flowering & fruit trees

howdy everyone!
we are thinking about trying to re-do our front yard. right now, it's kinda on the hideous side. having trouble getting the grasses to grow. yard's too sandy or something. no problem with weeds and trees, but anyway - my question this time is this:
I get flyers in the mail quite often from different nurseries advertising for "dis-count" prices on their flowering trees and fruit trees. i just don't know much about whether or not those companies are safe to order from. can any one tell me some companies like this (with true discount prices) that have good reputations? i can't afford the local nursery prices. way too high.
thanks, rae
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You do realize that "discount" trees will probably be all of 6 inches tall? How long are you willing to wait for a "real" tree? A robust, well grown tree of viable size is the true bargain here, IMO.
And neither one is much good unless you prepare the soil properly- different trees have different requirements. Where on the planet are you located and what types of trees are you considering?
--
Toni
South Florida USA
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Here are some common problems of trees. Hopefully this information will help you avoid them. BTW a good nursery is http://www.sln.potsdam.ny.us /
Many tree problems are associated with the following:
Troubles in the Rhizosphere http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/shigo/RHIZO.html
Unhealthy Trees from the Nursery / Improper Planting http://home.ccil.org/~treeman/sub1.html and Look up "Tree Planting" http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/shigo/RHIZO.html
Improper Mulching - http://home.ccil.org/~treeman/sub3.html and http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/M/index.html Look up "Mulch"
Improper Pruning http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/tree_pruning /
Improper Fertilization (See A Touch of Chemistry) http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/shigo/CHEM.html
Sincerely, John A. Keslick, Jr. Arborist http://home.ccil.org/~treeman and www.treedictionary.com Beware of so-called tree experts who do not understand tree biology. Storms, fires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions keep reminding us that we are not the boss.

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Here is a case where you can be led astray by certain suppliers. These St. Lawrence people do not believe in dwarf trees for the Northern climates. I consider myself in a Northern climate in a suburb north of Chicago. I have been growing dwarf and semi-dwarf trees for over 20 years and do not see the problems that St. Lawrence refers to. I know people in the northern reaches of Canada growing
fruit on dwarfing rootstock, so I don't understand their position. I find that dwarf trees do fruit earlier than standard size trees and they are much easier to maintain. No climbing up with huge ladders to get your fruit. I have had dwarf trees produce fruit in their second and third years in the ground. You cannot say that for a standard size tree that usually takes about 7 years (I am refering to apples here). I think getting the correct rootstock to give you the size of tree you want is the biggest concern a potential fruit tree buyer should consider. A good warning sign is when the catalogs do not specify the exact rootstock used for the tree you select. They will just specify it is a dwarf or a semi-dwarf. Better nurseries give the actual type of rootstock used. A little research will then tell you what size tree to expect. The other problem is that nurseries occasionally specify something as being on dwarfing rootstock, but it turns out to be a full size tree. Unfortunately, you cannot pin this down until you receive the tree and see if there is a tell tale graft, which usually appears as a bulge in the lower part of the trunk. Although it is becoming less common in these days where big corporations are buying out ma and pa nurseries and making trees on an assembly line, there are still a few reliable nurseries out there which can be trusted. Send me an email if you want some of my recommendations.
Sherwin D.
symplastless wrote:

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I am in Milwaukee, and I agree with everything said. Dwarf trees on the CORRECT rootstock are essential. Places like Starks wont tell you what the rootstock is. I went thru this all about 20 years ago. BayLaurel http://www.baylaurelnursery.com/index.html have their rootstock up front. better yet, when you call them they know what they are talking about. http://www.raintreenursery.com/ also says what the rootstock is. nothing weird either. but do find out which rootstock is best for your area and CONDITIONS.
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Soil analysis and then check with your state extension service to see what suggestions they have for plants that grow well.
You'll get much better results (particularly on a budget) choosing plants to fit your soil rather than attempting to amend your soil to fit the plants.
Another possibility is to go with native plants, and grow them yourself from local seed or scion sources.

Good trees are fairly expensive to produce, particularly if you're after fruit trees on virus indexed stocks (they do so much better). Bargain trees are either well produced but an oversupply (real bargains!), poorly grown, held or shipped (not a bargain) or very small (ok, but not a bargain) -- at least in my experience. There are some growers who cut their profit margins more thinly than others, but on the whole, good trees aren't cheap.
There are some lists around compiled from folks' comments on catalog companies... might be worthwhile to check on the reputations of the companies. e.g.: http://davesgarden.com/gwd / http://www.gardenlist.com /
and resources like: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~dailey/byfg.html http://www.nafex.org /
Kay

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Hi Kay,
thanks for the weblinks. the types of dis-counts I was talking about were the over-stock ones. they claim that the trees will be 3-4 foot on delivery. i am mainly leaning towards crepe myrtle and dogwoods. we already have a few that were here when we moved here and they have proven to fair well. I would just like some other colors/variations to plant around the yard. i don't really care about what height they will grow to. thanks, rae
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Actually, you *do* care how tall they grow (and their probable spread). And the type of root system.
My folks planted a nice little linden under the power line to their house. It had to be removed just about the time it got big enough to shade the living room... $$$$ to remove it and the cost of planting another tree. Had they figured height and spread and moved it 25 ft to the SW, that tree would still be growing. They also planted a silver maple too close to the house... mom broke her collarbone trying to prune it where it had a big branch on the house. More $$$$ for doctors and more $$$$ for a proper pruning. Then there was the neighbor's willow tree roots that ate the septic system ($$$$$). Or the siberian elm (notoriously brittle) that came into my room for a little chat during a windstorm and pinned me in bed, when I was 4. That was relatively cheap... new window and roof and some minor cuts and bruises.
I suspect the most common cause of tree death of established trees on residential property is probably the wrong species in the wrong place.
You also want to be sure to plant healthy stock... especially if you've already got the same or related species on your property. Diseases spread quickly when you've got a lot of the same species (or even genus). Might want to check with your local extension service to see if they have any predictions of what diseases seem to be building in an area, too. For instance, out here in Oregon, we're watching SOD, sudden oak death, very closely. It affects quite a few species, and it's closed some specialty nurseries.
Pick the right species for the right spots and you'll add value to your home. Pick the wrong ones, and you've added to your workload and cost. Some crape myrtle cultivars, for instance, are not cold hardy and freeze to the ground.
Dogwoods are notorious for anthracnose, cankers and root and crown rot.
Trees are one area where doing your homework quite intensively can pay off handsomely.
Kay

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