How to Buy Nut Trees

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    • 1). Contact your county agricultural extension office to find what nut trees grow in your area and the correct varieties to plant. You will not only need to know what types and varieties of nut trees to grow, but how many and what kind to plant for cross-pollination to make a good nut crop. For example, two different varieties of pecan trees are needed for cross-pollination; one of the trees must release pollen first, while the other receives the pollen, then the rolls are reversed later in the season. Buying two trees that release pollen first will result in fewer pecans. Waiting five to 10 years or more to realize your mistake can be a hard lesson to learn. Nut trees are more expensive than most other trees, including fruit trees, so knowing what trees to plant will ensure success.

    • 2). Visit a local nursery to choose your trees. Purchasing trees by mail order often leads to disappointment, because the trees may be bare root or shipped at the wrong time of the year.

    • 3). Look for trees that are grown in deep pots, 1 to 2 years old, and less than 8 feet tall. Smaller trees will adapt to the landscape faster than larger trees. Container-grown trees in deep pots have not had their tap roots cut like larger trees placed in pots. However, trees older than two years will often have the tap root curled unless the pot is deep. The correct nut tree planting containers are different than regular pots. They are more narrow and 2 to 3 feet tall, instead of the common five- or 10-gallon pots often seen in nurseries.

    • 4). Look for borer damage on the tree. Borers are insects that bore holes into the tree, and can weaken or kill the tree. The holes will be 1/16- to 1/8-inch wide, and usually around the base of the tree near the soil line. Do not purchase trees with borer holes. Pay attention to the graft located at the base of the tree. This is the swollen and offset area where a root system with desirable characteristics was attached to a tree that produces superior nuts. The graft should be healed, and not contain gaps or pieces of rotten wood. There should be no insect damage within the graft.

    • 5). Pull on the tree gently to see if it is firmly rooted in the pot. To save money, some nurseries will pot dormant, bare root trees in pots to sell in the spring. If the tree moves easily in the pot, it was not grown in the container, and the roots were recently cut so it would fit in the pot.

    • 6). Purchase bare root trees from a reputable dealer, and ask for a guarantee for one year. Do not buy nut trees from a dealer of bare root trees who cannot give a guarantee, because you cannot tell when the trees were dug from the ground. When the roots of a nut tree are allowed to dry out, the tree will not grow.

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