Container Grown Trees vs. Bare Root Trees
Our fruit trees are available for sale as either bare root trees or in containers. Bare root trees are sold in the spring and early summer and planted directly into the ground while they’re still dormant. Trees sold in containers may be planted from late summer all the way through winter and into early spring.
Container Grown Fruit Trees
Fruit trees that come in containers have spent a year or two growing in the ground at our orchard before we put them into temporary containers. The biggest advantage of ordering container grown fruit trees is that you have a longer window of time during which you can plant them. You can leave these trees in their containers for several weeks before you plant them in your orchard.
Because these container trees are a little older when you buy them, they will have had some initial training and pruning that will encourage fruit buds to form. Container trees look more impressive than bare root trees when they are delivered, and for that reason make better gifts than bare root trees.
Some container trees might fruit the year after planting, but if you remove any fruit as it forms after the spring blossom, the tree will put its energy into growing a strong root system and wind up healthier in the long run.
Please note that container trees are not designed to remain in their containers permanently, and should be planted directly in the ground as soon as it is convenient. This is especially important with plum trees, which should be planted as quickly as possible. Even if you intend to grow the tree on a patio, you must still transfer it to a larger pot every couple of years. Dwarf trees are best for container grown fruit trees.
Bare Root Fruit Trees
Bare root fruit trees are grown in open ground in our nursery. When you receive them, there will be no soil around the roots and no leaves on the trees. The roots will be covered with some newspaper and a plastic bag to prevent them drying out. But don’t worry, they’re alive. They are very resilient during shipment, in part because the trees are shipped when they’re dormant, usually between March and May. Once they arrive, you’ll need to keep the roots moist and plant them outside in the ground after the last freeze.
Choosing Between Container and Bare Root Trees
Some things to consider as you decide what kind of trees to order.
- Type of tree: Some trees are only available in containers.
- Time of year: Bare root trees are only available between March and June, but container grown trees are available all year round.
- Cost: Bare root trees can be less expensive than container grown fruit trees, especially if you buy several of the same kind
- How quickly you can plant: You have a little more leeway with container trees. You don’t have to get them in the ground as quickly.
- Shopping preference: You can come to the nursery and choose your own container grown tree, but if you order a bare root, we'll choose the specimens for you.
- Your orchard plans: A wider variety of trees are available as bare root trees. If you plan to espalier your trees or train them in some other format, it’s best to start with younger bare root trees.
If you are interested in coming down to pick up either Bare root or Container trees, it is best to give us a call first so we can consolidate your order. We organize the trees to keep them in storage properly and need some time to wrap your order. Even if your tree is in a container, please give us notice before you come down so we can organize your order.
Please reach out if you have any questions or want more advice.