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Planting Bare-root Fruit Trees and Vines

Posted Nov 25 2010 12:00pm
Bare-root fruit trees and vines can be planted at any time during their dormant season between leaf-fall and bud-burst--late fall to early spring--as long as the soil conditions are right and the ground is not too wet or frozen.


Frosty weather and freezes need not stop fruit planting as long as the soil surface is workable and fruit trees or bushes are planted into reasonably dry and unfrozen soil beneath.


In very cold regions, where temperatures drop below 0°F and where the ground freezes, plant fruit trees and vines in the spring so that roots are established before the next winter. In warm-winter regions where freezing weather is rare, plant in the fall or early winter.


Allow as much time as possible between planting bare-root fruits and vines and the hottest time of the year when plants can be most stressed. Time allows roots to become established and withstand extremes of temperature.


Bare-root fruit trees, bushes, and vines that can not be planted immediately should be kept in a frost-free shed or cellar. Be sure to cover the roots of bare-root plants with moist burlap or sacks to stop drying out or frost damage. Or, heel bare-root fruits into a temporary trench in a garden bed with their tops leaning over at an angle southward (to prevent sunburn) and the roots covered with well packed moist soil for protection from drying cold. An 8 to 12 inch trench in a shady location is best.


Selecting bare-root plants

Choose bare-root trees and vines with well-developed root systems. These plants are usually two to three years old. Look for plants that have sturdy trunks or stems and well-spaced branches. Avoid plants with broken or dried-out roots or branches. Ensure success by purchasing healthy and sturdy plants that are clearly labeled and come from a well-regarded nursery or grower.

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