Out on the West Coast, you can get a jump start on your spring planting even if it is in the middle of winter. Since it does not usually freeze in the coastal areas, the soil is easy to dig in and you can safely plant your bare root roses, fruit trees and other bare root plants available at your local Home Depot Nursery.
Generally, if you still have snow on the ground or your ground is still frozen rock hard, you will not be able to take advantage of this early in the year project. You may still be able to but the bare root plants will have to wait until the ground thaws before you will be able to start your bare root planting.
Planting a bare root plant can seem rather daunting to some folks, but it really is an easy task, except for the part of digging the hole perhaps. The process is still the same regardless of which bare root product you choose be it a bare root rose, fruit tree, fruiting vine such as raspberry's or Logan berry's to name a few. After you buy your bare root plant, the first thing you want to do is take it home!!! Once you get home, remove the bag surrounding the plant. Be sure to save the mulch or wood chips that the bare root plant is packed in. I will show a use for that later on. The purpose of the mulch is to keep the root system damp. Even though you may see green sprouts coming from your bare root plant, they are generated from nutrient poor surroundings. The mulch has no beneficial nutrients, but be sure to save this mixture when you take your bare root plant out.
Once you have removed your bare root prize from its wrapping, grab your five gallon bucket and fill it half full of temped water, something in the room temperature range, not ice cold. To help the bare root plant get a good start, I like to add about ½ capful per gallon of Miracle Gro “Quick Start” to the five gallon bucket prior to immersing your bare root plant. This is a lite root stimulator and will help your bare root plant get a good start once you have planted it in the ground. A four hour soak is optimum, but you can soak it overnight. This action will re-hydrate the root system and the stalk of the plant. Do not soak your bare root any longer than 24 hrs. Longer is not better in this case. Fill your bucket about 1/2 to 3/4 full, depending on the size of your bare root plant. The object is to immerse the whole root system in the water.
After you have placed the bare root in the bucket, go change and start digging the hole for you bare root. For a bare root rose or vine, the hole about the size of a 5 gallon black grower’s container. Once the hole is dug, you may find that you will need to amend your soil. The Home Depot carries several good soil choices for you bare root plant. For roses, I like to use the Miracle Gro Rose soil or the blue 3 cubic foot bag of Kellogg’s Garden Soil in the 3 cubic foot bag. Only the West Coast will you have access to most of the Kellogg soil products that are carried at your local Home Depot from Arizona to California. The Home Depot carries several good soil choices for you bare root plant. You can use either product straight from the bag or mix it in with our soil.
On the West Coast you will also have access to most of the Kellogg soil products that are carried at your local Home Depot from Arizona to California. You can mix the pre-packaged soil in with your regular soil or use it straight from the bag.
Remember that fruit trees love a sandy well drained soil. I have found that the Super Soil “Palm and Cactus Mix” works very well for fruit trees. This can also be mixed or used right out of the bag. You can mix the pre-packaged soil in with your regular soil or use it straight from the bag if you do not have a sandy well drained soil for your bare root fruit tree.
Be sure to read the instructions on the plastic wrap that housed your bare root plant. There is some valuable information there and it is important that you follow the instructions. One of the important tips that is not on the package, is how to position your bare root plant in the hole you just dug. The soil should be shaped into a cone, narrow on top and wide at the bottom. This specific shape will help to envelope the root system and not leave any gapes or large air holes. To ensure this, use a light twisting motion as you place your bare root plant onto and into the soil in the hole. Once this is done, use the rest of your soil mix to cover the root system up to the base of plant. Be sure to cover all of the root system. Lightly pack the soil a round the root system with your fingers.
Your next step is to make a small berm around the hole to keep the water from running away from the plant. Your next step is easy. Take the left over water in the five gallon bucket you used to pre-soak your plant and pour that into the hole. (Did you add the Miracle Gro Quick Start??) The water will help to settle the soil around the root system. It may be necessary to add more soil at this point. Depending on the weather, it may be necessary to water your newly planted bare root plant ac ouple of times for the first week unless Mother Nature is helping will some rain. After that first week, you will only have to water no more than once a week to once every two weeks depending on the weather and the type of soil your bare root is planted in.
Take the left over water in the five gallon bucket you used to pre-soak your plant and pour that into the hole. (Did you add the Miracle Gro Quick Start??) The water will help to settle the soil around the root system. It may be necessary to add more soil at this point.
You may have to adjust the watering schedule depending on your location and weather. Once the weather starts to warm up, you should see lots of new growth. Your first fertilization can take place about 4-6 weeks after planting. Be sure to take some pictures of your bare root planting project and share them with the rest of the Garden Community.
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