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If you're shopping for plantings to screen an unsightly air-conditioning compressor or to shield you from your next-door neighbor, you can prune the cost of trees and shrubs by buying containerized specimens instead of slightly taller—but much -pricier—balled-and-burlapped plants. A 3-foot oak leaf hydrangea that's been grown in the ground, for instance, costs about $75, while a 2-footer in a container is about $50. "The container plant will be fuller and healthier than the one that's had the root ball dug up and wrapped in burlap—and will quickly outgrow it," says Chicago landscape architect Douglas Hoerr. The savings multiply if the shrubs are professionally planted, since many landscapers base their fees on the cost of the plants.
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