5 Tips for Caring for Palm Trees in Arizona

Posted by Felipe Benavides on 6/20/2018

AZ_campus_path_palmsCopyright: humannet / 123RF Stock Photo

Palm trees are a common sight in the Phoenix area. There are beautiful palms lining walkways at Arizona State University, and towering palms are seen in many of the most prominent neighborhoods in east Phoenix.

Most palm trees are subtropical or tropical. A few of them are also surprisingly cold hardy. We have seen a few palms growing in unexpected places such as Portland, Seattle, and Denver!

And, while palm trees are not native to Arizona, we sure do love the sight of them. These are some of the best architectural plants. Palms are ideal for accents in the garden, planted poolside, at the golf course, or planted along the pond at your favorite park. Even though they aren’t natives, they have adapted well to our area. In fact, they are associated with the concept of a desert oasis, helping us humans adapt to our harsh summertime environment. 

Even though it is hard to miss the many palms that dot our landscape, only one species is native to Arizona. The California Fan Palm, (Washingtonia filifera) is said to have been transplanted to Arizona via animals dropping seeds.

A grove of palms creates shade, and besides offering relief from the sun, they can make us think of fun-filled vacations. Of course, yellow and brown foliage is not the picture of a healthy palm and is no fun at all. The good news is that with special care, we can keep our palms thriving so that they can help us feel calm and relaxed during this time of the year. These iconic trees require minimal maintenance, which is another reason to love palms!


Issues to Look For

Keep an eye out for these issues that palms can have early on, and you can keep the lush appearance of your palm for years to come. 

Yellowing leaflets: Are the leaflets on older fronds turning yellow? The palm might be lacking magnesium. Older fronds are the ones that are lower on the tree. A deficiency in Magnesium can turn beautiful fronds into yellowing fronds.

Orange or yellow spotting: A potassium deficiency can cause older fronds to acquire yellow or orange spots. This deficiency can also cause the trunk to be narrow. 

Scorched fronds: Do newer fronds appear scorched? Are the leaflets starting to curl? If so, there may be a Manganese deficiency.

Did you know that one of the most common causes of palm tree death is a result of improper fertilization? It’s true!


Five Tips for a Healthy Palm 

Palms, like all plants, benefit from loving care. A bit of maintenance goes a long way in keeping palms lush and lovely. We spoke to our experts and below are five tips for keeping the foliage of your palm green and healthy all year long.

Planting: Knowing where to plant your palm is an excellent start. The type of tree you have will determine the perfect spot. Other factors to consider when planting include the amount of sun exposure and the amount of space required to grow.

Let the Pros do the Digging: Get your palms planted right the first time – let our pros do the digging! Our professional planting makes it easy to have the yard you have always wanted. It includes all the digging, planting, and mulch. We also add Moon Juice. Everything we plant is guaranteed to grow!

Watering: Fertile, well-drained soil will help established palms thrive. Irrigating newly planted palms is beneficial. You will want to be sure to keep the soil sufficiently moist because it is essential to keep the palm healthy. Look for signs of stress from a lack of water. Slow growth and browning on the tips of the oldest leaves are symptoms. Some palm species show signs of stress when the leaflets wilt. The trunk can hollow out or collapse from water stress. Be sure to water deeply about four to five times a week when the temperatures reach above 100 degrees. Drip watering or using a soaker hose with a very slow trickle is recommended. An easy way to check the moisture level in the soil is to grab a little shovel and scrape the surface at least six inches deep.

Tip: We recommend watering in the early morning or late afternoon during the summer.

Fertilizing: Keep your palm looking healthy with the proper fertilizers. A fertilizer, such as Super Palm Juice, has magnesium, which can prevent it from being iron deficient. Palms love this easy-to-apply liquid – it can reach roots fast! This fertilizer can help increase moisture and nutrient uptake. Super Palm Juice can also stimulate root growth and can help protect against stress. Moon Juice is recommended for palms because it has manganese, which can help them prevent and recover from stressors.

Cleaning and Trimming: Hosing off the palms periodically with a water hose can help control spider mites and other sucking insects. Also, frequent washing provides some humidity. Some palms are self-cleaning and will shed the old leaf bases on their own. For those palms that hold their bases, they can be trimmed. Prune them by slicing the old bases off at the very bottom of the base. Always make sure that you do not cut into the trunk. Also, always clean any tools with rubbing alcohol so that you can prevent diseases from spreading, Of course, for best results, hire a professional tree trimmer.


We do the Work!

Palms bring value and interest to any landscape in Arizona. Moon Valley Nurseries can do the work! Allow our nursery pros to help you design and select the perfect palms. We deliver and plant them, too. At Moon Valley Nurseries, we custom-grow palms that are ready to thrive in your yard. Visit us and check out our beautiful palm trees, such as our Piru Queen Palms and King Palms, which are two of the most popular palms for any size yard. Our Canary Island Date Palms add elegance and luxury to all types of properties. Line up some Date Palms along a driveway and create a grand entrance! Mediterranean Fan Palms are the ideal size for planting in small areas! We have just what you need to establish an oasis with palms in your yard. Moon Valley Nurseries only sells palms that are guaranteed to be disease-free!

Topics: knowledge base

The Importance of Fertilizing Your Trees in The Summer

Posted by Arica Harrison on 6/14/2018

moon-juice-nvAs summer is here in Arizona, we need to act now and fertilize our trees before it’s too hot. Yes, trees need a little help just like our flowers and other plants. It is important to make sure we are using fertilizer to assist in the healthy growth of our planted trees. At Moon Valley Nurseries, we understand the need and importance of fertilizing and have compiled some key information to pass along to you. 


What is Fertilizer?

First off, let’s start off with the basics – what is fertilizer? Fertilizer is any substance, natural (organic) or chemical (inorganic), that is added to soil or plant tissue to increase its health and nutrients. Most fertilizers contain essential micro and macro nutrients that trees and plants need that might not be present in the soil. Macro-nutrients are the substances needed in large quantities, some are found in air and water – Carbon, Oxygen, and Hydrogen. The main macro-nutrients usually needed in addition are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium; Nitrogen is the most likely to be deficient in our soil.  The secondary nutrients which are less likely to be missing from soil are Calcium, Magnesium, and Sulfur. Among the common micro-nutrients (nutrients needed in much smaller amounts) are Zinc, Manganese, and Iron.  


Why is Fertilizer Important?

Urban and suburban trees need additional nutrients than what is provided in the surrounding environment. Unlike trees growing naturally in forests, our planted trees have more stressors and deficiencies. Forests provide naturally occurring fertilization due to animals and decomposing material found within their environment. Our trees do not have those same opportunities as we usually rake away fallen leaves and must deal with city stressors and construction. By using a fertilizer, we can provide the much-needed micro and macro nutrients that are deficient in our arid Southwest environment. When growing, trees need a steady supply of nutrients, fertilizing achieves that. By supplementing essential nutrients, we can assure that our trees will grow healthy and strong. Fertilizers help trees protect themselves from pests and disease – mush like how eating helps our immune systems. Healthy trees can withstand damage from their environment, like wind and heat stress.  It is important to fertilize our trees so that they can grow healthy and we can enjoy them instead of stressing over them. 


When Should We Fertilize?

Here is Arizona, now is the perfect time to fertilize your trees to get them the essential nutrients to help them thrive during our hot summer months. By fertilizing now, we can give our trees a better chance at fighting against heat and summer stressors. Last chance before it gets too hot! After it gets over 110 degrees, we suggest that you don’t do normal fertilizing but use Moon Juice, a liquid variety to help summer growth, every month. And every other month, to use Moon Valley’s Soil & Water Conditioner. 

It is important to set up a regular fertilizing program to ensure that you will have healthy trees all year round. We suggest fertilizing or using Moon Juice monthly to help with our warmer weather and dryer climate. If you want to have clear guidelines and timeframe, don’t hesitate to reach out to our knowledgeable pros at your local Moon Valley Nursery. Our custom blended fertilizers are designed to trigger growth responses so they can be used at any time, even after the ideal springtime growth season. 

Here are some signs of things to look for that fertilizers can help with: 

- Yellowing leaves that are smaller than normal. Overall growth is stunted – possible Nitrogen deficiency. 

- Small leaves with scorched edges, may be purplish or blue-green in color. Leaves may fall early. Overall growth seems weakened and reduced – possible Phosphorus deficiency. 

- Tips and edges of leaves are yellow and look scorched with brownish-purple spotting underneath – possible Potassium deficiency. 

- Leaves turn dark starting at the base and going outward then die – possible Calcium deficiency. 

- Leaves are yellow between the veins which stay green – possible Iron deficiency. 

- Center of leaves turn yellow or reddish in color. Dead spots appear – possible Magnesium deficiency. 

- Upper leaves turn yellow in the center between the veins – possible Manganese deficiency. 

- Veins are a lighter color than the tissue in between – possible Sulfur deficiency. 


Choosing a fertilizer can seem like a daunting process, as there are many varieties and choices out there. At Moon Valley Nurseries, we have developed highly specialized blends of fertilizers that we use throughout our growing farms and nurseries. Grower proven and grower approved. We want to remove any guesswork and confusion during the decision process. Any of our nursery professionals can help you select the perfect fertilizer for your tree’s needs. Below are a few of our recommended picks for trees. 

moon_juice_fert_better_2Supercharged Moon Juice –  Perfect for all trees and plants. Moon Juice has Furst liquid technology which helps maximize your tree’s potential. It includes a proprietary blend of organic enzymes and amino acids that stimulate the growth signals within a plant or tree. Moon Juice contains the three most important micro-nutrients – Iron, Manganese, and Zinc. It also has Vitamin B-1, thiamine mononitrate which is beneficial for new plantings. Moon Juice enhances a tree’s ability to recover and prevent issues from stresses caused by extreme heat, transplanting, and other events. Supercharge your trees! 


palm_juice_fertSuper Palm Juice  Palm trees are a major staple in Arizona landscapes. And just like the unique look they bring, palm trees need a unique blend of nutrients. Moon Valley’s Super Palm Juice is custom blended as a liquid to include Potash, Manganese, Iron, Sulfur, Zinc, Copper, and Boron. This super easy-to-use liquid will help produce stronger, thicker trunks and dark green fronds creating a healthier palm. Use Super Palm Juice to correct yellow, weak, or disfigured fronds. 



moon_dust_fertMoon Dust  All-purpose tree & plant fertilizer! A custom, organic blend that contains the three macro-nutrients needed, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potash (Potassium). This is a quick dissolving granular fertilizer that is beneficial for all plants and trees. Moon Dust was especially developed for tough, compact, and alkaline soils. Designed for the desert, so perfect for Arizona, Moon Dust contains perfect amounts of Sulfur and Gypsum to fight the effects of salt in the soil. The #1 all-purpose fertilizer in the US!  



moon_green_fertMoon Green  Say goodbye to yellowing foliage! Moon Green is a safe and easy-to-use solution for yellowing trees and plants, which is a common problem here in the Arizona desert. Developed to help fight Iron Chlorosis (deficiency), we combined Iron with our Furst liquid technology for an easy fix. Along with being a liquid Iron supplement, Moon Green also helps reduce soil alkalinity and neutralize caliche clay soils. But most of all, it promotes greener and darker leaves (and grass)! Use Moon Green to bring greenness back into your landscape during our hot summers. 


soil_conditioner_fertSoil & Water Conditioner  Use this to make watering and fertilizing more efficient. Ideal for use with any fertilizers as it helps optimize soil conditions. Desert soil can be the most difficult part in growing trees as it is hard and has a high pH level. Moon Valley’s Soil and Water Conditioner helps breakup the salt buildup and loosens tough soil. The Sulfur contained will reduce the high pH level and lets the salt flush out of the root system. Gypsum leads to better drainage and loosening of the soil. By using the Soil & Water Conditioner every other month, your soil will be healthier which will allow your trees to access needed nutrients and water. 


Wait no longer! Call or visit your nearest Moon Valley Nurseries location to pick up the perfect fertilizer and supplements for your trees (and palms) today. Use the knowledge of our nursery pros to help select a fertilizer and plan a regime to keep your trees healthy and thriving! 

Let’s not forget to keep our lawns healthy and growing all summer long with Moon Royale Turf Fertilizer! This pilled homogeneous fertilizer is easy to apply to lawns and acts quickly. Get healthy, green grass with fewer weeds and damage with regular fertilization every four to six weeks. 




Topics: knowledge base

Trees or Sod First

Posted by Arica Harrison on 5/11/2018


This is the time that we are looking to revamp our yards and start big landscaping projects. And, most people think that they need to start with the sod and work up. Well, there’s a better way. Trees first, before sod! Sure, you might be tired of looking at dirt or patchy grass, wishing to see greenness wherever you look. But trees and plants are the key component to creating the desired feel and flow of a landscape. By starting the overhaul of your yard off right, the completed project you envisioned can come together quickly and with much less heartache.

First off, let’s talk about softscaping and hardscaping, two important terms in this landscaping process. Softscaping is all the trees, shrubs, plants, and flowers. Hardscaping is the more structural elements like pavers, rocks, and cement. For a great landscaping design, you need both softscaping and hardscaping.

So, when we say, trees first before sod, we mean softscaping before hardscaping. Natural before structural.  While sod is technically a natural item, think of it more as a permanent element, like you would a patio. If you wanted a patio around a large tree, you wouldn’t build the patio first then cut a whole and plant a tree in the middle. No. You would plant the tree first then build the patio around it. That is what it is like with sod and trees. There will be more work and potential heartaches if you lay sod down then decide to add trees and plants. If the sod goes down first, you will have to dig up portions where you want the tree, potentially damaging surrounding sod. And, if you need a crane or other equipment to bring in a large specimen tree, that could create ruts and more damage to your sod. So, why not bypass all those issues and plant trees first, then lay sod around them. No mess, no stress!

When new trees are planted into your yard, a Moon Valley Nursery professional planting crew will have to create a well around your tree to guarantee healthy growth. Why is that? The reason is because our boxed trees are grown in certain soil that will decompose after some time, and the tree will settle down about an inch. The well also helps hold water for the newly planted tree and then backfills the soil naturally. If the well is dug into the sod, there is the great possibility of the sod dying all around the area of the well. But, if the tree was planted first, you can lay the sod all the way up to the well with no dying patches. 

A bonus with planting trees first with Moon Valley Nurseries, you can get our Soil & Water Conditioner to help prep the soil for sod. The fertilizer will help balance out the salt levels and the Ph of the soil. It will make your normal watering and fertilizing of the new sod go further.

Visit your nearest Moon Valley Nursery location to start your yard revamp off right, with trees first!

Topics: Insider, Expert, Industry Expert, knowledge base

Best Trees by pools

Posted by Arica Harrison on 5/11/2018

Everyone enjoys a nice refreshing dip in the pool during our hot Arizona summers. And we can help make that pool area even more enjoyable. By adding trees around a pool, you can create much needed shade, privacy, and a beautiful view. When looking to add trees to a pool area, it is important to look for trees that have little cleanup, non-invasive roots, and fit the style you want. Below are a few of our top trees to plant poolside.


Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii):

These dwarf palms grow in both single and multi-trunk varieties, giving you options on the look you want. Their fine-textured, soft, curving leaves form a dense crown. Pygmy Date Palms are ideal for tight spaces and can even be planted in pots. We love to use them to fill in under taller palms and trees. Phoenix roebelenii roots are non-invasive and they are one of the cleanest palms available, perfect for around pools.





Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta):

This is the perfect palm for both tropical and resort style landscape designs. Its slender, slightly curved trunk can be “cigar cut” for a more formal appearance. Mexican Fan Palms have large, fan-shaped, bright green fronds with shorter leafstalks that feature a red streak on the underside. It thrives in full sun and requires little water once established, this makes it perfect for the Arizona desert.






Queen Palms have the go-to tropical look that we all love! Piru Queen Palms have thicker crowns, greener fronds, and thicker trunks than older varieties of Queen Palms. This durable evergreen palm has classic feathery, glossy palm fronds that are bright green in color. We grow these palms to be extremely hardy to heat, making them perfect for our local temperatures.




Indian Laurel Fig (Ficus microcarpa ‘Nitida’):

The stunning weeping form has long, drooping branches that are covered with blunt-tipped leaves. The dense evergreen foliage of this tree has a two-tone effect, light rose to chartreuse coloring that contrasts beautifully with the white trunks. The multi-trunk Indian Laurel Fig is great to create privacy around your pool and, bonus, helps as a sound barrier. Ficus microcarpa ‘Nitida’ are grown to thrive in desert environments.



Evergreen Ash (Fraxinus udhei):

Also known as Shamel Ash, this large, fast-growing shade tree is easy to grow and maintain with minimal pruning. It has classic, large-leaved, green foliage that adds to the classic park-style look of the Evergreen Ash. It is extremely tolerant and thrives in full sun. Shamel Ash have thick trunks and a full canopy that can provide shade as you relax in your pool.




Visit your nearest Moon Valley Nursery location to handpick the highest quality trees, custom grown to thrive in the Arizona environment at our local farms. Our knowledgeable nursery pros can help you find the perfect tree for the perfect spot. You can have your own pool paradise!

Topics: Insider, knowledge base

Steps to Successful Design Consultation: Ready, Set, Go!

Posted by Felipe Benavides on 4/19/2018

customer_designIs there a right or wrong way to landscape your yard? The short answer is no. However, a good strategy is a crucial factor to success. Successful landscape designs can increase property value and make our quality of life better. A study by the Virginia Department of Horticulture found that you can increase the value of your home by up to 42 percent with well-designed points of interest in your front yard! Trees can change your life!


Look at Your Property as an Opportunity


For many of us in Arizona, we may feel overwhelmed about how to landscape our properties. After all, we have the challenge of getting plants to grow in our hot, dry climate without using too much water. The good news is that we are lucky to have many unique native desert plants that can thrive in our area.

We can work together to create a successful landscape design. We can get creative and have fun designing our yard to how you want it to look. We do not have to stick to just one type of theme, either. We can create a colorful desert courtyard or even create a lush landscape in the Arizona desert.

Our warm summers and mild winters provide us with the perfect place for year-round outdoor living. Pair a well-designed landscape with hardscape features such as a pool, built-in grill, or fire pit, and you can create your dream landscape. Enjoy your yard!


Come Prepared

Get ready for your nursery visit and landscape design consultation by coming prepared. Take some time to prepare and have a plan. Get inspired! A great way to get inspired is to take photos of the yards you love! Drive or walk around your neighborhood and snap photos of your favorite yards. You can also bring pictures from websites, magazines, and books to show to the designer. Having photos is an excellent way to get the designer familiar with the styles, plants, and colors that you love.

  • What part of your property do you want to landscape?
  • Does your existing landscape pose any problems or concerns?
  • How do you want to use your property?
  • Do you have any special plants you want to include in your design?
  • What is your budget for a landscape project?
  • What are your favorite colors?
  • Are you trying to block out any unwanted views or keep nosy neighbors at bay?
  • Do you have any themes you prefer?
  • Do you have any HOA restrictions?


Use our Virtual Landscape Designer

 DIY Designer-1Have you tried our Virtual Landscape Designer? This is our easy-to-use landscape design app that allows you to start planning your dream yard by using our drag-and-drop-tool. Upload a picture of your yard, and then drag and drop pictures of trees and plants into the spots where you want them. This fresh approach can help you have a better idea of a completed landscape project! Click here to try the Virtual Landscape Designer!



Nothing Beats a Visit to Our Nurseries!


Nothing beats an actual physical visit to our nurseries. Being able to see and touch the trees and plants you want in your landscape can inspire you. Once you select the perfect trees and plants, you can have a designer come back to your house. The designer will flag the yard and come back the next day so that the design is fresh on everyone’s mind.

If you don’t have the time to prepare, have no fear. Our landscape design specialists are professionals and will be glad to help you through the entire process. Best of all, our landscape design consultations are free at the nursery!

Topics: landscape tips, knowledge base

Why Planting Trees is Important: Earth Day, Every Day!

Posted by Felipe Benavides on 4/19/2018

earth_1Copyright: 1xpert / 123RF Stock Photo

Plant a tree for Earth Day! Sometimes we need a little reminder that this blue planet we are on is vulnerable and that we have a responsibility to contribute to a healthier earth. Started in 1970, with April 22 being the designated date, Earth Day is something we can practice every day. We make it easy! Moon Valley Nurseries has trees available that can positively affect the environment! Celebrate Earth Day, every day!


Plant More Trees and Help our Environment


It is no secret that trees help the environment. We can think of trees as being the lungs of our planet. Trees create the air we breathe and filter air pollution. Plant more trees, it is one of the best things we can do for our local environment, and for our planet. Planting trees can improve our quality of life, too. The more we plant, the better!

  • Trees improve air quality. Trees produce oxygen. They store carbon to counteract the harmful byproducts of fossil-fuel burning.
  • Trees can clean the air by trapping dust, pollen, and other pollutants.
  • Trees can moderate the effects of sun and wind.
  • Planting trees in the proper place around homes and buildings can greatly reduce air-conditioning costs. Reduced air-conditioning use means less Freon, which is known to have a damaging effect on the ozone layer.
  • A tree can increase property value.
  • Trees provide shelter and food for wildlife.
  • Trees can make people feel good.
  • Landscapes full of trees can relax us, as well as help lower heart rates and reduce stress levels.
  • Trees can create shade!



Have Trees Professionally Planted for You


At Moon Valley Nurseries, Earth Day is every day. We plant trees daily! We custom-grow everything at our farms and nurseries so that they can thrive in our local climate. Best of all, we can professionally plant the best trees on earth for you! Below are some perfect trees to plant for Earth Day, and every day! Keep Phoenix beautiful, plant more trees!

arizona_ashArizona Ash: This ash tree variety can withstand hot and dry conditions, so it is an ideal shade tree for the Phoenix area! This deciduous tree is seedless, making it an excellent choice for a wide range of landscape applications. Specimen size trees can provide a natural umbrella of shade that can create a restful spot in your yard. Proper planting around a home can provide enough shade to lower the temperatures in your home, which can reduce AC use and make our planet happy! Plus, in the winter, these trees allow the warmth of the sun to hit your home! 


Berrinda-AshBerrinda Ash: We love this ash variety for its ability to withstand the extreme weather conditions in the summer and winter months. It can grow into a near-perfect shape. You will want to have this tree planted in your yard during the warmer months – it can provide dense cooling shade! Homeowners also appreciate the fact that it is seedless and requires little maintenance. In the fall, the small, dark-green leaves turn to a vibrant gold or bright yellow color! Add instant curb appeal and improve the look of your landscape with a Berrinda Ash tree.




Chinese ElmChinese Elm ‘True Green’: Bring maximum shade coverage to your yard by planting a specimen size Chinese Elm tree! The wide, umbrella-shaped canopy provides a massive amount of shade. Homeowners in Arizona can plant the ‘True Green’ strain, an attractive semi-evergreen with small, deep green leaves and an upright, rounded growth habit that looks fantastic in any situation. Families love this tree as it can create an idyllic picnic spot for celebrating Earth Day every day of the year. It likes growing in full sun and enjoys hot areas, so it is a perfect tree for Phoenix!




tipu tree bloomsTipu: Your search for a colorful shade tree ends here! Tipuana tipu trees are fast-growing trees capable of providing plenty of shade. This beauty is quite useful for all kinds of landscape applications. Feathery, bright bluish-green foliage and fissured bark texture add to its striking good looks. In the spring, a coat of golden blooms appears, creating a picturesque landscape scene that is sure to attract all the right attention. These trees thrive in intense desert heat, so they are perfect shade trees for any Phoenix area property!




indian_laurel_arizonaIndian Laurel: These evergreen trees have been a favorite in the Phoenix area for many years. It is easy to see why so many homeowners love to plant them on their property – they can add instant shade, privacy, and beauty! We like to use them as a privacy hedge to block unwanted views in style. During those hot, sunny days you will be running for cover under its wide spreading canopy. We also like to plant them near busy streets because they can act as a natural sound barrier. Ask any of our nursery pros about properly planting them around a home to reduce temperatures inside the house.

Topics: landscape tips, knowledge base

7 Plants That Keep Bugs Away from Arizona Yards

Posted by Felipe Benavides on 4/5/2018

Arizona-HomeThe days are getting longer, and the weather is perfect for going on a hike on one of the many trails in Arizona. The Arizona Diamondbacks are getting into the swing of things. We are prepping up our grills, planning family get-togethers, and getting ready for fun times outdoors. What about the bugs?
Don’t let bugs ruin your fun. Sure, we can use bug sprays to get rid of them. Using commercial bug sprays can be annoying, and it also means that we are spraying our bodies with chemicals that can make us feel icky. We can keep bugs away naturally - plants can keep bugs away!


Your Yard Needs these Plants to Keep Bugs Away

We have the plants that offer an organic way to protect yourself and your family from insects this spring and summer. As a bonus – we can use the herbs in our kitchen. Go natural!

We can grow Rosemary both indoors and out. It is a great herb for the kitchen, and other uses of rosemary are its ability to keep fleas and ticks away. Preparing a natural repellent is simple. Here is what you do. To prepare, boil about a kilogram of dried rosemary in one liter of water for about half an hour. Once boiled, strain the liquid into a liter of cold water. Pour the liquid into a spray bottle. Then, spray those pesky mosquitoes away.



Beautiful pale purple flowers are just a part of the attraction. A lavender bouquet can also help keep bugs away. Plus, their pleasing aroma can also help you relax. This same scent that helps us relax and makes our laundry smell lovely is also repulsive to flies, moths, and mosquitoes. The essential oils from this plant are one of the best ways to keep pesky bugs away. Plant them in a sunny spot in your garden or save a few bouquets nearby and enjoy the colorful scene without having to deal with pests. No doubt about it. We love to use lavender oil to repel insects!



In Arizona, mosquitoes are number one on the annoying bug list, and getting rid of them can feel like an uphill battle. This is where the almighty basil herb comes in. Mosquitoes cannot stand the scent of basil; they hate it! Basil is easy to grow, and you do not have to crush the leaves to reap the benefits. The oil in basil can kill mosquito eggs, too. We like to plant basil by our house doors and on windowsills. We also like to plant them on decks and patios. Beside repelling mosquitoes, basil can also keep houseflies away!



We can spot these beautiful decorative flowers rewarding yards throughout the Phoenix area with their vibrant colors. The scent of these plants can repel aphids and mosquitoes. We like to plant marigolds in a sunny location, and any place where you spend a lot of time outdoors. Plant them near doors and windows or on a sunny balcony or deck to keep mosquitoes from entering your home.



Repel unwanted bugs, such as spiders, mosquitoes, and ants with peppermint oil. Mint can quickly grow in the ground. However, we also like to grow them in pots. We can create a homemade mosquito repellent using a combo of cheap vodka and apple cider vinegar. We can also place mint pots around a patio and garden to keep mosquitoes away.





 Repelling mosquitoes is one of the many benefits of Camphor. Camphor works much like citronella oil – the smell of the leaves overwhelms and confuses mosquitoes, preventing them from biting you. Plant a Camphor tree and enjoy the sight and aroma!






The essential oil extracted from eucalyptus leaves can be very effective against sand flies. Eucalyptus oil can kill pests such as mites, aphids, earwigs, and whiteflies on contact. We can create a repellent spray by combining eucalyptus oil with half a teaspoon liquid dish soap and two cups of water.




Tips to Keep Bugs Away

Below are some simple tips anyone can use to keep bugs away. 

  • Get rid of stagnant water. Puddles are a breeding ground for bugs. Besides puddles, we will also want to empty out any buckets full of water.
  • Keep food covered. Have a picnic outdoors, especially under a nice shade tree. Bugs love human food, so it is a good idea to keep any food covered when eating outdoors.
  • Cover trash bins. Bugs love trash bins. Keep them covered and far from where you are outside.
  • Keep ants away. Ants love picnics. Rather than feeding an entire army of ants, we can use cucumber slices and chalk.
  • Citronella. Citronella oil can be used as a natural insect deterrent. We can use Citronella diffusers and make them using essential oils and beeswax, and we can also use Citronella candles.

Topics: landscape tips, gardening, knowledge base

Common Spring Insects and How to Deal with Them

Posted by Felipe Benavides on 2/14/2018

spring_insectsCopyright: radub85 / 123RF Stock Photo

Spring insects bugging you? The last thing we want to worry about are insects wreaking havoc on our raised bed full of growing edibles or attacking the leaves, buds, and flowers on our majestic palm trees. After all, our landscape trees and plants are starting to burst with life, and we are looking forward to watching the tender young leaves expanding to create shade on our lawn. Luckily, there are ways to keep away these unwelcome visitors. We can help!

Spring Insects List Common in Our Area

whitefliesWhiteflies: You have probably seen those little white flying bugs on your plants and wondered what they are. They are Whiteflies, and these soft-bodied, winged insects tend to suck on ornamentals and warm-weather vegetable plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and plants from the cabbage family. You might also spot them in greenhouses.


aphidsAphids: These pesky tiny bugs are often invisible to the naked eye and seem to make their way into every garden. Since they can multiply quickly, you will want to control them right away. They can feed on a wide variety of plants and attack leaves, stems, buds, flowers, fruit, and roots. There is good news – they tend to move very slowly and controlling them is easy.


borerBorers: A borer can be a worm, mollusk, insect, or insect larva that bores into wood, other plant material, and even rock. Borers attack the leaves, buds, and flowers or palms. Borer infestations can be intense, and they can structurally weaken a palm tree.


cutwormCaterpillars and Cutworms: Cutworms are like caterpillars, are often mistaken for grubs, and can do the most damage when they emerge from hibernation during the early gardening season. They are commonly seen on a wide variety of vegetables and any fresh seedlings. They can do a lot of damage quickly. Caterpillars can be found chewing on some fruit trees, vegetables, as well as ornamental and shade trees. They like to snack on leaves and some tunnel into fruits.



Spider mites: These tiny sucking pests are often found on the undersides of plant leaves. They can attack both indoor and outdoor plants and are an issue with Cypress trees. They feed by piercing leaf tissue and sucking up the plant fluids.


Copyright: miyuki3 / 123RF Stock Photo


Spring Insects: Natural Remedies and More!

Request Professional Tree Services Arizona                                                                                              Request Professional Tree Services California

Whiteflies: Wander your landscape in the morning or evening and check the back of the leaves for eggs. As you are wandering and approaching plants, you may also notice little bugs flying away. Blast them with your watering hose. Doing this will cause them to scatter. Once you have blasted them with the water hose, spray your leaves (be sure to spray the undersides) with insecticidal soap and coat them. You will want to spray plants when the temperatures are cold. Note: doing this in the heat can cause an adverse reaction. Follow up several times.

  • A good squirt of dishwashing liquid with lemon to a gallon of water should work well.
  • You could always use a handheld vacuum and remove them every few days from your plants.
  • The homemade mixture is pretty benign, and whiteflies can be challenging to get rid of, so consider using preventative methods too.
  • Many organic farmers like to use Neem Oil; a vegetable oil pressed from the fruits and seeds of the neem tree.
  • Ladybug_beneficial_insectPrevent them from exploding in population by keeping natural predators such as beneficial insects like ladybugs and spiders.
  • Hummingbirds are excellent predators too. You can attract hummingbirds by creating a beautiful natural habitat they will love.
  • We have heard that mulching with an aluminum reflective material is helpful because it makes it harder for the whiteflies to find host plants. Do this early in the season.
  • You can purchase Captain Jacks Dead Bug Brew at Moon Valley Nurseries (call to see if your local Moon Valley Nurseries has them in stock.)

Aphids: Sometimes getting rid of aphids is a breeze. In fact, you can blast them with a spray of cold water to get rid of them. Here are some other ways to get rid of these pests.

  • If there is an invasion, you can constipate the pests by dusting plants with flour.
  • You can spray aphids with insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, neem oil.
  • Wiping or spraying the plants with a mild solution of water and a few drops of dishwashing detergent can also get rid of them.
  • You can also stir together 1 quart of water, one teaspoon of liquid dish soap, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. We do not recommend diluting before spraying on the plants.Some people also have luck using homemade garlic or tomato-leaf sprays.
  • Prevent them from feeding on fruit or shade trees by spraying dormant oil, which can eliminate overwintering eggs.
  • Lady beetles, lacewings, and parasitic wasps are beneficial insects that feed on aphids.
  • Aphidcatnips are repelled by catnip, so it may be a good idea to plant catnip too (your feline companion will thank you!)


Borers: The larval stage damages plants by destroying the internal plant tissue as they feed and mature. Some borer species leave wood unstable because they can weaken the wood fiber and degrade the quality. Tree borers lay their eggs on or inside of trees.

  • The best way to guard against borers is to keep trees healthy and vigorous.
  • All borers go through a metamorphosis with four life stages – egg, larva, pupa and adult
  • Use sticky traps and Pheromone Traps to attract and trap adult borers. Monitor them early and continue throughout the season.
  • If there are larvae damaging plants, you can use Beneficial Nematodes mixed in an aqueous solution. Inject the solution into the borer entrance holes. Doing this can kill larvae within 48-72 hours.
  • You can also use Horticultural or Dormant oil sprays. Use these sprays on possible egg laying sites when adults are present. These oils are excellent because they can smother the eggs, which can reduce borer populations in the next season.

Caterpillars and Cutworms: These pests can chew through plant stems at the base, and they feed primarily on the roots and foliage of young plants. They can even cut off the plant from underneath the soil.

  • You can make plant collars by putting a 4-inch piece of cardboard around each plant stem. Doing this can help stop cutworms from reaching tender stems.
  • Do this at night - Grab a flashlight, gloves, and hand pick them. Put the picked off cutworms into soapy water. You will want to repeat this every few nights.
  • You can sprinkle used coffee grounds or place eggshells around your plants.firefly
  • Apply an insecticide late in the afternoon.
  • A great way to prevent them is to keep up with cultivation. They prefer to lay eggs in high grass and weeds, so at the end of the season, you will want to plow or till your landscape and mow the surrounding areas. Doing this can expose cutworms 
  • You can prevent them with a beneficial insect such as fireflies. Fireflies are fun insects and are a natural predator to cutworms. and can destroy their winter habitat.
  • Another natural predator to cutworms are birds, so create a bird-friendly landscape.
  • Encourage native predators and parasites to control caterpillars.

Spider mites: These pests are difficult to see, that is until plant injury occurs. Visible signs include webbing as well as white or yellow speckles on leaves.

  • Spider mites hate cold baths, so douse them with cold water that is between 32 degrees and 40 degrees. We recommend keeping a spray bottle in the refrigerator so that you can keep the water very cold. Mist them once or twice a day until the mites are gone.
  • Yspray_bottleou can also spray infested leaves with a solution of rosemary oil or a rosemary-oil pesticide.
  • Purchase some Phytoseiulus persimilis mites. They are voracious predators of spider mites and are excellent beneficial predatory mites for controlling spider mites. Other beneficial insects include lady beetles and some arachnids.
  • You can also spray a soapy solution of 3 tbsp. dishwashing soap squirted into a gallon of water. Use a spray bottle and apply to the foliage.
  • One of the best ways to prevent spider mites is to boost the health of your plants. You can do this by providing the proper amounts of water and nutrients that your plants need.

For additional information on how to prevent and control pests visit your nearest Moon Valley Nurseries location and speak with our on-site nursery pros. 

Topics: landscape tips, knowledge base

How to Prune Deciduous Trees

Posted by Felipe Benavides on 1/25/2018


Learn How to Prune Deciduous Trees Like an Expert!pruning_deciduous_trees

Prune deciduous trees in the winter because the weather is perfect for working outside and since the leaves have fallen and the branching structure is unclothed, it’s easier on both you and the tree! You will also want to prune apples, peaches, nectarines, apricots, and nuts in a way so that the height of the fruit-bearing branches is not too high, this way, come harvest time, picking the fruit is a breeze!

What to Prunehow_to_prune_deciduous_trees

To prune deciduous trees, you’ll need to have the right tools on hand, as well as knowing what to prune. The goal is to remove diseased branches and also to remove those branches that are rubbing together or look like they might in the future. You’ll want to begin a visual inspection starting at the top of the tree and working downward. Never remove more than ¼ of a tree’s crown in a season. For most deciduous trees, avoid pruning up from the bottom any more than ⅓ of the tree’s total height.

Keep your tools sharp! We find that one-hand pruning shears with curved blades tend to work best on young trees. For higher branches, use a pole pruner. For a major job on a bigger tree, we recommend professional tree service.  


How to Prunepruning

There are two types of cuts – heating and thinning. You will want to cut far below the diseased areas and to avoid splitting, make a thinning cut to remove one branch. It’s always a good idea to trim suckers and water spouts because they can interfere with the normal growth pattern.                               

         Read About Common Tree Trimming Mistakes


Heading cuts can be made to reduce the height of the tree. You’ll want to do this may cutting lateral branches back and remove terminal buds. Heading cuts will stimulate growth close to the cute. You’ll want to be sure to not use these cuts on branches that are older than one year old because doing this can lead to suckers and water sprouts. Of note: heating or topping can also disfigure older trees and may expose large areas of bare wood to insects and diseases.

Thinning cuts basically means cutting the branch where it is attached. Also, if you prune a branch back to another branch or cut a branch from the trunk, you are also thinning. The advantages of thinning include better air circulation and it makes it easier for the sun to pierce through, which can let the warmth of the sun into your landscape.

Feel free to contact your local Moon Valley Nurseries expert who will be glad to answer any more questions you might have on how to prune deciduous trees! We are here to help!

Topics: Expert, knowledge base

Trees and Plants Can Prevent Soil Erosion

Posted by Felipe Benavides on 1/10/2018

rainfall_downpourWater, it's the primary cause of erosion, and when we get heavy rains in our area, the impact loosens the material bonding the topsoil together. And for homeowners with slopes and hillsides on their property, those hard rains running down the hillside can cause terrible mudslides to occur. In Southern California, the worst-case scenario recently became a reality, with torrential downpours following one of the worst fire seasons California has experienced in recent history.

Soil erosion is the loss of topsoil, which is the top layer of soil that also happens to contain the most organic and nutrient-rich material. The natural factors that contribute to this erosion include wind and water. Since areas in SoCal have been in a drought, vegetation has been depleted, which makes it easier for soil particles to get lifted by the rain – a sudden downpour can cause immense damage.

At one point during the recent downpour in parts of Southern California, more than 1.5-inches of rain fell in one hour. According to the National Weather Service, about a half inch of rainfall per hour is enough to start mudslides.

We can do some things that can prevent soil erosion from happening. Here’s what you can do: plant trees and other plants on hillsides, which can be an added benefit in the long run and help prepare your landscape for any future natural occurrences. Trees with hearty, deep roots are going to provide the most benefit as they tend to stabilize the soil and can help pull water out of an over-saturated ground. It’s also a good idea to plant shrubs and other plants so that they can help reduce runoff by holding soil in place with their root systems.


Here’s How Planting Trees Can Help Prevent Soil Erosion


  • Tree canopies can protect the soil from the impact of rain – canopies block the rain from reaching the soil
  • Transpire large amounts of water
  • Stems and leaves slow water down
  • Deep-rooted trees bind soil – tree roots can act like glue so that they can keep the soil intact and the minimize the amount of washed away soil
  • Trees with strong root systems thrive on hillsides and can help stabilize slopes

Planting the right trees on your hillside can do more than prevent soil erosion, they can also bring color, shade, and be a source of food. Be sure to select evergreen trees as these types of trees do not lose their leaves and keep their protective canopy so that they can help prevent too much rain from impacting the soil. Consider planting citrus trees on your hillside. Citrus trees will keep their glossy dark green leaves, bloom very fragrant flowers in the spring and start producing fruit early in the summer so that they can ripen in fall and winter.

Topics: Winter Planting, landscape tips, knowledge base

Welcome to the Moon Valley Nursery blog! Your place for landscaping news and ideas, garden inspiration, and tips from our nursery experts.

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Follow Me