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Bareroot Facts

Bareroot Tree Planting

What does that mean?

  • Bare Root trees are trees that are dug while dormant and stored without any soil around their roots.

  • Trees can be bought "bare root," and then planted directly into the ground.

What are the advantages of planting bare root trees?

  • Bare root trees are able to acclimate to soil quicker once planted.

  • More root mass. Bare root trees can have up to 200% more roots than B&B or container trees, depending on the soil and transplanting history at the nursery.

  • Lower cost. Without extra labor and materials, bare root trees cost seller and buyer less.

  • Easier planting. A young tree without soil weighs little, so it easy to move and plant.

There must be some disadvantages!

  • Less work time. Once they leave the nursery, bare root trees need to get in the ground within a week at the longest. With no soil, the roots can dry out and die if left exposed for any time.

  • Narrower planting window. Bare root trees need good soil moisture, so mid spring (before budbreak) and mid fall (after leaf fall) are the only two possible planting times.

  • Restricted availability. Some species may not be available bare root, and some nurseries may not have trees available for bare root retail sale at all.

What are the best techniques to follow for tree planting?

  • Use any technique you can to reduce the time the tree roots are bare.

  • If possible, dip tree roots in a slurry of a hydrogel (a synthetic water-absorbing compound, many brands available) or muddy water, then store them in large, pleated plastic bags until planting.

  • If no hydrogel is used, soak the tree roots in water for 4hrs before planting.

  • Keep trees covered, shaded, and moist until actually put in the ground.

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