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planting bare root fruit trees

 
trinda storey
Posts: 73
Location: kent, washington
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hello everyone

when is the right time to plant bare root friut tress, i live in seattle washington. is it ok to plant them now or early fall?
 
Emilie Thomas-Anderson
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Location: Ben Lomond, CA
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Generally bare root trees are available after the trees have become fully dormant for the winter - so in my area (Bay Area, California) that usually means that nurseries start carrying them around early to mid January. I have ordered bare root trees from nurseries in Oregon and Washington and they have shipped in early February. If the plants were not fully dormant, reducing them to a bare-root state would likely put them through a significant amount of transplant shock and they would probably lose much of their foliage and young branches (unless you pre-emptively removed much of the green growth and young branches yourself to prevent that from happening!). I know it's hard to wait when you're eager to plant, but look at it this way - planting bare root in winter gives you something fun to do during a time when there isn't a whole lot going on in the garden, plus it gives you more time to plan (and to drool over those plant catalogues)!
 
Cristo Balete
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Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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Trinda, yeah, Emilie is right, bare root season is in the late January, early spring, so there won't be any bare root plants available in the fall.

Planting perennials in the fall in mild winter areas works well because they can get some good roots over the winter where the ground doesn't freeze.

You might be able to find some good sales on fruit trees in 5 gallon pots, and if your ground doesn't freeze plant them in an unamended hole with native soil. and several handfuls of granite sand if you can get some. That way the roots won't circle in the hole where all the easy stuff is and make for a shallowly-rooted tree. You want them to start hunting deep into the ground right away. Make up some manure tea in a 5 gallon bucket and pour that in the bottom of the hole first so it goes below the hole.

Water deeply (not with a sprinkler) with thick organic mulch in a circle around the tree. Don't get it too close to the trunk or rodents can hide in it and chew on the trunk. Watch a newly planted tree, but 5 days or a week later water deeply again, meaning put a running hose for 5 minutes at North, South, East, West. Check to see that it's not too wet next time you water. You may not need to water in the winter if there's enough rain.

What zone are you in? If it's eastern Washington where it's freezing and windy it's better to wait until it warms up in the spring. Sometimes the nurseries that ship bare root plants can't send them because of the freezing conditions and the delivery trucks are not heated, so it depends on where you order from.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Hau, trinda, As Cristo and Emilie have stated, Bare Root Trees are a spring planting exercise. This reduces the stress on the dormant tree and allows it to wake up in the new home site of the tree.

To properly plant a bare root tree you want to dig a hole at least twice the diameter of the roots and twice as deep as the tap root.
To Plant the tree you will need to set it at the correct height in the center of the planting hole and then gently backfill with either removed soil or the removed soil with blended amendments.
This depends on the type of tree and the native soil more than anything else.
Be very careful to not injure any of the roots and also make sure you spread them out in a wagon wheel spoke sort of manner.
By watering the fill as you go you can make sure there are no air pockets to collapse and that soil is going to firmly support the newly planted bare root tree.
Once your new tree wakes up (starts budding flowers or leaves) give it a nice watering with a B-12 solution to promote new root growth and reduce transplant shock, which should be mild if the planting is done correctly and prior to the tree coming out of dormancy.
Bare Root planting mistakes are usually Lack of hole size/depth and forceful packing of fill (root damage by planting).
When done correctly your new trees will come out of dormancy and grow fairly rapidly.

If you purchase container or root ball trees, you will need some fairly stout, blunt sharpened, sticks to gently pry out the roots that inevitably grow in a circle due to the container or ball wrapping.
In the case of this type of tree, a hole three times the size of the container or ball is best for tree survival, getting the roots pried loose and spread away from the trunk will give the tree a good anchor and help it get a good start in its new home.
fill should be done just as for bare root trees.

Since it is summer in the northern hemisphere, this is the time to prepare your tree sites and measure to make sure the branches will have all the space they need to grow true to tree form.
 
trinda storey
Posts: 73
Location: kent, washington
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wow thanks for the fantastic feedback. i am in zone 8a, seattle area. we are having a weird hot summer and it is forested that we are not going to have a winter. i was planing on ordering my trees from bobwells nursery, he has them available now.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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trinda storey wrote:wow thanks for the fantastic feedback. i am in zone 8a, seattle area. we are having a weird hot summer and it is forested that we are not going to have a winter. i was planing on ordering my trees from bobwells nursery, he has them available now.


If he has bare root trees available, that is a good indication that it is safe to plant them in your zone. Prep your spaces and use the directions, B-12 is a good overall root promoter. I use it on just about everything, the easy way to make it is; if you have B-12 vitamins you can dissolve 4 in a gallon of water then dilute that solution in a 1:5 ratio. Be sure to shake up the base solution before every use.
 
John Wolfram
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Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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It looks like Bob Well's won't ship until at least October 1 because otherwise it's too hot. From their website:
Our bare root tree shipping season begins October 1st each season and continues through June 1st. If you place a bare root tree order after June 1st, we will not ship it until October 1st, because bare root trees need to be planted when it is not so hot outside.

https://bobwellsnursery.com/
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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John Wolfram wrote:It looks like Bob Well's won't ship until at least October 1 because otherwise it's too hot. From their website:
Our bare root tree shipping season begins October 1st each season and continues through June 1st. If you place a bare root tree order after June 1st, we will not ship it until October 1st, because bare root trees need to be planted when it is not so hot outside.

https://bobwellsnursery.com/


Good catch John, I've never known a BR nursery that would ship when conditions aren't right for success. They want you to have good healthy trees that survive and so make sure they only ship when the timing is right for success.
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