Early Big Box Nursery Arrivals - Trees - March 2023

The weather is showing snow this week, but that doesn't mean Spring isn't already here in the mind of a gardener.   Between the tulip foliage emerging and my first bloom via a Snow Crocus, you can't blame a plantsman for thinking that the time for planting is near.  And, the inventory folks at the Orange Big Box store nursery think the same thing.  

I was on a quick run to the hardware store when I noticed two things;  first...the parking lot nursery wasn't quite set up.  But...they did put out a couple of shopping carts turned over on their side to sort of 'mark' the boundaries of where they're going to build their nursery - in an attempt to keep cars out of there.  And...when you walk up to the entrance, you can see the nursery tables set up on either side of the main entrance and all the way down to the garden center.  

Second thing of note:  they have some early trees in their inventory along the sidewalk.  Of course, I couldn't help myself and had to see what they had on hand.   What did I see?  A TON of fruit trees.  Apple trees, pear trees, cherry trees.  I need a few to fill in my Belgian Fence, but I didn't look at those (just yet).  

What about 'shade trees'?  They have a few interesting ones in 7 and 10 gallon pots.  What jumped off the sidewalk to me?  Look at the photo below:

Multi-trunk Birch trees.  I wrote about getting to know Birch Trees earlier this year and seeing them at the orange Big Box store had me thinking about where to put a series of these.  Here's another look at the Birch trees below:

The tag calls them "River Birch" - Betula nigra (see tag below).  These are probably 8' tall clumps and they're asking $129 for them.  Comparing that price to what I see on iTrees (where I bought my Triump Elm last Fall) and it is apples-to-oranges.  They show a 2" caliper for $450 (planted).  These are like...three-quarters of an inch tops.  For $129.

They also have a small Tulip Tree in their current (early Spring) tree inventory.  Liriodendron tulipifera - which carries some appeal.  But...like MOST trees that the Big Box nurseries sell...it is fast-growing.  And...thus...weak and susceptible to pests and diseases.

And, finally...over in the 'flowering trees' section, I found a couple of these:  Kousa Dogwoods.  Corus kousa.  I've long talked about planting a couple of Dogwoods on the side of the garage and have been reading up on florida vs kousa.  Here's a post walking through that location and debate.  Tag for the Dogwood below:

The Missouri Botanic Garden says that Kousa is a better Dogwood:
This plant has better disease resistance and better cold hardiness than flowering dogwood, Cornus florida, and is an excellent alternative to flowering dogwood in areas where dogwood anthracnose is a problem.

A pair of these - shaped via espalier - would do wonders for that side of the garage.  It is, after all, one of my (potential) priority areas for 2023.   

Feels like I'll have to wait to see what is available at the Morton Arboretum Plant Sale, but then, look at these Dogwoods as a shade-tolerant option. 


  1. On a whim I checked my Home Depot and it had a Picea pungens Blue Falls weeper (which the internet argues is the same as The Blues) so I snapped it up along with a Gold Cone Juniper communis and a Picea abies 'Cupressina'. They also had Picea glauca pendula and a Chamaecyparis nootkatensis pendula. Not bad for variety. I'm thinking about checking the other box stores. Zone 5b


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