I gave a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation and they sent me some trees. Unfortunately they were not tagged, so I am now trying to determine what kind I have. The only one I can ID is the maple, the rest are unknown. If anyone can help ID, I'd appreciate it. Here is a pic of one. Thanks!
The National Arbor Day Foundation, while a worthy organization, is woefully inadequate when distributing trees in this manner. Your post unfortunately follows a flotilla of previous experiences, all equally dissatisfying.
You should write to them, factually, about your experience with their plants. This is such an avoidable situation, and I would have to believe that they are doing themselves a disservice by such shoddy handling of trees. There are probably far fewer repeat customers than they might otherwise have, if they were more adept at labeling and distributing what they claim to.
I am so glad you started this thread. I have wondered about those ads the Arbor day Foundation places in all the magazines. I have really come close to ordering some myself but I worried that I wouldn't live to see them mature. LOL (Old timer here) Those look fairly decent sized, though. And in very good condition.
I recommend their trees. I ordered their ten free trees back in late 01'.
And the label dilemma, sympathetic I am. They just splashed a drop of color on the sticks then you have to dig out their color chart thing and find it out for yourself. I don't know about anyone else, but I am tempted to throw away papers that come with stuff I buy.
And if their chart is thrown out, and one doesn't know their trees too good, its just too bad according to Arbor Day. But, they are trees, it just takes many years for them to be sizeable. Here is a Redbud photo that I took just yesterday at my Mom's, it is one of two remaining "10 free trees". She just trimmed on it, (see the branches all over the ground?).
I wish she'd leave it alone, but at least it's still there! : ) Arbor Day's headquarters in Nebraska City really is outstanding, it was a vacation destination a while back.
All those "ten free trees" have made a bunch of stuff up there, a State Park, a lodge,
a museum-like place and educational displays and more, it is worthy of a visit.
I ordered trees from them once. I remember the colored paint dots on each one. They say they will send them at the proper planting time in the fall. Nuts. They arrived in December here in zone 5a. There was no way I could get them in the ground. I never ordered trees from them again.
Even if you hadn't thrown out the color chart you could have easily ended up with mystery trees--plants from Arbor Day show up quite frequently on the ID forum when they turn out to be something other than what they were supposed to be.
My experience with Arbor Day is that IF you get your order and IF you can figure out from the colors which is which, the plants are actually very good and healthy! I've been on the wrong side of both "IFs" with them, but I've been on the right side, too. They're actually very nice people and I think it's fundamentally a good organization . . . it's just not good at organization!
I had long forgotten that my husband, Jack, sent in the check for the trees but they arrived yesterday. We may be hit with 1 to 3" of snow today. Does everyone who plants them do it even in this cold weather? I'm not concerned that it's cold out or about the snow but I am curious.
I was thinking of bringing in some potting soil to allow it to get warm and potting them up and setting them in our indoor, unheated porch. It takes me a lot of time to decide where each one will get planted. I could plant them outside in a temporary spot. Any advice?
Your idea of potting them up and keeping them in the unheated porch sounds like the best plan. Depending on how big your containers are, you could double up - or put them all in one for the time being, and separate them when you are ready to install them permanently.
Sure thing. I did a careful exam of the colors and planted them side by side in pairs, with labels. I have many large stakes and wondered if you'd advise putting a large, clear, dry cleaner type bag over the whole pot with the stakes keeping the bag a good distance from the "trees" or would that just encourage early leafing out?
The Crape Myrtle trees look nothing at all like the rooted cuttings I have of my own Crape Myrtles. Time will tell, I'm sure.
I don't think you'd need to put any kind of cover or bagging over dormant woody plants, unless you were trying to "force" them.
If you are worried about dessication, then just periodically spritz them with water (like with a Windex bottle of water). Other than that, I think you could just about ignore them.
What is the range of species that NADF distributes these days? I always thought that they were touting native species, but I hear more stories about Koelreuteria and Lagerstroemia than oaks and redbuds.
Well - far be it from me to advocate that you look elsewhere but the site which you currently patronize...
I am not going to claim close knowledge of maritime NY gardening, but since I've grown all these plants I'll offer my experience. I'd hope others from the mid Atlantic to northeast region will weigh in with their experiences which more closely match your growing conditions.
**Sargent Crabapple (Malus sargentii) - slower growing compact crabapple, full sun, reasonable fall color in yellows/oranges, 10-12 feet by 10-12 feet
**Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) - medium to fast growing, full sun to full shade, yellow fall color, 20 feet by 20 feet
**Washington Hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum) - medium growth rate and very thorny, full sun, yellow/orange/scarlet fall color, 25 feet by 25 feet
**White Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) - medium growth rate, full sun to full shade, reddish orange to burgundy fall color, 20 feet by 20 feet
**Goldenraintree (Koelreuteria paniculata) - medium to fast growth rate, full sun, orange/yellow/golden fall color, 35 feet by 35 feet - watch this one seeding into cultivated areas (especially mulched beds) and unexpectedly elsewhere
**Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) - medium to fast growth rate, full sun, kaleidoscope fall color of brilliant reds/oranges/yellows/burgundies (most unappreciated aspect of this genus), 20 feet by 20 feet can be assumed but the range in this genus is pretty broad and the provenance of your plants is unknown
Interesting that these are all small to medium trees, with no shade tree species included.
I have also received trees years ago from Arbor Day and have a beautiful eastern Redbud tree that is close to 15' x 15' right now. The list Pirl has shown is similar to the standard trees they send out. I got rid of the Washington Hawthorne's because of the thorns, although my neighbors have a very nicely shaped one that is closing in on 20'. Several of the dogwoods are just now large enough to flower. The Goldenraintree's have been ignored so far and are in pots buried in the ground which has limited their growth. Plan to "free" one this spring and see what becomes of it.
If you lose the color guide just ask them for another, it never has changed to my knowledge. Only concern is if the paint on the tree's wears off, still the leaves on these should be easy to identify and since they only send out a limited type of tree so that reduces the possible type.
Not to be a buzz kill but a while back I was going to order from them but first did some checking as they were bombarding us with flyers and surveys which seemed odd. I then read that John Rosenow founder and CEO of the National Arbor Day Foundation pays himself a salary of 369K (as reported by Charity Navigator) and I also have read that they sell their mailing list to everyone. Patti
Actually I have no quarrel with the man's salary. They wouldn't be paying him if they felt he wasn't worth the money. Mailing lists are so widely circulated that it would be hard for anyone to get much more junk mail than we already get. The CEO's of so many companies get salaries in the millions that his looks skimpy compared to others.
Anyhow, we were all here to talk about the trees, right?
my better half sent in a donation and the trees came this spring...color coded of course! i got the same ones that you did, pirl, minus the crabapple and the hawthorn. the only ones that made it are the redbuds but that's okay with me. i'm actually surprised that any of them made it! lol
I have one of those, it's a Variegated Weeping Fig! - It's not looking too good but someday it will! By the way, the tinfoil is good at deterring cats from getting in it, they don't like the feel of it on their feet I hear.
Thanks pirl. Tinfoil has worked for about 2 years now. Before that there was so much cat excrement in it, I thought I was going to pass out when I carried it outside in the Spring!
At least it got fertilized heavily for a while I suppose!
It could very well be, thanks. I wondered about it's precise identity before myself. I got it at Lowes 5 years ago and it was tiny, I thought the label said Benjamina but it could very well be Elastica, I've seen Elastica there since, but never Benjamina, that always did baffle me. Here it is back in the day, it has grown ALOT, I've even pruned the heck out of about half of it! I soon realized I pruned too much off of it, and I've been waiting about 2 years for it to catch back up.
I have ordered from AD for two years now - I dont get the "donation trees", I order specific trees - and those have always come labeled to the best of my recollection. They always send free things (redbud, red maple & forsythia) that arent labeled, but the ones I buy are.
Mine will be shipping in May. Im excited! Was pleased with my first order last year. The free pines they sent didnt make it - but the did send me replacements.
Mockorange, Sweet Standard, Winterberry Holly, Almond, Dwarf Russian, Azaleas Mollis Hybrid, White, Maple, Japanese Red Standard, Azaleas Mollis Hybrid, Orange, Azalea Formosa, Magnolia, Saucer, Magnolia, Ann,
FREE Red Maple,FREE Forsythia (set of 2),FREE Redbud