Planting Bare Root Trees

Planting Bare Root Trees & Shrubs
It is best to plant bare root trees as soon as possible in order to keep the roots from drying out. If you can’t plant because of weather or soil conditions, store the trees in a cool place and keep the roots moist.

Step 1 Tree in Shipping Pot

Keep plants out of the sun and covered until ready to plant. Roots can be soaked in water 3-6 hours prior to planting. Remove straw from the roots. Prune broken root ends prior to planting.

Step 2 shovel in a hole in the ground

Clear sod and vegetation from the planting site in a 3-to-4-inch diameter. Soil should be loosened in the area to promote root growth. The planting hole should be wider but not deeper than the root system.

Hand placing tree in hole in ground

Plant the tree with the upper-most root no more than 1 inch below the surrounding grade. Fill the hole two-thirds of the way with soil, tamp the soil with your foot, then fill the remainder of the hole with water. Soil amendments (peat moss, fertilizer, etc.) are not necessary. No more than 1 inch of soil should cover the first woody root.

Hand watering tree in hole in the ground

Add any remaining soil after the water has soaked away and a 2-to-3-inch high berm around the edge of the planting site to hold water. Water again to the edge of the berm and let the water soak away.

Hand with shovel replacing dirt around base of tree

Wood mulch can be placed over any bare soil area and should be kept away from the trunk. Mulch depth should be 3-4 inches maximum

Hand watering tree in hole in the ground

Water plants generously. Bare root plants should receive the equivalent of at least 1 inch of rainfall per week. Finger test the soil to determine moisture levels. Sandy sites may require more water and clay sites may require less water.

State Law 

State law requires anyone doing any excavating to call Gopher State One Call (GSOC) at least 48 hours in advance (excluding weekends and holidays). Call (651) 454-0002 or 8-1-1 (press 1 for GSOC).