A bare-root tree is exactly what it sounds like – its roots are bare. They are not grown in a pot and will have no soil around their roots. Since these trees are shipped dormant, they are able to transplant well and experience less transpiration (water loss) immediately after planting. To help avoid shock, make sure to plant these bare-root plants at the appropriate time. Fall or early spring are recommended.

A good foundation is so important. When planting trees, be sure to choose your planting site wisely to avoid issues like water-saturated planting sites, underline or overhead wires, and other key factors.

The planting site should benefit the tree, above all.

Steps and Supplies for Planting a Bare-Root Tree:

  • A bucket or large container to soak your tree’s roots. They should soak for an hour or two before planting, but no longer than 24 hours.
  • A shovel for digging a planting hole that is large enough to accommodate the tree’s current root system, while giving it some room to grow. When planting, spread the roots outward to encourage growth.
  • Tree stakes to encourage verticle growth, especially with windy sites and dwarfing rootstocks.
  • Keep the graft union ( or “bump” in the lower part of the tree trunk) above ground by 2-3 inches.
  • When refilling the hole, use the native soil removed from the hole. Top dress with any soil amendments.
  • Once the planting hole is filled, gently tap out any air pockets.
  • Ensure that your newly planted tree is watered thoroughly.

*If planting on a hillside or slight incline, make a berm by pulling the remaining soil around the lower side of the tree. This will act as a levy to retain water.

Categories: Articles, Growing Guide

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