Planting Bare Root Trees

Planting Bare root trees are so named because the plants are dug from the ground when they’re dormant ( and sometimes leafless), usually in fall, and their roots are shaken free of soil. Immediately upon receiving a bare root tree, I remove it from its packing to make sure the roots are still moist. Roots that seem at all dry need to be soaked in a bucket of water for about eight hours. It’s best to plant bare root trees as soon as possible.

When planting bare root trees, before digging a planting hole, stop a moment to assess whether the soil is ready for digging. Scoop up a handful and squeeze it. If it’s ready for digging, the soil will be just moist enough to crumble readily. If the soil is too wet, wait for it to become drier. Digging soil that is too wet, especially one that is high in clay, ruins its crumbly structure. If it’s too dry, water it.

Beyond the planting hole, I just spread these amendments on top of the ground; by the time roots extend this far, the lime or sulfur will have leached into the soil. Do not mix fertilizer into the planting hole, since it could burn new roots. And don’t add peat moss, compost, or other organic materials, or the roots won’t venture beyond the amended soil.