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. 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. Do not allow them to dry out or freeze.


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


Take care not to let the plants dry out or leave them exposed to 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 that is created by the digging of 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. This will allow for the 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, especially if they are worked when wet. Never transplant into wet clay soils. Do not pack soil directly above the buds. This can damage buds and retard emergence.



Fibrous: Lots of 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 completely 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. Attached feeder roots should be planted down 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 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.