Late season bargain: two trees

One of the things I love about this time of year is the garden centers all start having clearance sales.  That pricey new cultivar I've been eyeing all summer was easy to pass up at $14, but for $7 I'll give it a shot! I'm being really good this year with restraint -- since I already have too many plants than I know what to do with, I'm being pretty selective. Keeping the impulse buys to a minimum is important, but I've also learned that it's important to make a quick decision on the sale plants. If you wait a day to decide the plants will be gone when you return. (I know about that from experience.)

So when I saw a display of 5' (1.5m) tall Japanese Maples on sale for $20, I had to take a closer look.


Since this was at the local Home Depot -- which has a badly-managed garden department in my opinion -- the trees were looking a bit ragged. I found two that I liked and bought them though. I'll pay $20 for a Japanese Maple almost without thinking -- it's the $150+ specimens that I think long and hard about as I've lost too many of those expensive ones over the last few years.

One thing about big-box garden centers is they are not the best places to get information about plants:

Although I can be fairly certain that this actually is 'oshio-beni', I'm not sure if I should keep it in the shade or in the sun. I feel sorry for those who purchase this and don't know that shade is the better choice.

The second plant didn't have a label, but I didn't really care:

I don't have a green-leaved Japanese maple right now, so I'm glad to add one to my collection, even though it's missing a lot of leaves at the top:

There are good signs of new growth though, so I'm not worried:

The 'oshio-beni' looks to be in much better shape:

It's been pruned to about 5' (1.5m) tall, but that shouldn't be a problem, and will result in a bushier tree anyway:

These are both in rather small pots, although it's hard to even say that they're potted at all when you look at the second one:

That second one must have tipped over at some point and had all of the loose soil fall out. You couldn't throw a little potting soil in there Home Depot garden center employee? You've certainly got enough ripped bags of potting mix sitting around.

In any case, there are signs of new root growth too:

So I'll pot these both up in slightly larger pots, give them some fertilizer, keep them in the shade and well-watered, and probably move them into the garage this winter before it gets bitterly cold. In the spring I should have two wonderful new trees to enjoy!

And I will enjoy them even more knowing that they were bargains!


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Janet  – (September 9, 2011 at 11:29 AM)  

I think these acers are good choices. Big expensive specimen plants are often slower to establish I find. And if you lose them it s a big hole in the wallet!

Christine @ the Gardening Blog  – (September 9, 2011 at 12:26 PM)  

For $20 they look great! I'm still looking for a nice one here - saw one today for about $70 that looked miserable and worse than your bargains. Glad I decided to wait.

Rock rose  – (September 9, 2011 at 2:32 PM)  

Great find. Wish I could think about buying plants- but it's too hot still.

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