Plant Sizes and Vocabulary

Below is a guide to understanding Horsford's plant sizes and growing.

B&B = Balled and burlapped

The plant grew in the ground and was dug by hand or with a tree spade. It was then wrapped with burlap and large trees are also placed in a wire basket for transport and handling. We call these field-dug plants. Some shrubs like our field-grown lilac and most large evergreens are B&B.

Field crew digging trees in growing fields in early spring
We dig trees and shrubs in early spring that will be B&B plants
Horsford team member standing next to balled and burlapped shrubs that are waist high

B&B winterberry plants from our fields

CAL = Caliper

Caliper measures the largest diameter of a tree’s trunk. Trees four inches and larger are measured 12″ above the ground. We begin pricing trees by the caliper at 1.75″, up to 7″ and sometimes even larger. Trees measured in caliper are usually B&B.

Balled and burlapped flowering trees at nursery

Many B&B trees are measured in caliper

Single Stem/Treeform, Clump, and Multi-Stem

Terms used to indicate the number of trunks certain plants have. Single stem is a typical tree with one trunk. Clump means multiple single-stem trees were grown together to achieve a plant that has multiple trunks (ie: birch, serviceberry). Multi-stem shrubs or trees have a single base but they branch low to the ground (ie: magnolia). Multi-stem plants create density with multiple branches, versus growing individual suckers from the ground (ie: lilac).

Collection of single stem birch, clump birch, and multi stem magnolia photos

Single stem birch, clump birch, and multi-stem magnolia

GALLON Sizes and Other Containers

We grow other shrubs and plants in a range of containers. See the numerical size for details. Some containers can be more squat, others are deeper so your hole size for planting may vary.


We accept our own containers back for reuse. We cannot accept containers from other garden centers since they can differ in size or be different weights of material that don’t hold up in reuse.


Pot 'N Pot is a growing system at the nursery where container trees are grown within vessels the same size and submerged in the ground (think, a pot in a pot). The in-ground system moderates temperature and moisture reliably, and root pruning bags prevent circling roots.


Common sizes from smallest to largest:
-Plugs – select perennial groundcovers like vinca and thyme
-3″ pots – annual flowers, vegetable starts, kitchen herbs, select perennials
-4-packs – annual flowers, vegetable starts, kitchen herbs
-Flat – used to describe 18, 3″ pots or cell trays of 50 small plugs
-1-gallon – most perennials
-2-gallon – larger or faster-growing perennials like peonies, grasses and hosta
-3-gallon – shrubs, trees
-5-gallon – shrubs, trees
-7-gallon – most fruit trees, trees
-10-gallon – trees, some fruit trees
-15-gallon – trees, some fruit trees

Rows of fruit trees in pot-in-pot growing system
Pot 'N Pot growing system at the nursery
Team member with perennial grasses in two sizes
Perennial grasses in one-gallon and 3" pot containers
Team member holding astilbe in perennial growing area
Perennial astilbe in one-gallon containers

"How will I get it home?"
What to expect when transporting your plant:

B&B - some smaller B&B shrubs may fit in an SUV, B&B trees require a pickup truck. Please bring a tarp when it’s time to bring your plant home. They protect branches from rubbing and leaves from falling off while driving. We have tarps available for purchase. We’re happy to help you load and tie up your plants for transport.

Team member with large balled and burlapped trees
B&B trees require a pickup. We can help you tie them up for transport.
Containers – those up to 5-gallon typically fit in a regular vehicle. Seven, 10 and 15-gallon containers may be able to fit in an SUV, but it just depends on the species, time of year, and size of vehicle. It also depends on the number of trees or plants you’re bringing home.
Team member with fruit trees in 7-gallon containers
Fruit trees in 7-gallon containers
Team member with container shrubs
Flowering shrubs in containers
As always, it is best to visit the nursery with your vehicle to double-check. We do offer delivery and planting services.