Planting Bare-Root Shrubs and Trees

Winter is the best time for planting bare-root shrubs and trees as they are dormant at this time of year.

The advantage of buying shrubs and trees in this form is that they are usually much cheaper than pot grown specimens, so, if you’re brave enough to venture out into the cold weather, get down to your garden centre, or look online for great deals.

They’re quite easy to plant if you follow these simple steps:

You will need:

Bucket of water

Garden Fork


Stake (if you’re planting a tree)


As the roots have been out of the ground for a while before you’ve bought the plant, leave them to soak in a bucket of water for about half an hour before you plant it up.

Then, loosen an area of soil slightly larger than the size of the rootball with the fork and then dig a hole with your spade, slightly wider than the width of the rootball, but no deeper.

Place the rootball into the hole and spread the roots out. The first set of roots should be at soil level and the bottom roots should be touching the bottom of the hole.

Put in a stake if you’re planting a tree and then backfill the hole and firm down gently, ensuring that there are no air pockets.

There’s no need to feed the plants at this time, although slow-release fertiliser added in the spring when growth starts will definitely be of benefit.


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