What does it take to grow a tree? Faith that the roots will sink deep, clear vision to plan for seasons bend the horizon of time, and trust that the future generation will care for the tree you tended.- Fence of the nursery
However, with that victory came some realization. There would be no river rock installed (only an idiot would go into debt for landscaping). As we dined on our lovely patio, we had no regrets of the work we put in this summer. The word failure did not cross my mind. I still have a clear vision and a few seasons to plan. So, as you reflect on your plans, have faith that a higher power will see you through. Continue to hold on to your clear vison and trust that it will happen. In other words, plant something figuratively or literally. I purchased four new trees. Here are points to check when evaluating places that sell plants; and, later, when selecting individual plants:
- Make sure the plants have not dried out—at any time. Check with your finger for moisture around the roots to determine that the root ball is not cement-hard. Avoid plants that have been placed on hot pavement; the best nursery practice is to keep the root ball covered—usually with soil, sawdust, or bark. Many plants—particularly broadleaf evergreens—should be kept under a lath structure or otherwise protected from continual direct sunlight. Good garden centers have good sprinkler systems.
- Make sure the root ball of “balled and bur lapped” plants is not cracked or loose—that dirt is not torn away from the roots—as happens, for instance, if nursery personnel carelessly drop plants when unloading delivery trucks. Check that the ball moves as you gently tip the tree, but don’t rock the tree from side to side because that might separate the tree from the ball.
- Check the roots of containerized plants; you can usually see them through drainage holes. Live roots are whitish; dead ones, brown. Make sure the plant has not outgrown the container and become root bound. Roots of root bound plants are tightly wound around one another, and may eventually strangle the plant.
- Make sure plants’ root balls are large enough to sustain them. The rule of thumb for deciduous trees is that the ball should be nine to 12 inches in diameter for each inch of trunk diameter. Root balls for evergreen trees can be slightly smaller.
- Check the drainage holes of plant containers; excess white residue indicates over-fertilization.
- Examine trees and shrubs for weak and declining branches, scarring, and pruning cuts not flush with the branch or trunk, dead wood, indications of disease or infestation, and holes.
- Make sure trees and shrubs have strong branches that grow out from the center.
- Make sure a tree doesn’t have a “V” crotch, which is likely to split when the tree gets older.
- Check that foliage is not unnaturally yellowed or faded, and that it is not bruised or injured.
- Look for signs of disease, such as browned or grayed areas, or spots on leaves or stems.
- Examine plants for insects. Look in the tight areas between leaf and stem, on the underside of leaves, and on leaf stems. Check foliage for insect damage, such as holes chewed in the edges of leaves or tunnels visible between leaf layers.
- During the growing season, make sure there is new growth (usually a lighter green) and that leaves are not wilted or brittle.
- Find out if plants were dug in the wild. When plants grow in the wild their roots spread, and that root material is lost when the plants are dug up. Plants cultivated in nurseries, on the other hand, are likely to have their roots pruned several times during transplanting or otherwise contained during their development, forcing a more compact root system that can be dug up largely intact. The Federal Trade Commission’s “Guides for the Nursery Industry” characterizes selling such plants without disclosing that they were collected from the wild as an unfair trade practice.
- When buying plants sold with bare roots (for example, most young fruit trees), check that the roots are not shrunken or shriveled and have been kept moist. Check also that the buds are firm, not crispy and dry. And look for a lot of fibrous roots, an indication that the plants have been cultivated and dug carefully.
Many stores do more than just sell plants. Most deliver them. Many garden centers also provide landscaping advice, do planting, build retaining walls, remove stumps, and offer various other services. Many also offer coupons use them and ask if you can double them plants can be expensive.