The Green Review By Chris Zdorovtsov

What is a bare root tree?

Trees are typically purchased in three forms: as a bare-root, in a container, or balled and burlapped (B&B). Fruit and shade trees, flowering shrubs, roses, raspberries, strawberries and some annuals can be sold in a bare root form. Producers grow these plants in soil and remove them in the late fall. The plants are stored in a cool, humid area until planting time. When you receive a bare root plant there will not be soil around the roots. These plants are 40-70% cheaper, but a disadvantage is that the roots can quickly dry out while handling. A bare root tree may be a little slow to grow in the spring compared to a B&B or container plant.


How do you store and plant a bare root tree?

Try to plant a bare root tree within a day of its arrival. If you are unable to do so, keep the roots moist by protecting them with damp straw or a wet paper towel and cover them with plastic. Store the plants in a cold area (above freezing). Prior to planting, soak the roots for one to two hours. . Avoid exposing the roots to air. Make your planting hole large enough for the roots to be spread out, and then cover them with soil. It is important to remember to avoid planting a tree too deep. Use a stake to support the tree if it appears it will lean over instead of planting it deeper. Since the bare root plants are dormant, they will need less water than a plant that has leafed out. Keep the soil moist, but not too wet, to avoid killing the roots.

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