Bare Root Planting – Tips and Advice

Over the dormant period, many of you may well be planting bare root trees, shrubs or herbaceous perennials. I myself am awaiting a delivery from the Agroforestry Research Trust with some additions for my forest garden.

Purchasing bare root specimens, rather than pot grown ones can be a more affordable way to purchase new plants for your property. It can be especially beneficial if you plan on planting a number of species, or are creating an expansive area of new planting, such as a new forest garden or hedgerow scheme.

Bare root plants are placed while the plants are in dormancy. As the name suggests, they do not come in pots surrounded by soil, but with their roots bare.

Bare root plants typically come with their roots wrapped in something to retain moisture. And keeping bare roots moist is a top concern and key priority before you can get them in the ground.

When bare root plants arrive, check them over thoroughly to make sure the roots have not dried out. It can often be a good idea to give them a good soak to revive them after their journey to reach you.

Plant out bare root plants as quickly as possible after they arrive.

Make sure that you have prepared your growing area, so that you can plant out your bare root plants right away. Consider adding organic matter and enriching and improving the soil prior to planting to get your new additions off to a good start.

Dig holes amply large enough to accommodate the roots of the plant. Place the new addition in the base of the hole (with added organic matter or materials to improve drainage where necessary). Sprinkle mycorrhizal fungi where this is deemed to be beneficial. Then fill back the soil gently but firmly around the new addition.

Add an organic mulch around the plants, but take care not to mound the material around the trunk or stem which may cause rotting.

Water the new plant or plants in well, then keep them well watered through dry spells during the first growing season as they become established.

If you would like some help to decide which bare root plants to order, and would like to plan your garden, please do get in touch for a permaculture design.

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