The Q&A Archives: Bare Root Shrubs

Question: I have ordered some bare root plants and thought of placing them in pots with good soil until they get big enough to plant in the ground.Is this a good move or not ?
Do nurseries start their shrubs this way ?

Answer: Bare root plants are generally at least two years old and should be planted permanently in the ground. Planting them in pots is an okay measure, but each time a plant is moved, the roots are disturbed, which sets the plant back a bit. I'd plant them in their permanent spots so the roots can become established. If you're worried about the plants being stepped on or lost in a forest of other plantings, you can surround each new plant with some temporary fencing or large stones. Nurseries usually grow their plants in containers, moving them to larger pots as necessary. If the plants aren't moved soon enough, the roots can spiral around the inside of the container and work their way out the drainage holes. If the root system is compromised in this way, the plant can eventually girdle itself. For this reason, I like to purchase bare root plants - the root systems are easy to inspect, and the plants suffer less trauma when first planted in the garden.

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