Plant Information

Understanding Our Plant Material

We offer three different types of plant material at McKay Nursery Company. Containers, Bare Root, and Balled and Burlap. Each of these plant sizes have different physical forms, plant and care needs.The reason we don’t have a standard shipping season across the board is to protect the health and happiness of our plants. This allows us to ship them at your ideal planting time to cause less transplant shock and stress on the plants.


We try to offer various sizes and price points for each plant, but depending on weather, staffing and crop health, our size offerings will vary year-to-year or even season-to-season. If you live nearby Waterloo, WI and prefer smaller "FedEx" sizes to be shipped local delivery instead of FedEx we can definitely do that, just be sure to click "local delivery" as your shipping method when checking out.


Below is a chart of our container sizes and their coordinating shipping methods. All of our containers are potted at our nursery by our team of trained professionals. Our container team is passionate about offering a healthy plant filled with our unique nutrient packed soil mix. Below are some images of our container sizes. Keep in mind these are a guide and no two plants are identical. Variables such as time of year (season), age of the plant, and variety of plant all affect the size and scope of the final product.

Container Sizes & Examples

Ship to Home (FedEx)

  • #1 Container
  • #2 Container
  • #3 Container
  • #5 Container
  • Quarts
  • Trays

Local Delivery/Pick-up

  • #5 Container
  • #7 Container
  • #10 Container
  • #15 Container
  • #20 Container
  • #25 Container

#1 Container Perennial (Spring)

#3 Container Evergreen

Quart-size Evergreens

#3 Container Shrub

#5 Grow Bag Crabapple Tree

#7 Container Single Stem Japanese Maple Tree

#20 Container Shade Tree

#20 Container Birch Tree

How We Ship Container Plants


Depending on the time of year you receive your plants they may have flowers and/or leaves, fall color or no leaves at all. All of our plants are typically pruned before shipment to reduce damage, encourage new growth and to help with transplant shock. Be sure to always plant as soon as possible.


What you might see upon delivery of container plants:


• There are some later blooming varieties especially perennials/grasses and they may be dormant in the container.

• If you receive plants in fall they may have already begun their winter dormancy.


Because we're a northern grown nursery, our plants may look different than plants in your area, especially if you live in the south. The most important thing to note is that what matters most is the root system. Because we grow and care for every plant that we ship, we know that there is a strong root system happening no matter what is or is not showing above the soil.

Example: Compact Korean Azalea. Both pictures are of the same plant but in different cycles of their life.

Early spring leaves are starting to emerge

Late spring after leaves emerge blooms appear

Bare Root

Bare root plant sizes are some of our most cost effective items available. Below is a chart of our current bare root sizes and their coordinating shipping methods. These plants have no soil structure on their roots and are completely bare. It's important to note that the feet and inches listed below account for the length of the plant above ground, not including the root structure.


All of our bare root plants are dug fresh from our nursery fields (watch this video on our YouTube channel to learn more about our process on bare root digging). Our field staff has perfected the process behind transferring healthy bare root material directly from our fields to your front door. Below are some images of our bare root nursery stock. Keep in mind these are meant as a guide and no two plants are identical. Variables such as time of year (season), age of the plant, and variety of plant all affect the size and scope of the final product.

Bare Roots Sizes & Examples

Ship to Home (FedEx)

  • #1 Bare Root (crown)
  • #1.5 Bare Root (crown)
  • 6" Tall Bare Root
  • 9" Tall Bare Root
  • 12" Tall Bare Root
  • 15" Tall Bare Root
  • 18" Tall Bare Root
  • 2' Tall Bare Root
  • 3' Tall Bare Root
  • 4' Tall Bare Root
  • 5' Tall Bare Root

Local Delivery/Pick-up

  • 6' Tall Bare Root
  • 8' Tall Bare Root
  • 9' Tall Bare Root
  • 1 1/4" Caliper Bare Root
  • 1 1/2" Caliper Bare Root
  • 1 3/4" Caliper Bare Root
  • 2" Caliper Bare Root
  • 2 1/2" Caliper Bare Root

Bare Root Crowns

4' Bare Root Tree (Fall)

9" Bare Root Shrub

2-3' Tall Bare Root Shrub

1 1/2" Caliper Bare Root Tree

2" Caliper Bare Root Tree

How We Ship Bare Root Plants

We take great care of our bare root material and grade each one by hand to be sure they meet our size specifications. You can see in the video above we take packing our plants seriously to ensure your plants arrive healthy and in good condition. Our process allows the root system to remain wet and intact for the best transplant success. All of these plants are dug in the fall and then stored in our cooler until they need to ship that fall or the following spring. We sell out of our spring inventory and then shut off our coolers from July to August and start the process all over again that fall. Although these plants may look dead upon arrival they all have a thriving and healthy root system. They might take longer to establish in the landscape typically taking 6 weeks or more to show signs of growth. This is all normal! You can be confident that our bare root plants have healthy root systems and will grow vigorously once they’re established in the ground.

Balled & Burlap (B&B)

Below is a chart of our current B&B sizes. All of these plants are too large to be shipped by FedEx at this time. We only deliver these by our internal delivery team within a small radius outside Waterloo, WI. These plants have a large, heavy root ball with soil that has burlap wrapped around the base. We have been providing balled and burlap products since 1897 and take great pride in our process and the health of our plants.

Balled & Burlap Sizes & Examples

Local Delivery/Pick-up

  • 2' Tall B&B
  • 3' Tall B&B
  • 4' Tall B&B
  • 5' Tall B&B
  • 6' Tall B&B
  • 7' Tall B&B
  • 8' Tall B&B
  • 9' Tall B&B 
  • 1 1/4" Caliper B&B
  • 1 1/2" Caliper B&B
  • 2" Caliper B&B
  • 2 1/2" Caliper B&B
  • 3" Caliper B&B
  • 3 1/2" Caliper B&B

2" Caliper B&B Trees

3" Caliper Size B&B Trees

5-6' Tall B&B Shrubs (Late Fall/Winter)

5' Tall B&B Evergreens

3' Tall B&B Shrub

Loading for Delivery

How Does Balled & Burlap (B&B) Mean?

Caliper Sizing

If you're unfamiliar with caliper sizing, it is a way of measuring the plant by the trunk's diameter instead of measuring by height. This measurement is taken approximately 6 inches up from ground level.


Regardless of caliper or height, we offer a 1-year warranty on all plant sizes that you purchase online. The warranty is a cost-effective solution to offer you peace of mind and insurance on your plants that they will be protected.

Our Trucks and Delivery Drivers

Our friendly drivers will happily deliver our healthy nursery stock to your home. However, our drivers will use their discretion as to the safety of the driveway for themselves and our equipment. If they deem it unsafe they will do their best to unload the plants in the next safest and closest location possible. This can happen due to weather, road conditions and unforeseen circumstances.