Dried out rootstock TLC

Long story short, I just got some rootstocks I ordered, but they’ve been sitting in a box for over a month. Needless to say, they’re dry as a bone, but a few random scratch tests tells me that at least some are still clinging to life.

I just stuck them in a bucket of water to rehydrate them. But I don’t want to drown them either! Do you all think it’s ok to leave them in the water this evening or should I take them out before I go to bed and wrap them in a garbage bag to stay moist?

Any better ideas?


1 Like

I’d bet they’ll be happiest given as much water as possible overnight, so I’d leave them soaking. I don’t think they’ll drown overnight, and I think they’ll recover. But notice I never once said “I know” …


I agree if really dried out soak them over night. They won’t drown in that time.


in my experience, I’ve soaked and then had other things to do, and come back to rootstocks I’d bench-grafted and tossed in a bucket of water 2 days prior; those planted out just fine.

I think you can drown roots, and perhaps by 2 days I was starting to kill roots, but if so, it wasn’t a huge issue, they came to just fine once in-ground. But I wouldn’t lose any sleep over a 1 or 2 day soak. A week, sure, but 2 days doesn’t seem to be an issue.

1 Like

If the water temperature is hovering slightly above freezing to 45F, you can soak them for a couple of weeks and they won’t drown, provided the water is free of pathogens that can rot away your plant roots. Warmer temperature, above 55F, you only have an overnight time frame. The rest are in between. As always, temperature affects metabolism and demand for oxygen. Even plant roots need oxygen. Colder water will also have more dissolved oxygen than warmer water.

I agree. Nature gives us a clue. Flooding trees in winter is much less damaging than in summer.