How to Plant Bare Root Trees

Bare root trees are great for shade, landscaping, and fruit. Although many people believe they are difficult to plant and grow, we don’t think so. Even if you are a beginner, we know you can do it all by yourself! Here is our helpful guide on how to plant bare root trees around your wooden garage.

How to Plant Bare Root Trees

What is a Bare Root Tree?

If you are new to the whole concept of how to plant bare root trees, don’t worry! We’re here to clear it up for you. Bare root trees are named after the fact that their roots are completely bare when you receive them. Once the tree loses its leaves (goes dormant), it is plucked from its hole, the soil is removed, and the roots are wrapped in moist sawdust.

9 Easy Steps for Planting

Step #1: Unpack the Tree

Usually bare root trees come through a mail order. That means they are packed in cardboard with the roots bundled. Be careful not to tear off any branches or roots during this process. If you do damage roots, go ahead and snip them off the tree completely. Doing this near your wooden garage can curb a lot of the mess.

Step #2: Keep the Roots Moist

To re-invigorate the roots, stick them in a bucket of lukewarm water for 6 to 8 hours. This way, they are less likely to experience the shock of transplant once they are in the ground. The drier the roots, the longer they should be soaked.

Keep the Roots Moist how to plant bare root tree

Step #3: Cut Unhelpful Roots

If there are any roots left that are diseased or dead, give them a clean cut. This will reduce the likelihood that the disease will spread. It also allows the roots to grow healthy faster!

Step #4: Dig the Hole

You want your hole to be 2 to 3 times the diameter of the roots. This will give them plenty of space to spread. The hole should be only as deep as to let the tree itself. No need to dig a deep hole. Instead, taper the soil so that the very middle where the plant sits is the deepest part. To give the roots an easier time, give the soil inside a nice few twists to loosen it up.

How to Plant Bare Root Trees dig hole

Step #5: Put the Tree in the Hole

The root collar needs to be level with the ground around the hole. This is the area where the tree trunk meets the roots. If you plant the tree too deep or too shallow it will tumble over. If you dug your hole too deep, put the original soil back. Unlike other plants, tree roots do not want to come in contact with organic material. Also, using fertilizer in the hole will burn and destroy roots.

Additionally, be sure to spread out the roots as you place them in the hole. This will ensure they all get enough water and nutrients to grow big and strong!

Step #6: Fill up the Hole

Now you get to refill the hole you just dug! Use the soil you dug out, and add more if necessary. When you are covering the roots, make sure you get soil in the nooks and crannies. Continue to tamp down the dirt as you shovel it back in. Air pockets won’t do! As you do this, make sure the trunk of the tree is still standing straight.

Step #7: Build a Water Basin

The next step is to build a water basin. Make it about 2 inches tall, completely surrounding the tree. Think of a moat that you want to fill with water every time you use your hose.

Step #8: Water the Tree

Take the first watering slowly. Continue to pour water in the basin, soaking the ground again and again. The best way to figure out how much water it needs is by using 1 gallon per foot of root spread. Although this may be difficult to know, go ahead and take an educated guess. Don’t stop watering on a weekly basis until its first season is over.

water the tree How to Plant Bare Root Trees

Step #9: Mulch

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Add mulch to the top, ensuring you don’t let any touch the tree trunk. If it does, your plant will experience rot.

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