A good retail nursery offers much more than the sale of plants and the replacement of any that fail.
Your retail nursery should proactively help you be successful in your gardening projects by offering basic gardening information plus specific local knowledge. A good retail nursery can be a novice gardener’s most important resource.
Fruit trees are almost always – say 98% of the time – healthy when purchased. Failed or poorly performing fruit trees result from a lack of information - lack of basic knowledge about choosing, planting and caring for fruit trees, lack of knowledge about local soil and climate conditions. Any nursery can replace a dead tree. Good nurseries help customers achieve success with their plantings, help them to establish healthy, productive home orchards.
A good retail nursery for fruit trees will have
- a selection of fruit trees adapted to the local area
- knowledge of local fruit growing successes and limitations
- an eagerness to help customers learn about home fruit growing
The nursery’s role is to help you have success with your trees. A good retail nursery for fruit trees offers information displays, handouts and seminars. They guide you to further resources. They are ready and willing to listen to you describe your project; they offer suggestions and answer questions.
Your role is to educate yourself about growing fruit trees. Learn how to elicit information from your local nurseryperson. Often it’s necessary to be persistent. You are their most important customer, whether they seem to think so at the moment or not. If the nursery is especially busy consider going back on a different day or at a different time.
So – let’s see if you are on the right track.
You’re at the nursery on the big day – to buy fruit trees...
On your cart you have:
- The right kinds of fruit trees for your family
- The right varieties for your climate
- The right soil amendments
- The right fertilizer
Is that everything? Yes – off to the cash register and home to plant!
Do you really know what you are doing with this stuff, or did someone just say you needed it?
ARE YOU SURE YOU REALLY UNDERSTAND?!
Ask yourself the following:
Was I allowed to cover my project goals in detail; did we discuss my soil, site prep, spacing and expected care requirements? Was the salesperson thorough in response? Did I make confident choices?
Did the salesperson instruct me on how to be successful with my trees by covering essential care requirements or directing me to literature or references that would help me understand potential problems?
Did the sales person invite me to call the nursery at the first sign of a problem?
Did the salesperson or the nursery offer current information on home fruit growing concepts?
Do I feel good about my project or do I feel I was mostly just “sold”?
YOU are responsible for the ultimate success of your project: healthy, productive fruit trees. In most cases, if you do not succeed with any aspect of your project, it is your own fault: wrong trees planted, poor drainage uncorrected, trees planted then neglected, etc. Sure, there are nurseries that will replace your dead tree, but that is an unwanted interruption, not a part of your project.
Find a nursery that is geared toward your success. If you like your present nursery but they are not fruit tree specialists, help them to improve; put the pressure on them to help you be successful the first time. If they are good business people, they will work to meet your expectations.
The more you know about gardening, the more success you will have - and the joys of success can span generations. Your grandchildren may one day tell stories to their children under your properly planted tree.