Fall Landscaping Tips

LANDSCAPING TIPS brought to you by the Arizona Landscape Contractors’ Association,, the Arizona Certified Landscape Professional program and the Sustainable Landscape Management program.

Want to test your green thumb this fall? It’s important to make sure we select good quality plants at our local nursery for health and longevity in the landscape.  Here are a few points to make you a pro at picking excellent plant material:
·       Inspect plants to ensure they are not root bound but have enough roots to hold the rootball together. Plants left in a container too long will begin circling, which negatively impacts the plant’s health. Trees are also more likely to blow over if they are planted with circling roots.
·       Check the underside of the leaves for pests and confirm roots are not soggy and dark brown, which may indicate root rot. Don’t buy if there is a concern pests may be present.
·       Do not buy plants that have physical damage or broken limbs.
·       Before deciding on a plant variety, make sure you understand its growth habits and requirements and then determine if it is the ‘right plant for the right place’.
Specifically when selecting trees, note the following:
·       Select trees which follow the AZ Nursery Association’s size standards, which remind us that “bigger is not necessarily better”. 
·       Look for a good taper on the trunk. The trunk caliper should start off wide at the soil line and get smaller as you move up into the canopy.
·       Make sure you can locate the root flare- the swollen area on the trunk where the roots emerge. If you can’t see this flare, the tree may be planted too deeply in the container, which can impact the tree’s health.
Ask your nurseryman to show you the roots of the plant you’ve selected to determine if the plant is acceptable. Once you’ve selected the ideal plant material, remember to follow the most important tip of all: Plant at grade, or even slightly above grade or as we like to say in the industry, ‘green parts up’. Happy fall and happy planting!