You decided to hire the services of a professional landscaper after
your initial foray into Nevada Horticulture.
He introduces you to the term 'xeriscape', which involves a landscape
arrangement minimizing the use of water.
His suggestions are not exactly what you had in mind and they are quite
The landscaper reminds you of monies you already spent attempting the
He is the professional and that is what he does for a living.
He does have a point.
$10,300 later, your half acre project sports a state of the art
sprinkler system, double sided weed matting, a stylish
gray-white colored gravel and an assortment of vegetation guaranteed to
survive in Nevada.
Funny though, it looks just like the stuff that was growing in your
back yard before the landscaper cleared it off . He
said he needed
a clean slate to work with.
Four days later everything is in except for trees.
The landscaper recommends large trees sold only a few miles from your
They need to be placed on the east, south and western
Trees enhance property value and provide shade for the home, which
would reduce the cost of air conditioning.
He writes up an estimate and you blanch at the price.
Your wife is already not real pleased at having to forego a
California vacation to finance yard improvement.
not go over well at all.
landscaper if big trees are really necessary. Wouldn't saplings work
just as well?
Sure, says the landscaper; if you want to stand out like a sore thumb
in the neighborhood.
Just look at all the big trees on properties surrounding
you. You really don't want to
mess up the neighborhood esthetics do you?
The potential for depreciation in surrounding property values could
become a reality
if you opt to cheap out.
This is not just a matter of throwing up scenery. It is an altruistic
Your stereotypical ideas regarding the education of a landscaper are
coming into question and you are curious.
couch the question by asking what a person needs in terms of education
to call oneself a professional landscaper.
He says that at least four years at any major university would
suffice. He went to an Ivy league school himself.
say boy, he
sure must have wealthy parents.
Not at all, says he. He put himself through college by
running a lawn and garden service.
You also find out his kids - eight of them, are all going to private
Next door, the neighbors are out relaxing on the deck and seem to be
highly amused by all this.
They also appear to be placing a wager of some kind.
You can hear bits of the conversation:
he can't be that
stupid, can he?
honey, he is
being good neighbors
enjoying good entertainment
You decide to punt and tell the landscaper you will have to get back to
him on your decision.
It should also involve your wife, who is currently out looking at
California real estate brochures.
The landscaper looks a bit disappointed and says don't take too long.
The big trees are selling fast.
They say pride goeth before a fall so you opt for humility and wander
over to talk to the neighbors.
You ask them if per chance they might have any suggestions on the
choice of trees - large or small.
As a matter of fact, they do.
See the trees across the street - the ones in front of the white
yes, they look
ok. They are about fifteen feet tall.
How old do you think they are?
you'd say they
are about three or four years old.
Not quite, they were planted by your
landscaper some twelve years ago.
The neighbors then point to their own
and ask how old you think
look and say
wow, you don't know... twenty or thirty years of age ? They are
Wrong again. The largest one out back just turned eleven.
be, you say.
to be pulling your leg. They used a professional landscaper as well,
Well yes they did, although they didn't use your
Your head is now feeling kind of fuzzy and you start seeing visions of
Santa Barbera yourself.
You buck up and refuse to concede utter ignorance and defeat.
elaborate a bit?
1. Trees growth depends in large part upon a supporting root
system. Those trees across the street obtained
their size by having a large supporting
2. The big trees your landscaper is trying to sell you are
all grown from sprouts and growth is rapid.
Trees, depending on the species can
grow to fifteen feet in three or four years.
3. How does a grower harvest the trees for sale?
really have no idea.
4. Basically they cut all the tree roots to within two or
three feet of the trunk, cut the tap root if there
is one, pull it up and stick what is
left in a
burlap sack, which is then buried back in the ground until it is sold.
5. Now, suppose you buy that tree and stick it in the ground.
What do you think is going happen?
you hope it grows.
6. The neighbors say sure it will grow, Verrry
slowly. Because a fifteen foot tree in its natural state needs
a root system thirty feet or greater
in diameter to support growth.
Your tree with its four foot root ball
years to re-establish a supporting root structure and since all the
bottom limbs have been whacked off to
pleasing six feet above ground, the trunk may never achieve any
girth - at least not for many years.
Look forward to a home
surrounded by pygmy trees.
Now you are
getting a headache. Ok, you concede total defeat.
What would the neighbors recommend?
7. Go anywhere - out in the park, down by the
in the undeveloped areas. Dig up someSproutsthree
tall. Take them back and
plant two to a hole and wait a year. If both survive, snip out the
8. Water and fertilize. Do not cut any branches
or five years. The tree will more resemble a bush than a
That is how the
trunk achieves size.
Cut off the lower branches over several more years and you will
have trees just
like the neighbors have, and
it won't cost you a penny.
All are available locally and
free if you want to get them yourself.
So, you just have to decide
is you want - instant gratification and pygmy trees; or trees
which take a extra few years to reach a nice height.
If you are really set on
getting a big tree, you might like to check out Landscaping
Chapter Three and save
So... you are saying this landscaping stuff is actually one
10. No, not at all. This is Nevada!
Think of a casino.
A greeter hands you a ticket
for a free pull on a slot machine.
You go into the casino and
what is in front? Penny, nickel and dime machines.
You play a few dollars and
promptly lose it all.
You tell your wife this is
You'll make it up on the
quarter and dollar
machines, which sucks you further into the casino.
Must have just been bad luck.
You lose on those
machines and pull some cash out of the ATM to break the losing
streak. You lose
The only thing left is the ticket in
your hand for a free pull. You hand it off to your wife as a way of
sharing the guilt. She
naturally hits for ten dollars.
You feel like an idiot.
You are down a couple hundred dollars
and what did you get for it? Entertainment!
didn't actually think you were going to win anything did you?
If you want to succeed at any
game in this
town - landscaping included, you have to educate yourself to the
reality of the situation in order to
increase your odds of success.
your website if you find the analogy
You cogitate a moment and ask the couple what their
profession was prior to retirement.
Landscaping, of course.
landscaped their property?
Why their son.....
And he went to all
the best schools.
of two planted May, 2006
is one of two trees purchased from the east coast (I
was kind of surprised at that).
The trees were about fifteen inches tall. Of course, the top ten inches
of both immediately died.
Test your tree identification skills and see if you can identify this.
Hint: I know there is at least one of these in Nevada and it
is listed in the Nevada Register of Big Trees.
It resides in downtown Carson City. It is a fast grower - 26"
in two months.
08-06 - Jeesh, what lousy guesses.
08-23 - No, it's not a lilac. I don't think lilacs have
Kind of funny, I was going to move this off to
somewhere else next week and then from April in Washington:
think those are osage orange seedlings..."
is 100% correct. I am a little nonplussed though.
I really should have saved all those other guesses.
Some of them were pretty funny and none of them were even close.