Magazine article Sunset

Growing Guide

Magazine article Sunset

Growing Guide

Article excerpt

Twiggy bare-root trees don't look like much at the beginning, but planting them at this stage gives them the best kick-start for growth. Here's what you need to know about planting and caring for bare-root trees, plus landscaping options for small yards.


Nurseries are well stocked with bare-root trees now. You can also order from bay Trees come with roots packed in damp sawdust and wrapped in burlap. You can keep them in the sawdust for a day or two, but it's best to plant right away.



the roots in a bucket of water for 45 minutes before planting.


any broken pieces on the roots. Clip the rest of the roots by an inch.


a hole twice as deep and as wide as the root system; form a firm cone of soil to set the plant on, making sure the crown sits just above the soil level.


the hole with a mix of 50 percent native soil and 50 percent amendment, such as organic compost.


a basin of soil around the tree to keep water concentrated on the roots.


WATER whenever the soil is dry 2 inches deep-as little as once a week in winter, or as much as once every three days in the heat of summer.

FERTILIZE trees in early spring (after blossom set), midsummer, and early fall. Use an organic fertilizer formulated for fruit trees (synthetic nitrogen can easily bum plants).

REMOVE any leaves infected with peach leaf curl (they'll be thick and twisted); the next round will grow uninfected. To prevent this fungal disease, which diminishes fruit production, keep smaller trees dry during the rainy season by tenting them with floating row covers. …

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