Monday, July 7, 2008

B is For Bare Root Planting

Bare root or potted plants--what's your pleasure? Both have benefits. Let's examine the bare root. Checking at your local nursery you can expect to pay between forty and seventy percent less for your plants - and nearly the same benefits with a catalog nursery.

Saving money may be the reason you took up gardening in the first place. Bare root purchases will be in line with that. Other than cost what else would stimulate you to purchase this type of plant?

The plants usually have a more extensive root system which will give them a good start once in the ground. You can see how root to top growth is balanced and you can trim back the roots before planing to encourage new vigorous growth, in most cases.

You can sometimes find rare and unusual varieties that are not available in the potted variety.

Last but not least, the bare roots may actually take root and grow better as they more easily adapt to your soil.

If you buy bare root plants, they require immediate care of the delicate hold they have on life. Bare root plants are like infants, very vulnerable. What you do immediately when they arrive at your home whether from local nursery, or mail order catalog, is important for their survival and productive growth.

If you are unable to plant them right away you can use one of the three methods to make their wait safer and more comfortable.

1. Leave them in the original packing material and keep them in a cool dry place. Check them to be sure the roots are not dry - if they are, sprinkle with a small amount of water as necessary until you can plant them, hopefully in a few days.

2. Use any large pot saved from another year to pot them up. Use good soil, compost and peat moss mixed to keep them alive and let them begin to grow.

3. Dig a shallow trench in a partly shaded area of your garden/yard/area where you intend to set them out. Do this where you can conveniently water them as necessary. Lay the plants on their sides with the roots in the trench and cover them with the same type of mixture of good soil, compost and peat moss. They will be good for a while there.

Make sure you label your plants held over in these ways. It's so easy to forget what is where and planting instructions may vary for those held in waiting.

You may discover that bare root is better.

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