Question: What sizes of plants should I buy?

Answer: Shade trees are available in containers from one gallon cans up to 200 gallon boxes. You can buy even larger shade trees that have been dug and balled-and-burlapped. You should determine your budget and buy a tree that is large enough to make an immediate statement, but that still fits into your overall allowances. Medium-sized trees establish quickly and take off handsomely. With shrubs, however, it’s better to go somewhat larger than you might otherwise expect. Larger plants, say from 3-, 5- and 10-gallon containers, have deeper roots, so there’s a greater margin of error during hot, dry weather. You’ll also gain a year or two of growth, so your landscape will look more mature much more quickly. You’ll also be more likely to space the plants at acceptable distances. Most of us overcrowd plants when we set out small transplants. As for groundcovers, use 4-inch or one-gallon pots for the quickest good look. For annuals, 4-inch pots establish quickly and minimize the “down time” of your color beds.

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