Selecting Bare Root Plants
When you're having a look around your favorite nursery and garden center this spring making a selection, you'll find that more mature plants will cost more than smaller ones. It's that time and money thing. If you're willing to take the time to grow off something small like this, it can be a pretty good value, and it's no truer than dealing with fruit trees and some of your favorite flowering shrubs. You know, old standbys, like forsythia, flowering quince and spirea.
One of the least expensive ways to buy plants is bare root. Now that means that they haven't been grown in a container and the soil that is around the roots isn't intact any more, they've been literally pulled out of the ground. You usually find them packaged in poly bags like this.
These can make particularly good sense if you have to buy a lot of the same plant. For instance, if you wanted to establish a patch of blackberries or raspberries or even an arbor of grapes.
I know these don't look like much without leaves on them, but these bare twigs have a lot of potential in them. You just want to make sure that the ones you choose are green just under the bark. You can do that by just scraping back a bit.
When I get them home, I remove any damaged or broken stems and then I soak them in water for at least five hours, but no longer than twenty-four. This completely re-hydrates the plant before I plant them.
It's been my experience in dealing with bare root plants that it's best to get them in the ground while they are still dormant. This gives the best chance to settle in before they begin to flush with growth in the spring.
From the garden, I'm Allen Smith.
Check out Allen's new video "Ideas for Growing and Using Herbs" at www.pallensmith.com
P. Allen Smith Gardens
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