Bare-Root Trees & Plants

What is a “bare-root” tree?

A bare-root tree is a tree without soil around the roots. We dig these trees in late fall, after they have entered a resting, or dormant, state. All of the soil is cleared away from the root system before the tree is stored/shipped. This procedure for harvesting our trees helps assure that when you plant it, the roots will make contact with your own garden soil and the tree will establish itself with less transplant shock. Your tree will likely arrive at your door without leaves, but it will “wake up” in the spring and start sprouting new growth.

Which tree size should I choose?

It is very important that you select the correct tree size for your growing space. You may have acreage, a subdivision yard or a city lot—whatever your space, we have the perfectly-sized tree for your property.

When your tree reaches full maturity, it will be one of these three sizes:


Grows to be about 2.5 – 3 m (approximately 8-10′) tall and wide. Provides a bounty of full-sized fruit in a small amount of space.


Grows to be about 3.5 – 4.5 m (approximately 12-15′) tall and wide. Produces the maximum crop per square foot of growing area. The majority of the fruit can be harvested from the ground, with no need for a ladder.

Standard & Unmarked

Grows to be at least 5.5 m (approximately 18′) tall and wide. Standard nectarine and peach trees grow to be 3.5-4.5 m (approximately 12-15′) tall and wide. Standard trees serve two purposes: they provide both fruit and shade.


How long will it take for a tree to bear fruit?

It depends, because the number of years-to-bear varies from one kind of tree to another (and sometimes even from one variety to another). Most often, it will take several years. Our trees are 1-2 years old when they are shipped to you. The number of “years to bear” begins when you plant the tree in your yard.

Fruit Tree TypeYears to Bear
Apple Trees2-5 Years
Apricot Trees 2-5 Years
Banana Plants2-3 Years
Sour Cherry Trees3-5 Years
Sweet Cherry Trees4-7 Years
Citrus Trees1-2 Years
Fig Trees1-2 Years
Mulberry Trees2-3 Years
Nectarine Trees2-4 Years
Olive Trees2-3 Years
Pawpaw Trees5-7 Years
Peach Trees2-4 Years
Pear Trees4-6 Years
Persimmon Trees3-4 Years
Plum Trees3-6 Years
Pomegranate Trees2-3 Years

How do I find my Hardiness Zone?

Canada’s Plant Hardiness Zones will tell you which plants will do well in your particular climate. Each zone is determined by the lowest average winter temperature recorded in a given area. Hardiness Zone information is included on all tree and plant product pages, so you know instantly whether a certain plant is likely to succeed where you live. Natural Resources Canada provides helpful options to find your zone:

Find your zone by province and municipality »

Find your zone using an interactive map »


Does my tree or plant really need a pollinating partner?

If your plant or tree is self-pollinating (also known as self-fertile), no. But if your tree is not self-pollinating, it needs a partner of a different variety (but with a similar blooming period) of the same species. Without such a pollinating partner, the tree will very likely not produce any fruit.

A pear tree cannot pollinate an apple tree because they are different species, and a late-blooming apple cannot pollinate an early-blooming apple—but two different apple varieties that both bloom mid-season, for example, will serve as good pollinators for one another.

What is the optimal spacing for a tree so it can serve as a pollinator?

Our horticulture experts advise that at least two viable pollen varieties be planted within a maximum of 15 m (approximately 50′) of each other.


Why is it important to prune my tree?

The life span, bearing potential and shape of the tree all rely upon proper pruning methods. Pruning is as important to your tree as food and water. We take pruning seriously, and you should, too!

All Stark Bro’s bare-root trees are expertly pruned just before they are hand-packaged and shipped to your door. After you have planted the tree in your yard, it’s important to continue pruning it yourself at least once each year.

How do I know when to prune my tree?

It really depends upon your geographic location. You can safely prune in either late fall or early winter, with the caveat that if you choose to prune in early winter, wait until the coldest weather has passed. Late winter is usually best for most areas of Canada.


When do Stark Bro’s trees start to ship?

At the point when most of our trees move into their dormant state, we begin digging and shipping trees. Planting a dormant tree helps protect it from a cold snap or a spell of bad weather, things that can threaten an actively growing tree.

All orders begin shipping in the spring, typically April through June. For additional information, please see our order and shipping policies.

Orders are shipped from the United States. Please expect longer than normal times between receiving your shipment confirmation and delivery.
Stark Bro’s Canada only ships to Canadian addresses (orders cannot be shipped to the province of British Columbia and Quebec).


What if I have to cancel my order?

Please call our Customer Support Team as soon as possible after you place the order. Orders cannot be cancelled once they have gone to the Shipping Department.

What should I do if I can’t plant right away?

We know it’s not always convenient or possible to transplant the moment your order arrives. If weather conditions are poor, or you don’t have time, please be sure to open the box. Other steps you should take if you need to delay planting:

  • Bare-root trees and plants: Inside the shipping box you will see strips of damp paper wrapped around the roots. Keep those paper strips damp (not wet) and wrap the plant or tree in the shipping plastic. Store in a cool, dark spot, like a basement, shed or unheated garage. The ideal storage temperature is about 4ºC, but if you can keep the item in a place below 15ºC, that will be satisfactory for a short time. Taking these steps will help to keep your live items dormant, and you can safely delay planting for as long as a week. If the delay will last longer than 10 days, then “heel in” your trees. Dig a sloping trench that is long enough and wide enough to hold the root portion of the tree. Gently place the tree in the trench, with the roots on the steep side. Cover the roots with soil and water well. As soon as you can, plant the item in its permanent
  • Small bare-root plants (e.g., strawberries, asparagus and rhubarb): Some small bare-root plants can be temporarily kept on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator, or in the vegetable drawer. Do not store the plants alongside any of your produce items unless the plants are fully sealed (e.g., in a zippered plastic storage bag). Double-bag your plants for double-safety, because fresh produce gives off natural gases that can be lethal to your new plants.
  • Potted plants and trees: Plants and trees that arrive in temporary pots should be treated like houseplants until the outdoor soil warms up enough to plant them. Water the plant when the soil is dry to the touch, and store it in a cool, dark spot to keep it dormant for as long as possible. When you are ready to plant, be sure to gradually get the plant used to being outdoors over the course of several days. This process is called “hardening off” and is a critical step to help ensure the success of the transplant.

My plants were wilted when they arrived. Are they dead?

When your trees and plants leave our warehouse, they spend two or more days in a dark box and are usually exposed to either higher or lower temperatures than they are accustomed to. Wilting is the self-protective way trees and plants respond to such conditions and is nothing to worry about. A little water will quickly restore them.