How to Select Quality Specimens

Starting with quality specimens is absolutely vital to the long term success of any tree planting project. A trait which is barely perceptible in a young tree can have a profound influence on the way that tree matures, so it’s absolutely critical to know what to look for – or avoid. Below is the five point quality check we use to vet specimens – we’d encourage you to do the same!

Root System

  • In proportion to the crown
  • Free of pernicious weeds
  • Not pot bound
  • Not waterlogged
  • Well rooted
  • Air-Pot preferred


  • Straight – not bowed from any angle
  • Free of scarring and splits.


  • Balanced framework of branches
  • No internally crossing branches
  • Uniform flush of blossom/foliage


  • Fully flushed out;
  • No yellowing or drooping leaves
  • Free of pest and disease


  • Straight and undamaged
  • One single dominant stem centered in crown for standard and feathered stem trees.

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