Success with bareroot roses, vines, and trees!
Most bareroot that don't grow fail because of improper storage after purchase, or improper watering while they are rooting in the first few weeks.
Store the plant in moist shavings if it will be planted within a day or so. Put it into some moist soil if it will be more than 48 hours before planting. It's best to soak the plant for a few hours in water before you plant it; overnight is fine, and an hour or so while you get the hole dug is better than nothing.
Dig a hole at least twice as wide and the same depth as the root system.
Loosen the soil around and below the roots, add some starter fertilizer, and mix that with the loose soil. We don't add organic planting mix for trees or vines, but we do amend the soil for roses (1 bag of Rose Planting Mix will be enough for two rose bushes). Mix this with the soil.
Have someone else hold the plant upright. Point the budded part of the tree (look for the scar) towards the southwest. The graft should be about two inches above the soil grade.
Backfill the soil and step on the dirt gently all around to firm the soil.
Water thoroughly to settle air pockets. If the whole thing sinks, tug gently on the plant to make sure the graft is still two inches above grade.
Young fruit trees don't normally need to be staked the way shade trees do, but a small anchor stake might help keep it upright until it is fully rooted.
Paint the tree trunk all the way up to the lowest branches (or just paint the whole tree!) with interior white latex paint.
Water again every day that we don't have rain or dense fog. You probably can't overwater a new bareroot plant if your soil has adequate drainage. This is especially crucial in March, when the weather first warms up and we often get wind. The plant has enough energy stored in the stem to start to grow without roots, but if the newly-forming root hairs go dry the plant will die.
Once the plant begins to grow (not just leaf out) you can cut back how often you water--a deep soaking 2 - 3 times per week is adequate in April. By May you should be able to water the new plant with your other young trees or roses. In an established orchard it will need water every 5 - 7 days, which is about twice as often as your established trees.
For information on training your young tree, see our article Planting and Training Your Fruit Tree
© 2008 Don Shor, Redwood Barn Nursery, Inc., 1607 Fifth Street, Davis, Ca 95616
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