Fair price on mature boxwoods?

northernellieFebruary 1, 2009

I have 16 4-5 foot tall English boxwoods that came with the house, all green and full, trimmed pompom style. No sign of any disease, only some minor psyllid leaf curling on some (only visible up close). Trouble is, all 16 are in front of the front door and the smell drives me batty, plus I don't find such a large congregation of formal boxwoods particularly attractive, being more of a cottage gardener type myself.

There is a company that is interested in coming and digging them, but we have not discussed price yet. They keep asking what I want and I'm not sure. I hear 4-5' healthy boxwoods are $500 or more a piece from a nursery or landscaping company, but what is a fair price from me, if they are doing digging work? They will also backfill dirt and there will be a damage repair contract.


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Fair exchange is no robbery.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 6:55PM
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Ink, that's pretty cryptic and I have no idea what you mean by that :-)

nothernellie, it is a bit optimisitic to think that your boxwoods would fetch what would be considered a "retail ready" price. That is usually reserved for plants that are specifically grown for the garden or landscape industry - rather than recycled plants like yours - and (hopefully) in the peak of condition and appearance. Retail nurseries that are resellers (not the growers themselves) buy these from growers or wholesalers at about half that cost, sometimes less.

If I were you, I'd attempt some calling around to any local growers or plant wholesalers you can locate and see what they are asking for similar plants. A word of warning: they may not want to divulge this type of information to someone not in the trade. If you know someone in the nursery business or a landscaper (obviously not the potential purchaser!), it may be helpful having them run interference for you and get the information.

I think you should expect to receive about half what these plants would cost in a retail nursery setting, especially given the added expense to the purchaser for removal and the damage waranty. That's not to say I wouldn't quote them a higher cost initially but be prepared to have a realistic bottom line if you want them removed.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 9:51AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

I'd guess that 1/4 to 1/3 of the retail price is more realistic in your situation. If you felt this wasn't worth your while, you could always try selling them yourself through craigslist or similar. You might find you get a better return if you are willing to consider an exchange of plants or services inlieu of cash...

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 11:03AM
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Just purchased 15 twenty gallon boxwoods for $ 100.00
to fill holes in an existing hedge.

They were 36 inches tall and wide.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 11:34AM
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The digger will also be assuming the risk of loss if some do not survive. He'll have to dig them, ship them, store them, take care of them, and accept the loss if some don't make it. When he finds a buyer, he'll have to prepae them to ship, ship them, dig holes, plant them, and maybe guaranty them.

I honestly think you'll do well to get $500 for the whole lot.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 1:39PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Look in directories for local sellers specializing in large specimens and call any you identify, feel them out. I have the impression the "big" trees coming out of old properties and being displayed on retail lots here are often being gotten for the cost to the retailer of digging and transporting them, the original owner getting a free removal out of the deal and that is all - but I could be wrong.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 3:51PM
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Sorry gardengal, I was trying to be economical in these hard times but bboy fleshes it out or, in other words: if these unwanted plants are removed and the ground made good its evens-stevens. If the company that digs up the boxwood makes on the deal no biggy especially as they are taking all the risk.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 4:49PM
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If they are True Dwarf English Boxwood, they are valuable plants. They grow VERY slowly and really should not require very much pruning at all, left to grow in a tight globe. What is "trimmed pom pom style"? In the trade, the size refers to the greater dimension, height or width, and I wouldn't be looking for a tall (relative to width) boxwood unless I had a situation that required that proportion.

If I, as a contractor, was involved, I would consider the deal, depending on the quality of the plants and a use for them. A shrub that size requires a large and heavy rootball and needs to be properly balled and burlapped. With the labor involved, a fraction (as Bahia posted) of the retail or wholesale price may be appropriate.

Since you prefer a different style, perhaps you (or a designer) could design the new garden and the contractor could install it providing the plants. If appropriate in either direction, work out an additional payment. Depending on the scope of the replacement, you could get a garden you like and maybe even some money besides. The contractor could perhaps make a good deal using his labor and wholesale prices in exchange for some (perhaps) valuable plants.

A lot of variables but maybe good for both parties. Or not ;-)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 1:16AM
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I have just purchased 4-5' english box for 225 each, selling for 600 each. We assume expense of digging, buyer pays time & equipt from my yard to their property.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 2:08PM
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Thank you all for responding. Such a wide range! So, at best half, and at worst nothing, right?
To answer some questions. They are English Boxwoods, 30-40 years old. They are globe shaped or close to it, with most being as wide as tall I think, with none narrower than 3 1/2' or so. I have pics but don't know how to attach yet. All guesstimation but usually I am good about it.

Another question... Could we get more if my husband and I dug & burlapped ourselves? We don't mind a little sweat, it's just time vs. money. How much do they weigh I wonder, and how much it costs to rent a bobcat!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 1:36AM
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Let's get real here! As a former nursery owner, you are darned lucky to have someone interested in buying your boxwoods, especially in this down market. Must be a fairly large, well known business in VA. You should take whatever you can get and run. You don't want them...right? Forget about digging them yourself. Tough work which requires an acquired skill, mainly the burlaping part. By the time you rent a bobcat, buy burlap, have a truckload of soil brought in and smoothed to fill holes any profit is out the door. I would not be surprised to see this nursery's offer withdrawn due to the economy and 'down' sales this spring. Ask them to make you an offer. Bargain from there. Get on with it today and count your lucky stars!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 8:12AM
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This so much reminds me of a property I bought about 15 years ago. It had on it a Magnolia grandiflora that was a 12 to 15ft tree. Growing without competition it had developed with a classical shape and the homeowner had not butchered it by cutting the lower limbs. In short, it was a superb specimen.

But it was in a space way too small for the size it would become and I also knew that I would want to regrade the area to a different elevation. I had no use for it.

I called a LA I knew that has a small part time practice and described the tree. I told her it was free to any of her clients that could use it and I was in no hurry for removal. It was in an area accessible to a tree spade or backhoe.

Three years later I cut it down with a chainsaw and removed the stump. In the real world some stories don't have a happy ending.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 10:12AM
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Thanks for all of your opinions. I haven't heard back from them so perhaps they lost interest.

Nandina, vinegar and vitriol doesn't win friends OR influence people, at least to do what YOU think would be best. People are simple animals that way - they shy away from bad feelings of any kind including any (even good, even excellent) ideas that came with them.

pls8xx, not a happy ending may end up being the case, but I think we will try anyway.

We're going invest in a root cutter and good spade for digging and then we can go rescue old plants that we do like from other peoples relandscaping efforts or demolitions also. At least, if we have to give them away, they will go to good homes and we'll get some exercise. And we'll be in a better position to sell them than if they were still in the ground and we were more dependent upon a company to dig.

If I remember, I'll update when they're gone.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 7:47PM
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A friend of mine was recently a renter in Maryland and accidently fell into a 70 year old English Boxwood. I've looked everywhere on the internet and nurseries but no one has on older than 1 year old. Where do I find these?? The renters landlord wants to charge him $700 dollars. It doesn't matter what state, I would really like to find one not so expensive ! Any help would be very appreciated.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 10:22AM
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Is ~$700 a fair price for a 68 year old boxwood with a conical shape and about 6.5 feet tall? Mine was damaged by a neighbor's tree and am trying to ascertain replacement cost -- if any.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 6:42PM
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Did you ever sell these to the nursery?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 7:54PM
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