Checklist To Seeding Your lawn

We have put together a checklist to make sure you have the best lawn in your neighborhood! Just follow these simple steps:

1.)  Mow the lawn short and bag clippings

2.)  Verticut or rake area to be seeded

De-thatch to allow seed better contact with soil

3.)  Sow seed with spreader for even application

   Overseeding                         Bare Soil

Bluegrass           1lb per 1,000 sqft                 2lbs per 1,000 sqft

Fescue                 5lbs per 1,000 sqft               10lbs per 1,000 sqft

4.)  Apply Family Tree Nursery Fall Rejuvenator+Seed Starter

The perfect boost for a tired lawn with AFT for better root development

5.)  Top dress with EZ-Straw to hold moisture and keep seed in place

6.)  Water! Water! Water! The most important step!

Water 2-3 times a day until seed germinates-seed can never dry out

7.)  Apply Family Tree Nursery Winterizer

Apply 4 weeks after new grass emerges and again 4 weeks later

Water Garden in a Container

001I have a slight confession to share… I have never been a fan of water gardens. It was a foreign world to me. A branch of horticulture with its own glossary of terms, specialized products and unique (and sometimes, strange looking) plants. I thought it took too much work—and it could smell…

In my “Negative Nancy” frame of mind (which can hit when the heat index skyrockets into double digits) I had unfairly erased the world of watering gardening from the available RAM inside my head. And then my friend and co-worker, Greg, shared with me the exciting world of container water gardening!

It was so cool! There is a way to have the feel of a water garden without all the trouble! Here’s how simple it is.

Start with a container-without drain holes. (I know…pretty obvious, but I always can use a reminder) Glazed can be the most attractive but there are a lot of great plastic choices now too.

Fill with water. Regular tap water is just fine. It’s the fish that makes things complicated…you can add small goldfish or mosquito fish but keep in mind that now your water garden is an aquarium and the water must be treated.

Add plants. One large plant for mega drama or pot up several into a basket and submerge. Read your plant tags and choose some that like the same depth level. (I have just recently started reading pond plant tage and they are highly informative—with pictures!) In general, most are happy sitting right at water level. Pot your combo up with aquatic soil to anchor the plants down without clouding up your water.

Here are a couple more things to consider:

Add some floaters. Floaters are plants that float on top of the water like Water Hyacinth, Water Lettuce and Frogbit. They love the warm water of summer and multiply readily.

Add some movement. A spitter or small fountain is a great addition to your container water garden. It circulates the water while providing a relaxing touch of zen to the patio…hey I’ll take some zen anyway I can get it!

Add some Mosquito Dunks. Still water can quickly become a breeding ground for Mosquitoes- use the dunks!!!

Add some fertilizer. Pond plants want food too! But as Greg told me, “Fertilize the plants, not the water!” Use the fertilizer tabs designed for pond plants and push them down into the pot.

Plant Selection. Here is a list of my new favorite pond plants. Keep in mind that most blooming plants need at least 6 hours of sun to thrive, however some foliage plants are quite shade tolerant.

Water Lilies
Elephant Ears*
Creeping Jenny*

*=shade tolerant

You can find Erin’s article and others in the August issue of the Kansas City Gardener.



The Truth About Impatiens Downy Mildew

With the recent article about a sweeping disease epidemic of our favorite annual you might be worried about planting your Impatiens this year— but here are the facts. Yes, 35 states are known to have the disease, but Kansas and Missouri are not one of those states! This means it is more important than ever to know where your Impatiens are grown.

Buy local! At Family Tree Nursery we sell only locally grown Impatiens- most of which we grow ourselves. Our Impatiens are free of disease and ready to be planted!

Green=Downy Mildew
White=No Downy Mildew

This photo is from Ball Horticulture.



Fool-Proof Container Ideas

It’s finally time to hit the garden centers… But wait! There are tables and tables of flowering plants! And they all look great in the greenhouse (helps these people are paid to take care of them)! But how can you select the plants that are going to continue a long, healthy life at your home? Well here you go! Exact recipes for some of my most fool-proof containers! Follow this horticultural “Paint-By-Number” and I promise the most impressive front pots in the neighborhood!

I planned these around a 14-18” pot- if you have a smaller pot just take something out and a larger pot add more! Always use good-quality potting mix and feed monthly with a slow-release pellet-type fertilizer.

Is there a tricky spot that gets blasted for just a few hours midday? This container recipe can tolerate any amount of sun or shade! Perfect!

Croton (C)
‘Big’ Begonia (B)
‘Summer Wave Blue’ Torenia (T)
Purple Heart (PH)
Lysimachia, Creeping Jenny (L)
Creeping Wire Vine (W)

 Great container for hot sun! The Sansevieria gives great funky height and stays neat looking all summer -so perfect for front of the house!

Sansevieria (S)
Persian Shield (PS)
Dipladenia (D)
Purple Heart (PH)
‘Angelina’ Sedum (A)

For a Shade Option: Swap Dragon Wing Begonia for Dipladenia and Creeping Jenny for Sedum


Want a dramatic shot of color in a shady spot? Think you can only plant Impatiens and Begonias? ‘Bright Coral’ Fanfare Impatiens adds a pop of tropical color that contrasts beautifully with the chartreuse foliage of ‘Lemon-Lime’!

Lemon-Lime Dracaena (D)
Bright Coral Fanfare Impatiens (I)
‘Summer Wave Blue’ Torenia (T)
Purple Heart (PH)
‘Marguerite’ Sweet Potato Vine – actually better behaved in shade! (M)

A gorgeous tropical sun combo in the hottest color of the season- Orange! Super easy- with no dead-heading required!

Tropicanna Canna (C)
Persian Shield (PS)
Ixora (I)
‘Archangel Purple’ Angelonia (A)
‘Spreading Purple’ Angelonia (SA)
‘Rio Scarlet’ Purslane (P)
Evolvulus, Blue Daze (E)
To check out Erin’s article and others in the May issue of The Kansas City Gardener click here:

Poinsettia Care Perfected

4.5’’ Poinsettias ON SALE for $3.99! Here is how to keep them looking beautiful!


Poinsettias would prefer to be in bright, indirect light, although a temporary home as a centerpiece on a table, if watered properly, should not cause harm. If placed near a window, make sure that no part of the plant touches the cold window pane.


Proper watering is crucial for poinsettias. Allow the poinsettia to dry down on the surface and water thoroughly. They cannot tolerate soggy soil or sitting in water so always dump saucers after watering and make sure decorative foil pot cover has a drain.


To keep the plant blooming, keep the poinsettia at 65-70 degrees. Colder temperatures can cause leaf drop. Do not place plant near drafts, such as a front door or heat vent.


Poinsettias can reflower the following Christmas, but unless a year long schedule of care is observed, the results are not great. Here are the steps if you want to give it a try.

  1. In the middle of May, cut the stems back to about 4 inches above the soil and replant in a pot 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter.
  2. Put the plant near the window that is exposed to the most sunlight. Keep the plant at a temperature of 65-75°F and water when the surface of the soil is dry to touch.
  3. After new growth appears, fertilize every two weeks with a water soluble fertilizer at the rate recommended on the label for flowering plants. In early June, move it outdoors to a shady spot. Continue watering and fertilizing the plant while it is outdoors.
  4. Pinch each stem (remove 1 inch of terminal growth) in early July. Then, between August 15 and September 1, cut or pinch the new stems back, allowing three or four leaves to remain on each shoot. After this second pinch, bring the plant indoors and again place it near a window with a sunny exposure. If the plant is not pinched, it will grow too tall and be unsightly.
  5. Keep the plant at a temperature of 65-70°F at night and continue watering and fertilizing. Poinsettias are short-day plants, which mean they flower about 10 weeks after daylight shortens to about 12 hours or less. Therefore to have the plant in full flower by Christmas, keep it in complete darkness between 5 pm and 8am from the first part of October until Thanksgiving. During this period, any kind of light exposure between 5pm and 8am will delay flowering. A closet, opaque box or opaque cloth will keep the plant in darkness during those hours. Remember to put the plant near a sunny window in the daytime.
  6. Continue fertilizing the plant until mid-December.

And this Christmas when someone brings up that old dogma of poinsettias being poisonous (a story that has been around since 1918) refer them to the research conducted at Ohio State University that proved the old wives’ tale to be false.

Go Green this Christmas

A live tree is very simply an evergreen tree potted or contained in a ball of burlap-the key is it still has roots.

More and more people are choosing to use a live tree for their Christmas celebration; there’s no tree to throw away at the end of the season plus you’re left with a special memory for each year. The most common choices for living Christmas trees are Spruces, such as the Colorado Spruce, Black Hills Spruce, or Alberta Spruce, or Pines, such as the White Pine or Austrian Pine. With extra care and planning, your Christmas tree will serve as a living holiday memory for years to come.

Step 1: Dig the hole.

Mix the dirt 50/50 with Cotton Boll Compost and store the dirt in buckets in a dry place where it won’t freeze.

Step 2: Pick out a tree.

Be sure to keep in mind the final size of the mature tree and pick an appropriate location.

Step 3: Prepare the tree.

Place your tree in an unheated garage for 2 days before it goes inside. Soak your tree thoroughly before it goes into the house. You might want to place your tree atop a large saucer in case it needs watering again inside the house.

*Your tree will only want to be inside the house for 7-10 days at the most. Spraying your tree with an anti-desiccant, like Wilt-stop, is also encouraged.

Step 4: Plant your tree.

Return it to the garage for 2 more days-you can skip this step if the temperature is above 50 degrees. Place your tree in the pre-dug hole and fill in with your soil mix. Water in well and enjoy your new holiday tradition!

Cut Christmas Trees

We stock a lot full of fresh cut trees-in all sizes, types, and prices. We want to make the tree shopping experience a positive and memorable one so we will always make a fresh cut, shake the tree to eliminate excess needles, wrap it, tie it to your vehicle and provide you with a complimentary tree bag. Additionally, we spray all our trees with an anti-desiccant, Wilt-stop, as an extra step to ensure continued freshness.

For best results:

Drive straight home after the tree is cut. Put the tree into a bucket of HOT water immediately once home while preparing stand. If the tree rests for more than 30 minutes before going into water, the end may begin to callous over and tree might refuse to drink. Make a fresh cut. Trees will drink A LOT of water the first few days-DO NOT ALLOW STAND TO EMPTY! Always use very hot water to refill the stand. Always use a tree preservative in the water for best results.

Get your home ready for the holidays

Family Tree Nursery has become a holiday tradition for much of Kansas City for the past 50 years with beautifully decorated trees, the highest quality wreaths and garlands, and unique gifts and décor. Step inside either of the beautiful retail stores and experience what has made Family Tree Nursery a premier holiday destination.

Don’t know where to begin? Family Tree Nursery has all the holiday ideas, tips and tricks to get your home ready for the season.

“One of my favorite design tips — start with a great lantern, fill it with garland and then just add a Luminara candle. It’s simple and elegant and easy to change out with the seasons … effortless decorating,” said Noel Nothern, a designer at Family Tree Nursery. “I am absolutely obsessed with our new Luminara candles. They’re battery operated — and I dare you to tell the difference between these and a real flame candle.”

Family Tree Nursery carries a full line of Mark Roberts fairies, Fontanini nativities, exclusive ornaments, Thymes Frasier Fir products and the Trapp holiday collection. And with thousands of gorgeous poinsettias, the largest selection of fresh-cut trees, greens and roping, and custom outdoor holiday arrangements, Family Tree Nursery is sure to become your partner for the holidays.

Potting ahead for spring color

Wow! Where did the fall go? It seems like every year I go to sleep on Halloween and wake up at Christmas. And with all the school, sports and life happenings this time of year it can be a little overwhelming to plan ahead for the holidays – let alone SPRING, but that is exactly what I am going to ask you to do. Now is a great time to get ready for spring and pot up some bulbs for pretty early-season color. I promise you’ll be glad you did!

We all have some pots (any kind will work) that we just finished dumping the petunias and mums. So, instead of dumping all the soil save it and plant them with bulbs to store over the winter. Your spring blooming Dutch bulbs, like Tulips, Daffodils and Crocus all require 3-4 months of a cooling period before blooming. This means…if you don’t plant them now, you’re out of luck!

Stick with 1 or 2 types of different bulbs per pot. The magazines always show pictures of these “European gardens” with a bunch of different types of blooming bulbs. Well, I don’t know exactly how it works across the pond, but here in the states those different varieties almost never bloom at the same time like the catalog shows. Here, it just starts to look messy.

Plant your bulbs with noses in the air (pointy end up) – if you are at all unsure about which end is which just plant it on its side and the bulb will figure it out. As far as how deep to plant bulbs; a good general rule is: if the bulb is larger than a quarter- plant it 8 inches deep, smaller than a quarter- plant 5 inches deep. If you are planting a couple different types, plant the shorter ones to the outside of the pot. Plant your bulbs in clusters and fill your pots – you want your pots to look full next spring. Good news is that by now bulbs are usually on sale, so you can afford to buy extra!

Place your pots somewhere protected where temps will stay below 50 but above freezing. Window wells, garden sheds and garages all work great. Water the containers well before hibernation and then check the moisture about once a month through the winter. It will depend a lot on the weather – you don’t want soggy, wet bulbs, but you don’t want them to dry out completely. Sounds a little vague – just stick your finger down in the soil and as long as it feels a little damp leave them alone.

Squirrels can be pesky, annoying critters and if your pots are somewhere they can get to, they’ll try and dig them up. Pieces of chicken wire over the tops of pots will help keep them out or try spraying a squirrel repellent.

No extra fertilizer is necessary! Bulbs are like Mother Nature’s perfect flower – each bulb already comes “preloaded” with a flower just waiting to emerge – pretty cool!

Pull all your pots out early spring and let them start to do their thing! You can fill in any bare spots with pansies. After blooming, transplant the bulbs into your garden beds if you want to winter them for next year. Just remember to never cut the foliage back until it dies back on its own. That foliage is what’s bringing in the food to produce next year’s flower!

Some of the best bulbs for containers:

Early-mid season Tulips (they stay shorter) like Triumph or Darwin or late, double Tulip varieties All Daffodils, Crocus and Muscari

Winter Annual Weeds

It’s nearing mid October and with the cooler weather those winter annual weeds that are such a nuisance in spring are germinating and beginning to grow. Look closely at your lawn and you may see what I mean. Chickweed, henbit, shepard’s purse, veronica and the ever present dandelions are all making an appearance.

Rather than waiting until spring when they’re more mature and harder to kill, now is the time to knock them out.

For a weed control spray to use both now, we recommend Fertilome Weed Free Zone. This product is a very broad spectrum weed killer that won’t harm mature grass and remains effective even if used in temperatures as low as 45 degrees, where other sprays are generally best if used in at least 60 degree temperatures. If you are spraying over an area of your lawn that was just seeded this fall, it is very important that you not spray young grass plants with any broadleaf weed spray until those plants have had time to mature. The general rule of thumb is that they should be grown enough to have mowed at least twice before having a herbicide sprayed on them.

When spraying, always remember to use as large a droplet spray as possible and spray in as calm of wind conditions as possible to avoid the spray drifting and causing damage to nearby ornamental plants.

If using a concentrate form of Weed Free Zone, always remember to add a spreader sticker such as Gordon’s to your spray mix. This will greatly increase the effectiveness of the spray by breaking the water surface tension of the weed’s leaves which allow the weed spray to thoroughly coat the leaf and keep rain from washing the spray off of the leaves as long as it has dried first.