When You Receive Your Bare Root Trees
Our bare root plants come with their roots packaged in wet paper wrapped in plastic. You can keep them in their packages for up to 7 days if you place them in a cool, shady, frost-free place like an unheated garage. Before you store the plants, open up their packages and make sure that the roots and packing material are moist. The packing material should feel like a wrung-out sponge. Check the moisture level of the packaging material every two days.
If you don't have an ideal place to store the plants in their packages or if you must wait for longer than 7 days to plant, then it is a good idea to heel your plants in.
How to Heel In Bare Root Trees
Ready to Plant
STEP 1: Take the trees out of the box and inspect the trees to make sure the main trunk did not snap and the roots are in good shape.
STEP 2: Our bare root plants come with their roots packaged in wet paper wrapped in plastic. Remove the plastic bag from around roots.
STEP 3: Soak the roots in a bucket/trough/bin etc. for 24 hours. It is important that the roots stay covered in water.
STEP 4: After a 24 hour soak, plant your trees in the ground. The hole should be double the width and as deep as the root system.
STEP 5: Spread out the dormant tree’s roots to encourage outward growth.
STEP 6: Keep the tree vertical in the planting hole (perpendicular to the ground) so that it grows straight.
STEP 7: Keep the graft union (the colored tape on the lower trunk) 2-3 inches above the ground.
STEP 8: Refill the hole with native soil (what was removed at digging time), and any other soil amendments.
STEP 9: Gently tamp out any air pockets from the soil once the planting hole is filled.
STEP 10: Thoroughly water your newly planted tree.
- Perform a scratch test to ensure you are planting a viable tree (See Below)
- Please DO NOT proceed with planting if you are concerned with its condition upon receipt. We need to know immediately, otherwise the plant’s viability will fall out of our control and responsibility. If you proceed with planting a “poor” or “damaged” plant and contact us weeks later, we will follow our terms of service and guarantee policies.
- You can keep your bare root trees in their packaging for up to 7 days if you place them in a cool, shady, frost-free place like an unheated garage and check the moisture in the packaging.
- If you cannot plant for more than 7 days due to weather, frozen soil, or other concerns please see How To Heel In Bare Root Trees
How to Perform a Scratch Test
With your thumbnail or a knife, gently scrape a small part of the outer gray-brown bark from a twig or branch. Directly inside the outer bark on healthy trees/shrubs you’ll find a nice green layer, called the cambium. That’s where the growth of the plant occurs. If you continue scratching away the thin green layer, you’ll see the whitish inner wood. The presence of the green layer indicates life in the twig or branch. Sample wood from around the tree or shrub to determine whether the entire plant is healthy.