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Choosing, transporting and storing trees and shrubs

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Amur corktree (Phellodendron amurense)
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Lise Servant)  

So you’re ready to go to the nursery? Once there, make sure that the tree or shrub you choose is healthy:

  • Carefully examine the foliage for insects or diseases.
  • Check the branches and the trunk as well, to make sure that there are no injuries.
  • Take a look at how the branches are arranged and make sure they are firmly attached. If choosing a shrub, check its shape. If buying a tree, if possible choose one that has already had formative pruning.
  • Check the roots if possible. If they are white, it means they are healthy. If there are lots of them, but they are not overly coiled around themselves (root bound), the plant will root more easily in its new site.
  • Make sure that plants growing in containers are not actually bare root just recently transferred to the containers.

When bringing your plant home, be sure to protect it from drying out. Be careful not to break or damage the trunk or branches in any way.

Once you get your tree or shrub home, plant it as quickly as possible in order to prevent the roots and rootlets from drying out. Otherwise, place it in a cool, damp spot out of the sun and wind. Cover the roots well.

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