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How to Buy a Tree

This 12-point inspection tells you what to look for and what to avoid when making this investment

Fine Gardening – Issue 156
Trees are generally the priciest and most permanent plants gardeners will buy in their lifetime, so most of us want to ensure that the one we select at the nursery is a winner. Although there is no such thing as a perfect tree, there are some that are better than others. Trees live for generations, and selecting a poor one can be a burden for decades—not just a few seasons. Inspecting your trees before you buy them is the key to avoiding major pitfalls. Regardless of where you purchase your trees, it’s best to have an idea of how the type of tree you want is supposed to grow. Trees can be sold as single stem, as multistem, or in clump form. Some trees are even “built”. They can also be packaged in various ways: balled and burlapped, containerized, or bare root. A nursery tree’s form and packaging are areas…

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