It is the best time of year for bare root plants

It is the best time of year for bare root plants


Depending on where you stand on the color orange, you either love the look of a persimmon tree in June or you hate it. I am firmly in the devotee camp. Now that the tree's leaves have fallen, its cheerful fruits shine like lanterns. My persimmon is cutting a cut that I can hardly harvest.

But good news: This is also the best time to plant one, thanks to the bare root plant season starting this month.

Bare-root plants have been dug up while dormant from the soil in which they established, washed without soil, and sold with completely bare roots.Credit: iStock

While nurseries began selling some bare-root roses in April, the full range of deciduous fruit trees, ornamental trees and shrubs only appear in June. By mid-August, after which these plants will resume active growth, they will only be sold in potted soil, so it pays to move quickly to take advantage of what is a relatively short window.

Thanks to how inexpensive a plant without soil or a pot can be, up to half the price of its potted counterpart, bare root plants are an especially affordable option for those establishing mass plantings.

They also offer environmental benefits by being grown in the field (rather than relying on potting mix), lighter to transport and require less plastic. Plus, you get more cultivar variety, especially when it comes to fruit trees.


As the name suggests, bare root plants have been dug up while dormant from the soil where they established, washed without soil and sold with completely bare roots. As unpromising as they may seem, like a branching stick with roots, if you plant them right, they will quickly adapt to their new situation.

Although they are usually sold by mail order, some nurseries store their bare roots in display beds of moist compost, letting customers slide in their chosen plants. The roots are then protected in a wad of moistened sawdust and wrapped, like a present, with paper and string.

But once you have your bare root plant in the house, there is little time to spend on it. Bare root plants should be planted as soon as possible, never allowing the roots to dry out, which is why some nurseries choose to macerate their bare roots before selling them. Bare root plants may be dormant, but they are not bulletproof.


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