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.
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.