In fall or spring, planting trees and plants can be an invigorating adventure. When your Stark Bro’s order arrives, it’s best to be prepared to plant your new additions within a day or so. We understand, however, that sometimes you’re simply not ready to put them in the ground right away. In this article, we focus on some ways you can safely delay planting for many different trees and plants.
When you open this package, you will see strips of damp paper around the bare-root tree’s roots. Make sure the paper remains damp, but avoid drenching it. Wrap the tree in its shipping plastic, and store it in a cool, dark place, like an unheated basement, cellar, garage or shed. It is ideal to store the tree at a temperature of 40ºF, but anything under 60ºF should work for a short period of time. This method will help you delay planting for up to a week.
If planting must be delayed for more than 10 days, “heel in” your trees outdoors. To do this, start by digging a sloping trench long and wide enough to hold the roots. Lay the tree in this trench, with the roots against the steep side. Then, cover the roots with soil, and soak with water. As soon as possible, plant this tree in its permanent location as you normally would.
Small Bare-Root Plants
Some berries and other small bare-root plants can be stored in the lower section of your refrigerator or in the “crisper” drawer. Do not store them with fruits and vegetables unless your plants are completely sealed in plastic (in gallon-sized re-sealable bags, for example). To be extra cautious, you can double-bag your plants in the airtight plastic. Doing so will help you to avoid exposing your plants to the often lethal (to living plants) gases that are naturally given off by produce in your refrigerator.
Potted Plants and Trees
Plants and trees that arrive in temporary containers, like our exclusive EZ Start® Pots, should be treated like houseplants until the outdoor soil warms. Water them occasionally, when the soil appears dry, and keep them in a cool, dark place to encourage dormancy, especially in the fall. When planting time comes, these potted trees and plants will need to be gradually acclimatized (slowly reintroduced) to outdoor temperatures prior to planting in the ground. Doing so will help you to avoid shock and help to ensure the transplanting will be more successful.
If snowfall arrives or freezing temperatures set in when your order arrives, don’t panic! Just follow these simple suggestions:
If your order arrives in the spring, you might find that your soil may be frozen or otherwise unworkable. If this is the case, you should keep your tree or plant in the package until the daily temperatures are above freezing and the ground thaws. Please note: you may plant, even if the low temperatures are in the high teens, as long as the daytime temperatures are near 40ºF. You can delay planting for up to two or three weeks if you are able to keep the roots from drying out. However, in cases where the delayed period is longer than a week, you should consider applying additional damp paper to bare-root tree roots to provide sufficient enough moisture for longer storage.
There’s no need to worry if you’re not ready to plant right away. If you are facing inclement weather or other unforeseen problems, you can feel confident in your ability to safely store trees and plants for a short period of time until you’re ready to put them in the ground.
What are some methods you’ve used when you’ve had to put off planting?