Best way to buy trees

CresMarch 25, 2014


I am new to the forum and we are new to PA. I wanted to find out what's the best way to purchase trees. Are local nurseries the way to go or the online stores? Also would like to know of quality local nurseries in the area around Williamsport, PA.
Many thanks.

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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

That very much depends on what trees you are buying, how large you need or want them to be, and whether you have good nurseries locally. You'll generally find a better selection, especially for more specialized types of plants, from mail-order. Local nurseries allow you to see what you are buying before you buy (huge plus) and potentially save on shipping costs.

Someone here may be familiar with the retail nurseries in your area, but, if not, try the Gardening in Virginia forum, linked below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardening in Virginia Forum - for local retail source info

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 5:48PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

first you define the PROPER PLANTING SEASON ...

and then you insure that you receive your stock so as to plant them at the exact proper time ...

and then.. no matter where you get them ... you plant them properly.. which involves.. near bare rooting [but not with ball and burlap] .. no soil amendments.. and no fert.. and complete PROPER WATERING FOR UPWARDS OF TWO YEARS ...

it really doesnt matter where they come from.. each source has its own issues .. its really more about what you do with them.. after you get them ....

brandon also has a link for proper planting methods ...


    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 6:16PM
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Best for selection would be online, most likely.

Most likely for really big, say, 12' plus, trees would be local due to shipping costs, if you can even get them shipped.

All other things being equal, you might want to read about Smart Pots, Rootmaker Pots, and Bare Rooting as alternatives to standard plastic pots. Also compare to 'Ball and Burlap.' These are the various options that you want want to compare. Issues include root mass size and proneness to root girdling.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 9:22PM
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Cres, In Pa. I see you are in the mountainous parts of Pa. You should try to pick trees with the qualities you feel are best for your land. Oaks are usually long lived and planted for shade on most properties. I have bought many trees from the "Arbor day foundation".

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 12:22AM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Cres, for the average person I would say a business dedicated to just selling trees is the way to go. I found one "only" sixty miles from me which will sell me a couple trees a year in couple gallon pots for reasonable money. They have a good selection compared to the box stores and at least a qualified enough staff to keep their trees healthy and me from making mistakes. The success rate of transplant is highest this way.

Mail order/Internet places can be a great source once you get into needing something rare or unusual. Some down right suck though and you generally can not see what you are buying. Plus nothing like a few days on a UPS truck to suck the life out of a little plant. I have generally good luck with mail order but time my orders carefully and watch for reviews on here.

Box stores are the bottom of my list. The trees are too big for their pots usually and the staff is real hit or miss. But hey, I know enough about my old Mustang that I can walk into Autozone and get a serviceable part despite hit or miss help so I use them plenty.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 3:40PM
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Really depends on whether you want something common or something obscure.

Mail-order companies give you a MUCH better selection and often better prices for bare-root trees. You can get some pretty obscure plants. The catch is, shipping can be an issue. If you aren't there when the plants arrive they can (depending on the weather) die in a truck or on your porch. If you aren't going to have the time to plant them immediately whenever they happen to arrive (which is often unpredictable), it can be a problem. I've had plants die from that. Also, there can be issues buying a plant from a warmer climate. (It can be a shock for a tree to come from some place it was summer to a place it is still winter).

Nurseries let you pick up a plant on a weekend you will be free and bring it home to plant immediately.

You also have to decide how big a tree you want. Trees that are bigger offer immediate satisfaction and are less likely to get accidentally killed by a lawnmower but tend to have less roots then a tree that grows on site...which is a problem if you have band winds or draughts.

I like buying from County Soil Conservation Sales, Native Plant Sales, Lowes, and online.

ken_adrian, you tend to give the same rants regardless of what the question is.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 9:32PM
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