Wednesday, February 8, 2012

When, What, Why + How; Tips for Planting Bare-Root Trees


“Lifeless looking sticks with roots” 
Bare-root planting is one of the basic ways to plant woodies. While the plants might not look like they are alive, dormant plants with their roots exposed will provide great success in the landscape. Bare-root plants are pre-dug and stored (refrigerated) while dormant, without any soil around their roots, and planted before spring growth begins. Typical subjects are fruit trees, ornamental trees, roses, cane fruit, perennials and berries.
  1. Only one time of year when bare-root plants can be planted, and that time is NOW. Dormant winter season 
  2. Few extra months in-ground give bare-root plants an edge on establishment before the heat of spring and summer 
  3.  Affordable! Low prices. Bare root is an economical way to purchase sizeable trees and shrubs. Best prices when buying bare-root 
  4. Simple to handle and light weight, with savings in time, labor and materials. Bare root plants are easier/cheaper to ship and transport 
  5.  Adapt more quickly and take off faster than plants bought in container soil and potting mix 
  6.   Roots aren’t jammed into too-small pots by a nursery and don't circle
  7. Trim off damaged roots, but do not clip healthy roots, even if that would make planting easier 
  8. Roots can extend out into the soil naturally; do not circle inside a pot


Choosing Bare-root Trees
The caveat for bare-root plants is that the trees must be well cared for prior to shipping: NEVER let them  dry out. The cambium layer beneath the bark should be green and vibrant. To avoid problems that occurred before buying the plant, ask for a guarantee that the plant will leaf out this coming Spring. Selecting a tree: 
  1.  Roots are evenly distributed around the trunk 
  2.  Main roots strong and not broken 
  3.  Branches or canes nicely spaced around the trunk or graft union; good form 
  4. Roots and branches are not broken or damaged 
  5. No rotten smell (earthy smell is fine) 
  6. No mold, mildew or fungus growth 
  7.  Roots, crown, rhizomes should feel heavy, cool and damp 
  8.  No shriveled, dried-out roots

Bare-root Planting Season
Dormant plants are planted in winter
  1.   Plant before any signs of growth begin 
  2.   Dig the holes first, before purchasing the trees
  3.  Wide, shallow holes twice as wide as needed to accommodate the root system 
  4.  Snip off any broken roots (or branches) with sharp pruners 
  5.  Soak the roots of woody plants in a bucket of water for between two hours up to overnight; soak perennials an hour or less 
  6.  Add a growth stimulant, such as aerated compost tea, mycorrhizal inoculants or Superthrive rooting hormones to the water to kick-start root growth 
  7. When planting, build a cone of soil up from the bottom of the hole and spread the roots out evenly around it 
  8. Fill in completely with the backfill soil and pat with the back of the shovel 
  9. Water-in thoroughly to remove any air pockets 
  10. If staking is needed, pound stakes into undisturbed soil outside root zone 
  11. Soak at least once a week (if it doesn’t rain that week) for at least three months 
  12. Wait at least a month before applying any chemical fertilizer to avoid burning tender new roots and root hairs

Crabapple LandscapExperts can easily find and plant bare-root ornamental trees and shrubs, fruit trees and cane fruits for the properties you manage. 

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