I just planted out the first annual batch of my nursery plants. Everything worked out - but just barely. I'd appreciate some advice on building a bigger margin for error next year.
My nursery is at home in the city (zone 3), my planting site is a few hours away in a colder pocket (zone 2). The challenge I had this year was picking the right time to book vacation from work to go planting - I needed the plants to be dormant and I needed the soil to be thawed. It turned out that about half of the site was unfrozen and only some plant buds we're starting to open. So it worked out, but barely. I was lucky.
Over winter I heeled the bare root plants in a pile of sand in my small urban yard. To protect from the coldest colds, I placed the piles on the South side of the house and South side of the fence. When those piles thawed in the spring, I moved the plants to sand filled buckets on the North side of the house, to keep them dormant as long as possible.
For next year, I'm thinking about doing the same but instead of buckets on the North side of my house in the spring, I would put them in bags in my fridge. Can bare root tree seedlings sleep in a fridge?
If I am understanding correctly that these are your own starts and a small size an old refrigerator or chest freezer would prevent temperature fluctuation and light stimulating the awakening of the buds.
The caution I've found other people express about bare root in the fridge is that a fridge is a very dry environment. I assume that if I bag the roots with a damp medium then the trunk/branches of the trees can withstand the dryness of the fridge for a month or two.