Crown and Trunk Inspection
Prior to purchasing plants, it is vital to inspect them for serious problems. If you are buying large quantities of a species, inspect a representative sample. Plants that have life-threatening injuries or problems should not be purchased. The following are some things to look out for when buying a plant.
To ensure the trunk and crown are healthy, check for the following:
This plant was buried too deeply, as evidenced by the lack of trunk taper above the soil line.
A topped plant. Topping leads to the growth of many small, unstable branches a short distance below the pruning cut, as seen here.
This tree's trunk is starting to rot because it was buried under the burlap too long.
The small shoots growing from the soil are suckers and are indicative of stress; numerous skinny branches (generally growing straight up) above the soil or graft line are known as watersprouts
A failing graft; the two pieces of plant did not grow together well, leading to an unstable stem that will likely break at some point in the future.