Bare root hedges are shrubs that are dug from the ground while they are dormant. They are not planted in a container, but rather shipped to their new location with the roots protected from drying air. Bare root shrubs used for hedges are often less expensive than container-grown trees. They are purchased for creating hedges for screens or barriers in a landscape. Bare root shrubs are also easier to transport from one location to another because there is no heavy dirt and container involved. Follow a few simple steps to plant bare root hedges correctly.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Bare root hedges
- Sharp hand-held pruning tool
- Bucket of water
Purchase bare root shrubs to use for hedges when they are dormant during the winter. Bare root shrubs dug from the ground during the growing season have a low survival rate. Buy shrubs that are freshly dug and refrigerated with no exposure to drying winds. Inspect the root system to look for dry and brittle root sections. You should see green plant material after you lightly scratch the outer layer of a root section with your fingernail.
Cover the root system of the bare root hedges or shrubs with wet cloths or newspapers. Do not let the root systems dry out at any time.
Designate the row of hedges by making a guideline with a string. Secure each end of the string with stakes pushed or pounded into the ground.
Dig a trench for the bare root hedges with a shovel. The trench should be twice as wide as the average root system of the plants and deep enough so they are planted at the same depth as their previous location. To find this level, look for a water or soil line just above the root system of the plants.
Add water into the trench so the sides and bottom of the trench are soaked with water. This prevents any water you've added around the root system of the plants while you're planting them from moving away from the plants and into drier soil. Allow the water to drain from the trench before planting.
Place the hedges in the planting trench. Spread out the root systems so they are not curled up or encircling the plants. Trim off any damaged or broken roots with a sharp hand-held pruning tool. Add dirt and water as you plant to prevent air pockets from forming around the root systems of the hedges. Remember to plant the hedges at the same level they were previously planted.
Firm, but do not pack, the soil around the hedges so they remain upright.
Add a 2-inch layer of mulch over the root base of the hedges and 10 inches out from the trunks. Mulch helps conserve moisture and prevents weeds from competing with the new plants.
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