Grow\'Em Plant Propagation Database
Custom Search
main index
plants index

propagation techniques

growth media

growth enviroment

Seed - General
Chipping Seed
Soaking and Pricking
Pre-sprouting Seed
Stratifying Seed
Cuttings - General
Stem Cuttings
Heel Cuttings
Root Cuttings
Leaf Cuttings
Rooting Hormone
Rooting with Vitamin B1
Rooting with Willow Extract
Dividing Plants
Dividing Orchid Pseudobulbs
Simple Layering
Air Layering
Tip or Trench Layering
Serpentine Layering
Bulbs - General
Bulb Chipping
Bulb Scaling
Twin Scaling
Grafting - General
Cleft or Wedge Grafting
Bud Grafting
Whip Grafting
Side-veneer Grafting
Plants of Home and Garden
Trees and Shrubs
Fruits and Vegetables
Grains and Grasses
Cacti and Succulents
Water Plants
Growth Media
Sphagnum and Peat Moss
Manure, Nitrogen, Potassium
Making Compost
Constructing a Compost Bin
Indoor & Vermicomposting
Compost Tea
Composting Problems
Foliar Feeding
Green Manures
Bone Meal & Other Additives
Manure, Nitrogen, Potassium
Containers and Enclosures
Pots & Potted Plants
Biodegradable Pots
Raised Beds
Cold Frames
Water and Irrigation
Artificial Light
HID Lighting
Aquarium Lighting
On Photosynthesis
Synthetic Mulch
Floating Row Covers
Favorite Gardening Sites
General Information
Specific Interests
Seeds and Seed Catalogs
Gardening Tools
Garden Design
header, pests and organic pest control

image gallery

header, plant of the week

Organic Pest Control
plant hardiness zone maps

plant of the week
image gallery


Bare-root Plants

Trees and shrubs purchased through mail order are often available only as bare-root specimens, or are much cheaper if purchased in this form. These plants do require extra care, and can take a little longer to become established, but can indeed be very effectively grown from such stock. On the other hand, prices are very reasonable, even for large specimens, and those gardeners willing to experiment with bare-root plants often find a very large selection of quality plants available to them.

Bare-root plants are usually dug in fall after leaves have dropped, and are either heeled in or stored in a nursery's refrigerators until shipping time. It is shipped still dormant; on arrival, open the package immediately, and inspect the plant. Look for clean, healthy roots that are packed in some form of moist medium; the roots themselves should also be lightly moist, and firm. New, fine white feeder roots may also be present, and are a sign of good health. Branches should be supple, buds healthy and firm, and the plant should be fair-sized and relatively straight.

If a few roots have rotted, trim them back, and soak and plant immediately, as described further below. However, if obviously in poor condition, or even dead, contact the nursery immediately, before sending anything back. Policies on dealing with these problems vary significantly: contact them immediately, before you do anything else.

rose plant prior to pruning and replanting Bare-root rose plant, trimmed and planted

After inspection, trim the longest roots back to 18-24", and gently remove any rotten or injured roots. If dry, set them to soak for an hour or two, in water, or better, in a weak compost tea. Dig a hole large enough to hold the roots, without them touching sides or bottom; at the base of the hole, make a small hill of well-worked soil.

When ready, take the bare-root specimen and gently spread the roots over the hill of soil at the bottom of the planting hole. Ensure that the bud union of grafted specimens is at the desired level, and gently fill around the roots with a mixture of well-drained soil and compost. After every few inches of soil, firm soil and thoroughly water prior to continuing with backfilling. When the hole has been filled, water a last time, and mulch. The plant will break dormancy in the near future, and, once it gets over the initial shock, resume growth with vigor.

Planting a bare-root rose

Topics Referenced

Compost Tea
Trees and Shrubs

Don't see what you're looking for? Try our Search function.