How to plant bare-rooted trees
Autumn is the perfect time to plant bare root fruit trees, except in regions where winters are very severe. If it is the case, wait for the end of winter.
Planting in the fall allows the young tree to adapt to the place and establish itself before starting its growth the following spring. In this guide we will learn how to plant bare-rooted trees.
If you buy bare-rooted trees and you are not going to plant them right away, keep them in a sheltered place and check that the roots remain moist.
Fruit trees that are usually bought bare-rooted include apple trees, pear trees, peach trees, plum trees, cherry trees, vines, walnut trees, chestnut trees, almond trees, among others.
We bought some fruit trees to plant and we will use one as an example to demonstrate the process.
Choose the appropriate tree for your location
Know the characteristics of your place, the sun exposure and the type of soil. Investigate whether the tree you want is suitable for the conditions in place.
Don’t forget to ask for details about the tree you are going to buy in the garden center, they will help you. After deciding and buying, it’s time to plant.
Dig a hole
With a garden spade, dig a hole in the ground. Remove old roots or other coarse material that you may find while digging.
Make a hole deeper and wider than the root ball of the tree. Breaking the soil will facilitate the growth of the roots in the early months of the tree.
If your soil retains little moisture or is too dry, drop a bucket or two of water.
Mix some garden compost or organic matter with the soil you took out of the hole. This is the soil we are going to use to finish planting.
Now add some of this mixture at the bottom of the hole so that the top of the root ball, after being placed in the planting position, is leveled with the surface of the ground.
Plant the tree
When you are satisfied with the placement of the tree in the hole, it is time to plant it.
Remove the packaging material that wraps the roots. Try to touch the roots as little as possible.
Nowadays, many of the trees sold in bare root, are well packed and wrapped in a biodegradable material. This means that the roots do not need to be disturbed at this stage and can be planted directly.
However, do your analysis, if you find that the roots are crossed, rolled, tightened or turned upwards, cut the wrapper and release them to their natural position.
Place the tree in the hole in the correct position, hold it and add the soil mixture you made earlier all the way around.
Gently press the compost around the roots. Do not over-compact the soil, but make sure it is firm and there are no air pockets.
You can make a border around it so that water is not lost over the ground while watering.
Support the tree
One of the key factors for success is to prevent the newly planted tree from moving in the first months of life. The roots need to grow without disturbance so they can establish in the soil.
You can put the stake laterally and parallel to the trunk to support it. But a more effective way is to place the stake at an angle, as shown in the image.
Hit it with a hammer to sink it into the ground and stay firm. Then tie the stake to the trunk with an appropriate string.
Generally, it must be a string with some rubber content so that it can expand, this flexibility will allow it to widen as the trunk thickens. It also makes it slightly soften the vibrations caused by the wind. If you use wire or something too hard, you could risk the tree breaking at that point.
If the place is very exposed to the wind or if you want to be even more careful in this aspect, there are specific supports to fix trees for sale in garden centers.
Water the tree
After planting, even if rain is forecast, water the newly planted tree. In addition to hydrating the tree, this ensures that the soil is properly packed around the roots and any air pockets are eliminated.
Thus, the tree will be more firm in the soil and will have the best conditions to grow.
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