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Anyone buy late season clearance Bareroot Perennials, Trees, and Shrubs?

 
gardener
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Every year, I watch as various companies sell leftover bare root fruit trees, shrubs, and perennials on deep clearance (often 50-75% off) late in May and in early June. There are some in grocery stores, which I am skeptical of, due to how they keep them (dry, dry, dry!) but also some from mail order companies who ought to know how to store them.

Every year I'm tempted, but wonder if I'd just be wasting money on something that is too dry, or it's too late in the year to get established before being hit by heat and drought.  50% off isn't a good deal if half of them die!

If you have bought them, what did you buy, and did they survive?

Did you plant them immediately, and baby them with water?

Did you plant them in pots, and transplant in the fall?

Do you plop them in the fridge, and plant them in the fall?
 
pollinator
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I won't be able to tell you until next year. This year is the first time I have taken advantage of these sales. I planted everything immediately and plan to baby them slightly this summer (I normally do nothing at all even for first year trees other than a completely saturated planting hole).
 
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I have done it several times, and to be honest, I have not had any more trouble with those than I did with the "fresher" ones that were sold earlier in the year. I think it has a lot to do with how things are stored.
 
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I have from Stark Brothers - excellent results!
 
Catie George
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Well, thanks to these encouraging anecdotes, I ordered a bunch of apple trees and berry canes to be delivered in a week.

$25+ shipping apple trees is hard to beat, considering last time I looked in a local nursery, they were $120+...  I haven't let myself set foot in a nursery in 2 years, don't even want to imagine what current prices are. I chose Monday as a shipping date so that they hopefully won't end up stuck in a truck over the weekend in the heat.

Fingers crossed for success, forecast looks a bit cooler and damper then. Right now it's horrifically hot and dry for May.  
 
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I'm in a completely different climate than yours, but for the sake of sharing experience I want to say that EVERYTHING that I planted later than first half of May did not survive due to heat, no matter how much I watered or cared.
So for me the quality of the late sale barefoot would be a secondary factor.
 
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I once bought a shriveled up pear tree from tractor supply that made it. I had actually already sent off the little money back form and about a week after I got the money in the mail it leafed out.
With strawberries and little perianals bought late/dry I normally pot and leave in the shade till fall.  
 
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We have done this successfully. The important thing is to get them out of those tiny pots and into the ground ASAP. We'll designate a garden corner as a "holding area" where they can overwinter, and next spring we'll figure out where to put them.

Our best score: we paid $5 for a shopping cart stuffed with shrubs and perennials, because it was all going into the dumpster at the end of the day.
 
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:

Our best score: we paid $5 for a shopping cart stuffed with shrubs and perennials, because it was all going into the dumpster at the end of the day.



So jealous! I was at Home Depot and came across a cart of stuff that was piled up and there were things that I wanted and they weren't in bad shape. But the supplier who was cleaning things out said I couldn't have anything. 😭 I suppose I could have gone dumpster diving later in the day but it's a little difficult to do with kids in tow. Such a lot of waste!

I gave into the tempting sales this year and got four new grapes- I just got the email saying they shipped today. Grapes are pretty resilient and I plan to keep them in large pots by my front door until the fall. Whenever I plant bare roots in the spring, half of them seem to die but if I wait until the fall, I rarely lose a plant.
 
Catie George
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Jenny Wright wrote:

I gave into the tempting sales this year and got four new grapes- I just got the email saying they shipped today. Grapes are pretty resilient and I plan to keep them in large pots by my front door until the fall. Whenever I plant bare roots in the spring, half of them seem to die but if I wait until the fall, I rarely lose a plant.



So you pot up bare roots, and nurse them in pots until fall, then?
 
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Last year I decided to go ahead and get a Raspberry 2pk from Walmart. The vendor is Van Zyverden, says guaranteed to grow on the bag, on the vendors website and on the WM website. It was late in the season. When I got there I started snapping stems, dry as a bone. I decided against it.
This year I went back and got them within a few days of coming in. I was still able to snap the tips, bought them anyway bc of the guarantee. I saved the packing bag and kept it with the berries(thank goodness). Between WM and Tractor Supply, I had bought aronia berry, goji berry, goose berry, and those raspberries. The only 2 that sprouted were the goose and goji.
I didn't save the bag for aronia, it was a loss. It's still planted though. The concern finally overwhelmed me and i gently coaxed the Rberries up. no root production whatsoever on either of them. I immediately called WM and asked if they still had the display up, No. I planned to take them w/i the next few days. Later that evening, I was short an ingredient for a dish so I ran up. They still had the display up, I started snapping stems and telling the garden guy about my issue, grrr. Complained to management, lol. Come home, verified all the guarantees mention earlier via web. Noticed down in the comment section on WM a lady 4 yrs earlier complaining about the same issue , it was the only comment.
2 days later I arrived at WM with my bags and dead Rberrys. "Our policy is you have to have a receipt, Sir." Grrr, I'll be damned with a guaranteed to grow label. Also stated all the above. They looked for the product and couldn't find it. She asked if I could go get a display bag to get the UPC. The display was gone. She gave me a refund anyway when she realized I wasn't giving up.
So.. Within 2 days they removed the display and the listing on the website for the 2 pk Raspberries. I also asked what they had done with them...threw them away...I'm interested to see if they have them next year, all the other single berry packs are still avail. via web.

Buyer Beware Fresh or Not

Call me cheapskate idc, it was the best 12.97 I ever spent and then got back. I bought an Aloe.
 
Jenny Wright
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Catie George wrote:

Jenny Wright wrote:

I gave into the tempting sales this year and got four new grapes- I just got the email saying they shipped today. Grapes are pretty resilient and I plan to keep them in large pots by my front door until the fall. Whenever I plant bare roots in the spring, half of them seem to die but if I wait until the fall, I rarely lose a plant.



So you pot up bare roots, and nurse them in pots until fall, then?



Then I plant them in their permanent location where they have our mild rainy fall and winter to develop a good root system.

We often have no measurable rain from June to September. I have too many plants so once a plant is planted out, I cannot water them all enough. They are on their own!
 
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Cristobal Cristo wrote:I'm in a completely different climate than yours, but for the sake of sharing experience I want to say that EVERYTHING that I planted later than first half of May did not survive due to heat, no matter how much I watered or cared.
So for me the quality of the late sale barefoot would be a secondary factor.



Yup, here in central Texas, it's recommended to plant trees and perennials in the fall, so they can get established over the winter and spring, before the heat really hits. Much as I would love to take advantage of sales, I am trying not to plant anything like that past February. Though I did plant a few fruit trees sometime in March or April this year, because they were such a good deal at our local health food store. They're close to the house where I can baby them, and it thankfully hasn't gotten truly hot yet here, so hopefully all will be well.
 
Catie George
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Well they arrive today.

Not only did the forecast change, so this week isn't supposed to be wet (we got a storm last night that was all dry lighting, scary with how dry everything is), we're in the midst of terrible air quality from Quebec forest fires.
Yesterday wasn't as bad, and I was already needing an N95 to step outside, lest my poor asthmatic lungs and heart seize up. Even just letting the dog out and opening the door, my lungs were spasming. We have a Corsi Rosenthal box running which makes a huge difference.

Watering isn't a big deal unless we go into a water ban, but I'd hoped for rain and definitely wasn't planning for smoke.

It's not the worst smoke I've seen, but definitely the worst I have ever seen in Ontario.
 
Catie George
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I thought i should update this with my results. I ended up planting them on a cloudy day, and having rain the next day and a cool week. Really lucky planting weather, although planting in an N95 and heavy smoke was an experience...

We ended up with a really dry period in August/September - i think 7 weeks without rain?

The late season bare root apple and pear trees did fine. Perhaps they could have put on more growth if planted earlier, but they all lived. Same for my currant bush (potted), and bush cherry. The apples and pears were all reduced price second quality trees, about $23/tree (so half a regular bareroot, and 1/4 a store tree) and I definitely think it was worth buying them on clearance.

My black berry survived.

2/10 of the raspberries died, plus one came up and failed. That success rate was not worth the "deal", i think, because they often have to grow brand new canes, they are a bit more sensitive. None of my berries, even the ones with huge roots when planting seemed to really thrive.

My grape vine grew leaves, but they went brown in late summer and it is possibly dead. I am undecided about the reason for mortality. It was planted right at the edge of where my sprinkler hits, and also, it is really near a walnut tree and all the annuals planted in that area also struggled this year.

So, in summary: i would definitely do clearance bareroot trees and bushes again. I am unconvinced about later season bareroot brambles, unless i got a REALLY good deal on them (say, 75% off).

I did note that my fresh planted bareroot apple and pear trees didnt have their leaves turn colour and fall off like the crab apples in my neighbourhood. After several hard frosts, they still have some frozen, sad looking leaves. I will try to report in the spring if they survived the winter.

Oh, and my haskaps bought on clearance in the summer at a big box store also struggled. They lost all leaves far earlier than the established ornamental haskap relative that is planted next to them.
 
Don't count your weasels before they've popped. And now for a mulberry bush related tiny ad:
Green University by Thomas Elpel
https://permies.com/t/243115/Green-University-Thomas-Elpel
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