moonvoice: (temple - orange skeleton)
[personal profile] moonvoice posting in [community profile] oz_native_gardening
Hi everyone. Here are some basic tips about how to purchase native plants to give them the best chance of survival.

1. Tubestock grows best, if you can't get tubestock, go for the smallest size. - It looks nicer to get more advanced plants, I know, but in almost all circumstances, tubestock (i.e. very young plants in tubes) grow best. Rate of establishment is faster, and these plants develop hardier, better root systems that are more likely to withstand the many rigorous climate conditions of Australia.

2. Always select strong, self-supporting specimens - The trunk or main stem should always be in the middle of the rootball. The stem should be more thickly tapered at the base than anywhere else on the plant. Check that the apical bud (or the bud at the very top of the plant) is undamaged and intact, and make sure the canopy or foliage is evenly spaced.

3. There should be no signs of damage to foliage, bark or roots - If you want to view the roots, get someone to show you them. If your nursery won't tap out a plant for you to show you the soil and root condition (or allow you to do it yourself); it might be time to find a new nursery. If you absolutely can't, inspect the foliage and bark thoroughly.

4. Make sure the plant isn't root-bound/pot-bound - This is especially true for advanced specimens and all potted plants. Again, if you are not allowed to check whether the plant is root bound by direct inspection, there are ways to check from the outside. Firstly, palpate the pot itself; if this is very hard to do, you could be pressing into an unhealthily large root-ball. Secondly, look underneath the pot. If roots are protruding heavily from the drainage holes, put the plant back, it is likely root-bound. These plants often look like the biggest and healthiest in their pots at the nursery, but the reality is that these roots have developed unhealthy growing habits and by and large, many root-bound / pot-bound plants die after approximately a year or two. Remember; small and healthy is a bigger choice than large, healthy looking and root-bound.

5. Plant within 24-48 hours of purchase. - If this isn't possible, consider putting off your plant purchase to another time. The reason for this is that the roots keep growing during this time, and you want your plant to avoid any chances of root-binding or pot-binding as much as possible.

6. If you can't find healthy specimens, don't compromise on unhealthy specimens. Consider another species of plant that matches your region, or try again another day. - Remember to let your nursery know that you weren't satisfied with the stock they had. Often, frustratingly, you'll have to avoid sales at nurseries. Some nurseries drastically mark down stock that is root-bound, or likely to perform poorly; these plants can sometimes make it in the hands of a master gardener, but often aren't worth the savings for everyone else. This isn't always the case (the local Landsdale nursery for example has regular sales but sells so proficiently that almost none of its stock is root-bound that I know of), but with bigger nurseries like Waldecks, always check the roots of sales plants.

Yay!

Date: 2011-05-28 07:58 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This and your mulch post are very well done. Must remember you in case I ever wind up editing a magazine again.

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Gardening with Australian Natives.

June 2011

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