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Home: Got Trees?

2 minute read
Maggie Sieger

There’s nothing like budding branches to set your heart aflutter. But if the spring planting season finds you shopping for a new tree for the yard, beware: it’s going to cost you. The housing boom, recent rough weather, insect infestations and new demand for native trees make finding that perfect specimen harder–and more expensive– than ever. Today a typical residential tree has a diameter of 5 in. to 6 in. and costs anywhere from $1,200 to $2,500. That’s a whole lot more than the $300 to $600 homeowners paid for the 2-in. to 3-in. varieties popular in the 1990s. “People don’t want a stick out in the yard,” says Melvin Garber, a horticulturist at the University of Georgia. “They want to buy a tree, put it in the ground and invite their friends over for dinner that night.” And even if you’re willing to pay, finding the kind of tree you want can be tough, with highly prized breeds in short supply. “People are more sophisticated,” says Nancy Buley of J. Frank Schmidt & Son in Oregon, which ships more than 3 million trees annually to nurseries across the country. “They’re looking at sustainable landscape design and low-maintenance trees.” The good news: according to Moon Nurseries in Maryland, look-alike species can often be found. They sometimes even cost less–and you’ll have a better shot at creating that spot of shade before summer. –By Maggie Sieger

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