The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Bare-Root Fruit Trees: 5 Reasons You Should Order Them This Winter
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.
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.
- gardening ›
- 4 Tips for Setting Up a Windowsill Garden - EcoWatch ›
- This Everest Greenhouse Is One of the Highest Gardens in the World ›
- How to Start a Suburban Berry Farm - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The statistics around threatened species are looking grim. A new report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has added more than 9,000 new additions to its Red List of threatened species, pushing the total number of species on the list to more than 105,000 for the first time, according to the Guardian.
By Kristy Dahl
Last week, UCS released Killer Heat, a report analyzing how the frequency of days with a dangerously hot heat index — the combination of temperature and humidity the National Weather Service calls the "feels like" temperature — will change in response to the global emissions choices we make in the coming decades.
Green is the new black at Zara.
The Spanish fast fashion behemoth has made a bold move to steer its industry to a more environmentally friendly future for textiles. Inditex, Zara's parent company, announced that all the polyester, cotton and linen it uses will be sustainably produced by 2025, as CNN reported.