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Planting Bare Root Trees & Shrubs

Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University

During the winter months, bare root (aka no soil) ornamental trees, shrubs and roses, vines, and many edibles are available at nurseries. Bare root plants are dug from the field when dormant and separated from the soil. They usually cost less than container plants and include a much wider variety. 

Bare root planting tips

Keep them hydrated.
Prevent plants from drying out. Keep them out of the sun and wind.  

'Heel' them in
If you are not able to plant right away, “heel in” the plants - place them in a hole or shallow trench and cover the roots with moist soil or sawdust.

Check roots
Inspect roots and remove any dead, diseased, broken, or twisted roots. 

Soak before planting
Soak the root system in water for 1 to 2 hours prior to planting.

Dig an appropriately-sized hole
Dig the planting hole large enough to easily accommodate all the healthy roots. 

Place 3 to 4 inches of loose soil under the roots.

Position the plant on the loose soil and spread the roots out.

Proceed with planting from step number 4 in the main planting section.