What Are Bare Root Plants and How To Plant Them

A bare-root plant is usually a perennial plant that has been removed from the ground in dormancy and the soil is removed from the roots.

Photo of of Bare Plant Roots

Bushes and trees are commonly sold this way especially when purchased online and shipped. Plants such as strawberries, rhubarb, and asparagus are also common and beneficial to purchase as bare-root plants.

What Are The Benefits

Quicker Acclimation

The technique of transplanting bare-root plants mainly exists because of the plant’s ability to adapt more quickly to new soil conditions. Bare root trees and bushes especially, get off to a more vigorous start when compared to plants transplanted from a container, which typically need more time to adjust.

Plant Costs

One huge advantage to bare-root plants is the cost. Because the plant doesn’t have a root ball, the weight is significantly reduced which reduces shipping and handling costs. The reduced cost is usually passed on to the customer which means less money out of pocket for more plants.

photo of planting tree

How To Plant Bare Root Trees and Bushes

Bare-root plants usually come with the roots wrapped with something to keep them moist. You will want to remove any packing materials and soak the roots in water for at least a couple of hours. You will want to do this as soon as your plants arrive so the roots don’t dry out.

Dig a hole at least twice the size as you need to fit the roots so they have room to grow out before hitting the more compacted soil.

Plant the roots in the ground leaving the very top of the root flair exposed. Planting too deep is a common mistake, especially with grafted trees.

Make sure you water the plant well after planting. Mulching the exposed soil around the plant is also a good idea to help with soil temperature and water retention.

Where To Get Bare Root Plants

Local nurseries and even large retailers often carry bare-root stock. If you’re looking for an online company to purchase bare-root trees and bushes from, I have had great results from Stark Bro’s Nurseries & Orchards Co. Many of my bare-root trees and berry bushes have come from Stark Bro’s and years later they are doing great.