Bareroot trees

Bareroot trees are dormant, but they won't be for long if spring is in the air. However, you can buy them earlier in the season and plant them earlier without fear of transplant shock. When in the ground, they emerge from dormancy and start growing at a gradual rate.

Regardless of whether you buy a bareroot tree at a nursery or order one via mail-order, do check it over for quality and health. The roots should be crisp and white or brown. A few bedraggled or blackened limp ones can be clipped off, but if you notice a lot of these, you have an unhealthy specimen.

You may observe that the tree has little or no signs of green leaves or buds. For a novice gardener, buying one of these is indeed an act of faith. But it will come to life; it will!

Here's a special tip for bareroot trees: If you have a mere slip of a young tree, consisting only of one main stem and no limbs as yet, cut it back by about a third prior to planting. Yes, this trim sets back upward growth for a while, but it also allows the young tree to direct more energy into root growth, which is so important at first.

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