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Bare Root Fruit Trees: Why it’s Worth the Wait?

Top 5 reasons to choose bare root fruit trees:

  1. Bare root trees are usually less expensive than their potted equivalent.

  2. They are easy to establish as they don’t suffer from the same transplant shock potted trees do.

  3. You can often choose from more varieties and find a root stock suited to your soil and climate.

  4. There is a reduced risk of disease: All our trees are Phyto certified by the Department of Agriculture prior to shipment.

  5. They are never Pot Bound: It's all about the roots.


Our personal experience planting fruit trees on the homestead


It’s spring and nearly everyone is going down to their local Big Box store or nursery to buy fruit trees right off the lot. The options are usually to save a few bucks and buy trees small or spend extra to have nearly fully grown trees, so there’s no waiting on that next fruit crop…Right?

Before we get into why you should hold your horses and consider purchasing bare root fruit trees, let me tell you about my family’s experience doing exactly what I just described above and the results.

My wife and I had just had our first baby and I wanted to ensure that we had fresh fruit on the table throughout his childhood. I did my research. Calculated my local chill hours. Then began calling or visiting every nursery within 200 miles of my home. I quickly realized that almost all of them had only one or two varieties that would grow fruit and thrive in my growing zone, 9a.

I finally found a specialized nursery that focused on fruit trees specifically for southern growers and their trees looked great. We purchased 28 trees, planted them up, and dreamed of drowning in hordes of fruit.

Over the next three years we lost tree after tree. Several were lost due to disease. Others grew a little but never really “took off” eventually just fading away. Several fruited but barely even enough to make a single batch of jam. Over the next 4 years I Lost all but 3 of the original 28 trees. I started visiting other nurseries, buying and replacing trees, but many of them had similar issues.

As some of these trees started fading away or dying, I would dig them up to assess their total health. They all had the same thing in common, they’re root balls were never grew beyond the size of the pot they came in. As most experts instruct, we broke up all the root balls prior to planting the potted trees and dug large holes adding organic matter to give them a boost. This should have allowed the roots to take off, but it was like setting a zoo animal back into the wild, they just didn’t know how to behave outside the pot.

After all the time, effort, and money we put into those trees, I was feeling defeated. But, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m to stubborn to give up. I threw myself into research again and had new plan of action set. I placed my order online for 27 Bare Root trees.

You might be asking yourself why I would buy so many trees after the experience that I’d had so far. The truth is the trees were cheap compared to what I spent on potted trees. Nearly half and sometimes two thirds the price of the trees that I had been buying. And because they were cheaper, I was able to purchase nearly every type of root stock they had to see if it would help fix the problems I was having.

I received my new bare root trees not long after Christmas. Those skinny sticks of trees carried all my hope and determination, that this would be the time I succeeded with my fruit trees. They didn’t seem impressive as the trunks were the same with as a ½” dowel and only about 3 feet tall. They resembled sticks more than trees and I think the average person would be a bit disappointed to say the least if this was their first experience buying bare root. Not me, I mean they were HALF the price. I was elated.

By the following year those little sticks caught up to the once potted trees that had been in the ground nearly 6 years! I was astounded by how much they grew. I only lost 1 tree the first year (a pear, that I had planted in the same location as a previous pear that had died from a blight). By the start of the following year the bare root trees had outgrown every tree that I had purchased the previous 7 years. By their second full year in the ground, I found myself needing a 10-foot ladder to prune and harvest fruit some of them. Besides that first pear, I haven’t lost any more of my original bare root trees.

I may be a plant lover, but I also tend to be an impatient person when it comes to many things. I believe, in this day of age especially, most people want to have a finished product quickly. They want that fruit tree to enjoy their home-grown efforts. So, they go to that big box store, with the large trees (often times with fruit hanging off before they even come home) and end up going through a scenario similar to us. They end up deciding that either they themselves have failed or that their area must not be suitable for what they want.

I am here to tell you can have the fruit trees you want and probably ones you didn’t even know you wanted. You just have to do the hard thing and “Hurry up and wait.” They’re hard words to swallow, but that’s what I believe. It’s worth it to place an order for bare root trees, even though it means waiting until they are dormant to ship to you.

I am not telling you to never buy plants that are in pots, some plants don’t do well as bare root options. We focus on preventing root Binding and avoiding damage to the tap root as much as possible, whether you purchase bare root or potted plants from us. We sell plants that may be a little smaller but have a much greater growth potential.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my personal experiences growing fruit trees. I hope you consider breaking away from the pot and give bare roots a chance. If your feeling defeated due to your own experiences, I hope this gives you some hope and the motivation to get out there and try again.

Left is a bare root peach planted 2 yrs ago. In hand is directly out of the shipping box.

For some more in depth information on the benefits of bare root trees:

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1 commentaire

Membre inconnu
28 mars 2023
Excellent information and fantastic project 
Congratulations greetings from Monterrey N.L. Mexico
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