A Deal too Good to be True: Watch Out for the Word “Free”

Everyone loves a good deal, but the well known adage often holds some truth to it.

“If it looks to be too good to be true, it probably is.”

Right now, landscaping season is going into full swing. As the grass greens up, you might be inclined to freshen up your landscape with some new trees, bushes, ornamental grasses, or even a whole yard makeover. But be careful of contractors who are offering deals that no one else is: free trees and landscaping deals.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture is warning against companies that are offering landscaping deals where they will give your free plant material if you pay for the installation. While you might figure that they will just have a higher installation cost than other companies to cover for the cost of the tree, this is not necessarily true. The Department of Agriculture is so concerned about this problem that they wrote advisory about it. Check it out here.

Companies offer these free plants because often times they are not licensed to sell the plants themselves. The Colorado Department of Agriculture regulates nurseries and landscape companies that sell plants, and thus have stringent requirements for the quality of the plants.

So why are some companies offering plants for free?

Companies that offer free plants are offering plants that are not regulated by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, which means they may be full of defects that you as the consumer may not even be aware of. Riddled with potential problems such as pest infestations, girdled roots (roots the circle the tree until it eventually kills itself), and inadequate root structure.

Example of girdling roots, caused by improper tree selection and planting practices.

These problems might not present themselves immediately, but they will eventually harm the long-term growth of the plant.

How to avoid these problems?

The simple solution to this problem is to hire a professional company that selects certified nursery stock (trees, shrubs, turf grass sod and other perennial plants) from a registered nursery. Often times, high caliber companies will go to the nurseries in the beginning of the season and hand select the best looking plants that are for sale. Make sure to ask your landscape contractor about how they select their plants.

Designscapes Colorado is dedicated to obtaining the highest quality plant material for our clients. To talk more about how we can help you out with your landscape project, or get more information about selecting plants, please send us an email at info@designscapes.org, or give us a call at (303) 721-9003.

This entry was posted in Trees, Gardens, Residential, Lawn & Garden Care, Design, Green Landscape