yard. Proper timing and application of fertilizers and nutritional supplements will cause your landscape to blossom into a lush, hardy, and attractive environment.


On the other hand, if done incorrectly, fertilizing can either be ineffective or even detrimental to the trees and plants in your yard. Improper fertilizing can happen in the form of poor timing, wrong ratios for the plant material, a lack of necessary supplemental nutrients, or over-fertilization. To read up on the correct way to fertilize, read our article on the best fertilizers and nutrients for your yard. 





Moon Valley Nurseries Grow YardAnother common mistake we see being made by many landscapers is the use of non-acclimated trees and plants in new planting projects. Our region is home to many native species of plant material that perform very well here, but we can also grow an enormous variety of non-native species with great success, as long as they are acclimated to our area.  


It requires much less time and effort to grow these non-native varieties in other more eastern states. Unfortunately, many nationwide garden centers stock trees and plants that are grown in more tropical climates to speed up production. This is all well and fine if you are going to be planting these varieties in tropical states or similar zones, but when these non-acclimated trees and plants are brought into our climate, they struggle to survive. Selecting plant material that has been grown and acclimated in our area is the key to a thriving landscape, even with varieties that are not native to our region!


To learn more about the benefits of growing trees and plants in the climate they will be planted in, and how this makes them superior, read about Moon Valley Nurseries’ growing practices and how we grow the best trees on Earth! 




Double staking treesWhile young and newly planted trees should be double staked to help them establish to a yard and give them support, leaving them attached beyond the necessary length of time can be a detriment to the tree’s long-term growth. For most trees, leaving the stakes attached for one year is usually plenty of time for the tree to become established in your yard.


If the stakes remain attached for too long the tree’s trunk will begin to grow around the wires that attach the stakes to the tree, eventually engulfing them. This can cause unhealthy growth, decayed portions of the canopy, or even lead to the tree’s death. You can read more on taking care of your trees and plants by checking out our care guides here!




Luxury Mediterranean landscapeThe placement of the trees and plants that are planted in your yard will make all the difference in achieving your landscape goals. For example, if you want a shade tree to cool a room in your home, but it was planted too far away, where the canopy of that variety will never get large enough to reach over that room to provide shade, that goal of yours will never be met. On the other hand, if that same tree was planted too close to the home, the canopy may push up against the house, preventing the tree from growing properly into the space.  


We see issues like this very often, not just with shade tree placement but also with privacy hedges planted too far apart and never creating a thick privacy screen, with plants that require partial shade being planted in full sun, or with trees that will become too big for a smaller space, amongst many other issues. Our professional landscape designers are experienced in meeting your landscape goals with tree and plant varieties that compliment your favorite design style, all while avoiding these common mistakes. For more information on how our landscape designers can help you, read our article here!


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