All gardeners should take a close interest in planting bare root trees and shrubs. Practiced from fall to the end of winter, this technique has many advantages! Let’s discover them together …
What is a bare root plant?
A bare root plant, as its name suggests, devoid of a pot, for the good reason that it has had the chance to develop in the ground.
These so-called plants ‘bare root’ have had all the space necessary for their development and a growth subject to natural elements which allow them to be strengthened, unlike plants whose development is controlled at all levels in a greenhouse. The trees and shrubs concerned are unearthed at the right time, that is to say when they come to rest and the sap descends from the aerial parts to the roots. The trauma is therefore less.
What are the advantages of planting bare root crops?
These plants have not experienced the trauma of growing in pots, the roots were given the opportunity to strengthen and extend into the ground, bringing vigor to the plant. You have probably already noticed that some plants grown in pots are very cramped; The roots come out of the pot, even deform the plastic container, a root bun is formed densely in the pot which hardly contains any soil. All of these signs undermine the plant’s chances of recovery once it has established itself in your garden! If it resumes, it will take at least two years for it to develop properly.
The plants presented with bare roots have good better chances of recovery even if part of the (peripheral) roots had to be sacrificed during the uprooting.
The ideal being of course to choose your plants from a local nurseryman, thus you will be assured that these plants are already accustomed to the climate, unlike plants imported from distant greenhouses that have never grown in the open air or experienced a breath of wind, nor true solar radiation.
Plants chosen locally and presented with bare roots will be fine more vigorous and adapted, therefore easier to grow.
Another advantage: these plants are generally much less expensive to purchase and transport. So you can buy more plants for the same budget!
What plants are suitable for this technique?
Trees and shrubs with foliage lapsed are usually available in the fall and winter in the form of bare roots. Roses are also sold bare root, as are fruit trees (pruniers, cherry trees, pommiers…), you will not find citrus fruits because they are cautious and should not be planted before the last frosts have passed.
The evergreen plants as the majority of conifers, eucalyptus, the photinias, pittosporums Where eléagnus are not available in bare root form as they need soil to survive and feed their ever-present foliage.
What if the weather conditions do not allow immediate planting?
In the event of unforeseen events or unfavorable weather conditions, it is always advisable to dig a large hole in a sheltered part of the garden in which you will pour river sand to temporarily install your plants.
This technique is called the ‘gauge’, it must be set up if planting cannot take place within 4 days of direct purchase or delivery. Plants sized correctly can stay there for a few weeks. Be careful, they must always be planted before bud break.
How to prepare the planting of plants with bare roots?
Use a secateurs whose blades have been disinfected beforehand to avoid transmitting pathogens to plants.
Cut the dead roots, softened or injured at their base.
Reduce by 1/3 the others if they are really long. This operation is called ‘dressing’. Do the same with the aerial parts. Ideally the volume of the aerial parts should be slightly greater than that of the roots. Warning: avoid pruning the aerial parts of stone fruit trees, they would not support it well during this season!
Prepare a praline in a clay-based bucket, compost and water, there is also pralin in commerce. Some gardeners recommend adding manure to this preparation, others are against it because it would convey pathogens … One thing is certain: the addition of poudre of mycorhizes will always be beneficial!
Immerse the roots in this mixture in order to abundantly praline the roots before planting. Let dry a few minutes before planting.
How to plant a bare root plant?
After dressing and pralinage roots, all you have to do is plant the chosen plant.
Dig a hole at least twice equal to the root ball and plant a stake very deeply facing the prevailing wind.
Pour at the bottom of the hole a good layer of compost and soil.
Make a little hill and place your tree on it, right in the center of the hole.
the collar must be flush with the ground surface. Be careful not to bury the possible grafting point (bulge located on the main stem).
Recap by tamping as you go to avoid the formation of air bubbles.
Tamp well around the foot of the plant.
Make a bowl around the base to contain irrigation water.
Place flexible ties to join your plant to its tutor.
Source: Au Jardin, conseils en jardinage by www.aujardin.info.
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