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Buying & Selecting High Quality Trees

 What Determines Tree Quality?

 A high-quality tree has

  • enough sound roots to support healthy growth.

  • a trunk free of mechanical wounds and wounds from incorrect pruning.

  • ​a strong form with well-spaced, firmly attached branches.

 A low-quality tree has

  • crushed or circling roots in a small root ball or small container.

  • a trunk with wounds from mechanical impacts or incorrect pruning.

  • a weak form in which multiple stems squeeze against each other or branches squeeze against the trunk.​

Tree Selection

Tree selection is one of the most important investment decisions a home owner makes when landscaping a new home or replacing a tree lost to damage or disease. Considering that most trees have the potential to outlive the people who plant them, the impact of this decision is one that can influence a lifetime. Match the tree to the site, and both lives will benefit.


The question most frequently asked of tree care professionals is "Which kind of tree do you think I should plant?" Before this question can be answered, a number of factors need to be considered. Think about the following questions...

  1.  Why is the tree being planted? Do you want the tree to provide shade, fruit, or seasonal color, or act as a windbreak, or screen? Maybe more than one reason?

  2.  What is the size and location of the planting site? Does the space lend itself to a large, medium, or small tree? Are there overhead or belowground wires or utilities in the vicinity? Do you need to consider clearance for sidewalks, patios, or driveways? Are there other trees in the area?

  3.  Which type of soil conditions exist? Is the soil deep, fertile, and well drained, or is it shallow, compacted, and infertile?

  4.  Which type of maintenance are you willing to provide? Do you have time to water, fertilize, and prune the newly planted tree until is is established, or will you be relying on your garden or tree service for assistance?​

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