Bareroot Planting

The latest thing to have a go at on my list of gardening projects.

I like the idea of bareroot season. The plants are so much cheaper and there are a tonne to pick from. I went for Blackthorn for sloes (and sloe gin obviously) and a wild looking rose called Red Leaf. I bought a few of each to mix in along a fence line we have in the paddock that is already sporting some blackberries. I fancied adding some colour and variety in to this section of fence and might leave a wild strip with long grasses as well – who knows!?

The fun thing about bareroot is that the little twigs that arrive in the post look pretty dead and stay that way for a long time. So you’ve pretty much forgotten all about them, until hopefully one day weeks later you spot some buds and can run around shouting ‘it’s alive’ in a theatrical fashion.

I’ve done this before years ago and a lovely hedge appeared. Hopefully the same happy results will ensue this time. The process is pretty straight forward. You can buy bareroot stock between November and March. Loads of places sell bareroot trees online and offer a wealth of advice and periphery purchases such as root grow powder and little plastic sleeves to stop hungry bunnies from gnawing your baby trees.

As usual I didn’t have a lot of time to get these little twigs into the ground and time is apparently of the essence so it went like this:

  1. Spade into the ground to create a decent side pocket, not a hole as such, more a slit from waggling the spade back and forth a lot.
  2. Twiggy tree goes in roots down and not too deep.
  3. Powder the roots with root grow (Mycorrhizal fungi if you can pronounce that)!
  4. Stomp the sides in to create a firm home for your new baby tree or bush.
  5. Water really well.

Now we shall see what happens in a few months time. I haven’t added sleeves yet, but am keeping an eye on them. The roses seem too spiky and wild to chew (or fit in a sleeve) and the blackthorn pretty non-existent (literally a twig).

I did plant an oak tree ages ago. This has a sleeve because the rabbits had a right go at it. Then they ate the sleeve as well and I’ve just popped on a new one. It was a 40th birthday present for my brother in law, but he didn’t have room for it. So we’ve named it Steve and it’s planted in the paddock at the back of the house. It’s been there for two years now with one green, then one brown leaf as the seasons pass by. I wonder whether I will get to sit in the shade of Steve the tree when I’m old(er) and remember back to when my adopted oak was a mere twiglet.

Speaking of trees I found a walnut that had germinated last weekend. So we’ve buried it in a pot and will see what it does. I hope it grows another baby tree.

If all goes to plan in a few years time I will be chuffed to have had a go at this little project with plants that were a couple of quid each. If nothing grows then at least I got some fresh air and exercise one afternoon in the middle of Winter.

For more information on bareroot planting, as well as a selection of plants to buy, refer to this article from Ashridge nurseries.