When and Where to Shop for Plants

Here are a few steps to take while shopping to make sure you make it home with the right plant.
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• Have a good idea what you need — in terms of number and type of plants, the amount of sun exposure — before you go shopping.

• Window-shop before you buy. Research the health and conditions and prices at various nurseries and garden centers, and compare the prices and availability of plants from local vendors and mail-order catalogs.

• Check out the return policy of your selected vendors.

• If possible, avoid shopping at peak times — Saturday mornings, the day or two before holidays, etc.

• Get to know the nurserymen or clerks at your favorite garden centers.

• Carry plants home in a covered vehicle, if possible, to avoid wind damage. If you're using a pickup, place plants directly behind the cab to minimize wind. Lay trees and shrubs on their side and brace with a few bags of mulch or soil amendment to help secure them.

• If you can't get the plants into the ground (or in containers) right away, place them in a shady area and keep them well watered.

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