free trees & plants site

Has anyone ordered from this site? It was listed on a PC newsletter I get, and I have wondered if what they supply is worth the modest shipping. The plants are all bare root but "free", as explained on their site. http://www.freetreesandplants.com/index.html I've emailed them a couple of times with questions and have always received a prompt and very courteous reply, but I have not yet ordered. I was thinking of getting some bare root shrubs for this fall.
Deb
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Here is a good bare root supplier have have used in the past. http://www.sln.potsdam.ny.us /
I have no experience with the company you mention.
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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Two years ago I purchased a number of trees and perennials from them and after the processing and shipping charges I found that I could have gotten better plants locally for about the same price. The trees were about a foot tall after potting them up and the perennials were smaller than plants that I would normally get from a local nursery or mail order. I see on the website that they have changed the planting instructions but when I got mine they came with instructions to pot them up and grow them in pots till they are big enough to plant in the garden. The trees that I planted in 5 gallon pots are now large enough that I am thinking about planting them in the yard this fall.
If you want to support workers with disabilities you could consider what you pay for the plants as a donation but if you want good strong plants go to a nursery.
Bill
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They want only like $7 shipping, you can't drive to the mall for that, and isn't your time worth anything... I never consider the shipping costs, especaillly not now that I'm paying well over three dollars a gallon.
I buy a lot of plants from < http://www.naturehills.com , I've nver been disappointed. And bare root seedings usually out perform potted trees from teh loack nursery... the bare root trees begin to grow when first planted, the potted trees will need a minimum of three years to revive from transplant shock before showing any growth. After three years the bareroot trees are typically larger than the potted saplings.
I've had no luck with < http://www.arborday.org they send dead plant stock... save your money.
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thistletoes wrote:

First of all, it sounds like a come on. There are legitimate sites that give
away small trees to help the environment, but these people look like they have other purposes in mind.
You may receive some tiny tiny trees which will require lots of patience to see a decent result. For fruit trees, they may be seedlings, in which case you could get poor fruit and/or an ungrafted tree eventually giving you a a very big tree, and even more delay in years to produce fruit. If you want to save money, link up with a garden club that teaches grafting and make your own fruit tree. Decorative trees can also be found on the web for reasonable prices.
Sherwin D.
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Ok, all your comments help a lot. I'll take a look at the sites you have used with good results. I normally know better than to order with a "come on" like the free product with modest shipping, but guess I felt a little compelled because of their story. I don't have enough time left in my life to mess around with foot tall trees. While I might root trees, like those Aussie willows on my own, that's my choice. I wouldn't want to pay $7.95 for two of those little wimpy things.
Wiser now... Deb :-)
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thistletoes wrote:

Then you shouldn't even consider mail order trees. If you're a middle aged person you need to go to a local nursery and purchase substantially sized trees; balled and burlaped and a minimum of 3" caliper... and even then it's unlikely you'll live long enough to sit in the shade of any type of sapling tree, even those that are fast growing will need nearly 20 years before they look much like a shade tree... the first 3-4 years they won't exhibit any growth. The truth is that when you plant a tree it's for future generations, not for you... your enjoyment can only be in knowing that future generations will enjoy the fruits of you labor. Maybe you would do better planting a perennial garden.
I planted many mail order trees and quite a few larger trees from a local nursery (in fact they were much too large for me to plant, the nursery sent a crew with heavy equipment to plant them). I realize that my main enjoyment is in that they lived and will one day be a tree, but long after I'm gone. Even the fastest grower, a sycamore, will need many more years before it begins to look representive of it's mature state. The sycamore was a bareroot from Nature Hills, was a three foot tall twig in a carboard box when it arrived, now it's nine feet tall, but has many years to go. I ordered a second one the next year, it's trying to catch up.
Second summer:
http://i18.tinypic.com/54knpli.jpg
Third summer (last year):
http://i19.tinypic.com/4xx0aad.jpg
Fourth summer (this year):
http://i12.tinypic.com/4p13cpx.jpg
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Yes, I am a middle-aged person, normally sensible & cautious. However, I am currently living in a remote enough area that it is inconvenient to make my way to a nursery. It is likely I will live here till I die.
I find myself in a somewhat frustrating position. We do have a tiny nursery in the nearest village but several trees purchased there have been infected or otherwise defective and have died. It isn't my lack of care - they have an increasingly bad reputation. Worse, their guarantee is worth nothing. Only the Autumn Flame Maples have done well from that source, but they cost a blessed fortune and were brought up and planted by a landscaping company. They are now 12 feet tall even after 8-9 years, which I think is a bit slow since they were 6' when planted, not including the pot.
The next best nursery is decent but is 60 miles away. The issue is that if I purchase a tree of any size, meaning over 5 feet tall, transport is difficult and costly. We have a pickup truck with normal size bed, but we would have to lay the trees down to transport, otherwise the wind generated by going down a highway would batter them senseless. Even then, they would sustain some damage if the tree is of decent size. On top of that, gas here is $3 a gallon and pickup trucks are not known for economy. I guess if we purchased a large enough number of trees, the trip would be worth while, if we could protect the trees. That's why I was considering mail order and thought someone might suggest a reputable one.
Trees I've grown from seedlings have done well and after 5 years, some of the pin oaks (from acorns, mind you) are 8 feet tall. That thrills me that they even grew, as you commented about yours. However, as you point out, I am unlikely to live long enough to see them in their full glory. Still, a 12 foot tree is better than a perennial garden. Perennials are wonderful, I just need something different for this particular situation. The irony is that there are Ponderosa pines, Noble Fir, and hundreds of other conifers in the back half and along one side of my land, some 60' tall or more. Yet on the road side on my place, only a scanty few. I have desire for beauty, privacy and blockage of the dust from the gravel road that borders me on 2 sides.
As for the perennials, I have planted some native shrubs around the perimeter of the back deck and down the driveway. Those are doing reasonably well. They just aren't quite the same as a nice, tall tree out front. :-)
I appreciate your advice, however. I can strive to live another 40 years and then perhaps I will have the trees I want. I may be too blind to see them, but I'll know they are there, I hope.
Deb :-)
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I do trees for the next generation. Scrubs too for that matter.
A story.
Seems the beams in Harvard or some other long lived school were rotting. They were massive and would be very expensive to replace. After much talk and quibbling the gardener was called in.
He said Oh those planks have beetle damage every three hundred years. That's why we grow replacements.
Bill who butchered the story not too bad I hope.
--

S Jersey USA Zone 5 Shade
http://www.ocutech.com/ High tech Vison aid
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thistletoes wrote:

Planting or transplanting any tree over five feet tall is pretty risky. You have to be sure you get most of the roots out with the tree. I would suggest you think about mail order again, as they do sell dry root trees up to 5 feet tall. You may
also want to consider fast growing varieties, like a Japanese Yew. In your case, there are no easy answers.
Sherwin
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thistletoes wrote:

Ditto. Except I'm past middle aged.

I live in a fairly rural area as well. The nearest respectable plant nursery is a good 45 minute run, others are further. But I typically meld multiple stops into my forays, so making a small detour to a nursery is not any significant hardship in time or transportation cost. All of the nurserys around here are aware that people travel a distance so they package purchases with plastic wind protective sheeting. I've not had a problem with wind damage... and I also lay trees down in an open truck. I also keep a number of old blankets in the truck at all times, I never know when I will need to protect something in transport as I frequent local estate auctions; I have an old lamp fetish.
With larger trees the reputable nurserys will deliver and plant for a nominal fee. I've found it pays to get on good terms with the nurserys, I return their pots and flats, often containing some plants when I have extras and I usually do. In turn they give me nice discounts. I also trade with my neighbors, that's a good way to expand on variety. I have a large variety of trees growing on my property and there are huge numbers of saplings growing at the edges of my woods... I'd rather dig them up and give them away than mow them down.

Gas is more than $3/gal most everywhere (my vehical gets only 12 miles/ gal), but I use it judiciously, my days of joyriding are long past. Since I've retired I have no need to commute so the miles I now drive average about 50 miles/month over a year. Last year I logged just over 500 miles. I wish I didn't need to drive but alas there are some necessary trips.
I still purchase some plants by mail order, because they are just not available locally. I searched every nursery within a 100 miles for almost a year but none carried sycamores, so I finally ordered the bareroot seedlings from Nature Hills... I think they are doing very well, I'm pleased.
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I am envious to hear that nurseries in your area will deliver and plant a tree for a nominal fee as you put it. The one nearest me, about 10 miles down the mountain doesn't even answer their phone.
Deb
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Hmm, then I would assume they are not in business anymore, I'd go elsewhere. Stores like Lowes, Home Depot, and Walmart have nice nursery stock but their plants are small enough to transport and plant yourself. But the large independant nurseries here in NY sell all size plants and will deliver and plant for a fair price, but of course the large plants aren't cheap. I purchased a 12 ft dawn redwood from my favorite nursery for $450, they charged $150 to deliver and plant it.... I considered that a very fair price considering the tree with rootball must have weighed some 700 pounds. That was four years ago, the tree is now about 20 feet tall and doing very well. I also bought a dawn redwood in a 5 gallon pot, 4 foot tall, cost $59, that I brought home and planted myself... has a very long way to go before it catches up with the larger tree.
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