Category Archives: Tree Garden: Turning Tree Pits into Urban Garden Opportunities

Decorating Your Tree Pit for the Holidays

Decorating trees for the holidays is hardly just an indoor sport. You can add a season’s worth of holiday cheer simply by trimming your tree pits.

Decorate your NYC tree pit - Curb Allure Blog

One of the loveliest, most inexpensive ways to decorate your tree pit is to place evergreen branches around the base. Pine coverings actually protect your pits all winter from dog urine and sub-freezing weather. Here is a step-by-step guide to get you started.

Visit any Christmas tree vendor to purchase branches. You may even be able to talk your salesperson into giving you the excess branches of your indoor tree at no extra cost. For a different look, try garlands sold by the foot. We recommend tying the first part of the garland loosely around the tree trunk and knot to help avoid theft.

Either stop right here or…

1. Add more seasonal touches, such as holly, decorator’s berries and pine cones, or colored twigs.  Decorator’s berries and pine cones come with little metal spikes that help secure the accents to your greenery. These are also useful for preventing theft. During the holidays, you can find such accents at nurseries, like ours from Urban Garden Center or craft stores, such as Michael’s.

2. Add a few sprigs of holly. Real sprigs can be found at any nursery or plant store this time of year. For a more natural look, arrange the holly in a haphazard manner.


Voila! Holly makes the season bright! Feel free to stop right here…




3. For a little more festivity, fasten the metal spikes of your berry and pine cone accent around the garland, allowing pine needles to peak out.


This certainly makes for a lovely display…




4. Perhaps you want to play around with decorative sticks. Start by cutting twigs from the bottom of your pine branches and place cut end into the ground. Try not to cut sticks too high as this tends to look awkward. Instead, cut branches a few inches above the top rail of tree guard. Start by removing all secondary branches from the main branch and then cut the top off. If they are still too high, cut from the base of branch.

If you would rather decorate around your tree pit…

Planters also provide a nice canvas for holiday cheer. Plant mini Christmas trees inside your Curb Allure planters or add some decorator’s pine cones, berries and / or colored sticks. Try filling planter with a mixture of fake and real pine cutting. The artificial branches ensure that your boxes remain green without any upkeep; whereas the real branches add that wonderful pine smell. Finish your boxes off with a simple red bow (also obtainable at most craft stores) If you have some vines left over in your planters, keep them. They tend to do well during the mild New York winters.

Most importantly, experiment and have fun. After all, this is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year.” Don’t let a little decorating get in the way of that sentiment. Happy holidays!

Please let us know: What has worked best for you this season?




Planting Spring Bulbs

November 9, 2012

Planting Spring Bulbs by Curb Allure BlogIn the wake of Hurricane Sandy, spring flowers are probably the last thing on your mind. October & November have been dominated by clearing out fallen trees and dead leaves; not nurturing daffodils and tulips. Yet now –just before winter’s first frost— is exactly the moment to begin planting spring bulbs inside tree guards in New York City and beyond. It’s also nice to think of sunnier days to come.

This is the fun part. Bulbs planted in the fall will be a welcome sign of spring in late March or early April. Spring flowering bulbs are the relief we need from winter doldrums. Remember the uplifting impact spotting tulips can have on you?

Choose your spring flowering bulbs carefully and you can enjoy spring flowers for five months straight from February all the way to June. Enclose your bulbs with metal tree guards to protect them all year round. Here’s how to get started:

What Bulbs Should I Buy?

  • Tulip bulbs can be planted quite late, even during a December mild spell. It is worth experimenting with several varieties.
  • Winter-hardy annual seeds that germinate become dormant and revive with the first spring sunrays to produce much earlier and stronger spring flowers than those that will be sown next spring.
  • Smaller bulbs like muscari and crocus are a good choice inside your tree guard because they are planted in the top 2-3” of soil and do not disturb the tree roots. Here are some other options for tree-friendly spring bulbs.

  • Allium
  • Crocus
  • Daffodils
  • Hyacinths
  • Irises
  • Narcissus
  • Tulips
  • Geraniums


How Do I Plant Them?

  • Plant between four and six bulbs per square feet. The rule is actually four daffodils per square foot, but you can bend it a bit to keep your tree pits looking full.
  • Keep in mind that bulbs should be planted one foot away from tree trunk.Stick to planting bulbs around trees with established root systems.
  • Dig holes between 6” and 8” deep for larger bulbs, and 3” to 4” for smaller ones.
  • Make sure the bulbs and surrounding trees are protected with tree box guards. Tree box guards add style and protection to your bulbs and trees. Are you worried that pets will ruin your hard work and beautiful plants? Add accessories such as Urine Shields or Pet Reminder Signs to insure your bulbs make it through the winter!
  • As for laying out how your flowers will grow, be creative!  Many people like to make patterns of flowers, such as muscari or hyacinths at the edges, short- or medium-length tulips/daffodils next and the taller tulips/daffodils in the rear.
  • Purchasing bulbs annually gets a bit pricey. You can also add a splash of color to your tree pits by adding Curb Allure planters that fasten to the top of your metal tree guard. Remember: planters are a spring project, as their flowers are more susceptible to cold and frost.
  • If you simply do not have time to plant bulbs, consider calling local professionals such as Urban Garden Center in Manhattan. While garden centers may not advertise such services, they are ready, willing and able to help out.
  • Plant a variety of bulbs and keep a journal of your experiments as a reminder of successes. Each year, your tree pit fence garden is bound to get better and better.