Where to buy MATURE plants/trees?

pinkthumbitaMay 5, 2008

Recently, I watched a home makeover show (located in MD) and they recommended getting mature plants and shrubs to quickly make the landscaping more appealing without all the wait. Where can I find a farm or nursery like that where I can buy large mature plants? In particular, I'd love to buy "aged" peonies and other perennials.

Thank you

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You must have garden centers or nurseries in your area. Any one of them that offers landscaping services will have mature trees for sale. Even the big boxes like Home Depot and Lowes carry some large specimens. Be prepared to pay big money for big trees and shrubs. And also be prepared to have big trees and shrubs professionally installed - adding to the price.

As for "aged" peonies and perennials - the ones you buy in the garden centers, nurseries or big boxes are already aged to the point where they would bloom for you this season then come back again year after year getting bigger and bigger for you in your yard. Supplies of peonies and other perennials get snapped up by the gardening public pretty fast and don't stay on the nursery shelves long enough to become huge TV show props.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 9:16PM
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There is a place I believe it's in Freehold that sells a lot of mature specimens. It's not a regular garden center per se, kind of like a plant broker who has tons of plants i was actually amzaed when my sister took me there. Don't buy the crapemyrtles because they will not make it through the winter.

Here is a link that might be useful: Propagating Perennials

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 10:41PM
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Generally, nurseries selling 'specimen' sized plants focus on trees and shrubs, as these can take considerable time to achieve a significant size. And be prepared to pay both for the time and the hands-on care provided over the years - mature plants do not come cheaply. Because perennials mature so much faster than larger woody plants, you seldom see them in very large or mature sizes, Except for some ornamental grasses, 2 or 3 gallons are about as large as you will be likely to find. And these too will come with appropriately larger price tags (more maintenance required with perennials = more hands-on time). I'm not sure there is much advantage to holding out for the biggies anyway. Even rather small starts of perennials, planted out in good growing conditions, are likely to triple (or more) in size in a single growing season. Save your money for the slower growing woody stuff.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 8:11AM
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To get good-sized peonies, your best bet is to know people who are moving their own large, dividable plants and willing to give you chunks--you'll usually be given larger divisions than the young plants nurseries generally sell. But obviously that's not exactly a landscaping plan.

There is sometimes a drawback to planting more mature speciments, especially when talking trees and shrubs. It's possible their roots have been more damaged when getting balled and burlapped or whatever, and it may take a lot of care to get them happily established. And if you like the process of gardening, there's a lot of satisfaction in tending something as it grows from something small to a majestic, mature specimen.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 9:43AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Smaller plants acclimate much more rapidly than the more mature specimens. In size, they can exceed the older ones in a very short time, depending upon the plant and the size difference.

And it IS much more difficult on the plant. Bad advice from that program, I'm afraid.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 2:06PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

No, I don't think it's bad advice at all. When I plant trees and shrubs, I go for decent sized ones. It *does* make a difference in how the house looks, and like mentioned above, woodies take time to mature, for most specimens growth is not going to double at a rapid pace like perennials. Trees and shrubs are an *investment*.

Keep in mind, though, that if the specimen is too large, (a) you may have to have is delivered, and (b) you may have to have it planted for you. This adds to the cost, obviously.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 3:25PM
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Fledgeling_(4b SD)

The investment may not be wise, thats the problem. If you pay thousands of dollars for a huge tree that sits and sulks, that might not be as wise as spending perhaps a hundred or so for a moderate sized plant that starts off sooner and may catch up to the mature plant in several years. And what If the plant was wrong for the location or dies? The cost of failure would be much higher. If you have the money to spend on a truly mature tree and feel that a mature tree now is worth the cost of waiting a few years for a smaller plant to grow, great. But it is very expensive, be warned.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 4:38PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Wait a second - what exactly is defined as "mature"? To me, "mature" means a decent-sized plant, not a full-grown plant (e.g. maple that is 15 foot tall but not a full-grown 50 foot one).

I was referring to "decent-sized" in my above post...

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 8:34AM
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I agree on the potential drawbacks that were pointed out in regard to planting large, "mature" woody specimens. Rate of growth for a given species/variety is also important.

It may make sense to pay extra for a larger potted slow-growing tree like a white oak, but not to pay a huge premium for a big dawn redwood, a relatively rapid grower.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 9:01AM
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Sometimes these "puzzlements" are self-solving once the OP actually starts looking at plant material in person as opposed to watching a TV program. There's value in deriving inspiration from all sorts of sources - keeping in mind The Victory Garden and Martha Stewart, etc. have big budgets, big help. Doing some up close and personal looking at garden centers is a reality check.

I'm still a DIYer with a little age and some loss of strength. At this point in time, any desire for large/mature would be tempered by what I know I can physically handle. And watching the growth process of a "decent-sized" specimen is part of the fun, too.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 9:36AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

'Sitting and sulking' is a good analogy for what woody plants do during the acclimation process. For the plants, it's all about getting a root system out into the new environment in order to support that hulking plant body. Very little growth (other than the roots) will occur, and the plant will also not be able to send energy resources (from the leaves) to defend against pests or injury from pruning, etc. Quite literally, ALL of that energy will be devoted to what the plant decides is most important.....and that will be root growth. During this acclimation process, a plant is highly susceptible to damage from pests, heat, drought, freeze, etc., etc. It's a most stressful time for plants.

Depending upon the climate and other environmental factors, it can take several months per inch of trunk caliper for a woody plant to acclimate.

Smaller (and I don't mean tiny) is better. I never recommend anything larger than a 1 inch caliper for trees and (usually) a one gallon (sometimes 3 gallon) for shrubs. In our own yard, we use small grafts and seedlings, which we get to watch grow several feet per year from the get-go.

But we've digressed from pinkthumbita's question, which is reference to herbaceous perennials. I'd recommend shopping at high end, privately owned garden centers for large container grown perennials.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 11:44AM
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