Trees – Form

Trees are usually supplied in one of the following forms:

Seedlings
Cuttings
Transplants
Whips
Feathered
Maidens
Standards
Semi-Mature
Multi-stemmed
Bushy

Trees may also be specified as particular SHAPES, which are produced by training in the nursery, (e.g. Fan, Pleached, etc.) and these are described in the OTHER DETAILS section

Seedlings
Seedlings are defined as woody plants which have been grown from seed and not transplanted. Seedlings may be undercut without being transplanted. Transplants, which are older and typically more robust, are more widely used in landscape planting than seedlings.

Cuttings
Cuttings are defined as woody plants from shoots, stems or roots of a mother plant. Plants remain Cuttings until they are transplanted.  Cuttings are usually grown from hardwood stem cuttings, planted out in late autumn and sold after growing for one or two years. Populus spp. and Salix spp. are typically grown from hardwood cuttings and bought as one or two year old plants for landscape planting.  Salix spp. can also be bought as unrooted cuttings or wands from specialist suppliers.

Transplants
Transplants are defined as seedlings or cuttings which have been transplanted at least once. The term usually refers to plants which are two or three years old.  In transplanting, the main roots are cut back to encourage a fibrous root system and the transplant is replanted at a wider spacing.  Undercutting severs the main roots in situ, thereby encouraging the development of a fibrous root system without transplanting.  Transplants are very popular for extensive landscape planting of seed or cutting propagated trees, e.g. Alnus glutinosa, Quercus robur, Betula pendula, Crataegus monogyna and others.

Whips
Whips are defined as transplants consisting of only a single slender stem, without significant side branching.  The form of a whip reflects the natural characteristics of the plant.  Some species are well-branched from a young age (e.g. Betula pendula, Alnus glutinosa) whereas others are more ‘whip-like’ (e.g. Acer platanoides, Prunus avium).  The term usually refers to woody plants which are between two and four years old.  The nursery practice of removing side branching to create a whip is to be discouraged and it is recommended that species which are naturally feathery are specified as feathered trees, at a small size.
Feathered trees are defined as trees usually with an upright central leading shoot and a stem furnished with evenly spread and balanced lateral growths down to near ground level, according to species. The form of a feathered tree reflects the natural characteristics of the plant.  Some species are well-branched from a young age (e.g. Betula pendula, Alnus glutinosa) whereas others are more ‘whip-like’ (e.g. Acer platanoides, Prunus avium). There is no age limit.

Maidens
A maiden tree can be defined as a low worked woody plant in which the scion has grown for one season. The term maiden usually refers to fruit trees which have been propagated vegetatively by grafting a bud or scion on to a rootstock.  The term could equally apply to other commercially-grown ornamental trees which are cultivars or clones and are propagated by budding or grafting.

Standards
Standard trees are defined as trees with a substantially upright stem, clean of lateral growths, supporting a branched crown.  The crown may have a central leader or branched head, and branching appropriate for species or cultivar, with no main branches crossing in the crown.  Standards are available in a range of accepted forms which relates to size: Half, Light, Standard, Selected, Heavy, Extra Heavy.   Weeping trees are also available in Standard Form, but in this case, the OVERALL HEIGHT does not apply.

Semi-Mature
Semi-mature trees are defined as trees with an overall height in excess of 5 metres and/or stem girth measure of 20 centimetres or larger.  Semi-mature trees are likely to be more than ten years old at the time of sale.

Multi-stemmed
Multi-stemmed trees are defined as trees with two or more main stems arising from or near ground level, growing from one root system.  Sometimes two or more trees with separate root systems are grown together to form a ‘multi-stem’.  This may be specified but must be indicated by the grower since it differs from the definition.

Bushy
Bushy trees are defined as trees with many main stems arising from or near ground level, growing from one root system that have been transplanted and grown on to a size in excess of 2.5 metres. These trees can be useful for giving immediate scale and mass in a ‘natural’ /coppiced form.  Typically, these species can be found in bushy form: Acer campestre, Alnus glutinosa, Salix alba, Crataegus spp. and others.