Planting A Bare-Root Tree

plant-bare-root-tree

Steps to Planting a Bare Root Fruit Tree

During the cold winter months the planting season is quietly underway.  Arriving at LFP in late January will be bare-root fruit trees.  A wide variety of apples, peaches, cherries, plums, pears, figs, cane berries, grapes, kiwis and even blueberries will round out this year’s selection.  These trees, shrubs and vines arrive while they are still dormant, bundled together and without any soil.  Upon arrival the bundles are separated and placed in a bin of sawdust until they are purchased.  At which point they are pulled out of the sawdust bin and placed in a bag to protect the bare roots.  The customer goes home with something that looks like a stick.  As a result, planting these sleeping plants is a bit different than planting ones actively growing in containers.  Here’s how you do it:

  • Soak the tree roots in water for a couple of hours before planting.  This will hydrate the roots and get them ready for life in the ground.
  • Dig a planting hole large enough to allow the tree roots to spread and deep enough to plant the root system.
  • Work Frugal Pro Mix or Lane Garden Compost into the native soil.  This will create a transition zone for the roots as they grow through the soil.
  • Mound a cone of soil in the middle of the hole (see example/image).
  • Hold the tree vertical in the planting hole.
  • Spread the roots around the soil cone.
  • Keep the graft bump (just above the root zone) out of the soil.
  • Refill the hole with Nature’s Best and native soil.
  • Gently tamp down the soil around the tree root to remove air pockets.
  • Generously water the tree around the roots.
  • Prune the top of the tree back by about 1/3 to compensate for root loss.
  • If planting on a slope, mound the soil around the lower side of the tree then create a berm to catch and hold more of the water.

Follow these steps to ensure they grow strong and healthy.