- Author: Dustin Blakey
In this case I was surprised to get a confirmation and an expected ship date of March 1. This is about 6 to 7 weeks earlier than I planned to plant. No worries, but it did cause me to think about yet another issue we have to deal with in the Eastern Sierra: our ZIP Code.
Most of the population in our "935" ZIP codes lives in warmer places. Even Disneyland thinks we're Southern California! When you place an order for plants online or through mail-order, know that they may ship your plants a bit sooner than you would like.
Many nurseries do offer the option to schedule a date for arrival. If you are purchasing live plants or sensitive materials like begonias, elephant ears or tropicals, you may want to use this option. If you do not let them know your preferred arrival date, odds are they will come earlier than you expect. Be ready to deal with them when they arrive.
If it is too early too plant, you will need to protect the plant from drying out and from getting too cold. That doesn't necessarily mean turn up the heat and force it to grow, either. If the plant breaks dormancy and begins to grow, you will have to be especially careful to protect from frosts. Most deciduous trees and shrubs lose their cold tolerance once they begin to grow.
If you do not see an explicit option to schedule delivery, just make a note in the "comments" section or order form that you live in the mountains and to ship at a time appropriate for Reno, NV and you should be fine.
This will be most important to sensitive plants. Most mail-order and online nurseries have instructions on what to do when your plants arrive. If not, contact them.
For seeds, you can disregard this advice entirely.