Trees and Shrubs: Answers From One of Our Experts


Bob Hardie can explain the disposition of any tree or shrub to the most confused homosapien.

For 24 years, Bob has been helping Pine Lane Nursery customers, as well as us, decide what trees and shrubs to carry based on their hardiness and tolerance to Colorado's challenging climate and soil, while offering customers the beauty and variety in their landscape. 

If you haven’t met Bob yet, he’s the guy with the mustache and straw hat. If you have met him, you’ll recognize his subtle humor and reflective nature in his answers to some questions I presented to him. 


Q:How did you come to know so much about trees and shrubs, Bob?

A: I started in 1987 when Parker had about 400 people. Canterbury was the Tallman’s farm house in Sulpher Gulch. As a new hire, I was told to go out and water whatever trees looked thirsty. So, I found some trees that appeared to be wilting. It was an unseasonably warm spring and the leaves had just come out. They were just conserving energy but I didn’t know that, so I watered them and actually drowned them. Learning from that experience has actually kept me from killing many trees since then.


Q: What should we plant here in southeast Denver?

A: Pine Lane carries a large stock of trees that do well here, like Autumn Blaze Maple and the Ornamental Pear.  Also, be aware that 25-50% of landscape should be some sort of evergreen. I like to suggest native plants because they will do well. However, Austrian Pine is a good substitute for native Ponderosa.

And of course, it’s hard to beat the native Blue Spruce and Concolor in an area with a little water. Bristlecone and Pinon Pines are native, but it takes some knowledge to help them survive in our suburban landscape. In short, it’s all about air and water management.

Q: Do you have some shrubs that you especially like?

A: One of my favorite shrubs is the yellow flowering current, which is native to the Front Range. AT this time of year, they are blooming and are very fragrant. Glossy black chokecherry is another shrub with blue black berries, which offer exceptional color in the fall. 


Q: Is spring a good time to plant?

A: Spring is an ideal time to plant, especially when it comes to trees. Just think about the amount of time the tree has to establish its root system before winter comes. Really, you can plant any time of the year as long as the ground isn’t frozen and as long as you mulch the ground when it is cold. Trees are tough. But they really like being planted in the spring.


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