Bare Root Plant Information

Bare Root Plants are shipped in a plastic bag with terra sorb silicone gel that seals in moisture to keep plants with ample moisture. Would you please check that all the roots you ordered are in the bag? The bare root material should be covered with damp – not wet – peat moss and kept in the refrigerator until you are ready to plant them – kept at constant temperature: 34° to 38° F is ideal. Please do not allow them to dry out or freeze.


The area you are planting should be free of weeds and other vegetation to minimize water, light, and nutrients competition. Planting directly into a live, established sod is not recommended. You should break up large clods or clumps of soil. Ensure that the soil is in a condition that allows complete contact with the Bare Roots at all points.


Take care not to let the plants dry out or leave them exposed to the sun or wind. Dig the hole for a transplant deep enough to accommodate the entire length of the root. Do not bend roots into a hole that is too shallow, as this will retard growth. Place the roots up against the "wall" of soil created by digging the hole. Position the plant so that the buds are at the proper depth for that root type (refer to the examples shown). Spread the roots out to maximize contact with the soil. That will allow for rapid establishment by encouraging maximum absorption of water and nutrients. Next, place soil firmly around the roots. Avoid compacting the soil. Compacted soil impedes water and air movement to and from the roots, which can suffocate the plant. Clay soils are particularly prone to compaction, primarily if they are worked when wet. Never transplant into wet clay soils. Do not pack soil directly above the buds. That can damage buds and retard emergence.

The "Dormant" Season, when plants do not have leaves, foliage, or Blooms, is when we ship Bare Root Stock.

Below (left) is an example of how our bare root crepe myrtles or any trees will look when we ship them. They will be dormant, without foliage. Plant these trees in cool weather and the spring (right). Here's a picture of how these trees will look (when planted and cared for properly) the following spring.

bareroot trees


Below is a picture of our shrubs shipped bare root

Here is a picture of the shrubs - packaged as they will look when received. The picture to the right is how they will look the following spring if taken care of.

bareroot shrubs

The picture below shows berry plants (left) in a dormant stage without leaves, blooms, or berries. Plant as soon as you receive them, and in the spring, they will "green out" and produce (right).




Ground Cover Plants at time of shipment:

On the left is how the ground cover plant will look at shipment. On the right is how they will look the following spring!



Grass plugs at time of shipment:

We do not ship grasses in colder months due to the tops being gone. Also, we will not ship a grass species without identifying it, as these are grown in large fields with other species of carex and other grasses. It is best to wait for warmer months when identification is possible.





How To Store Bare Root Plants Until Planting Time

Trees & Shrubs (Including Fruit Trees, Berry Plants, Native Plants also)

When you receive your trees or shrubs, you will need to open them right away and remove the plastic from the entire plant (except the root area).

It is best to plant Bare Root Trees & Shrubs within 1-2 days after receiving them, but there are other methods in case you do not have time for immediate planting. If you have a cool, moist area such as a basement or garage, leave the plants standing upright and leave plastic around the root system, and water thoroughly a couple of times a day (roots only). When you plant, it's always best to soak the roots, put water in the hole before planting (to add moisture in the deeper part of the soil before planting), and water again after planting. It's also advised to water each plant the first 4-5 days after it's planted, and they should do well on their own after this. We also recommend using a good fertilizer in the Fall so when the spring comes again, your trees & shrubs will be beautiful and ready to thrive.

Perennials, Ferns & Ground Covers

When we must store perennials, ferns & groundcovers, we maintain a temperature of 38-42 degrees. Some nurseries use this year-round, and the plants will be delicate for long periods without planting. That keeps them dormant. Also, if your order is a small one and you have a crisper drawer in the bottom section of your refrigerator, place them in their bags in the crisper drawer. That provides an adequate temperature for these types of plants. If you do not have room for cold storage, put it in your basement, garage, or cellar and remove it from bags. Cover with potting soil and mist lightly with water every couple of days until you can plant them.

Wetland Plants & Live Stakes

If you have a pond, lake, or large trough, place the roots of the plants in water, and they will be fine for several days until planted. Ensure that if using your container, you keep freshwater, do not allow algae to grow or for the water to become stagnant. Change water every few days. When submerged in a pond or lake, nothing is needed to be changed, put roots in, and they will grow while being stored until planted.


Seeds must be put in a dry area or placed in a refrigerator until planted. It is also advisable to check with your local USDA to check ideal storage requirements for a particular seed. Different zones and climates will dictate the best ways to store. 

Perennials at time of shipment

Those on the left are dormant, and the right picture is how they will look the following spring when planted and cared for properly.


All our bare root stock is dug fresh to order

We dig our perennials, then take them to our shipping warehouse, spray with wilt proof, and then dip in terra sorb gel. Both are transparent, and you can not see them, but when you feel your bulbs, you will know the inside is in superior health: soft, full of moisture, and pliable. We wrap the roots (or place them in plastic zip-lock bags) for a short shipping period of 3-4 days. The plastic seals in the moisture, which is further needed for transit, and we utilize peat most to aid in moisture retention.

Ferns at time of shipment (left). Following season (right).


Our bare root ferns are shipped just like our perennials. Dug fresh and packed with care to ensure they arrive in excellent condition.



Buying plants "bare root" is the most affordable way to order.

Planting bare-root plants, perennials, ferns & trees not only is less expensive to ship, but it also enables the customer to buy at a fraction of the expense as containerized plants. We can ship our bare root plants FedEx, ups, or US mail for much cheaper than if you purchased container trees. You receive the same plants for a fraction of the price.


We Pack To Protect Your Plants

Every plant we ship is dug fresh a day before shipment. We dig your order, take it to the shipping warehouse, dip all roots in a Tera-sorb moisture gel, and line the roots with paper. (In warmer months, we use a straw to keep the plants cool during transit, then wrap in heavy paper and containerize in corrugated pressure protectant cardboard boxes.) We band every box as well as tape to prevent damage during transportation.

What is Tera Sorb?

Terra Sorb is a super absorbent, potassium-based co-polymer gel that drastically increases the water holding capacity of the soil. It absorbs up to 200 times its weight in water and slowly releases it to nearby plants, perfect for transporting plants.

We take large tubs of Terra-sorb to the fields, dig your plants fresh, dip in terra sorb and take them directly to the shipping warehouse and ship out the following day. We do not leave bare root plants in the cooler like a lot of other nurseries. We dig our stock fresh and ship it. That ensures that your plants will arrive in the best possible condition and will be much more likely to thrive than plants purchased at other nurseries which do not follow these steps.

We pack all plants in terra sorb gel (roots dipped) and lined with moisture-rich peat moss. Can you purchase bare rootstock in the dormant season and have the same results? Why pay 90% more for containerized plants?




  • Our Nursery



Fibrous: Many perennials come like this: (Hepatica, Shootingstar, Beardtongue, Spiderworts) Many prairie flowers possess fibrous root systems. These are characterized by numerous roots emanating from the root crown (where the roots meet the buds). Planting depth: The dormant buds should be one inch below the soil surface. If leaves are present, make sure that they extend above the soil line, with the root itself entirely in the ground.


Rhizome: Ferns and Very Few Woody Perennials Come Like This:( Prairie Smoke, Irises, Queen of the Prairie, Sunflowers, Solomon’s Plume, Wild Geranium, Ebony Spleenwort, Hayscented Fern, Toothed Wood Fern, Ostrich Fern, Bloodroot, Celandine Poppy, Indian Pink, Straw Lily, Bellwort) A rhizome is a modified root that serves the dual function of storing plant food as well as absorbing water and nutrients. Rhizomes also act as agents for the spread of a plant. 

Planting depth: Plant rhizomes horizontally, one to two inches deep, with buds at or just below the soil surface. It would be best if you planted down the attached feeder roots into the soil.




Bulbs: Some perennials and vines arrive like this:(Wild Onions) Bulbs are roots adapted to store nutrients and moisture during periods of plant dormancy. Most bulbs produce offshoots to generate new plants to ensure longevity. Planting depth: Bulbs should be planted so that the white part of the plant is below ground, with any green growth being above the soil.


Taproot: Vines Look Like this on arrival.(Lupine) Taproot plants vines and ground cover look like this. They have one or more strong, main roots that go deep into the soil. This allows them to reach far below the fibrous-rooted plants for moisture and nutrients. Tap-rooted wildflowers like Lupine, coexist well when planted with fibrous-rooted grasses and flowers. Planting depth: The dormant buds should be one inch below the soil surface. If leaves are present, they should extend above the soil surface, with the root itself completely covered.



Corms: Perennials (some) look like this on arrival: (Blazingstars, Jack in the Pulpit, Trilliums) Corms are modified stems that resemble bulbs. The only difference is that bulbs have scales, while corms are solid when cutting in cross-section. Planting depth: Corms should be placed so the top of the corm and the buds are two inches below the soil surface. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the roots of the Blazingstars from the buds, making it hard to tell which end is up. The roots are dark and wiry. The buds have a pinkish color and are often obscured by the previous year's brown-colored old growth.