Barerooting plants

I’m so glad I decided to bare root a bunch of stuff for winter storage, mostly as a learning experience. I’m going over a combination of plants, some just grown for the purpose of testing (50+ willows), some that I do have plans for (a dozen or so prunus Virginiana, which I plan to play with as rootstocks), some to see how they fare (haskaps, saskatoons, currants, goji, you name it).

Heeling then is not going to be anything fancy, a very large cooler with dirt on it. All these plants are ridiculously hardy (zone 2 or so, I’m in zone 4). They don’t mind being frozen solid and the cooler will keep them away from the usual 40mph winter winds at minus-a-lot. Heck if they all die that still proves something :}

First thing that I’m learning is that I need to modify My soil mix for plants destined to get barerooted. It is too dense, making it a pain in the ass to wash off. I need more sand and peat next time.

Question: should I trim the roots now? I just did my choke cherries and they had an extensive mat of smaller roots. Every time I see barerooted plants the feeder roots seem to be removed. What is the normal practice for root trimming and when should it happen, during barerooting or before planting?

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I am liking pine bark fines (soil conditioner) mixed with my soil mix more and more. Everything that i up-pot and even throw in some when i plant things seems to be happy.

I dont think that roots go dormant…
Supposedly 75 percent of root growth happens during fall dormancy… i wouldnt trim them…just let them do their thing.

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I don’t think that’s a universal thing. The bareroot plants we buy are harvested in the late fall and stashed on either humidity controlled refrigerators or heeled in sand. I don’t think those roots put out any growth or else they would become an unmanageable mess.

Here’s a good video on a large operation.

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im learning myself… i have messed up a few things that i wanted to bare root over the winter… i think from a sales perspective yes you can stop root growth and make something stop growing roots? Keeping the soil temp below 40F stops root growth…and above that they keep growing…

Some of us like to plant in the fall…so that roots grow all fall and winter into spring… but some of us only believe that you can plant in the spring.

I think this is the breaking point for why most vendors dont sell trees in the fall… only in spring.

But according to this master gardener from Utah State…

Roots, on the other hand don’t go dormant because they live in a more protected environment underground.

Therefore, roots grow whenever the soil is moist and the soil temperature is above about 40F.

Well, considering that my frost line is at least 4 1/2 feet down (probably deeper) and that my ground can be frozen solid until mid May, I don’t think they are doing much growing during the dormant season.

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