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5 Easy Steps To Planting Bare Root Trees

Learning 5 Easy Steps to Planting Bare Root Trees successfully will help ensure that your investment and time is protected. Starting them out the right way will give you a leg up on natural fruit tree growing. Check out more Organic Fruit Growing tips on our blog.

1. Remove All Sod from where you are planting your trees

Remove all the sod in the area where you are planting your bare root trees. 

Dig a hole big enough to hold the full root ball when it’s fully spread out. This should be at least 3 feet in diameter for a tree. 

Loosen all the soil in the hole to ensure the tree is able to grow feed roots easily. 

Your hole should be one foot wider and one inch deeper than the roots of the tree or plant you are planting.

2. Find the Graft Line on your bare root tree

Look for the grafting line on the tree. Ensure that the graft is 3 to 6 inches above the soil.

Fill the hole half way with soil, firming it along the lower part of the roots and making sure that the roots do not tip upwards.

Do not add anything to the hole, no fertilizer, no compost, potting soil, etc… when planting bare root trees.

3. Work soil around the roots

Unpack your trees from your box, removing all packing materials. 

Carefully untangle the roots and rinse off shavings. 

Soaks the roots in water, using a bucket or wheelbarrow to fully contain the roots, for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours. 

Do NOT allow the tree roots to dry out.

4. cover the soil with mulch

Spread natural wood mulch (no dyed or cedar mulches) approximately 2 inches deep to cover the area that you dug. 

Avoid mounding mulch up around the trunk, no mulch volcanoes! 

If the soil is dry, add one more half-filled 5 gallon bucket of water. If not, then leave the tree alone. 

During a normal precipitation year, you should not need to water the tree if it is mulched well.

5. let nature water your Planting your bare root trees

Regularly watering trees, except during a drought, causes the trees to become dependent on you for this.

During times of drought, give your newly planted trees one half-filled 5 gallon bucket of water, around the mulched area, once per week. 

Do not drip irrigate or water daily. Water deep JUST once a week. 

When you water with drip irrigation or daily, the roots tend to grow towards the surface of the ground instead of reaching deep so that in a year or two they find their own water. 

Avoid watering so much that you see standing water. Trees can drown from too much water. 

5 Easy Steps To Planting Bare Root Trees

some important notes for planting your bare root trees...

In addition to the 5 Easy Steps to Planting Bare Root Trees, you should ensure that you plant your bare root trees within a week of receiving them. 

If you are unable to plant them in their permanent location, it is good to put them into a temporary location like a garden bed or perennial bed and mulch them until permanent planting.

Be careful when unpacking your trees! The roots may be tangled and can break easily while dormant.

Brian swears by the Razorback Square Shovel as with correct usage and care they seem to last forever. Even our hired help doesn’t destroy them! Using a corner of the shovel is more effective than a round, pointed shovel.

For mulching and general earth smoothing, a fiberglass handled iron rake is very effective.

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