How to plant bareroot plants: A step-by-step guide

Tis 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 a simple step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Remove all 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, 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 your 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 1” above that. 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.

Remove the shovel once you’ve added all the mixture, and step on the hole gentle to remove any lingering air bubbles.

Step 5: Treat the soil.

Add a bag of GardenMAX to the top of the hole. One 37lb bag of GardenMAX will plant roughly three medium-sized plants. However, make sure the soil treatment is not piled up against the plant or on the plant itself.

GardenMAX 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.

Add a teaspoon of Ground Breaker to a gallon of water, and soak the hole with the mixture. Continue watering heavily until you’re planting in mud.

Final Thoughts

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’s 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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