Bare root plants


Trees thrive better in the garden if you plant them in the ground as bare root plants. We show you what you need to consider when planting.

© NokHoOkNoi / stock.adobe.com

Woody plants can not only be acquired in planters or with bales of earth. There are also bare root plants that do completely without soil. Such plants bring advantages not only during transport. In order for the plants to grow up healthily, there are a few things you need to consider.

Properties of bare root plants

Bare root plants lack any soil between the roots. In addition, these plants are without leaves. This special form of offer is usually used in large numbers in the field and pulled out of the ground with the help of machines in autumn. Mostly it is a question of domestic deciduous trees, roses or hedge plants.

Bare-rooted plants can hardly be found in the garden center. A long storage time would be too complex and increase the risk of loss, because bare-rooted shrubs should be brought back into the ground as soon as possible.

Nurseries offer bare root plants

If you want to buy bare root plants, you can order them directly from a tree nursery. These special trees are often used for afforestation. But they are also ideal for larger hedge plantings.

The delivery time of the foliage-free plants is limited to a few weeks per year and can only take place in late autumn after the fall of leaves, or must be completed with the budding in spring.

Buy and plant bare root plants

Bare root plants can only be purchased during the growth pause between October and March. As soon as the desired plants arrive at the recipient, they should be planted.

Tip: Planting can be delayed a bit if you wrap the roots in a damp cloth.

The planting of these trees should be completed in early April. At this point, the sprouting has usually progressed so far that difficulties in growing are the result. An enormous amount of water is evaporated through the leaves and the plants dry out completely within a very short time.

Prepare planting

Bare-rooted plants are usually grown on arable land. To ensure that the plants grow well in the garden soil, the plant and root shoots must be cut by almost half. This work is often done by the nurseries themselves before shipping. If in doubt, ask the provider.

The soil should be prepared accordingly before planting. In a heavy clay soil, the roots have a hard time penetrating the soil. Gravel or sand make the substrate more permeable.

This problem does not exist in sandy soils. The low storage capacity of the soil is a disadvantage here. Water and nutrients are quickly lost accordingly. Mixing in compost or peat can help improve the soil's storage capacity.

Planting - step by step

© Sonja Birkelbach / stock.adobe.com1. Find location
2. Prepare the soil
3. Water the plant
Dig out the planting hole 5. Insert the plant
6. Fill up the substrate
7. Press the earth lightly
8. Water the plant sufficiently

The ideal time to plant is a frost-free day with cloudy skies.
While the soil is loosened up and prepared for planting, the bare-rooted plants migrate into a water bath.

When digging the planting hole, make sure that all roots are completely enclosed by the substrate. Bending or buckling of the roots should be avoided. Kinked or rotten root sections are removed. The plants are washed in well. Watering should not be neglected in the first few weeks after planting.

Tip: Evergreen trees also need water in winter. Watering should be done on frost-free days.

When planting, compost or horn chips can be mixed into the substrate. This natural slow release fertilizer makes it easier for bare root plants to grow.

It is preferred to plant in autumn. The plants can grow well in their new location before the first frosts. Purchase and planting are also possible in early spring. These plants were temporarily stored in the cold store and therefore require a lot of liquid.

Tip: Treat plants planted in spring to a water bath of at least one hour in advance.

Cultivate bare root plants

Watering is the most important task after planting bare root plants. Water is poured all winter. After planting in autumn, bare-rooted plants no longer receive mineral fertilizers. If no pruning has been carried out yet, the crops will be cut by about a third after planting.

In the further course, no special rules have to be observed for the cultivation of bare root plants. The care instructions prescribed for the respective plant species apply.

Differences between bare root plants, bale and container goods

offer formdifferences
bare root plants
  • Delivery without bales of earth
  • cheaper than the other shapes
  • Pruning necessary
  • Limited planting time
  • Delivered with bales of earth, packed in linen
  • cheaper than container goods
  • low cut back
  • long planting period
container goods
  • Delivery in a planter
  • more expensive than the other forms
  • no cut back when inserting
  • Planting time all year round

Benefits of bare root plants

In comparison to bale and container goods, bare root plants are ...

❍ ... cheaper

Choosing bare root plants offers several advantages. This starts with the purchase, because bare root plants are cheaper than bale and container plants. Harvesting is quick and easy, and transportation is easy and environmentally friendly. Bale and container goods ensure a higher transport weight and a correspondingly higher petrol consumption and pollutant exchange.

❍ ... easier to transport

Root goods relieve the hobby gardener in various ways. The transport of container plants to the planting site is often a feat, especially when beds or hedges are to be planted and a correspondingly large number of plants are required. Bare root plants can be transported easily and without additional aids.

❍ ... less complex to plant

The planting holes have to be excavated about twice the size of the root ball. With bale and container plants, this becomes a sweaty activity, especially if the soil is heavy and dense. If you want to plant a hedge and want to plant many plants, bare-rooted plants are better advised. These get by with much smaller plant holes.

❍ ... more frugal and therefore grow better

Container plants are vigorous and grow well. They were grown in a nutrient-rich substrate tailored to their needs. They often do not tolerate moving into conventional garden flooring as well. They hardly form new roots and have a high need for moisture. Bare root plants are grateful for the substrate provided and grow much better.

The following plants often grow better bare-rooted:

  • Deciduous trees (linden, beech, maple, oak, ash)
  • high strains
  • half tribes
  • hedge plants
  • boxwood
  • jaw
  • fir
  • Spruce

Overview of the advantages and disadvantages of bare root plants

✔ inexpensive
✔ easy to carry
✔ low planting effort
✔ good growth guaranteedisadvantage
✘ low availability
✘ limited planting period
✘ delayed sprouting