Burnt Ridge Rootstock Debacle - Rubber Bands are Not Expensive

I knew 2022 would be tough but I didn’t think I’d be this unlucky… OK… Update:

I need everyone’s opinion on the state of all my BARE ROOT order from One Green World which arrived today. I already sent them the following photos and they already responded trying to say this is perfectly normal. Maybe it is, but I’ve never seen anything like it before:

Every tree was wrapped in 2 plastic bags like this:

Then when you unwrap them I found these:

This is the response when I told them it appeared as though they mailed completely rotted out roots:

"Thanks for reaching out and we apologize for any concern for the tree upon arrival. This is actually the shipping material, which is a combination of stockosorb, to keep the roots hydrated, and bokashi. Any of the white filaments are mycorrhizae, so nothing to worry about and if you soak the tree for a few hours before planting it should be mostly gone or dissolved. Please let us know if you have any other questions and we are happy to help!

Thank you and please let us know if you have any further questions."

Has anyone else had experience receiving a tree that looked like that, planting it, and having it survive?

Again, you guys are invaluable, I really appreciate the advice.


I have gotten things in those bags from them, but with wet paper or small amount of dirt. Those look like spider webs. Glad you posted that. I’m interested to see how that works out. First time seeing it.

I think if it all scratches green they may be right.

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Seriously, spider webs is the first comparison I made too. I thought “even if this is legit, why in the world would a nursery not include a small note explaining why your tree looks like a haunted house”

I’m hoping someone who’s seen this before can chime in. I thought Bokashi was a composting technique.

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The two trees I got from OGW this year looked like that too. Glad you posted their response. I don’t remember any of my past 3 years of orders from them being like this. Cross my fingers I guess.


What was your initial reaction when you saw the tree roots? Was there any warning from OGW that they’d come looking like this?

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Do the roots seem very dry? Are they soft and seem rotted?

If neither of the above, I’d soak them in water for 2 hours, plant out and hope they come out okay. If they don’t bud out or just fail to thrive, I’d go back to the nursery and let them know. Even if that is mold/fungus, it may be fine if it hasn’t really gotten into the roots, and is related to the bokashi.

I’ve had plenty of bare root plants come with stockosorb, which looks like little clear bits (almost like clear jello or agar) and is to help keep the roots moist. I’ve never heard of a vender having bokashi on the roots, but I guess it could actually be beneficial if that is the case since there should be beneficial microbes on the roots that might help them settle in. But it does certainly look more like mold, so that would be less than ideal unless it is just at the surface.

The proof of their statement that they are fine can only be determined if you plant them, or you can determine the roots are already dead.


Love your analysis. It’s exactly how a scientist would perform an experiment on this kind of “new” packing methodology.
Problem is I didn’t pay the nursery money to be a part of an experiment. I purchased these cultivars specifically for my business. The doubt alone could have been partially alleviated if OGW would have included a note on what to expect and their assurances that this works.

In 10 years of buying nursery products I’ve never seen anything like this. I’m going to do exactly what you suggested and plant them out (not in the designed places because I just don’t trust this yet); I’ll definitely put them in the ground to see what happens if for no other reason than I’m insanely curious at this point.

One question you asked about the roots: the smell was very off putting, like anaerobic rot. The roots were pliable but also seemed somewhat desiccated.
The two that were packed in the same plastic bags were fused so tightly together by the fungal growth that there was a small but audible ripping sound as I tore them apart.

Time will tell…

Add another 25 years and my experience is the same as yours.


That is interesting. I had actually thought to suggest you give them a sniff as well. I haven’t tried making bokashi, but everything I’ve read about it has suggested it has a sweet, pickle-like smell. What you are suggesting it smelled like doesn’t sound great. That said, I planted a bunch of pawpaw seedlings from Missouri conservation a few years ago that I left sitting in overly wet spaghnum for almost a month, and between their cut off tap roots and the soggy rotted state of some of the roots I expected the worst. Amazingly almost all of them survived.

I admit it is not great to be asked to be part of an experiment and I’m frankly surprised that they wouldn’t include a note like you suggested with their product, especially since it would seem like it is supposed to be a step up from the shredded wet newspaper we’re all used to seeing. Odd.


Mine looked like this. My initial reaction was ‘hmm, I don’t like the look of this’. I think mine weren’t quite as moldy as yours, maybe. But, it did occur to me that maybe it might be mycorrhizal fungi. So I just went ahead and planted them, and hoped. This was just yesterday. They’re both plums.

My impression has been that no nursery is going to compensate anything immediately unless the deficiency is extreme, such as badly broken. Or maybe if there’s no green at all in a scratch test. I think they’ll always tell you to ‘plant it and it’ll be fine’, with them crossing their fingers.

In my case one of the plums already had some tiny green buds, so I’m hopeful for that one at least. The other plum, not so sure. I didn’t see any signs of buds swelling on it. But, I’ve been amazed in the past at the trees that pull through. I don’t know if there was any warning in the printed stuff in the box. I don’t really read those anymore. I didn’t think to try to smell mine. My sense of smell is generally poor.

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Ok, that’s exactly what I got… so this is in fact a process they’re using and not a one off. I’ll keep in touch and let you know how the 5 trees I have end up, and with your trees we can be a 7 tree scientific experiment for One Green World.

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Eh none of my plants from One Green World looked like that. Either they were potted with plastic over them or they had bags around the roots. Don’t remember what was around them if anything

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They should explain what that is like everyone else does with the terasorb(?). I can’t feel them, but they look pretty dry and I would have questions. I’ve ordered from them several times and not seen that.

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I’d never seen anything like that, and had to Google search “bokashi”.

My first inclination would be to soak and clean them, and I was going to ask you to post pictures after you’d done that. But presumably One Green World’s position is that this treatment is good for them. If that is in fact mycorrhizae, then I suppose you are meant to leave it in place.

In any case, I’m interested to see how they do.

Bizarre that they would send something so different from what is traditional, and not tout, advertise, or charge for it, let alone give no warning or notice whatsoever. You’d think they’d be reluctant to do something like that since I imagine many new customers are already surprised at what a young tree, especially bare root, looks like vs. what they imagine a fruit tree will be.


Some of those roots look decayed and withered to me. This fungus looks very suspicious like some vicious root destroyer.

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Bare root plants have generally been bigger than potted plants for me. A good example is the bare root trees from Stark Bros have not needed protection from animals while my potted peach from them was all eaten down to under a foot in a week. Just in my experience potted plants are smaller even though they are supposed to be the same age.

I want to believe someone raised a hand in a staff meeting and said:

“I think some customers might be scared upon unwrapping a nest of white filaments and alien looking cocoon… Oh, and let’s stop using plastic bags to wrap each and every tree… This is One GREEN World by the way.”

Then another person with more power replied:

“The plastic bags are green”



Sounds like you’ve had a really hard time getting started. That’s a big downer.

Your experiences are in no way normal. And I’m surprised at the horrible customer service you’ve received (really not that surprised because I’ve received similar terrible customer service in the past from various industries).

As you are aware, by far the biggest cost of mixing up the rootstocks is not the cost of the rootstocks themselves, but the year of lost production. The nursery refunded the cost of some of the rootstocks, big whoop. They should have let you have the whole order for free, as a partial offset against a year’s production they cost you. I’ve never seen anything like that in all the trees I’ve purchased.

Likewise with your order from OGW.

I can’t definitively say that the growth on the roots is not mycorrhizae, but I’m highly suspicious. Mycorrhizae are an aerobic fungi. The bag looked so tightly wrapped it looked like an anaerobic condition to me. Additionally mycorrhizae don’t smell like anaerobic rot in my experience. It should have a pleasant earthy smell.

There are harmful fungi which grow in an anaerobic environment. Phytophthora and fusarium favor anaerobic environments. They also have white mycelium.

I’ve never seen plants shipped in a little tightly wrapped plastic bag with with essentially no packing material, like your pictures show. The roots need oxygen too.

Even though my bet is that the mycelium you see is not mycorrhizae, the trees still may grow. Trees can be super tough, take a lot of abuse, and still survive.


Gurnney’s certainly shipped me bareroot apricots without any packing material other than a dry plastic bag. I soaked them in the fish tank for a couple of days and they actually survived.


Looks like root rot to me, too. Sure, plant it and see if it survives. But I’d be dubious.

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