How to Plant a Bareroot Tree


Numerous benefits exist for the gardener to consider when choosing a bareroot tree to plant. Sold widely by online nurseries, bareroot trees offer ease of shipment and a lower shipping cost due to their lighter weight without soil. Shipped dormant, the trees are easily planted during the early spring or late fall. The trees offer ease of planting because they don't have a heavy soil root ball attached. This makes the tree easy to lift, position and plant without putting undue stress on a gardener's back or body.

Step 1

Plant the bareroot tree within 24 hours of receiving it. Unpack the shipping material from around the tree place the tree's root system in a bucket of water for 3 to 6 hours prior to planting.

Step 2

Dig a hole that is one-and-a-half times the size of the tree's root system. The hole should be deep enough to place the top roots of the tree at least 1 inch below the soil's surface.

Step 3

Make a firm cone in the bottom of the hole of soil. The cone will help support the tree's roots.

Step 4

Mix compost, leaf debris, peat moss or aged manure into the soil. The soil with the additives should feel crumbly to the touch.

Step 5

Look over the trees bare roots prior to planting. Trim away any roots that are broken or appear damaged with a pair of pruners.

Step 6

Place the tree's roots gently into the hole. Spread the roots out across the bottom of the hole and over the soil cone.

Step 7

Fill in the hole with the soil. Firmly push the soil down so all air pockets are removed.

Step 8

Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the base of the tree, but at least several inches away from its trunk. Use peat moss or bark chips.

Step 9

Water the tree thoroughly. Keep the tree moist but not overly wet until it establishes itself.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Shovel
  • Pruners
  • Aged manure, peat moss or leaf debris
  • Mulch such as peat moss or bark chips


  • Washington State University Extension: Planting Bare Root Trees
  • Cornell University Extension: Creating the Urban Forest:
  • University City Green: How To Plant A Bare Root Tree
  • Apple Valley: How To Plant A Bare Root Tree

Who Can Help

  • University of Massachusetts: Bare Root Tree Planting
Keywords: planting bareroot tree, bareroot tree care, bareroot trees

About this Author

Kimberly Sharpe is a freelance writer with a diverse background. She has worked as a Web writer for the past four years. She writes extensively for Associated Content where she is both a featured home improvement contributor (with special emphasis on gardening) and a parenting contributor. She also writes for Helium. She has worked professionally in the animal care and gardening fields.