Bare root plants are young, dormant, deciduous plants that are sold without any soil surrounding the roots. This allows for easy handling and transportation of the plants and ready establishment of the new roots into the native soil of your landscape.
Keep Roots Moist:
It is essential that the roots of bare root plants be kept moist until planted. Molbak’s Nursery Staff will provide a plastic bag in which to enclose the roots during the ride home. Once home, prepare the planting hole and plant immediately. The roots may be soaked in water for one to two hours before planting. If it is not possible to plant immediately, then remove the plastic bag and “heel-in” by temporarily planting the bare roots into moist sawdust, soil or bark, and water well. Bare root plants can be held this way for several weeks, but should be planted in their permanent location before buds swell and growth begins. Keep heeled-in plants moist.
Select a location that meets the plant’s needs for light exposure, soil moisture and drainage. If you have a fruit tree that is not self-pollinating, make certain there is a cross-pollinating variety nearby.
The advantage of bare root plants is that they can be planted directly into your soil with little or no soil amending. If amending soil, thoroughly mix the organic material (aged manure, compost or peat moss) into the native soil. Adding fertilizer at the time of planting is not necessary. If you choose to do so, use a slow-acting or diluted fertilizer. Molbak’s suggests bone meal or a transplant fertilizer for this purpose. If your soil does not drain well, consider creating a berm by mounding soil over an enlarged planting area. To accomplish this, re-grade the area or add topsoil so the roots are above the previous grade. When adding topsoil, work some into the top four to six inches of native soil before adding more.
Dig the planting hole twice as wide and only as deep as the root system. Leave the sides and bottom of the hole rough, rather than smooth as a container. Roots should fit easily into the hole without bending. The depth of the planting hole should just accommodate the depth of the plant’s root system. Before placing the plant in the hole, prune off all broken, bruised, damaged or badly kinked roots. When in doubt, consult with Molbak’s Nursery Staff. Set the plant in the hole so roots are completely buried and stems remain completely above ground. Most fruit, flowering and shade trees have a bud or graft union at the base of their trunks where the bud of a desirable tree cultivar has been grafted onto the rootstock. This bud union must remain one to two inches above ground level. Backfill the hole with native, or slightly amended, soil and tamp down gently to eliminate air pockets. Thoroughly water the planting area to settle the soil completely around the roots. Create a water basin over the root zone to allow for deep watering−water will run away from the trunk but not away from the root area. Once the plant is established, usually after a year or two, level the basin.
Trees that do not stand on their own will require staking. Secure with stakes only until the root system is well established, typically until the autumn of the same year or certainly by the following spring. Support the tree with the use of two stakes, one on either side of the tree. Use stakes that are stout enough to provide support and long enough when sunk firmly into the ground to reach the point where the major scaffold limbs branch from the trunk. Never secure the tree so that it is completely motionless. It is actually desirable to allow a small amount of movement of the trunk so the tree will develop a strong, well-anchored root system. Protect the bark by running the ties from the stake through a piece of plastic tubing or hose at the point where it contacts the plant.
Newly planted plants benefit from deep watering. Turn the hose on low, place it close to the trunk and allow water to soak into the root area over a long period of time. How often water is needed will depend on the season of year, weather conditions, size of plant and soil type. To determine whether a plant needs water, probe carefully around the root zone and check the moisture content of the soil. Do not wait for signs of wilting before watering. Water deeply during prolonged periods without rain. This is particularly important during the first two years after planting. Check the soil moisture to determine timing. Molbak’s recommends that the soil moisture be checked at least every seven to ten days during dry spells. After the first season of growth, apply a complete, well-balanced fertilizer according to the recommendations on the fertilizer label.
Please contact Molbak’s if you have questions when planting or caring for your landscape plants.
Watch the Molbak’s Team plant a bare root tree!
13625 NE 175th St.
Woodinville, WA 98072
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