Monday, March 5, 2012

Question of the Week: Planting Bare Root Fruit Trees

"Costco is selling bare root fruit trees now and they are dirt cheap.  Is now the time to plant them and if so, how?"  I've been asked this question many times in the past few days and I'm sure many more people might be thinking the same thing.  The answer is yes, but there are some things to look for before buying a new peach, plum, apple or apricot tree:
Tips:  When to plant bare root trees?
  • Can you dig a hole in your soil deep enough for a tree?  If you answered yes then now is the time to plant a bare root fruit tree.
  • Or is your soil buried under 2 feet of snow?  Is the soil frozen? Or too soggy?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then now it is not time to plant.  You can however purchase the tree and plant it in a container and keep it in a sunny garage until your soil is not buried under snow, frozen or soggy.
Tips:  What to look for when purchasing bare root trees?
  • Make sure the buds are tight, plump, and healthy--Not open, dry, or shriveled! 
  • Examine the bark and make sure there are no injuries or deep scratches.
  • If possible, look at the root system to see if it is well balanced and  undamaged.
  •  Evenly spaced branching is another consideration. 
Tips:  How to plant bare root trees?
A side view of how to plant a bare-root tree before all of the soil has been placed back into the hole. Photo courtsey of Utah Pests News
  1. Cut off damaged roots
  2. Soak roots in 5 gallon bucket of water 3-6 hrs. before planting.
  3. Dig the hole as deep as root ball and twice as wide.
  4.  Support root ball with mound of soil.
  5. Place tree in hole making sure root flare is at ground level.
  6. Fill in soil around roots, tamp soil lightly, and water in to settle soil around roots.
  7. Stake carefully, if needed for the first year.
Have more questions?  You can find more information about buying and planting bare root fruits here, here and here.


  1. nice opinion.. thanks for sharing....

  2. I did not soak the tree in water for 3-6 hours before planting. I planted it in Dec end and there are no leaves in sight. The stems are still green. Is it a gone case, or do I still have hope. I planted a apple and nectarine tree. I live in San Jose. It rains here from Jan to April. But we got much less than usual rain this year.