Unwins Seeds

Bare root Trees, Shrubs and Roses -Top Tips

23 October 2014 | Posted in Gardening by The Unwins Family

Trees, shrubs and roses are permanent additions to the garden, they’ll bring colour and form to the garden for years to come so they deserve the very best start.

Here are our top tips for success when you plant bare root trees, shrubs and roses:

Unpack your trees and shrubs immediately and plant as soon as possible after delivery.

Don’t let the roots dry out!

Dig over the planting area in advance. Do this a week or so before the delivery date to help the soil to settle. Remove any perennial weeds and old plant debris and improve the soil if necessary with soil improver or garden compost.

How to Plant  

  • Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the bare roots without cramping them.
  • Loosen the soil at the bottom of the hole and add soil improver or garden compost if necessary.
  • Position the plant centrally in the planting hole. Position the plants at the same depth as they were at the nursery; this is usually easy to spot because of the dark soil mark on the stem.
  • If your  plant or tree needs a stake put it in place before you cover the roots with soil to prevent damaging them.
  • Fill the planting hole with soil to cover the roots and firm in gently.
  • Water well to settle soil around the roots.
  • Water all newly planted trees, shrubs and roses regularly, at least weekly, until well established, and keep the area around your new plants free of weeds.

If it’s not possible to plant straight away because soil is waterlogged or frozen keep the plants somewhere frost free and airy. Keep roots just moist by storing them in damp compost or, if outside conditions allow, heel plants in to a patch of bare ground until you’re ready to plant them into their permanent positions.

Heeling in is a term used for temporary planting, this protects the plant’s roots until it can be placed in its permanent position. The roots are buried at an angle and firmed in gently to avoid wind rocking plants out of the soil.

Staking ensures your tree or rose will stay upright and prevents it from being rocked out of the soil or snapped by strong winds.  To avoid damaging plant roots position your stake in the soil before you cover the roots with soil.

Trees planted in containers will probably need to be staked for their entire lives.

Top Tip If you are growing a tree that will be permanently in a pot choose a large container with a wide base to avoid the risk of the tree toppling over in windy weather.

Trees planted in containers will probably need to be staked for their entire lives.

Jargon buster

Bare root A plant that has been dug from the nursery during dormancy and sold without soil on its roots.

Dormant A plants ‘resting’ period with little active growth, depending on weather, but usually from autumn to spring when temperatures are below 6C/43F.

Rootstock The roots of a different variety grafting onto another plant (usually to control its vigour).

Graft Union The point where a grafted stem is joined to a rootstock. This is easily recognised by the bulge on the stem.

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