Tree and Shrub Buyer’s Checklist

Another interesting article on the book called “The HomeOwners complete Tree and Shrub Handbook” by “Penelope O’Sullivan”. This article covers

Tree and Shrub Buyer’s Checklist:

Choose trees with the following characteristics:

  • Sound and sturdy rather than tall and leggy, which may signal weakness.
  • Wraps not hiding the physical condition of the lower stem. (Look beneath trunk or stem wraps that protect trees during transport.)
  • Single trunks well-developed and straight, tapering to a slight flare at the base.
  • Multi-stemmed plants full and attractive from all angles.
  • Evenly spaced limbs along and around the trunk.
  • Strong branch unions with trunk. (Limbs that seem squeezed to the trunk because of the narrow angle they form with it are weakly attached; tight multiple trunks are also weak. Vertical cracks may form below the union of trunk and limb, leading to breaks after storms.)
  • Clean, healthy, well-shaped leaves.
  • Enlarged buds with substance.
  • A big root ball with sufficient roots for healthy development.
  • Moist. fibrous (not woody) roots.


If your tree or shrub show any of the following characteristics, reject it:

  • Injured limbs.
  • Dead branches or brown, dried-up buds.
  • Trunks harmed by mowing or incorrect pruning.
  • Bark splits.
  • Spindly appearance.
  • Insect infestation on leaves, bark, or soil. (Look for evidence like cocoons and galls.)
  • Wilting leaves and stems.
  • Curled leaves, discolored margins, or foliage marked black, brown, or yellow.
  • Two leaders.
  • Weak, narrow branch crotches. (Often branches formed at a narrow angle to the trunk develop included bark at the top of the crotch. Included bark grows down into the crotch, detaching part of the limb from the tree and making it susceptible to weather damage.)
  • Dry or damaged root balls.
  • Pot bound, with circling or girdled roots.