Bare root plants are young, dormant, deciduous plants that are sold without any soil surrounding the roots. This allows for easy handling and transportation of the plants and ready establishment of the new roots into the native soil of your landscape. It is essential that the roots of bare root plants be kept moist until planted. If it is not possible to plant immediately, then remove the packageing material and “heel-in” by temporarily planting the bare roots into moist sawdust, soil, or bark, and water well. Bare root plants can be held this way for several weeks, but should be planted in their permanent location before buds swell and growth begins. Keep heeled-in plants moist. The advantage of bare root plants is that they can be planted directly into your soil with little or no soil amending. If amending soil, thoroughly mix the organic material into the native soil. Dig the planting hole twice as wide and only as deep as the root system. Leave the sides and bottom of the hole rough, rather than smooth as a container. Roots should fit easily into the hole without bending. Before placing the plant in the hole, prune off all broken, bruised, damaged or badly kinked roots. Backfill the hole with native, or slightly amended, soil and tamp down gently to eliminate air pockets. Thoroughly water the planting area to settle the soil completely around the roots. Trees that do not stand on their own will require staking. Secure with stakes only until the root system is well established, typically until the autumn of the same year or certainly by the following spring. Use stakes that are stout enough to provide support and long enough when sunk firmly into the ground to reach the point where the major limbs branch from the trunk. Protect the bark by running the ties from the stake through a piece of plastic tubing or hose at the point where it contacts the plant. Soak into the root area completly. How often water is needed will depend on the season of year, weather conditions, size of plant and soil type. To determine whether a plant needs water, probe carefully around the root zone and check the moisture content of the soil. Do not wait for signs of wilting before watering. Water deeply during prolonged periods without rain. This is particularly important during the first two years after planting. After the first season of growth, apply fertilizer according to the recommended rate on the fertilizer label.

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