Bare Roots Buying

Category Garden Published 19th February 2017 by Phil Mann

Bare Roots Buying

Have you seen our collection of bare root plants? Whether you're growing fruit, designing your landscape garden or looking for something new it's the right time of year to get bare root plants into the ground. If you're nervous about planting a tree or shrub with bare roots, or you haven't done it before, we've got all the advice you need.

Advantages of Bare Root Plants

Variety: Due to their longer life and ease of transporting, sellers like us can keep a greater selection in stock. We have everything from fruity nectarines, apples, and apricots, to flowering Hydrangeas, Peonies and hardy Hibiscus. As well as a collection of exotic or unusual plants or a collection of old favourites. Browse our full range for more ideas.

Ease: A bare-root tree is easier to handle and provides better performance than those in containers as they don't need to transition to the soil and because they're planted while they're dormant, they grow more roots into the ground.

Cheap: We are always full of great bargains at Ideal World and invite you to have a look to see what we can offer.

How to Plant a Bare Root Tree or Shrub

Bare-root plants are dormant, with no leaves, and with the roots out of the soil. This means they can grow hardy and in their own time.

Best time to plant: Now! The season runs from November to April, depending on weather. Some larger or slower-growing plants will already be a few years old on supply, and ready to thrive straight away in your garden.

Where to start: Once you've selected and received your plant from us: on receipt, soak the roots in water for at least two hours (overnight is better). If you can't plant straight away, they should be fine for up to a week if left in a cool, dark, frost-free place - keep the bag around the roots with some water inside. Don't worry if the roots have been cut quite harshly - this is done to encourage the plant to grow.

Where to plant: Select an appropriate spot for your plants, making sure that you give them enough space to grow to their full size. Dig a hole twice the width of the roots, forking over the bottom to loosen the soil, and add some good quality fertiliser such as Blood Fish & Bone (wash your hands afterwards!).

For all trees, we highly recommend using our Tree Planting Kits.

How to plant:

  • Aim to plant at the same depth as the soil mark on the trunk. Holding the tree or plant upright in position with one hand, slowly backfill the hole with soil, and gently shake the plant, so the soil falls back around the roots. Use your heel to compact the soil around the plant to ensure good contact around the roots.
  • If you're planting into pots, place some old rocks, stones or gravel in the bottom of the pot for drainage and ballast. Use the best compost you can buy - our Professional Compost mix is particularly good - and some sand or grit to aid drainage. You are again aiming to plant to the depth of the soil mark. Firm down as you fill, and press down hard with your heel when the pot is full.
  • You only need to support the bottom half of each trunk, so push 40cm of each stake into the soil next to each tree. With the soft tie, make a figure of eight around both the trunk and stake, and fasten it off. The tree will now be better protected from strong winds.

Caring for your tree: Water the plants weekly—especially in dry weather—for the first 8 weeks or so. When the soil and air warm up from late March onwards, you should see the plant burst into life. Do not allow plants to dry out in the first four months after planting. Once established for one season, they will become much more tolerant to a lack of water, as the root system develops.

Pruning: There is no real need to prune for the first two years. Whilst a lot is talked about pruning, the best advice is to prune to the shape and size you want. Remove any broken, diseased or crossing branches in late autumn or winter once the plants are well-established to control size. Prune established trees in summer using good quality secateurs, removing weak shoots, and cutting out those that cross over each other, to create an evenly spaced bowl shape.

Show us the results

Whatever you decide on you'll feel an immense sense of satisfaction when your new friend bursts into life with colourful flowers, impressive foliage or delicious fruit.

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