How to Plant Bareroot Plants: A Step-by-Step Guide

Read this step-by-step guide to learn how to plant & care for bareroot trees and plants! Digging, Planting Mix, Soil Treatment, & More!

Winter is the season for bareroot plants — all the fruit, berries, roses, and shade trees a home could ever ask for. Bareroot plants are less expensive than their container counterparts and are only available in the winter when they’re dormant. But since they’re sold with their roots exposed, people are sometimes confused and end up asking the question, “How do you plant a bareroot plant?

To better help you understand how to plant bareroot plants, we’ve created this simple step-by-step guide:

How to Plant Bareroot, Step 1: Remove All the Sawdust

When you buy a bareroot plant from the garden center, they’ll most likely place it in a bag full of sawdust. (The sawdust is there to keep in the moisture.) But once you’re home, you’ll want to remove all that sawdust before you start planting. Take the plant out of the bag, and gently shake out all the sawdust from the roots of the plant.

Step 2: Dig a Hole

After you remove all the sawdust to plant your bareroot plant, figure out where you’re going to place the plant. The hole you dig should be twice as wide and twice as deep as the roots. An easy way to make sure you dig a proper hole is to use your hand to outline a circle around the plant. Once outlined, start digging.

Step 3: Add Planting Mix

Once the hole is twice as deep as the roots, you need to add planting mix to the soil you dug out of the hole. To do this correctly, mix the soil and planting mix together until you have a light, fluffy, 50/50 mixture. You should use an entire bag of planting mix for one bareroot plant.

Step 4: Fill in the Hole

Grab a shovel and lay it across the hole. The shovel will show you where ground level is, and you’ll want to plant your bareroot plant or tree one inch above that line. Hold the plant in the middle of the hole next to the shovel and move the 50/50 mixture into the hole. Before you completely fill in the hole, add NutriPaks on top of the roots. This will provide a 3-year, slow-drip food source for your plants. Afterwards, fill in the entire hole, using the shovel as your leveling guide. Once you’ve added all the mixture, remove the shovel and gently step on the newly filled hole to remove any lingering air bubbles.

How to Plant Bareroot, Step 5: Treat the Soil

Add a bag of GardenMAX to the top of the hole after you have planted your bareroot tree or plant. One 37lb bag of GardenMAX will treat roughly three medium-sized plants. However, make sure the soil treatment is not piled up against the plant or on the plant itselfGardenMAX will help turn your soil into a place plants love to grow by adding trace elements and beneficial microbes and by correcting any pH imbalance issues.

Step 6: Soak with Water

Most ground around homes has been extremely compacted for a solid foundation. This rock-hard dirt and compacted clay soil causes major issues for gardeners. To loosen the soil as you soak the hole for planting bareroot, add one teaspoon of Ground Breaker to one gallon of water. Soak the hole with this mixture for better drainage and deeper rooting. Continue watering heavily until you’re planting in mud.

Final Thoughts

We can’t over-emphasize the need for good soil! If you want thriving trees and tasty fruit, be sure to buy the best planting mixes and soil treatments. Use Artisan Organics Planting Mix for in-ground planting, or Remix for pots & raised beds. Finally, as we mentioned above, top it all off with GardenMAX for the ultimate soil enrichment. Grow organic whenever you can! You’ll love these products!

So you have finished planting! Congratulations! While it might not look like much now, your bareroot plant will eventually grow into a beautiful, vibrant plant. But until then, make sure you don’t water the plant again until there are about two inches of new growth, which could take anywhere from two weeks to a month. If you water too soon, too much water will cause the roots to rot and the plant will die as a result.

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