Bare root plants, also known as dormant plants, are a popular choice among gardeners due to their convenience and affordability. Unlike potted plants, bare root plants are sold with their roots exposed, without any soil or containers. This unique feature allows for easy shipping and transplanting, making them a preferred option for many gardening enthusiasts.
When bare root plants arrive, they may seem vulnerable and fragile due to their bare state. However, this actually works to their advantage as it allows for quicker establishment and improved root development once planted. While it is essential to handle them with care, bare root plants have the potential to thrive and grow vigorously if given the proper treatment.
Now that we understand the unique qualities of bare root plants, let’s delve into some key takeaways on what to do with them when they arrive. From proper storage to planting techniques, we will explore the crucial steps that will ensure the success of your bare root plants in their new home. So, let’s get started!
What you should know
1. Soak bare root plants in water before planting them to rehydrate them and encourage healthy growth. This step is crucial to prevent the plants from suffering dehydration and transplant shock. Aim to keep the roots submerged for several hours or overnight, but avoid leaving them in water for more than 24 hours.
2. Prioritize planting bare root plants as soon as possible after they arrive to avoid prolonged exposure to air and potential damage to the roots. If immediate planting is not feasible, temporarily store the plants in a cool location – ideally around 32-40°F – and keep their roots moist, either by wrapping them in damp newspaper or covering them with damp sawdust.
3. Prepare the planting site by removing weeds, cultivating the soil, and ensuring it is well-drained. Avoid planting bare root plants in overly wet or compacted soil, as this can lead to root rot and hinder their establishment. Additionally, consider adding organic matter or compost to enhance the soil’s fertility and moisture retention capabilities.
4. When planting bare root plants, carefully spread out their roots in the planting hole, ensuring they are not twisted or densely packed. Position the plants at the appropriate depth, typically indicated by a soil line or the depth they were previously planted. Backfill the hole with soil, gently firming it around the roots to eliminate air pockets. Avoid planting too deeply or covering the crown or bud union with soil.
5. After planting, provide the newly planted bare root plants with adequate watering and ongoing care. Water the plants thoroughly immediately after planting to settle the soil and ensure good root-to-soil contact. Monitor the moisture levels in the soil and water as needed, always aiming to keep the roots consistently moist but not waterlogged. Apply mulch around the base of the plants to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and protect the roots from temperature fluctuations. Ongoing regular watering, pruning, and fertilization (if necessary) will help ensure the plants’ healthy development and long-term success.
What should be done with bare root plants when they arrive?
When bare root plants arrive, it is crucial to handle them with care and follow specific steps to ensure their successful growth and establishment. Here is a detailed guide on what to do with bare root plants when they arrive:
Inspect the Plants
Before proceeding with any further steps, it is essential to carefully inspect the bare root plants upon arrival. Check for any signs of damage or disease, such as broken stems, mold, or discoloration. If you notice any issues, contact the supplier immediately to discuss potential replacements or refunds. It is crucial to start with healthy plants for optimal growth.
Additionally, examine the roots of the plants. They should appear moist and firm, not dry or mushy. If the roots seem dry, soak them in water for a few hours before planting. On the other hand, if the roots appear excessively wet or slimy, it may indicate rot, and the plants should not be planted.
By thoroughly inspecting the bare root plants upon arrival, you can ensure their quality and take necessary actions if any problems are detected.
Prepare the Planting Site
Proper preparation of the planting site is crucial for the successful growth of bare root plants. Start by selecting an appropriate location that suits the specific requirements of the plants. Consider factors such as sunlight exposure, soil type, and drainage.
Clear the planting area of any weeds, rocks, or debris that may hinder the growth of the plants. Loosen the soil using a garden fork or tiller to improve its structure and allow for better root penetration. Incorporate organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to enrich the soil and provide essential nutrients.
It is also important to ensure proper drainage in the planting area. If the soil tends to retain water, consider creating raised beds or adding organic matter to improve drainage.
Planting the Bare Root Plants
Once the inspection and preparation steps are complete, it is time to plant the bare root plants. Follow these guidelines for successful planting:
1. Dig a hole: Dig a hole that is wide and deep enough to accommodate the roots of the plant. The hole should be slightly larger than the spread of the roots.
2. Spread the roots: Gently spread out the roots in the hole, ensuring they are not tangled or cramped. This allows the roots to establish and grow properly.
3. Backfill the hole: Gradually backfill the hole with soil, firming it gently around the roots. Avoid compacting the soil too tightly, as it may hinder root growth.
4. Water thoroughly: After planting, water the bare root plants thoroughly to settle the soil and eliminate any air pockets around the roots. This promotes good root-to-soil contact.
5. Mulch: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or straw, around the base of the plants. Mulching helps retain moisture, suppresses weed growth, and regulates soil temperature.
Remember to provide adequate water and regular care to the newly planted bare root plants, ensuring their healthy establishment and growth.
Tips for Success
Here are some additional tips to enhance the success of planting bare root plants:
1. Timing: Plant bare root plants as soon as possible after they arrive. If immediate planting is not feasible, store them in a cool, dark place and keep the roots moist.
2. Pruning: Trim any damaged or excessively long roots before planting. Also, prune the top growth of the plants to balance the root-to-shoot ratio, promoting better establishment.
3. Support: Consider staking or providing support for taller bare root plants to prevent them from bending or breaking in strong winds.
4. Fertilization: Avoid applying excessive fertilizer during planting, as it may burn the delicate roots. Instead, incorporate a slow-release fertilizer into the soil during preparation.
5. Watering: Regularly water the newly planted bare root plants, especially during dry periods. Ensure the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged.
By following these tips and guidelines, you can maximize the success of planting bare root plants and enjoy healthy, thriving vegetation in your garden.
FAQs: What To Do With Bare Root Plants When They Arrive
1. How should I handle bare root plants when they arrive?
When your bare root plants arrive, it is important to handle them with care. Start by carefully unpacking the plants, being cautious not to damage any delicate roots. Inspect the plants for any signs of damage or disease. If you notice any issues, contact the seller or supplier immediately. Keep the plants moist by soaking the roots in water for a few hours before planting. If you are not ready to plant them right away, store them in a cool and dark place, ensuring the roots remain moist.
2. Can I plant bare root plants directly into the ground?
Yes, you can plant bare root plants directly into the ground. However, it is important to prepare the soil properly before planting. Remove any weeds or grass from the planting area and loosen the soil to allow for better root penetration. Dig a hole that is wide and deep enough to accommodate the roots without bending or crowding them. Gently spread out the roots in the hole and backfill with soil, ensuring the plant is at the same depth it was previously grown. Water the plant thoroughly after planting to help settle the soil and eliminate any air pockets.
3. How long can I store bare root plants before planting?
Bare root plants can be stored for a short period of time before planting, but it is best to plant them as soon as possible. If you need to store them, make sure to keep the roots moist and prevent them from drying out. Store the plants in a cool and dark place, such as a basement or garage, where the temperature remains consistent. Avoid exposing the plants to extreme temperatures or direct sunlight, as this can damage the roots. Ideally, try to plant bare root plants within a week of their arrival to ensure their health and vitality.
4. Do I need to soak the roots of bare root plants before planting?
Yes, it is recommended to soak the roots of bare root plants before planting. Soaking the roots in water for a few hours helps rehydrate them and prepares them for planting. Fill a bucket or container with water and place the roots in it, ensuring they are fully submerged. Avoid soaking the foliage or stems of the plant, as this can lead to rot or disease. After soaking, remove the plants from the water and allow them to drain before planting. This process helps prevent the roots from drying out and promotes successful establishment in the soil.
5. Can I plant bare root plants in containers or pots?
Yes, you can plant bare root plants in containers or pots. Choose a container that is large enough to accommodate the roots and allows for proper drainage. Fill the container with a well-draining potting mix, leaving enough space for the roots to spread out. Place the bare root plant in the center of the container and gently backfill with soil, ensuring the plant is at the same depth it was previously grown. Water the plant thoroughly after planting and place it in a suitable location with adequate sunlight. Regularly monitor the moisture levels and provide appropriate care for the specific plant species.
6. Should I fertilize bare root plants when planting?
It is generally not necessary to fertilize bare root plants when planting them. Most bare root plants have enough nutrients stored in their roots to support initial growth. However, if you want to provide some additional nutrients, you can mix a slow-release fertilizer into the soil before planting. Avoid using excessive amounts of fertilizer, as this can burn the roots and harm the plant. Once the plant starts to establish and show signs of new growth, you can consider applying a balanced fertilizer according to the specific plant’s needs.
7. How often should I water newly planted bare root plants?
Newly planted bare root plants require regular watering to help them establish in the soil. Water the plants immediately after planting to settle the soil and eliminate any air pockets. Afterward, water the plants deeply at least once a week, or more frequently if the weather is hot and dry. Monitor the moisture levels in the soil and adjust the watering frequency accordingly. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other issues. As the plants start to grow and develop new leaves, they will require less frequent watering, but it is important to ensure they receive adequate moisture during their initial establishment period.
8. How long does it take for bare root plants to establish and start growing?
The time it takes for bare root plants to establish and start growing can vary depending on the specific plant species and environmental conditions. In general, most bare root plants will show signs of new growth within a few weeks to a couple of months after planting. However, some plants may take longer to establish, especially if they have been dormant for an extended period. It is important to be patient and provide proper care, including regular watering, adequate sunlight, and protection from extreme weather conditions. With time and proper care, the bare root plants will gradually establish themselves and begin to thrive.
9. How can I protect bare root plants from frost or freezing temperatures?
Bare root plants are more susceptible to frost or freezing temperatures, especially when they are newly planted and have not yet established their root systems. To protect them, you can cover the plants with a layer of mulch or straw, which acts as insulation and helps regulate soil temperature. Additionally, you can use frost blankets or fabric covers to shield the plants from extreme cold. If frost or freezing temperatures are expected, it is advisable to water the plants thoroughly before the cold spell, as moist soil retains heat better than dry soil. Avoid using plastic covers directly on the plants, as they can trap moisture and cause rot.
10. What should I do if my bare root plants do not survive?
If your bare root plants do not survive despite your best efforts, it can be disappointing. However, it is important to remember that not all plants will thrive in every environment. Factors such as soil conditions, sunlight, temperature, and pests can affect plant health. If your bare root plants fail to survive, assess the possible reasons for their failure. Consider consulting with a local gardening expert or nursery to determine if there were any specific issues with the planting process or if there are alternative plant species better suited to your specific conditions. Learning from the experience can help you make more informed choices and increase your chances of success in future gardening endeavors.