Is it a good idea to order plants from a catalog or Web site?

March 25, 2010|By Ellen Nibali | Special to The Baltimore Sun

Question: Is ordering plants from catalogs or the Internet a good idea?

Answer: Beware plants from the West Coast that may harbor Sudden Oak Death disease (Phytophthora ramorum). Last year an infected nursery shipped 28 plants to Maryland customers. Twenty-two were tracked down, tested, and an infected witchhazel was found and destroyed. Not only oaks but a vast number of plant species are killed by this disease. If it gets loose here, it would devastate the East Coast. To avoid that possibility, buy from local nurseries and garden centers. When buying online, order from a region that has a climate similar to ours. Most shipped plants are of excellent quality, in great condition, and packed with loving care. Talk to satisfied friends and gardeners for their recommendations.

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