Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show: Planting bare root stock
What’s bare root? These are shrubs, trees and some perennials that you buy with no soil around the roots. They’re smaller, cheaper and easy to plant. However they do need immediate attention.
You can see, some can look pretty puny. Give these little guys a chance!
bare root tree roots soaking in water
When you get your bare root stock of trees and/or shrubs, let the roots soak overnight. For perennials, you can let them soak a couple of hours. Dig your hole at least twice as wide as the root system but only as deep as the plant was grown at the nursery. You don’t want the plant too deep, just up to the point where the crown and roots connect.
Mound some soil in the middle of the hole to place your plant on top of. Spread the roots out horizontally, this is where those roots will get their water, oxygen and nutrients. (eventually they will grow deeper on their own). Fill the hole with soil, gently work the soil around the roots while holding your plant steady. I know, you need 3 hands for this!
bare root planting
Gently pack the soil down with your feet, hands, and/or water. You want your bareroot stock watered thoroughly and not let it dry out. Water often during the first year. Do NOT fertilize right away. Bareroot roots are more vulnerable to fertilizer burn. You can fertilize with a weak solution in 4 weeks.
Bareroot stock CAN be kept for a week IF you place the roots in soil, keeping them moist and out of direct sunlight.
The above picture is of Alpine Currant that I bought bareroot. This was about 4 years later. I never cut them back, they were about 4 1/2 feet tall and made a great friendly fence.