Trees sold as bare roots can only be planted from November to March, when they are dormant. However, trees planted in November and December will establish better than those planted in March.
Your bare root tree will arrive in a black bag to protect the roots from drying out. If you are not planting in a few days then remove the bag and ‘heel in’ the tree in some soft garden soil, making sure that all the roots are covered. In cold weather the roots must be protected from frost; either by heeling it into soft soil or storing it in a garage or shed with the bag in place.
To plant you will need a stake, tie, compost, lump hammer and spade.
1. If planting in a lawn remove the turf from the planting area. Dig a hole the same depth as the roots of the tree and loose the soil in the bottom. The planting hole should be wide enough to accommodate the roots. When the tree is placed inside; however, if your soil is poor it is advisable to make the hole larger. Some research suggests a square hole is better.
2. Knock the stake in firmly, upright and just off-centre in the planting hole. Place your tree in the hole and ensure there is enough room for the tree roots to spread and that the graft union is above ground level. Tie loosely to the stake and ensure the tree is upright. If your soil is poor it may be advisable to sprinkle mycorrhizal fungi around the roots to improve establishment.
3. Mix some of the soil from the planting hole 50:50 with planting compost and refill around the roots, ensuring there are no air gaps. Fill the hole, firming gently, and making sure the graft union is still above soil level. Remove excess soil. Growmore or similar fertiliser may be sprinkled around the base of the tree if required.
4. If you are planting during dry weather water well in the first week. A tree planted in the autumn should need little, if any, watering after it has been planted. Spring planted trees will need more water. All trees will need watering in the first summer during dry spells. However, if the ground is damp do not water excessively.
5. The stake should stay in place for approx. 12 months, after which time it can be removed.
Video On Planting A Bare Rooted Tree
Video On Using A Tree Tie