Bare Root Trees and Shrubs

A bare root tree.

Bare root trees and shrubs are plants that are shipped without soil around their roots. This can make it less expensive to ship them and the recipient can easily check the roots for any problems upon arrival. Most bare rootstock is shipped in the spring to your home, taking into consideration your hardiness zone, so they may be planted quickly after you receive them.

How to Plant Bare Root Trees and Shrubs

Since bare root trees and shrubs are shipped without soil, preparing them for planting is fairly easy. The following steps will get your plants off to a great start:

  1. Unpack the plant and remove any packing material that is around the roots. Place the roots of the plant into a bucket of water for a minimum of three to six hours. Make sure that the roots are not allowed to dry out, even if you have to wait a day to plant them.
  2. Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the plant's roots. This will allow the roots to spread out easily and become established.
  3. Place the plant carefully in the hole, spread the roots gently around and begin to carefully fill the hole. You may need to mound up the dirt under the roots so that there is no air space beneath the plant.
  4. Continue filling in the hole and tamp the soil gently around the plant once the hole has been filled.
  5. Stake the plant if the roots are short and brittle to give stability to the new plant.
  6. Water the plant thoroughly until the soil is moist, but not soaking wet.
  7. Continue to water the plant to keep it moist, especially during the first few weeks until it is established. It is very important to keep it well watered during the first year so it will thrive.

Types of Bare Root Trees

There are quite a few trees that can be shipped easily as bare rootstock. Most bare root trees are shipped when they are dormant and will easily acclimate themselves once they are planted. The following is list of some popular trees that can be shipped to your home for planting:

  • English Walnut
  • Chinese Chestnut
  • Hazelnut (filbert)
  • Pawnee Pecan
  • Posey Pecan
  • Missouri Hardy Pecan
  • Apple
  • Cherry
  • Pear
  • Peach
  • Plum
  • Apricot
  • Quince
  • Persimmon
  • Nectarine
  • Witch Hazel
  • Dogwood
  • Magnolia
  • Horse Chestnut
  • Crabapple
  • Maple
  • Willow
  • Oak
  • Birch
  • Linden
  • Locust
  • Gingko

Bare Root Shrubs

Bare root shrubs are shipped in the same way as their counterparts, the bare root trees. They should be treated the same upon arrival and promptly placed in water since they are usually very small and can dry out quickly. Favorite bare root shrubs include the following:

  • Lilac
  • Mockorange
  • Quince
  • Smoke Bush
  • Spirea
  • Viburnum
  • Weigela
  • Pussy Willow
  • Hibiscus
  • Forsythia
  • Burning Bush

Where to Find Bare Root Plants

There are many places on the Internet that sell bare root trees and shrubs, but it is important to note that most of them ship in the spring and rarely ship any plants in the fall. Check out each website to find out what their terms are- the majority will accept orders now, then bill you when the plants ship in the spring.

Bare Root Is the Way to Go

Purchasing bare root plants is an economical way to have these plants shipped to you. They are easy to care for once they arrive, yet should be planted as soon as possible to ensure that they thrive. Just about any bare root tree or shrub can be sent through the mail successfully because the plants are dormant when they are mailed. Most nurseries will even pre-prune your plants so they'll get off to a healthy start. To ensure the best selection for your landscape needs, order the plants in late winter for spring delivery.

Bare Root Trees and Shrubs