Bare root roses bloom next summer.

Most of the advantages of bare root stock are obvious. Bare root stock is less expensive and easier to work with in regard to installation and pruning to a desired form. What some of us may find difficult to understand is that it actually gets established into a new garden more efficiently than canned (potted) nursery stock does. As incredible as it seems, there are a few simple reasons why.

Instead of dispersing roots within the confinement of cans, bare root stock disperses roots directly an extensively into the soil into which it gets planted. Their initial deficiency of roots encourages them to do so quickly. Roots of canned stock must recover from confinement. Their new roots may be hesitant to leave the comfort of the extra rich medium in which their original roots developed.

The holes dug for planting bare root stock need not be much wider than the roots can be spread apart, and no deeper. If too deep, newly planted stock will sink as the loosened soil below settles. Grafted plants must not sink enough for their graft unions to be below grade. A cone formed of firmly pressed soil at the bottom of a planting hole can be useful for spreading roots out evenly over.

Rich soil needs no amendment. If compost is added to loosen dense soil, it should be as minimal as practical. Too much amendment will tempt roots to stay close rather than dispersing remotely. Fertilizer is not necessary immediately after planting. However, because the soil does not stay very cold here, and roots start growing before spring, mild fertilizer can be applied shortly afterward.

Finally, most bare root stock should be groomed and probably pruned after planting. Fruit trees are often sold with only minimal prior pruning. Superfluous stems function as packing material that buffers the ravages of transportation, and also provide more options for preliminary structural pruning. Aggressive pruning of plants that benefit from it concentrates resources for growth in spring.


6 thoughts on “Planting Bare Root Stock Properly

  1. Hi Tony,

    I’ve been meaning to thank you for your comments about homelessness on the river, especially pointing out how much less energy homeless people use than most of the rest of us. I hadn’t quite put that together, but might want to quote you on it. I don’t remember where I saw the quote and couldn’t find it when I looked. Would you mind sending it to me if it’s not too much trouble. Otherwise I can just use the basic idea.

    Thanks for all you do for flora and fauna, including people.

    Barbara Riverwoman


    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are very welcome. I appreciate your tolerance of my insight. Although there is not much animosity for the homeless, and much of it is justifiable, some of what I write about generates significant unfounded hostility for the homeless from a few unhappy people in the Community. I could probably find the comment if you like, but this link to a brief article about such issues might be more of interest:


    2. This is the previous comment from December 16, regarding ‘Busy River Scrutiny . . . ‘ that posted on December 3;
      This is precisely why society must be more proactive with helping the majority of homeless who are conducive to improvement of their situations. In our smaller Community of Felton, most of those who are able to work and procure housing eventually do so, even if it is necessary to relocate for work. Sadly, there are a few who are too mentally incapacitated to function. The sorts of services and facilities that they would have benefited from decades ago are now gone. Some of the institutions were considered to be too inhumane and too expensive back then, even though they were infinitely more humane and much less expensive that abandoning those who need such services and facilities. Addiction is a much more significant factor than it has ever been, but society is at least trying to do what it can in that regard. No one is actively deciding to be a detriment to the ecosystem. Most of the homeless are more concerned with survival. Most are unaware of the damage they cause (even though some collect huge volumes of debris because of hoarding disorder.) (In Felton, some of the homeless do more than the housed to remove trash and pollutants from riparian environments and roadways.) Realistically, as unsightly and environmentally detrimental as their lifestyles are, the homeless are less detrimental to the ecosystem than those of us who live in homes are.


      1. I very much appreciate the informed and humane approach reflected in this article. Yes, I agree that those of us who have cars, heat our homes, and consume far more than we need have a much greater negative impact on the environment than most homeless people. Thank you for all you do for the flora and fauna, including humans.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s