By The Old House Web


A visit to your local garden center or retail nursery can be an exciting experience. You will see many kinds of ornamental plants packaged in several ways. Some may be in plastic containers of various sizes. Others may have their roots and a ball of soil wrapped with burlap and covered with moist bark or sawdust. These are often called "balled- and-burlapped" or "B-and-B" plants. Still others may be packaged with their roots in boxes, paper or foil wrapping.

Regardless of how the plants are displayed and packaged, you should always look for good quality plants. What should you look for when buying plants? First, you should consider choosing species that are not problem prone. Look for good foliage color and strong branches. Avoid plants that are root-bound in containers. Root-bound plants have roots that have become too large for that container. You can see the roots growing out of the drainage hole of the container. Be sure bare roots of deciduous plants have been adequately protected from moisture loss and bud break has not yet occurred. The soil ball of B-and-B plants should remain firm, rounded and intact when handled. Fairly new burlap cloth should hold the root ball. Avoid plants with root balls that are too soft, saggy, pancake shaped or too small. Plant grades and sizes should be in accordance with the American Standard for Nursery Stock, published by the American Association of Nurserymen.

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