Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Bare-Root Fruit Trees: 5 Reasons You Should Order Them This Winter

Popular
Bare-Root Fruit Trees: 5 Reasons You Should Order Them This Winter
Berezko / iStock / Getty Images

The last thing on your mind in February is gardening. But this is prime time to prepare for a very important task: planting fruit trees.


Most people buy their fruit trees the same way they buy all of their other plants: in pots. But savvy gardeners know better. Fruit trees are cheaper and grow best when planted "bare root"—in other words, when dormant, without a pot of soil around their roots. That means planting them in winter, at least in places where the ground isn't frozen. At the very least, you should buy them in winter and be prepared to plant as soon as the ground thaws, before the trees come out of dormancy. Here's why.

1. Better Selection

Some local retail nurseries stock bare-root trees in winter, but usually they're purchased by mail order. Companies like Trees of Antiquity (treesofantiquity.com) and Raintree Nursery (raintreenursery.com) offer thousands of rare heirloom varieties and unique specimens from all over the globe. Most begin accepting orders in early January, but the most popular varieties often sell out fast.

2. Cost Savings

You're not paying for a pot and soil, so you can usually get good-sized trees that are half the cost of comparable ones at a retail nursery, even after factoring in shipping costs.

3. Faster Growth

Fruit trees planted from containers go through transplant shock when transferred to the ground and often languish until the following year. Trees planted while dormant, though, begin to grow in early spring without missing a beat.

4. Long-Term Health

When a tree sits in a pot for a long period, its roots begin to grow around and around in a circle, tracing the shape of the container. They soon stiffen into that shape and remain that way after planting. New roots will eventually grow out laterally, but like the first branches, the shape of the first roots dictates the lifelong form of the tree. The circling pattern of roots, called "girdling," is associated with weak growth in the long term and early death. Planting bare-root trees avoids this conundrum, as the roots splay out naturally in the soil from day one.

5. Efficiency

The growing season is packed with endless gardening chores. You might not get around to planting a backyard orchard when you can barely keep up with your vegetable garden. But in winter, what else are you going to do in the garden? As is often said, the best time to plant a tree was yesterday.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.

U.S. returns create about 15 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. manonallard / Getty Images

Many people shop online for everything from clothes to appliances. If they do not like the product, they simply return it. But there's an environmental cost to returns.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Climate Envoy John Kerry (L) and President-elect Joseph (R) are seen during Kerry's ceremonial swearing in as Secretary of State on February 6, 2013 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong / Getty Images

By Dolf Gielen and Morgan Bazilian

John Kerry helped bring the world into the Paris climate agreement and expanded America's reputation as a climate leader. That reputation is now in tatters, and President-elect Joe Biden is asking Kerry to rebuild it again – this time as U.S. climate envoy.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Scientific integrity is key for protecting the field against attacks. sanjeri / Getty Images

By Maria Caffrey

As we approach the holidays I, like most people, have been reflecting on everything 2020 has given us (or taken away) while starting to look ahead to 2021.

Read More Show Less
A pair of bears perch atop Brooks Falls in Alaska's Katmai National Park, about 100 miles from the proposed Pebble Mine site. Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Environmental campaigners stressed the need for the incoming Biden White House to put in place permanent protections for Alaska's Bristol Bay after the Trump administration on Wednesday denied a permit for the proposed Pebble Mine that threatened "lasting harm to this phenomenally productive ecosystem" and death to the area's Indigenous culture.

Read More Show Less

OlgaMiltsova / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Gwen Ranniger

In the midst of a pandemic, sales of cleaning products have skyrocketed, and many feel a need to clean more often. Knowing what to look for when purchasing cleaning supplies can help prevent unwanted and dangerous toxics from entering your home.

Read More Show Less