Plant Healthier Trees By Selecting Quality Nursery Stock

When you need trees for your commercial facilities or municipalities, you want to know that what you plant will provide value for your community for years to come. 

That means getting quality trees from the start. 

But not every tree you purchase is created equal. Trees from big box stores, warehouses, or even some nurseries may have been shipped from other regions, haven’t been properly grown or maintained, or have been packaged in a way that makes them more difficult to become established in their new homes on your client’s property. 

With trees, quality nursery stock can mean the difference between a long-lasting valuable property asset vs. a customer call-back or tree warranty or replacement issue down the road. In fact, according to a survey by DeepRoot Green Infrastructure, quality of nursery stock is the No. 1 reason landscape and design professionals say they choose a grower. Unfortunately, 44% of respondents say it is either very difficult or somewhat difficult to find the quality of tree stock they need. 

There are actually some clues you can use to determine whether you’re getting the best product. Here are 4 differentiators that signal high quality nursery stock when you’re seeking trees. 

1. Tree Packaging Matters

When you order your trees for delivery or pickup your trees from the nursery, it’s not the best sign if they were grown or packaged in containers. 

Many times, if trees are contained too long, the roots have a tendency to circle the inside of the container, which can lead to an eventual girdling and choking of other roots, negatively impacting the tree. 

A better solution is a ball-and-burlap tree where the root ball is held together by a metal basket, so a larger amount of established roots come with the tree than the container version. 

Nurseries with heavier clay soil will also be able to provide ball-and-burlap trees with root balls that hold together better than nurseries that grow their trees in sandier soil. 

2. The Bigger the Root Ball, the Better

When you’re shopping for trees, the bigger the root ball, the better. 

For 2-inch caliper trees, the standard size of a root ball is around 24 inches in diameter. You want to make sure you’re getting a root ball of at least this size to ensure there’s a decent amount of the tree’s root zone available for planting. 

Some nurseries like the Davey Nursery will oversize their root balls -- to 28 inches -- to provide even more root zone and increase the tree’s survivability rate. 

3. Root Collar Clarity

Planting depth dictates tree health, and, unfortunately, it’s one of the biggest mistakes people make in the tree installation process.

A great nursery partner will help save you time and errors in the planting process.

For instance, Davey Nursery experts will help reveal trees’ root collars so you don’t have to do that work yourself. After crews dig and ball-and-burlap the trees, they’ll clear the soil on top to expose the root collars. This helps prevent your crews from planting trees too deep in the soil. 

In addition to helping you plant trees at the right depth, the nursery you buy stock from should also be monitoring planting depth when they first put trees in the ground on their site.  

4. In-House Delivery

A nursery that cares about quality trees should also be able to provide in-house delivery to you versus outsourcing it to a third party. That is a sign that they care about the state of its trees -- from planting to digging to packaging and then to storing and delivery. 

A professional nursery partner like the Davey Nursery will even load trees in the exact manner you need them unloaded to save you additional time once they arrive. 

You have a lot on your plate while managing installation and maintenance on your customers’ properties. We understand. Let our tree care experts provide you with the quality stock you need to ensure long-lasting trees and a solid planting experience that saves you time and limits your customer call-backs.

Want to learn more about the quality trees the Davey Nursery provides? Contact us for information on our current inventory list.

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