How to care for bare root trees

Follow our step-by-step guide to ensure success when planting your bare root trees.

Chinese Elm

1. Prepare the soil

Find a suitable position and enrich the soil with aged compost and other organic additives like Rockdust and MycoGold. Dig an area slightly larger and deeper than required to open the soil and improve root penetration.

2. When your plants arrive

When your bare root trees arrive, unwrap them from their bag, shake off the sawdust and soak the roots in a bucket of water (like you would a bunch of cut flowers) for at least 24 hours prior to planting. You can also add a little seaweed solution to the bucket.

Leave to soak until you are ready to plant as the exposed roots will dry out quickly and become damaged if exposed to the air for long periods of time — even when dormant.

3. Plant in the garden as soon as possible

While plants are dormant and will be fine soaking for several weeks, it is best to get them planted out in the garden as soon as possible, ready to send out roots at the first sign of spring.

Plant at the same level as the plant was growing in the soil. You'll notice a line on the trunk. Backfill a small mound of soil into the centre of the hole to establish the correct planting depth. This will be where the roots sit, and then they will fan out and spread easily from here. Stake now if needed to avoid root damage. Keep backfilling the hole using the enriched soil, firming the soil down as you go. Water before applying mulch.

4. Mulch

Apply an organic mulch around 7cm deep, keeping the mulch away from the stem. This helps to conserve soil moisture and also reduce competition from weeds.