How To: Plant Bare Root Trees and Hedges

“The main thing to remember is the importance of soil preparation before planting.”Paraic Horkan

“Bare root” is a term used in gardening to refer to plants that are sold with their roots exposed, instead of in a container with soil. Bare root trees and hedges are a popular feature in many Irish gardens, as they enhance the design and beauty of a garden. A hedge can provide privacy, shelter and a sense of enclosure. They are available in multiple varieties, differing in shape, size and matter. Now is the time to plant bare root trees and hedges. Here, we will talk you through the planting process.

Before Planting

Once you purchase a bare root plant there are a number of things to consider before planting:

  • Always keep roots moist before and during planting. 
  • If your plants come in packaging, open the packaging and ensure the material around the roots is moist. If it's dry, add water to moisten it. 
  • Plant your bare root plant within 1-2 days of purchase. If you cannot plant within this time-frame cover the roots with moist compost or soil to exclude the air from the bare roots. Plant roots must be kept moist at all times before planting.
  • Prior to planting, remove any material from around the roots and soak the roots in luke warm water for 30 to 60 minutes. This ensures the roots absorb enough moisture.

Watering Can
Bare Root Hedge

During Planting

A vital step of planting is to prepare the planting surface. 

  • If planting a hedge, dig a v-shaped trench. If planting a tree, dig a circular hole.
    • Ensure the trench or hole is the depth of the plant roots and twice the width.
  • Add planting compost to the hole and mix in a handful of a high-quality fertiliser. The plant fertiliser we recommend is OSMO Pro 6 as it is ideal for encouraging new growth.
  • Insert the plant into the hole/trench so the beginning of the root (root flare) is at exactly soil level.
  • If planting a hedge, leave 45cm between each plant.
  • Refill the hole with the soil taken out of it, pressing the soil around and between the roots. The soil needs to be firm around the roots.

After Planting

  • Create a ridge of soil around the entire planting hole.
  • Fill the ridged area with water, allowing the water to soak into the roots of the plant. Repeat this 2-3 times so the soil is kept moist and air pockets in the soil are removed.
  • Large plants may need to be staked to secure the stem and roots of the plant. Consider the stability of the plant and the wind conditions when deciding upon staking. If necessary,  select a proper tree stake and rubber ties to secure it firmly.
  • In spring and early summer your new plants will benefit from an application of a high-quality fertiliser, such as OSMO Pro 6.

Are you interested in planting a bare root hedge or tree(s)? Just contact your local store where one of our helpful and knowledgeable staff will be happy to help and answer any questions you may have.