Purchasing Trees

When is the Best Time to Plant Trees?

Trees can be planted at any time of year, as long as the ground is not frozen solid. Very early spring is a great time to plant because the tree has time to become established before the hot, dry summer. Trees can be planted in the summer, but because of extended periods without rain, you must be very diligent about watering. Fall is another great time to plant. Rain tends to be plentiful and the tree is headed into dormancy for the winter. During the winter dormancy the roots are growing, but the tree does not have to support branch growth and leaves.

While we can plant trees almost any time, we can only dig them from our fields when they are dormant (without leaves). Therefore, early spring and fall is when we have our best selection. This is why we have our popular Free Tree Planting Sale during these seasons.

Free Tree Planting Sale

Twice a year we offer free planting on large trees. The sale runs during the last two weeks of March and the first week of April and then again the last two weeks of September and the first week of October. Please check our Calendar of Events for each year's exact dates.

To qualify for free planting, the tree must be $200 or more. The planting site must be within 30 miles of any of our locations. In Maryland, this includes Frederick County, Montgomery County, Howard County, parts of Carroll County, parts of Prince George’s County and parts of Washington County. In Virginia, this includes Arlington County, Fairfax County, Prince William County and parts of Fauquier County. In Washington DC, this includes parts of Northwest DC. In West Virginia, this includes parts of Jefferson County. If you uncertain whether or not your planting site is within 30 miles, please call the Stadler Nursery location closest to you.

The free planting includes: delivery, planting, stakes, Leafgro, and mulch. It does not include removal of any existing plant or stump.

How Are Tree Sizes Measured?

Field-grown trees are planted as seedlings or whips and are generally grown at the Nursery for 5 - 8 years before they are ready for sale. They are in their adolescent growth period, and just like teenagers, they grow at different rates and come in many shapes and sizes!

Evergreen trees (such as pines and spruce) are always measured in terms of height. The measurement is taken from the ground and measures to the tip of the leader. While the consumer can be assured of height, fullness in an evergreen is also an important factor. For example, a 5-6' Leyland cypress can be grown in a 5-gallon pot and while it is indeed at least 5' tall, it is thin. A 5-6' Leyland can also be grown in a 20-gallon container and be quite full and tree-like.

Deciduous trees (ones that lose their leaves) are measured in terms of height and/or caliper. Once a tree begins to fill out and mature (generally once it is taller than 8') the trunk is measured with a caliper tape which gives the diameter of the trunk 6" from the ground. Again, just like teenagers, trees shoot up in height first and then begin to fill out. Going by height alone is not an accurate indicator of actual size. For example, a 14 and 17-year-old male can both be 6' tall, but the 17 year old will have filled out more in the shoulders. The same is true of trees. A 2" caliper and 3" caliper may be around the same height, but the 3" tree will be a fuller tree with more branches and a larger crown. Larger caliper trees are older trees.

Purchasing a Tree

Once you've selected the kind of tree for your yard, you may purchase it using one of two methods. You may come into the Garden Center and select and purchase the tree, or you may phone in your order (Frederick 301.473.9042 - Laytonsville 301.944.1190 - Manassas 703.257.2800). Regardless of the method you choose, a qualified horticulturist will be overseeing your order to ensure the tree(s) you have selected will thrive.

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