Bare-root plants should be planted the day you purchase them or the day they arrive in the mail. If you need to store a bare-root plant and it came in a well-packaged container, leave it in the container, refrigerated, until you can plant it. Unprotected, bare plant roots can dry out quickly and the ensuing injury to the plant may be irreversible.
Wrap the roots in moist peat moss and then burlap to protect them from freezing. Place the bare-root plant in an area that remains cool, but where it won’t freeze.
Cut away any dead or damaged roots before planting, using a knife, scissors or small pruners.
Soak the roots in a bucket of water until it is time to plant. Six hours is the maximum amount of time to leave the plant’s roots in water. Take the plant from the water to the planting hole quickly to avoid drying out the roots.