Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bexley, Ohio. Buying nursery stock at auction. Amy Maurer's thoughts.

It is interesting that notices of nursery auctions appear in the Fall, and there is a good reason for this. Fall is an excellent time to plant most trees and shrubs. There are a few that do not like to be uprooted at this time of year, but material in Fall auctions is usually either pot grown, or was dug in the Spring and has been sitting in a burlap bag all Summer.

The reasons for Fall auctions are many. Overstocks, not enough room in the nursery, the poorer quality plants that are left after the best have been sold, unpopular cultivars, etc.

What the buyer at these auctions should understand is this-if you can't tell the difference between a good quality plant and a poor one, you might as well bury your money in the ground along with the plant because you could wind up with something that isn't worth having.

A nursery that has a regular Fall sale is putting its reputation on the line. Apublic sale at a fairground keeps the grower anonymous and could be a good "dumping ground" for material that is really substandard. It's the old "buyer beware" mentality. You pay your money and you take your chances.

If I were to go to a Fall nursery auction the fairground location in favor of an auction at the actual reputable nursery. But even better than that, the difference you pay at a sale versus what you a professional plant person such as a landscaper or aborist would charge to pick a plant for you, site it and plant it correctly seems to me a small price to pay for something that will give you many years of joy and appreciation.

Trees that have structural defects will always have these defects no matter how much bigger the trees get. A wound on the trunk of a treet will always be there and will slow the tree's growth. The tree you saved $100 on may wind up costing you a lot more than that when it has to be prematurely removed due to poor performance-and then you'll have to invest in a new treet and start all over again.

It comes down to the old adage that you get what you pay for.

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