Bare Root Trees
Bare root trees are trees which are carefully dug up at our nurseries and sold with their roots bare, meaning that most of the soil around the roots has been removed. In addition to trees, shrubs can also be purchased in bare root form; bare root roses, hedging and Buxus are especially common.
There are a number of advantages to using bare root trees. However there are several issues to be considered when ordering bare root trees and plants.
Advantages of Bare Root Trees and Plants
- Bare root trees have an extensive, well developed root system, as a result of being allowed to develop naturally in the field.
- When correctly handled, this root system remains intact and will establish more readily, giving the tree the very best chance of survival.
- Bare root trees are cheaper as less labour is required during the tree lifting and preparation prior to dispatch.
- Transport costs are also lower due to the lack of rootball making the trees easier to handle and lighter to transport.
Disadvantages of Bare Root Trees
- Bare root trees are more vulnerable than rootball trees. If the delicate root system is allowed to dry out, the trees will die or fail to thrive once planted. As a result, it is important to purchase fresh bare root trees. All bare root trees supplied by SAP are held in a specialist bed of sand where the roots remain moist. Trees are only lifted from these beds immediately prior to dispatch.
- The planting times for bare root trees are also limited. These trees can only be planted in the early spring or late autumn, when they are dormant and while the soil is moist and suitable for planting.
- The age of bare root trees and shrubs varies. Generally, they are between a year and eight years old, and staff at the nursery will have pruned, shaped, and cared for the tree to ensure that it has a great start in life. You will not be able to see much when you purchase a bare root tree, as it will be leafless and in a dormant state but in the late spring it will come to life and transform the garden.
Planting of Bare Root Trees
- Soak the roots of the tree in a tub of water for between two and six hours, while you prepare the soil for planting. This moistens the delicate fibrous roots and ensures they thrive when planted.
- Next, dig a hole sufficiently large to take all the roots without bending. Turn up the soil in a wide radius (50cm greater than the radius of the roots) around the hole, making it easier for the roots to stretch out.
- Staking the tree is required to prevent it from rocking in the wind and breaking newly formed roots. Depending on the size of the tree, a single stake with tie, double stake with cross-brace or three stakes with cross brace and strapping will be necessary. If you have any questions regarding the most suitable staking of the trees, please contact a specialist at SAP Nurseries on +353 (0)52 744 2222.
Root Balled Trees
A root balled tree is lifted from the ground with the soil intact around the root system. On lifting, the soil rootball is wrapped in biodegradable hessian and held together with non-galvanised wire. The root ball should be planted intact with the hessian and wire in situ. Once planted, the non-galvanised wire soon breaks down and the hessian will rot, allowing the root system to develop. The benefit of ‘rootballing’ is that the root system remaining after lifting will not be disturbed during handling, transportation and planting.
Advantages of Root Balled Trees
- Once lifted, the root system will not be disturbed.
- Packaging bio-degrades and does not require removal.
- Rootballed trees are protected from the rigors of site activities in commercial planting.
- The rootballed tree is the best planting solution and ensures 100% survival.
Disadvantages of Root Balled Trees
- The rootballed tree is more expensive due to the addition labour and handling required.
- For larger trees, an extensive rootball may require specialist handling even the use of an onsite crane will be required.
Container-grown trees – available for planting all year round
Container grown trees are grown in bags, containers or Airpots. They have an intact root system and should therefore establish well once planted. Trees are lifted either bare root or rootballed and potted in a container (between November and March) and then grown on for at least one growing season; (a tree ‘potted up’ in January would be fully rooted and ready for planting by September).
Advantages of Container-grown Trees
- No root loss during lifting.
- Planting can take place 12 months of the year.
- SAP carrier-handles make handling on site easier.
- Available all year round.
Points to remember
- Quercus ilex should always be specified as container grown.
- Nursery-grown trees will be accustomed irrigation on demand and after-care is crucial. SAP can provide Tree-Gators for slow release irrigation at site.
- Sap trees are peat-free.
Airpot-grown, Containerised Trees
SAP has tried and tested various container systems and found that the Airpot system to be the most successful system for stimulating root development. The Airpot system is made from high density plastic and has a perforated egg carton shaped side wall that promotes root development. Unlike a rigid pot or bag system, as roots exit trough the perforated wall, the ends die and encourage lateral roots to form thus increasing the root mass of the tree.
The end result is a fantastic, radial root system which enables the tree to actively establish onsite. Airpot systems are suitable for planting throughout the year, even in summer months.
Once the tree is ready for planting the Airpot system is removed. The root-ball is prepared in the normal way with hessian and is secured using a wire basket that protects the root ball from damage.
All trees are delivered to site by trucks equipped with Mounty forklifts to allow for easy unloading.
Despite having 1,000,000 trees in production, with 275 varieties and 15 sizes available it is not always possible to have large numbers of semi-mature trees available for individual projects.
Today, Landscape Designers and Architects plan projects with significant lead time. At SAP, we find that working together with the design professionals, we are able to guarantee the tree requirements for any project by planting the exact project requirements earlier in the design process. This is known as contract growing. Through contract growing, designers can guarantee their clients:
- The availability of the tree varieties as planned.
- The form of trees required for planting (containerized or Airpot for summer planting).
- Clients and designers can view the trees while growing and appreciate the form they will bring to their project and make changes to the peripheral elements as required.
SAP’s specialist staff are happy to discuss your project planting requirements and the benefits contract growing can bring your project in more detail.
All trees are specified as girth (Circumference) size with their girth being measured in centimeters, one metre above ground level. Semi-mature trees start at 20cm girth and progress in increments of 5cm, e.g. 20-25cm, 25-30cm, etc.
Conifers and multi-stemmed trees are generally measured by height in increments of 50cm, e.g. 350-400cm and supplied as a feathered or bush form. When conifers are specified by girth size, this indicates a clear stem is required.