Planting, Uncategorized

The Best Trees & Shrubs For A Privacy Screen

The Best Trees & Shrubs For A Privacy Screen image

If your garden or yard has neighbors or lacks privacy in general, you may want to put up a privacy screen. But there’s no need to lose any of the beauty of your garden to ugly looking screens; you can use natural screens instead.

Trees and Shrubs make great natural privacy screens, not only providing you with the privacy you need but also adding to the overall garden. But which trees and shrubs do this best? We at The Trail Creek Nursery have put together this short guide for you on The Best Trees & Shrubs To Use As A Privacy Screen.

Arctic Willow

The Arctic Willow, also known as Salix Arctica, takes its name from its ability to survive and even thrive in cold wintery conditions all year round. This makes it ideal for providing coverage and privacy at any time of the year.

While the Arctic Willow is a tree, it’s definitely one of the more smaller trees usually used as a privacy screen. That said, it’s still more than suitable for gardens that don’t need coverage from a certain height.

Despite its size, it also lives a very long life, making it ideal as part of a long term privacy screen: easily surviving decades. This, combined with the ability to grow and thrive in the coldest of conditions, make it an ideal year-round screen.


Also known as Bitter-Berry or Prunus Virginiana, the Chokecherry is both a small tree AND a shrub. This makes it more suited to protecting and covering smaller gardens, not gardens that need protection at height.

The cherries that grow on Chokecherry trees & shrubs are edible (despite its name!) and also look great. Their ability to grow and spread fast furthermore makes it ideal for protecting and covering gardens – although if left unmaintained it can intrude in other parts of the garden.

Colorado Spruce

Colorado Spruce, also known as Colorado Blue Spruce or Picea Pungens, is a member of the pine family. In the wild, the Colorado Spruce can grow to up to 75 feet tall, and between 30 to 60 feet in parks and gardens.

Its height, combined with its width (15-20 feet) makes it ideal coverage for even the most extensive gardens. They’re also tall enough to windbreak when grown or placed in a row. Their tidy appearance forms a tremendous looking border around any garden.

Besides, they’re well adapted to both surviving & thriving in wintery and cold conditions, providing year-long coverage.


Much like other’s listed, Lilac (or Syringa Vulgaris) is considered both a large shrub and a small tree. That said, they’re best suited to providing coverage for smaller gardens that don’t need protection at height.

Lilac grows and spreads steadily, making it an excellent choice for covering gardens. However, their flowers which bloom a lovely purple (hence Lilac) will only continue to show if well maintained and pruned.

Whether maintained or not, Lilac is still an excellent choice for garden coverage. For those looking for coverage that also looks amazing, Lilac is an option – just one that requires more work.


Also known as Shadbush or Amelanchier, the Serviceberry is a lot like the Chokeberry as it’s also considered both a small tree AND a shrub. This is because they grow and flower differently, depending on both where they’re planted and the environment they are located.
While some trees or shrubs falter as a privacy screen in the winter, the Serviceberry stays in bloom all year round – providing different flowers and fruits depending on the time of year.

Despite being small compared to most trees, the Serviceberry still makes for a suitable privacy screen for smaller gardens that don’t need high protection or privacy.

While Serviceberry makes an ideal privacy screen, it can quickly expand when left unchecked and not maintained.

Siberian Pea Shrub

The Siberian Pea Shrub is a shrub that is well suited to thrive in cold, wintery conditions all year round. That in itself makes it an excellent option for protecting smaller gardens throughout the year.

It’s also fast-growing, which makes it great for covering and protecting gardens quickly – however, if left unchecked it can intrude on the rest of your garden. Of course, being a shrub, it’s not very tall, making it much more suited to protecting smaller gardens that don’t require high coverage.

We hope you’ve found this guide useful – as you can see you’re spoilt for choice for when it comes to finding suitable trees & shrubs to form privacy screens. And best yet, you don’t have to sacrifice beauty for security as all of the trees & shrubs listed would enhance and add to even the most Eden-like garden!

Lawn, Maintenance

The Ultimate Organic Lawn Care Guide

organic lawn care imageLawns are the pride and joy of any garden landscape, small or large. If you’ve taken upon yourself to invest in an environmentally friendly, organic lawn, then keep reading. Whether you’ve had organic lawns before, or are new to them, there’s a few tips & tricks you need to know to ensure you care the best you can for it.

After all, you’ve put so much work, energy & money into crafting your garden, now is not the time to let a key part of it, your lawn, wither and die. Welcome to The Ultimate Organic Lawn Care Guide, brought to you by The Trail Creek Nursery!


First up, let’s talk about Mowing. A common misconception about organic lawns is that it’s healthier for the grass to be shorter. In fact, it’s much healthier for the grass to be long. Longer grass is more exposed to the sun, the roots to grow healthier and in turn keeping the grass itself healthy.

That said, the grass still needs to be kept control through mowing. Setting your mower to its maximum setting – usually a cut at 2.5 to 3 inches will ensure the grass is still tall enough to stay healthy. It’s also important to keep the mower blade sharp, leading to a cleaner cut and reducing any risk of tearing. Tearing can cause all sorts of problems for the grass.

After you have moved your lawn, keep the grass clippings on the lawn to give additional benefits to the grass and it’s soil.


Next stop, water. Compared to an artificial lawn, organic lawns benefit more from less frequent watering as this forces the roots to travel deeper in the soil and in turn discourage weeds.

As for when to water, you should always do this early in the day. Don’t wait until the evening as this will lead to less evaporation and in turn lead to fungal growth.


Soil is another essential part of lawn care. You should arrange for your soil to be tested through a local agricultural extension officer, or buy a do it yourself kit. Knowing precisely what soil you have, you know how to best look after it and give it everything it needs to keep the grass growing and very importantly, keep those pesky weeds away.

Whether you get the soil tested or test it yourself, it will be easy to determine the type of soil and how to best look after it.

And as an added bonus tip -all soil types benefit from having compost added to it, once or twice a year ideally between the months of June & August.


Depending on the results of your soil testing, your soil will need different fertilizer but always ensure the fertilizer used is a natural one! Fertilizer is best applied to soil in both the spring and the fall. Whilst more expensive, it’s always worthwhile paying out for organic fertilizer because it benefits the soil and thus the grass so, so much more!

In addition to fertilizer, it’s widely recommended to feed your lawn seaweed extract. This will support the grass’s health, encourage development and fight off any threat of fungi.


Raking is an essential thing to do during the time of spring to early summer as it removes thatch aka dead grass.

In addition to raking, you should consider using a motorized aerator. This will remove plugs of dirt and increase the soil’s ability to retain water. Aeration can really help your lawn, and it doesn’t have to be an expensive investment. You can rent an aerator from any good and local garden center.


There are three main and common lawn problems that you’ll likely face during the duration of your garden.

Firstly, there is yellow grass. This is easily identifiable by the grass being – you guessed it, yellow! Yellow grass is caused by a lack of water. As mentioned earlier in the guide, it’s best to water infrequently than frequently. But, if your lawn is turning yellow, consider increasing the frequency of watering for the time being. Testing the soil may also reveal other ways to restore your lawn back to its former glory.

Secondly, there is the issue of bare or rough spots on the lawn. This is caused by people/animals trafficking the lawn far too often, and also things like dog poo. This is all easily fixed by limiting the number of people and animals that frequent your lawn and pick up any dog mess instantly.

Last but not least, there is brown grass – again, easily identifiable. Whilst brown grass doesn’t look that good, it’s not a huge signal that the grass is unhealthy. It just means that it’s been a little neglected, and needs to either be left to grow longer or watered more often – or both!

Pest Controlling

By following and more importantly, putting into action, the contents of this guide – your lawn should already be well protected from the many pests that threaten it. But even the most cared for lawns are still vulnerable, here are a few tips to defeat some of the more persistent pests;

-If clover has started to appear on your lawn, that means your lawn isn’t too healthy. Firstly, you need to till the lawns soil and add compost to get rid of the clover. Then, to ensure the clover doesn’t return, apply fertilizer in the fall and in the summer, leave grass clippings after your routine mowing.

-Darn those dandelions! To get rid, remove the flower heads and dig the dandelion routes out with a special

-Dirt mounds appearing on your lawn is a sure sign of a mole infestation. Firstly, focus on minimizing the damage by pressing down gently on each mound with a rake or smaller garden tool, allowing the soil to re-engage with the grass roots. To then keep moles away from your lawn, you need to remove their food source – grubs, earthworms, etc. To do this, we’d recommend applying milky spore. With the food source gone, the moles will have no alternative but to move on, allowing your lawn to prosper once more!

We hope this guide has been helpful, whether you have a lawn already or are thinking of getting one. Following the guide will ensure it remains a key feature of your garden or landscape, for years to come.

Maintenance, Uncategorized

What is Mulch and How Do I Use It?

mulchLandscaping is hard work, and we at Trail Creek Nursery we understand that more than most! Whether you’re scaping a small back garden or a larger garden plot, it can take a lot of time, a lot of energy and money. The last thing you want, therefore, is your plants and flowers dying too soon, or never really being able to grow at all. Having to redo a lot of that work, not to mention funding it, will be a nightmare and something you should do all you can to avoid.

A great way of protecting your plants, improving fertility and supporting longer, healthier life is using Mulch. But we often get asked by homeowners, what exactly is Mulch – and How Do I use it?

What is Mulch?

Mulch is a layer of material, usually organic in nature, that is applied to the soil’s surface. Organic materials that are easily accessible and used as Mulch include:

  • Leaves that fall from trees during the fall. These can be chopped or shredded and then applied on top of the soil.
  • Recent grass clippings obtained after mowing. Once left to dry, these can then be applied to the soil’s surface. Ensure the grass clippings are recent however, as rotting grass clippings can do more harm than good to the soil!
  • Wood chips, a byproduct of tree pruning, is another great material for Mulch and is a good option for those wanting to keep an attractive landscape because wood chips come in multiple colors.
  • Bark chips work just like wood chips but don’t look as nice.
  • Peat moss is a further option, but one that is not environmentally friendly so is best avoided.

There are also a few artificial Mulch materials:

  • Whilst paper and card comes from tree’s, it’s technically an artificial material – newspapers, cardboard, etc are easily accessible materials for Mulch.
  • Old and unused carpet can be used and applied to the surface of the soil.
  • Rubber Mulch, which is usually created from recycled tire rubber, is another artificial alternative.
  • Plastic is another option, but one that is less environmentally friendly and best left alone.

What is Mulch used for?

Now that we know what can be used to create Mulch, just what exactly is it used for? As already mentioned, Mulch is used to fertilize and provide long-lasting health for the soil it is applied to. The healthier the soil, the longer and healthier the plants and flowers will be that are growing in the soil.

But how exactly does Mulch achieve this? Firstly, Mulch helps keep the soil at the right temperature. Soil gets cold, especially during the nights, and Mulch helps keep the soil warm and retain its warmth. This will then encourage faster growth of the plants/flowers embedded in the soil.

Mulch plays other roles too – preventing the growth of weeds from seeds which again, encourages healthy long-lasting growth. All of this is achieved by forming a protective layer between soil and sunlight, reducing evaporation.

Why should I use Mulch?

At first sight, Mulch can be seen as just another landscaping cost and one that might not really make that much of a difference. But in truth, Mulch can make or break your garden or landscaping project.

It’s a proven technique to encourage soil growth and thus growth and health of your plants and flowers. Using Mulch will absolutely save you time and money, both in the short and long term.

Plus, most if not all of the organic and artificial materials that can be used for Mulch are easily accessible. Some of the materials can even be gathered from your current garden, meaning it won’t cost you a thing. Other materials cost very little in comparison to the time and money it will save you.

How is Mulch used?

The benefits of Mulch are clear and are essential for a long-lasting, healthy and beautiful garden or landscape. But, if used incorrectly, Mulch can also do harm. So it’s paramount to understand fully how to use it.

Mulch provides a protective layer, but if that layer is too shallow, or too deep, it can do more harm than good. When applying your chosen Mulch material, ensure it is around 2 inches or 5.1cm deep. Anything less and the protection it gives is reduced. Anything more and the Mulch becomes more of a problem than what it protects against.

Mulch should also be applied at different times of the year, depending on how you want to use it. As covered, Mulch helps retain heat during night times. Whilst this is something it

does all year round, it is obviously colder in fall and winter. As soon as summer ends and fall begins, start layering Mulch to keep the soil warm. Mulch should also be applied when winter ends and spring starts, to help protect the soil from too much evaporation as the temperature rises and the days become longer.

We hope this post has been useful – whether you’re a homeowner who has a small garden plot, or a larger landscape to manage, you always want to keep in mind using Mulch to protect your soil and plants – ensuring your hard work, time and money isn’t wasted, and you have a beautiful and healthy environment to be around.