Bare root plants are often found when ordering roses and mail-order trees and shrubs. Find helpful information and gardening tips on bare root plants, their advantages, and how to properly plant them to get the best results.
Bare Root Basics
Bare root means that roots are free of any soil. The original soil was washed off, so the plants are a lighter weight to ship. Bare root plants usually will sell for less than half the cost of their containerized counterparts. They are packed in slightly moist spaghum moss or wood shavings. When shipped and planted, bare root plants should be dormant, meaning that the plant and the root system should be well formed and balanced in appearance. Roots should be moist and fibrous, not damaged or woody.
How to plant a bare root rose (Step-by-Step)
1. Soak Plant- soak the roots of the plant for several hours or overnight in a bucket of water before planting.
2. Partially backfill hole- This will create a mound of soil up to surrounding ground level. Make sure the hole is deep enough for the roots to spread down and out over the nound of soil in the center.
3. Arrange Roots- spread roots out over a mound of dirt. The base of the stem should be at or just above ground level. Make adjustments if this is not the case by either pressing on soil or taking off some of the soil. Trim torn, injured, or roots that are too long with clean, sharp pruners before backfilling. Don’t curl overly long roots around circumference of hole. Roses should be planted with the swollen graft at or above the soil level ( or about 2” below ground in the north, to prevent freezing.)
4. Backfill- backfill the hole about halfway, pressing soil down gently but firmly. Work the soil among the roots of the plant to keep large air pockets from forming and to stabilize the plant. If you’re planting new roses where other roses have grown, you’ll have to remove and discard all old roots and soil from the hole and substitue a planting mix made for roses.
5. Water- Water well after you have backfilled the hole half full of soil. Let the water drain fully to eliminate air pockets at the bottom of the hole. Continue filling the hole with soil, tamping it with your hands and then watering it in.
6. Complete planting- Create a raised ring of soil around the edge of planting hole to form a shallow basin, making it easier to keep water around the planting hole, until the plant is established.