With November approaching, the bare root season is about to begin, so it’s time to think about how you can make the most of this if you’re planning any changes to the garden. First though, it might be helpful to explain what exactly bare root means for those not in the know as these terms can be confusing if you’re not of a horticultural bent!
It simply refers to plants sold with bare roots – in other words lifted from the ground and sold just as they are, as opposed to planted in compost in a container, which is how you’d normally expect to find plants in a garden centre. Bare root plants – usually hedging plants or trees – will have their roots wrapped in hessian or sacking to help stop them drying out, and if you think about it, they can be transported much more cheaply without the weight and space taken up by the pots, so that makes them cheaper for you, the buyer. This can be an important consideration if you’re thinking of planting hedging in a large garden when you could be buying hundreds of plants. It’s also a good way to get larger trees than you’d normally find growing in pots which can give your garden a bit of a head start and give you height and structure in a shorter timeframe than planting something much smaller and waiting for it to grow. If you’ve engaged a garden designer to help you plan the garden he or she should be able to source bare root trees and hedging for you from a reputable specialist nursery.
There are a few things to be aware of though so it pays to be prepared. The bare root season generally runs from November till about the end of March, although it can vary a bit depending on the weather in any particular year – basically it’s when the plants are dormant, as lifting them then causes much less damage than when they are in active growth. This is why winter is usually the best time to move trees and shrubs from one place to another within the garden. Because they’re not in containers however, they do need to go back in the ground as quickly as possible to prevent them drying out, and you may need to give them a good soaking beforehand to be on the safe side.
If you’re planning a bare root hedge, make sure you have your trench dug and the ground prepared with plenty of organic matter, so that your new bare root plants are not kept hanging around for too long before they’re settled into their new home. If you can’t plant them in their final position straight away, you can “heel them in” or cover them well with soil in a temporary position before moving them to the right place as soon as you can.
Don’t hang around though as the best bare root plants are snapped up quickly by those in the know, so make the most of this time of year to get ahead next spring when the earth wakes up and things start growing!
Planting bare root trees can begin around now
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