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Bare root season has begun

29th Nov 2020

Bare root plants are dug up from the field and supplied without soil or compost around the roots. That's right, there's no pot! They offer a number of advantages over container-grown trees/hedging, which are supplied in the pot they are grown in. For example, they might be cheaper, especially if you are buying in quantity. And they don't take up so much room in transit as there's no bulky pot full of compost. If you're planting a long deciduous hedge, they're a great option.

However, bare root trees and hedging are only available in the dormant season, November-March (or December-March for fruit trees). They can only be safely transplanted, without risk of drying out, once the leaves have fallen and they're not in active growth. And not all types of trees/hedging are available in this form - for example we don't supply evergreens bare rooted.

Do check availability online or by dropping us a line at the nursery. Whips and hedging are available first as they're small plants and the first to fully go into dormancy when temperatures drop. Larger trees are next up, at the end of November or beginning of December, depending on species. For example, the ornamental pear, Pyrus calleryana, doesn't tend to drop its leaves till December is underway. Fruit trees carry on going a little bit longer, so we never supply these until December.

One of the reasons for variation in timing is that the plant has to send energy down into its roots, while cells in the upper parts of the plant fill with a sort of antifreeze to protect it from the coming weather. This takes longer in larger trees than small ones, and there is much variation - both between species and within species - in trees' reaction to changing weather.  

Roots, meanwhile, never really go to sleep. So, if you are collecting from the nursery, please order bare root plants in advance as they are dug up shortly before you come to get them, so the roots don't dry out!

Find out more in our guides:

Bare root or container?

Buying bare root hedging

Collecting your order FAQs

Planting bare root whips

Planting in cold weather


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