Bare Root Tree Planting

Yesterday, members of the Horticulture Department planted trees in the new Rhododendron Discovery Garden, which will open on May 18. Image

Pictured are horticulturists  Ann Rzepka-Budziak, Lori Gogolin and Rick Anielski moving a swamp white oak into place. The trees planted yesterday were bare root trees rather than balled and burlapped.  Planting the trees using the bare root method has some advantages, according to Roger Gettig, Holden’s director of horticulture and conservation. Bare root trees:

  • Generally have more root mass than b&b trees
  • Are easier to handle and ship due to their weight, which leads to a cost savings
  • Are easier to plant 

The bare root method also gives you the chance to inspect the roots before planting, so you have the opportunity to correct (remove) any of the main roots that are growing in a direction other than away from the trunk, which could cause problems (girdling) later on, said Charles Tubesing, Holden’s plant collections curator. With bare root trees it is also easy to be sure that you plant at the correct depth. Since you are placing the roots into direct contact with the soil, you avoid any problems with roots transitioning from the ball of soil they were grown in, which may be very different in texture from the soil they are being planted in.

Of course, there are also drawbacks, Gettig said, including a narrower window for planting, because you can’t let the roots dry out after the plant has been dug, which can happen more easily with bare root trees.

Our thanks to Holden’s Brian Parsons, who was on hand with his camera while the trees were being planted.

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