How to Plant Bare Root Fruit Trees


Bare root fruit trees have the ability to grow just as vigorously as burlapped fruit trees. The difference is not in the growth but the planting. Bare root fruit trees are grown in the ground, dug up, transported and then sold. These trees enter dormancy when they are removed from the ground and will remain dormant until they are planted. If the tree remains out of the ground for too long, the bare roots will begin to dry out, becoming brittle and damaged. As a result, the fruit tree enters a state of urgency, requiring immediate planting to prevent permanent damage and stunted growth.

Step 1

Select and prepare the fruit tree's planting bed before its arrival. Select a location that provides at least eight to ten hours of full, direct sunlight. Choose a well-drained location with soil that meets the fruit tree's specific needs.

Step 2

Inspect the bare roots of the fruit tree. Gently spread out the root system. Use sharp, sterile pruning shears to trim away any dead or damaged roots. Place the fruit tree in tepid water and allow it soak for up to 24 hours before planting, says the Sandy Bar Ranch & Nursery.

Step 3

Dig a hole that is at least twice the width and depth of the fruit tree's root system. Remove any grass or vegetation that will compete with the young tree's nutrients.

Step 4

Remove the fruit tree from the water and place it in the center of the hole. Position the tree so that the graft union line is at the same depth as planted in the nursery. Fill the hole with soil. Gently press the soil around the tree to secure its upright position.

Step 5

Create a water ring around the diameter of the tree. Fill the hole thoroughly with water and allow the water to rest. This will remove any air pockets in the planting area and help establish the tree.

Step 6

Apply a 2-inch layer of mulch around the diameter of the tree to cover the roots system below. Keep the mulch about 1 foot away from the trunk to prevent root rot.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears
  • Shovel
  • Water


  • Arbor Day Foundation: How to Plant Bare-Root Trees
  • Sandy Bar Ranch & Nursery: Caring for Bare Root Fruit Trees
  • University of California Cooperative Extension: Planting and Caring of Young Fruit Trees
Keywords: bare root planting, bareroot fruit trees, planting bare-root trees

About this Author

Charmayne Smith is a business professional and freelance writer. She has worked in management for successful organizations since 1994. Smith draws on her business background to write articles, and her work has appeared in a variety of online outlets. She holds a degree in business from Cleveland State University.