Buying Trees

Buying options when shopping for trees

  • Bare Root Tree
  • Containerized or Potted Tree

Bare root trees

  • Trees that are sold without soil around their roots
  • Their roots are exposed or bare
  • Bare root trees are usually sold in bundles of 2 to 10
  • Store in the ground until ready for planting
  • Note: Keep roots covered at all times


  • Lower cost than containerised
  • Easier to transport & store


  • Less choice of trees available in the bare root form
  • Can only be bought & planted between months of October to March
  • Requires more care after planting - ensure they are kept moist
  • Slower to establish than containerized trees

Containerised trees

  • These are trees which are sold in their pots or containers
  • They can be sold & planted all year round


  • Can be planted all year round
  • Do not need to be planted directly after being purchased
  • Will established faster than bare root trees
  • There is a wider range of tree species available in containers

What to consider when buying trees

Measure the girth of the stem

  • The girth is the diameter of the tree at 1m in height

The height

  • The height of the tree is less relevant than the girth as a young tree can grow quite tall without developing a sturdy stem

The Roots

For bare root trees

  • Asses the roots, making sure that there are manyof them
  • Make sure that the roots have not dried out
  • Also look out for the smaller roots as these are most important

For Containerised trees

  • Asses the container
  • Are there roots sticking out the bottom of the pot
  • Is the plant pot bound
  • Can the container be easily removed from the root ball

The Canopy

  • Ensure that there is an even distribution of stems & buds
  • This will determine the future shape of the tree
  • Place the tree on the ground & walk around it

Pests & diseases

  • Assess the pot for moss, lichens, slugs & other weeds or pests
  • Asses the foliage for Botrytis, Blackspot & Mildew
  • It is important not to buy plants that are ill
  • Otherwise you will bring the problem back to your garden

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