How to Plant and Care for Bare Root Trees

Date May 15, 2022

Author TreeNewal Staff

Bare root trees are a great option for homeowners in Texas. These trees are easy to plant and they’re typically less expensive than many other nursery-grown trees. There are a few things you need to know before planting a bare root tree, though. In this blog post, we’ll give you all the tree care tips you need to make sure your bare root trees thrive!

What Is a Bare Root Tree

A bare root tree’s name refers to how the tree is stored in its early years – dug up and stocked while dormant without any soil to cover the roots, leaving them bare. This method creates many advantages to them that makes bare root trees a very appealing and easy-to-care-for option:

  • Because their lack of soil makes them quicker to transport and simpler to stock, bare root trees are often much less expensive to purchase than other tree types.
  • Since they are dormant when purchased, they can be planted much earlier in the year which allows them more time to establish.
  • This dormancy at planting also makes them overall easier to establish over the ease of other potted flora.

How to Plant a Bare Root Tree

Before Planting Your Bare Root Tree

So, you’ve purchased and brought home the perfect bare root tree from the plant nursery. First, the tree’s roots will need to soak for a minimum of 2 hours and as many as 10 hours to re-hydrate them. Any more soaking than 24 hours’ worth, you risk drowning the tree and damaging it permanently.

When to Plant Bare Root Plants

As soon as the soil has warmed and there’s no expectation for more freezing temperatures, bare root trees can be planted. After about 2 weeks post-planting, roots will start to grow and establish, well before any leaves begin to pop out.

How to Plant Bare Root Plants

  • Find a spot on your property where the bare root tree will have good drainage and can get full sun for 6 to 8 hours every day. Take a look at the root system – scoop out a hole twice as deep and wide as the root system, so there is plenty of room for the entire system as is.
  • Next, mix in compost, peat moss, or another soil enhancing material with the dug-out soil – a half-and-half balance is generally ideal.
  • From there, look at the coloring on the root stems. There should be a line where the roots are a darker shade – that’s about how deeply the nursery had it planted. Try to match up to the same level when filling in the soil.
  • Now it’s time to drop in your bare root tree! Fill in only about halfway at first, then stop to add some water to clear out any air pockets. Then pour in the last of the soil mixture before finally watering the plant, so moisture is thoroughly soaked in!

If you’re not confident that you’ve planted it correctly, don’t hesitate to call a certified arborist or tree care services to take a look and make recommendations!

Mulching and Protection

Be sure to add a layer of mulch around your new bare root tree to help keep out weeds and keep the soil hydrated between waterings. Especially if it’s a young tree you planted, keep an eye on it for common risks like bark cracking in winter, sunscald in summer, and any damage from lawn equipment.

Watering Your Bare Root Tree

The first 2 to 4 weeks after planting will need the most attention in terms of watering. It is during this time that roots will gradually start to deliver water throughout the tree. Make sure it’s got enough of a reserve to get the process started! Start with watering every other day before giving some time between waterings for the soil to dry a little. Ideally you won’t need to water more than once a week.

Consistent watering in its first growing season will encourage the roots to really flex and stretch their best. Even if the new plant gets several rain showers, this is a rare time where extra water is much better than not enough water!

So, if you’re looking for an easy and affordable way to add some trees to your property, bare root trees are a great option! Just be sure to follow our guide carefully to make sure you’ve got your bare root tree care in top shape. Need some help getting started or maintaining the bare roots in your yard, call TreeNewal any time for the advice and services you need!

If you need advice or assistance with planting or caring for bare root trees in your yard, get in touch with the ISA-Certified Arborists at TreeNewal and enjoy tailored tree care advice.

To learn more about How to Plant and Care for Bare Root Trees, call our Argyle and Southlake-based teams

at (817) 592-6846 or send us a message.

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