Buying shrubs in bulk....

machreeSeptember 24, 2009

Hi all, I'm looking to plant a shrub border as a privacy hedge. My neighbor is downhill from me so I only need it to be 7-8 feet tall. I'd rather do shrubs than a fence. The border will be 300 feet long, so I will need many shrubs. I have seen websites that sell trees by the bulk, but not shrubs. I could get white pine trees cheap, but a shrub will be at least ten bucks and thats a cheap tiny one. I'd rather not do trees because I don't want that much height since trees would block my long views of the mountains. I don't mind the tiny shrub but want a tiny price too! Is there a site that sells shrubs in bulk retail? Thanks

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Here's one:

Here is a link that might be useful: Bulk plants

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 4:32PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Sorry, no tips on buying bulk...but I would hightly recommend planting a variety of species in a offset pattern.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 8:09PM
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Thanks so much for the responses.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 8:17AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I'd shop around at local nurseries. They should have access to local stock and the ability to order in very large quantity for the best discount rates and savings on freight costs. Start off by talking to the owner or manager; no use to talk to the part-time kid for a special good deal. Tell them what you are doing an what you are looking for. Ask them what they could do for you. You may have to approach multiple nurseries to find the one that will give you a really good deal, but I believe you can get a much much better deal this way than if you try to mail-order in bulk.

You might also try approaching a wholesaler directly. Some wholesalers will sell to the public if minimum orders and certain other conditions are met.

If you do decide to mail order plants, be sure to check the source out through Garden Watchdog before ordering. If a mail-order company doesn't have a review on Garden Watchdog (TyTy, for instance), beware!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 11:26AM
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While your plans are forming, I'd look into a mixed shrub border as hinted at above (some nice images on Google) - simply because you'd have different textures, colors; things that flower and fruit, things that don't, things that grow wide as well as tall. More interesting than a formal line-up of one type... unless you're going for a 300' line of arborvitae (deer candy!) or boxwood or hollies.

I don't know about bulk, but would the mailorder deals more likely be on a single type of shrub rather than a mix anyway? Or a preset discount for an order over a certain dollar amount? Seems like a good garden center near you would be willing to dicker for a large order.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 12:26PM
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Thank you all for responding. I'm not planting until late winter, so have time to decide what to do.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 7:06AM
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A 6' wooden privacy fence will run you $15-20 per foot. Even at retail prices, you're looking at a significant savings by planting shrubs and an equal investment in time. Don't go cheap - smaller plants like you would get from bulk mail order will have a higher failure rate and take a long time to achieve the size necessary to afford any kind of privacy. What you do get with mail order is a potentially larger selection of choices but when you factor in shipping costs, smaller plants for a similar price you would pay for a larger item at a local retailer.

I too would urge you to consider a mixed shrub border -- what is often referred to as a tapestry hedge. Not only is there a far lesser chance of pests or diseases wiping out a significant portion but you can plant various shrubs with seasonal interest, the hedge will be more visually appealing for the variety and it will be attractive to wildlife. Inquire with your local Department of Natural Resources or similar agency about obtaining a selection of native plants. These are often available very inexpensively, adapt readily to local planting situations and combine gracefully with more ornamental species. Or see if you can hook up with someone in the industry who can access wholesale suppliers. I just don't think you'll be very happy with tiny but cheap mail order stuff.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 8:59AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

All good points...

A friend of mine who wanted to "go cheap", purchased 50 firs and pines in bulk to put up as a privacy fence. Sure he only spent a couple hundred bucks for these little guys, but two years later, half of them are dead.

I'd say find a good nursery (shop around) tell them your plan and budget and go from there. Most nurseries will work with you to actually set up a plan for free.

Also keep drought tolerant plants in mind if you won't be able to supplement water after they are established.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 9:12AM
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plympton_ma(z6B MA)

I've used Concord Nurseries for bare root shrubs for many years. They are excellent. As long as you purchase the $100 minimum for bare root shrubs, you should be OK.

I've planted several hundred feet of flowering and fruiting hedgerows with plants purchased there. When you buy their 3' plants, you will be amazed at the size and quality.

Have fun!

Here is a link that might be useful: Concord Nurseries

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 9:42PM
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treebarb Z5 Denver

Another thing to consider if you haven't, is to check for a local extension office like See if they sell trees and shrubs. I planted a windbreak this spring of lilacs and Rocky Mountain Junipers. I got them from the Colorado State extension service in bundles of 50 for the lilacs and 30 pots on the RMJ. It cost me about 1-2 dollars per plant. If they have a nursery program you may be able to get a lot of plants inexpensively that are known to do well in your area. I do like the idea of mixing types of plants both for the variety and that if a pest attacks one variety, it won't wipe out all of your plants.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 10:55AM
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Thanks to all for the responses!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2009 at 2:13PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Consider that if you are planting a mixed border, you don't have to plant it all at once. You could start with say dwarf Burford hollies, spaced out - maybe do groupings of threes every 20 feet or so. Then next Spring you can fill in more with groupings of something else, maybe some taller Lorapetalums (color contrast), then add some Sasanqua Camellias for Fall/Winter color, then punctuate with some Chindo Viburnums, gorgeous glossy leaves. Keep the taller shrubs toward the back and the shorter shrubs toward the front. It's gonna take a lot of energy to dig holes for 300 feet worth of shrubs!!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 9:03AM
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