Plant Preference

Stock Selection

A major key to the success of your landscape plants is choosing healthy, vigorous nursery stock. Nurseries grow their stock in a variety of ways based on available space, type of plants, time of year etc.. The most common methods for propagation are bare root, container grown or field planted. All of these methods can produce healthy, viable plants but, as with anything, there will be individuals that are not prime specimens. Specific pitfalls are associated with each propagation process, but recognizing them will help you choose healthy nursery stock which will thrive on your landscape.

field planted

Field planted stock could be sold as bare root or balled and burlapped. Dependent on the age and or species of the stock they may be sold as “liners” have been part of the production line and will be grown into a larger plant, “whips” will have already produced a straight bole and minimal lateral growth, “finished plants” are probably what you expect when looking for nursery stock, with habit, foliage and trunk size characteristic of species. Ideally field grown plants (and bare root) will be harvested during their dormant period to reduce stress. Balled and burlapped trees will generally be 3 to 5 years old. This stock is usually harvested mechanically or by hand. (http://www.uky.edu/Ag)

A large variety of plants are now grown and sold in containers, including woody plants and shrubs, ground cover, ornamental grasses, vines, perennials, annuals and even vines. Container grown tree species may not be grown as large as field grown specimens. Although container nurseries require less space, more thought has to be put into irrigation and weed control. (http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/)

A large variety of plants are now grown and sold in containers, including woody plants and shrubs, ground cover, ornamental grasses, vines, perennials, annuals and even vines. Container grown tree species may not be grown as large as field grown specimens. Although container nurseries require less space, more thought has to be put into irrigation and weed control. (http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bare root

Bare root plants are those specimens which are removed with the root mass intact and sold that way. Plants are usually field grown for one to three years, dependent on species and size preference, prior to harvest. Responsible nurseries will use a “U” shaped blade to lift plant root mass from soil, shaking much of the soil off and leaving the tap root, adventitious and axillary roots intact. (depts.washington.edu)

 

Possible Problems

Choosing nursery stock can be tricky, always go in knowing as much you possibly can about what you want and can be successfully installed, ask your arborist to assist you with species and site selection. Once you have decided upon the appropriate plant for your landscape, find a reputable nursery that can provide the healthy, vigorous plant material you need. You may have your choice of bare root, field planted or container propagated plants at the same nursery, as discussed above they will be of varying ages and sizes. Confer with your arborist regarding the appropriate age or size for your current needs, then inspect your options to make sure you bring home the healthiest specimen possible. Common problems with field grown plants may result from lack of proper pruning, irrigation or nutrient deficiency during nursery growing period and sometimes roots can be damaged during harvest; look for proper habit, dead wood, and chlorotic leaves at time of harvest. Containerized plants may become root bound if they are left in the same container for too long, check for roots encircling the container prior to purchase. Bare root propagated plants should be kept cool, dark and damp following harvest, make sure the root system is not completely dried out, also be wary of dead wood and chlorotic leaves.