Bare roots – what are they, why bother?

0 Written by Lisa on 21st Oct 2011 in Design Tips

We are soon to enter what’s called the “bare root” season in the horticultural world and it really is the best time to buy and plant deciduous trees, hedging plants and roses.  Basically this means that the plants have been lifted straight from the ground and literally have “bare” roots (they have no soil around them).  The season starts at the beginning of November and finishes in April when the plants are dormant.

Bare root plants can be up to 50% cheaper than pot-grown plants so, in particular, when it comes to choosing trees you’ll be able to get a much larger specimen for your budget compared to container grown trees. It’s the best time to plant trees too, when they are dormant and the ground is damp and cool.

Now is also the best time to buy roses.  Specialist rose growers lift and pot up only a limited number of roses each spring so if you are looking for a particular variety, you will have more chance of finding it over the bare root season.  Like the trees, bare root roses have a much better chance of quick and successful establishment than pot grown specimens.

Bare root hedging plants are by far the most cost effective and successful way to plant a new hedge.  They are normally sold as “whips”, that is single stem saplings that are usually 1-2 years old.  It will take some time for the hedge to thicken out, but there is more chance that each plant will survive during the early years. In the event that one or two don’t make it, it’s very easy to fill in any gaps the following season.

So what’s not to like about bare root plants?  You save money, have more choice and give the plants more chance to successfully establish.  Just one tip to help you along your way – make sure that the roots don’t dry out before you plant, it’s really best to get them in the ground as soon as they arrive.

(Photo: Esagor


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Lisa Cox Welcome

I specialise in helping families to turn their gardens into an extension of their home and into a space that can be used and enjoyed all year round.

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