Tips for Caring and Handling Bareroot Nursery Stock

Temporary Storage

Bareroot CareCold storage at 34-38° and relative humidity of 85-85% is the ideal storage environment. Store in a cool, protected area with the roots covered and kept moist. Never let the roots dry out. No not allow stock to freeze.

Stock Hydration

Soak the roots of dormant bareroot stock for 4-6 hours (not moer than 12) before sweating or planting.

Sweating

Some varieties require special handling to force out of dormancy by increasing the humidity and temperature prior to planting.

  • Species that may need or benefit from sweating include: Acer, Amelanchier, Betula, Carpinus, CEltis, Malus, Pyrus, Quercus, Salix, and Ulmus.
    • One method involves placing the hydrated stock in a poly covered overwintering house. The warm, humid poly-house environment quickly meets the needs of the plants to bring them out of dormancy. Keep the roots covered and moist by watering.
    • Another method can be done in a barn, garage or out-building where the temperature can be maintained between 60-70°F. Lay one or two layers of moistened burlap, straw, similar material on the floor. Shake off any excess moisture from hydrating and lay the plants side-by-side on the prepared area. Completely cover the plants with several layers of damp burlap, straw, or similar material. Keep the covering moist by watering. Cover the pile with poly and seal around the edges to begin the process.
    • Check the plants daily to see if the dormant buds have begun to swell and break open (bu break). Avoid excess moisture to prevent mold. Plant the stock when the buds begin to swell.

    Pruning

    Trim off any dead or damaged roots and branches. Slightly tip prune the roots to promote new root growth. Do NOT cut healthy roots short, to make planting easier, but match the hole or container to the size of the root system.

    Download these Tips for Caring and Handling Bareroot Nursery Stock Prior to Planting.