When is the Best Time to Plant Bare Root Fruit Trees?

When is the Best Time to Plant Bare Root Fruit Trees?


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Are you considering planting a fruit tree? If so, you might want to think about choosing a bare root tree instead of a potted fruit tree from a big-box store. Bare root trees have many advantages, but they also require specific planting techniques. In this article, we will explore what bare root trees are, why they are great to plant, and when is the best time to plant them for optimal success.

What are Bare Root Trees?

Bare root trees are trees that have been carefully grown and nurtured in specialized fruit tree nurseries. These trees are dug out in early spring or late fall, when they are dormant and without leaves, flowers, or fruit. The roots of these trees are then wrapped in damp materials like hay, mulch, or newspaper and sealed with plastic to keep them moist during transport.

Why Plant Bare Root Trees?

You might be wondering why you should bother planting bare root fruit trees when they can be more challenging to care for compared to potted trees. However, there are numerous benefits to choosing bare root trees:

  • Faster Growth: Bare root trees tend to grow quicker and adapt more efficiently to new conditions compared to potted trees. This is because potted tree roots are often tightly packed in their pots, hampering their ability to spread naturally.
  • Wider Variety: Specialist nurseries offer an extensive selection of bare root trees, including many varieties that are easier to grow and more resistant to disease. This diversity allows you to choose the best trees for your specific climate and soil conditions.
  • Younger Trees: Bare root trees are typically younger than their potted counterparts. This makes them easier to prune and shape into a strong, fruit-bearing structure that can last a lifetime.
  • Cost-Effective: Bare root trees are generally more affordable than potted trees. They are cheaper to ship and do not require costly pots and soil.
  • Healthier Roots: Bare root trees often have healthier, more naturally shaped root systems since their roots have not been restricted to a small pot. Healthy roots lead to a healthier tree.
  • Easy Inspection: When your bare root tree arrives, you can easily inspect it. If the roots are diseased, you will notice it and can ask for a refund.
  • Eco-Friendly: Bare root fruit trees are more environmentally friendly since they do not require plastic pots and other resources.

Now that you know the benefits of bare root trees, let’s explore the best time to plant them for optimal results.

When to Plant Bare Root Fruit Trees

When it comes to planting bare root fruit trees, timing is crucial. You should only plant them while they are dormant, which is usually in early spring or late fall. If you order your bare root fruit tree from a specialist nursery, it will arrive in the following spring or fall. These trees cannot survive for long without soil around their roots, so it is essential to plant them right away.

However, it is important to consider the weather conditions when planting. The choice between planting on sunny versus overcast days can make a big difference. If there is a windstorm or hail, it is wise to wait a day or two before planting.

Planting Bare Root Fruit Trees on a Sunny Day

On a sunny day, it might be tempting to plant your bare root trees. However, exposing them to direct sunlight can trigger them out of dormancy, causing their buds to open prematurely. To avoid stressing the trees, it is best to keep them in the shade while you dig the holes. Additionally, you can soak the roots in water for up to 30 minutes to rehydrate them before planting.

Planting Bare Root Fruit Trees in the Rain

Rainy days are actually ideal for planting bare root trees. Soft, moist soil is easy to dig and provides a welcoming environment for the trees. The rainwater will also “water in” the trees, helping them quickly settle into their new location without the risk of premature bud opening.

Planting Bare Root Fruit Trees in Wind and Hail

Planting bare root trees in windy or stormy conditions is not recommended. The strong winds can make it difficult to dig holes and may uproot the newly planted trees. In such cases, it is better to postpone planting until the weather calms down. Keeping the trees in a cool, dark environment overnight will prevent them from emerging from dormancy.


In conclusion, if you want to plant healthy and productive fruit trees, consider choosing bare root trees. They offer numerous benefits, including faster growth, wider variety, and cost-effectiveness. To ensure successful planting, it is crucial to choose the right time. Sunny days should be avoided, while rainy or overcast days are ideal. If there are windstorms or hail, it is best to wait until the weather improves. Remember to water, prune, and protect your bare root trees regularly to help them thrive.

If you want to learn more about fruit tree care, pruning, pest and disease prevention, and soil management, check out Tips Tree Planting for comprehensive information and online training. Happy planting!

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