Planting Fruit Trees

Planting Fruit Trees

Planting fruit trees can be one of the most rewarding plants to have as part of your garden. The following is a brief overview of what you’ll need to know when planting and growing fruit trees for yourself.

Choosing a Site for Your Fruit Tree

 Avoid planting trees in the shade or around older trees as fruit trees need to be planted in full sun to thrive. Fruit trees require well-drained soils and it is best to amend the site with compost before planting.

When to Plant Fruit Trees

Plant fruit trees as soon as possible in the late winter/early spring.

Bare Root Trees

When working with bare root trees, soak the roots in a bucket or wheelbarrow of water mixed with root stimulator for about a ½ hour. Dig the hole just large enough to accommodate roots. Fill the hole with water twice to check for drainage. If the hole has not drained within 12-24 hours find a spot with better drainage. If the native soil is heavy clay, blend one-third organic soil amendment with the backfill soil. If the soil is reasonable, just use the native soil for backfill. Form a small mound in the bottom of the hole to spread the roots over top; making sure the graft line is a couple of inches above the soil line. Fill the hole with soil. Do not put fertilizer in the hole or it may burn tender young roots. Alternatively, use a mild transplant fertilizer. Check to be sure the tree is no deeper than its original soil level as this can cause the tree to rot. Make a watering basin with extra soil. Fill the basin with water combined with root stimulator, making sure the tree is well-watered and no large air pockets are left around the roots. Paint the trunks with white latex paint to prevent sunscald.

Planting Potted Trees

Dig the hole twice as wide as the pot but no deeper. If the soil is heavy clay, amend with one-third organic soil amendment. Place the tree in the hole so it rests slightly above the surrounding soil level. Fill in the hole with backfill, building a water basin slightly wider than the root ball around the tree. Water the tree thoroughly. Paint the trunk with white latex paint to avoid sunscald.

Fertilizing and Pest Control for Planting Fruit Trees

Best growth will be accomplished with the help of fertilizers. There are many organic as well as conventional options. All fertilizers should be applied after leaf fall in autumn and again before bloom in the spring. Trees that are planted in the lawn may need more nitrogen than those planted in a garden bed. Generous amounts of lawn clippings or compost make a great substitute for a nitrogen fertilizer. Don’t let fertilizer touch the trunk of the tree.

There are many pests that target fruit trees. These include insects, bacterial infections, and fungi. All of these are treatable and can be treated throughout the year.

Harvesting Fruit Trees

Apples and sour cherries are ready for harvesting when they are easily picked from the tree. Sweet cherries, plums, prunes, and peaches will all continue to ripen after harvest. European pears should be picked while they are still green and should come off the tree easily when ready. Persimmons ripen late in the fall when they become soft. Nuts fall to the ground when mature. For best quality, gather walnuts from the ground and dry.

If you’re interested in growing fruit trees and happen to live near us in the Pacific Northwest, be sure to visit us at our Portland garden center.

Low-Maintenance Landscape Design using Oregon Native Plants

Low-Maintenance Landscape Design using Oregon Native Plants

Low-maintenance landscapes have become higher in demand as our lives and hobbies have changed, while the expectation for a great looking lawn and garden has stayed the same. Hiring a landscape maintenance service may be an option for some, and pesticides and herbicides seem to promise a relatively quick and cheap solution for the busy DIYer. But there’s a third way: use native plants.

Native plants are naturally adjusted to thrive in the Oregon climate with minimal help from people – meaning less water, less fertilizer, less bug and weed control measures, and ultimately, less maintenance.


This is the Pacific Coast Iris. It is ridiculously gorgeous and also native to Oregon!

The Benefits of a Native Landscape

There are quite a few Oregon native perennials, trees, shrubs, and ground covers that have the ability to really knock your socks off.

Benefits of using native plants in your landscape design include:

  • Less maintenance
  • Supports wildlife
  • Saves money by needing little watering or maintenance when planted well
  • Naturally reduces the use of pesticides and fertilizers – native plants have developed their own defenses against many pests and diseases
  • Gets your space closer to being a Backyard Certified Wildlife Habitat



A Few Examples of Landscape Plants Native to Oregon

Here are just a few of the Oregon native plants that can add some definite beauty to your landscape with minimal extra maintenance.


Cornus nuttallii (Pacific Dogwood)




Sedum oreganum (Oregon Stonecrop)




Ribes aureum var. aureum (Golden Currant)


These are just a few of the show stoppers that provide a low-maintenance solution while still giving a landscape curb appeal. This website provides a vast native plant list to really delve into and find some incredible plants you’ll love.

Drake’s Can Design it for You!

If a native, low-maintenance landscape is on your mind, contact us! We can design and install a dream landscape that doesn’t take all your free time to keep it looking stunning!


Several Portland area projects - Traditional - Landscape - Other - by Drake's 7 Dees Landscaping & Garden Center
Bud Worms: Everything You Need to Know About Them

Bud Worms: Everything You Need to Know About Them

If your petunias and geraniums are budding but won’t bloom, the reason could be the tobacco budworm also known as the geranium or petunia bud worm.

Life Cycle of a Bud Worm

Here’s what they do. The adults start to emerge as a tan to brown small moth mid-March through mid-April. They seek out the buds of flowering plants or the terminal growth (the ends of new growth) where they lay an egg. They will lay many eggs over their short lifespan. After a short time, the egg will hatch and the larvae will instinctively bore into the end of the bud where they will devour the blossom from the inside. The larvae are yellow to green in color but will take on the color of the blossom they just ate. Red geraniums will turn the larvae red. They will emerge from the bud and slowly make their way to the soil, eating any tender growth they can find on the way down. In the soil they will start the pupation process and turn into an adult moth and the cycle starts all over again. There might be as many as five generations in one summer.

What Do Bud Worms Like to Eat?

Although the budworm moth was known to only inhabit the southern regions of the country, they are creating quite a problem for gardeners in the Northwest. They have been quite successful over-wintering in the soil as a pupa. They will attack almost any tender flowering plant but they are best known for eating the buds of petunias, geraniums, and nicotiana plants. They will also go after many vegetables, especially cabbage.

How to Get Rid of Bud Worms

Almost any insecticide will kill the budworm when it’s actively feeding but won’t do anything to the moth or pupa. A bacteria known as spinosad (spin-OH-sid) will attack the budworm throughout all stages of life. The most commonly known product that contains spinosad is Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew. Just spray it on once every few weeks and the problem is solved. Call or stop by our Portland garden center to learn more about your options!

A Comprehensive List of Deer Resistant Plants

A Comprehensive List of Deer Resistant Plants

Deer are great when they are grazing harmlessly in your backyard, but they can be a menace to many kinds of landscaping plant, causing frustration and increased costs. But some plants are less attractive to deer, and are therefore a great choice for the homeowner who’s trying to live in harmony with them. Below you will find a comprehensive list of trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses, annuals, ground covers, and vines that are deer resistant. If deer are being a nuisance to your landscaping efforts, consider replacing some of your plants with these options.

Deer Resistant Trees

  • Abies, True Fir
  • Acer circinatum, Vine Maple
  • Acer negundo, Box elder Maple
  • Acer palmatum, Japanese Maple
  • Albizzia, Silk tree / Mimosa
  • Araucaria ara., Monkey puzzle tree
  • Eleagnus ang., Russian olive
  • Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus
  • Fraxinus, Ash
  • Ilex, Holly
  • Liquidamber styr., Sweet gum
  • Picea, Spruce
  • Pinus, Pine
  • Podocarpus, Yew pine
  • Umbellularia Cal., Oregon myrtle

Evergreen Shrubs

  • Arbutus unedo, Strawberry tree
  • Bamboo, Bamboo
  • Buxus, Boxwood
  • Calluna, Heather
  • Choysia ternata, Mexican orange
  • Cistus, Rockrose
  • Cotoneaster, Cotoneaster
  • Cytisus, Broom
  • Daphne, Daphne
  • Elaegnus, Silverberry
  • Erica, Heather
  • Euonymous jap., Jap. euonymous
  • Gaultheria shallon, Salal
  • Ilex, Holly
  • Juniperous, Juniper
  • Nandina, Heavenly bamboo
  • Rhododendron, Rhododendron

Deciduous Shrubs

  • Baccharis pilularis, Coyote bush
  • Berberis, Barberry
  • Buddleia, Butterfly bush
  • Calycanthus occ., Spice bush
  • Corokia cotoneaster, Corokia
  • Corylus cornuta,Hazlenut/filbert
  • Hypericum, St. John’s Wort
  • Jasminum, Jasmine
  • Rhus, Sumac
  • Ribes, Currant

Sun Perennials

  • Allium, Allium
  • Amaryllis belladonna, Naked ladies
  • Artemisia, Artemisia
  • Aster alpinus, Alpine aster
  • Brodiaea, Brodiaea
  • Chives, Chives
  • Chrysanthemum, Mum
  • Coreopsis, Coreopsis
  • Corcosmia, Corcosmia
  • Digitalis, Foxglove
  • Euphorbia, Spurge
  • Hemerocallis, Daylily
  • Herbs, Herbs
  • Iris, Iris
  • Ixia, African corn lily
  • Kniphofia, Red hot poker
  • Lavandula, Lavender
  • Leucanthemum, Shasta Daisy
  • Mentha, Mint
  • Narcissus, Daffodil
  • Nepeta, Catmint
  • Paeonia suf., Tree peony
  • Papavera orient.,Oriental poppy
  • Phlomis fruticosa, Jerusalem sage
  • Raoulia australis, Raoulia
  • Romneya coulteri, Matilja poppy
  • Rosmarinus officinalis, Rosemary
  • Salvia,Salvia
  • Santolina, Lavender cotton
  • Scabiosa, Pincushion flower
  • Scilla, Scilla
  • Senecio cineraria, Dusty miller
  • Silene acaulis, Moss campion
  • Stachys, Lambs Ear
  • Trillium, Trillium
  • Zantedeschia, Calla lily

Shade Perennials

  • Acanthus mollis, Bears breach
  • Acontum, Monkshood
  • Anenome hybrida, Japanese anenome
  • Arum, Arum
  • Asarum caudatum, Wild ginger
  • Cyclamen (hardy), Cyclamen (hardy)
  • Dicentra, Bleeding heart
  • Ferns, Ferns
  • Festuca ovina gluaca, Blue fescue
  • Filipendula rubra, Meadowsweet
  • Grasses, ornamental Grasses, ornamental
  • Gunnera, Gunnera
  • Helleborus, Hellebores
  • Leucojum, Snowflake
  • Liriope, Lily turf
  • Ophiopogan japonicus, Mondo grass
  • Trillium, Trillium

Ornamental Grasses

Most ornamental grasses are deer proof.  Here are some popular choices:

  • Anemathele, Pheasant Grass
  • Calamagrostis, Feather Reed
  • Carex, Sedge
  • Cortaderia selloana, Pampas grass
  • Miscanthus, Maiden Grass
  • Pennesetum, Fountain Grass
  • Sisyrinchium, Blue/yellow eyed grass


  • Ageratum, Ageratum
  • Begonia tuberose, Tuberous Begonia
  • Catharanthus roseus, Annual Vinca
  • Chrysanthemum frut., Marguerite Daisy
  • Impatiens, Impatiens
  • Helichrysum, Straw Flower
  • Mesembryanthemum, Ice Plant
  • Mirabilis jalapa, 4 o’clocks
  • Moleuccella laevis, Bells of Ireland
  • Myosostis sylvatica, Forget me not


  • Arctostaphylus, Kinnikinnick
  • Cerastium tom, Snow in Summer
  • Cymbalaria mur, Kennilworth Ivy
  • Epimedium, Bishops Hat
  • Galium odor, Sweet Woodruff
  • Lamium mac, Dead Nettle
  • Myosotis, Forget me not
  • Oxalis, Sorrel
  • Raoulia aus, Raoulia
  • Vinca minor, Periwinkle


  • Clematis, Clematis
  • Fatshedera liz, Fatsheadera
  • Jasminium, Jasmine
  • Trachelospermum, Star jasmine

Possible Safe Bets for Certain Locations


Cercis occidentalis, Western redbud
Magnolia, Magnolia

Evergreen Shrubs

Andromeda pol., Bog rosemary
Ceanothus, California lilac
Cistus, Rockrose
Escallonia, Escallonia
Ligustrum japonica, Japanese privet
Mahonia aquifolium, Oregon grape
Myrica calif., Pacific Wax Myrtle
Osmanthus, Osmanthus
Sarcococca, Sarcococca
Viburnum, Viburnum

Deciduous Shrubs

Carpentaria cal., Bush anemone
Chaenomeles, Flowering quince
Cotinus coggygria, Smoke bush
Forsythia, Forsythia
Kerria japonica, Kerria
Lagerstroemia, Crape myrtle
Potentilla, Potentilla
Punica granatum, Pomegranate
Syringa vulgaris, Lilac
Viburnum, Viburnum

Shade Perennials

Astilbe, Astilbe
Liguaria, Ligularia
Polygonatum, Solomons seal
Pulmonaria, Lungwort
Saxifraga, Saxifraga
Tellima, Fringe cup
Vancouvera hexandra, Vancouover

Sun Perennials

Achillea, Yarrow
Arabis, Rockcress
Armeria mar., Thrift
Cheiranthus, Wallflower
Convolvulus, Bush morning glory
Duchesnea, Indian mock strawberry
Erigeron, Fleabane
Erysimum, Wallflower
Gaillardia, Blanket flower
Helianthemum, Sunrose
Monarda, Monarda
Penstemon, Beard tongue
Rudbeckia, Black eyed Susan
Stoksia, Stokes asters
Carpentaria cal., Bush anemone


Wisteria, Wisteria


Bouganvillea, Bouganvillea
Calendula, Calendula
Campanula, Canterberry Bells
Celosia, Celosia
Clarkia, Clarkia
Eschscholzia, California Poppy
Gazania, Gazania
Pelargonium, Geranium
Gerbera, Gerbera Daisy
Helianthus, Sunflower
Lobelia, Lobelia
Mimulus, Monkey Flower
Nierembergia, Nierembergia
Tropaelum, Nastertium


Ceratostigma plu., Plumbago
Hedera helix, Ivy
Lithodora, Lithodora
Oxalis, Clover
Pachysandra ter., Japanese spurge
Phlox subulata, Creeping phlox
Rubus cal, Rubus
Viola odorata, Violet

When and How to Plant Bulbs

When and How to Plant Bulbs

Do you want to have beautiful daffodils, hyacinths, and other flowers this spring but don’t have space in your yard? Or maybe you have some pesky animals that love to dig up your bulbs all winter long. Try moving your bulbs indoors! With this “How To Plant Bulbs” technique you can grow lovely pots of spring flowers early in the season and display them indoors or out as early as Valentine’s day!

How to Plant Bulbs Indoors

Growing bulbs indoors to coax them into bloom often only requires 12 weeks of chilling to break their cycle of dormancy. These include crocus (especially the large-flowered types), hyacinths, and miniature hybrid daffodils. Two other small ones would be the grape hyacinth and miniature iris, but they need 16 weeks of chilling. No matter how long the chilling, allow another 3 or 4 weeks for the blooms to appear afterwards.

All you need to chill a bulb is a cool place that you’re sure will hover around 40 degrees, such as a refrigerator or cool basement or garage; and, of course, bulbs and pots with drain holes.

Before you chill, put a two-inch layer of potting soil in the bottom of a pot, then position the bulbs on top of the soil. Make sure their tops are a bit below the final soil line when they’re covered. Pack the bulbs in tightly – especially the tiny guys – for a full gorgeous pot in the Spring. Next, fill in around them with more potting soil, water well, and place the pots where they can chill for the required number of weeks. By the way, you have to pot them up – naked bulbs will not grow the required roots to bloom in Spring!

At the end of ‘chilling time’, water the pots well and place them in a spot with good indirect light and temps in the low 60s for a week or so. Then, when the shoots are a few inches tall, move the pots into bright light and higher temperatures around (68 degrees) until the flowers begin to open. Finally, move them back into indirect light again to keep the flowers fresh the longest possible time. If you have outdoor display space, go ahead and put your forced pots outside after the risk of a really hard freeze has passed.

Enjoy your early blooming bulbs!

Bulbs: Dig, Drop, Done!

A fellow garden center, Echter’s in Denver, described their bulb season as “dig, drop, done.” We would have to agree with that. Bulbs really are little work compared to the joy and benefit you receive from them. The biggest issue is timing…plant early. Daffodils and tulips come up in early spring.

We dig one large hole, put 8 to 10 bulbs in it, fertilize, add bone meal, cover it up–and vooiiiillaaaa, a large showy cluster of flowers will brighten up our yard in February and March. Of course you can dig more than one hole and, depending on the size of the hole, you can get more than 8 bulbs in the hole. the point is to make it easy for you. Remember…Dig (the hole) Drop (the bulb) and Done!

Our selections are always best at the beginning of the planting season, so drive by our Portland garden center today to find the most varieties available. If you are a long time bulb planter, try something new this year. New varieties are a lot of fun to add to your palette.

Should I Use Bone Meal or Bulb Food When Planting Bulbs?

We recommend bone meal at the time of planting bulbs, later applying a balanced bulb food once the foliage appears above the soil line in late winter/early spring.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Nitrogen can burn the actual bulb, which only needs the phosphorus and potash from bone meal in order to stimulate rooting. But once the bulb is sending out a stem, it needs nitrogen to become strong so it won’t bend over from the weight of the flowers it sets. This is especially important for bulbs with large heavy flowers, such as tulips, ranunculus, and hyacinth.

It’s also important to dig your holes or trenches a little deeper than the bulb needs to be. Apply some bone meal, then a little more soil, then the bulb so the bulb doesn’t sit directly on the food but has access to the food as it sends out roots (got to give those roots some incentive to stretch).

Why You Should Plant Trees and Shrubs in the Fall

Why You Should Plant Trees and Shrubs in the Fall

Although planting shrubs in the spring is common practice, knowledgeable gardeners and landscapers prefer to plant in the fall. Keep reading to find out why fall is the best time to start your planting project.

Planting in the Fall Reduces Stress on Plants

Transplanting causes stress as plants are removed from containers, balls, or established locations and changed to new locations. Planting in the fall, when a plant is entering dormancy and is generally hardier and sturdier, reduces this stress so the plant can thrive next summer.

Planting in the Fall Establishes Strong Roots

Fall planting “establishes” trees and shrubs by encouraging root growth. Because the soil is still warm, the roots continue to develop until freezing sets in, though the upper parts of the plant are already dormant. When transplanting in the spring, developed roots are active and delicate tips or rootlets, as well as buds and new leaves, are more easily damaged.

Planting in the Fall Creates Weather Resiliency

Trees and shrubs planted in the fall are better able to withstand the rigors of the next summer’s heat and dry conditions because they have much longer to develop healthy roots systems and become thoroughly established. This is especially critical in dry climates or areas prone to drought or irregular rainfall.

Faster Maturity

The “head-start” of fall planting results in a larger plants in less time, helping create a mature landscape without waiting for smaller plants to catch up. This can be especially critical when replacing dead or damaged plants in a mature landscape to avoid a gap or uneven look.

Water Conservation

Planting in the fall saves promotes conservation by eliminating daily watering. Cooler temperatures with the addition of both morning and evening dew contributes greatly to soil moisture availability in fall without as much supplemental watering.

Color Confirmation

Fall is the best time to see a plant’s autumnal color. Planting in the fall eliminates the surprise of the wrong color or unexpected shades that may not coordinate with nearby plants. By planting in autumn, you’ll know exactly what you’re purchasing and planting, and you will be able to match better with your existing landscape.

Saving Money

It’s probably no secret that the summer months are busy for landscaping companies and things slow down a bit as temperatures cool. Take advantage of these slower periods.

Autumn can be the ideal time to plant trees and shrubs, whether you are adding to your landscape, replacing plants or starting a whole new look. If you plant in autumn, you’ll be amazed at how lovely your landscape will look when spring comes. Call or visit us at our Portland garden center to get going before frosty temperatures arrive, and be ready to enjoy your strong, established landscape next spring!