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Care of Bare Root Plants
text version

Important!!  On all bare root material, DO NOT let roots dry out in wind or sun for even 10 or 15 minutes or soak in water for more than 24 hours.  A good place to store bare root material is in the refrigerator with roots packed in moist material.

 

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a temperate-climate crop and doesn't like high temperatures. It will tolerate a wide variety of soils, as long as they are rich and well drained. You need to use a lot of well-rotted manure when planting, and a high-nitrogen supplement when the rhubarb is mature.

Plant 3-4' apart. Dig a hole 18" wide and 2-3' deep. Fill the hole to within 12" of the top with packed down, well-rotted manure or rich compost. Some bone meal mixed in is also beneficial. Bury the crown 2-3" deep and firm the soil above it. Keep the soil moist, free of weeds and other vegetation, and in workable condition. When the plants are 4-5" tall, apply mulch of straw or hay. Side-dress with rotted manure through summer and fall. Remove any seed heads as they appear. For best results, wait until the second year to harvest, and then pick only lightly. The third year should yield a good crop. When the ground freezes in the fall, cover the bed with well-rotted manure or rich compost.

Rhubarb can be harvested as late as June 30th.

Asparagus

This traditional garden favorite, once established, will produce large crops every year with hardly any care.

Since it lasts so long, it pays to get it planted right. Give each asparagus crown plenty of room, planting each 12-18" apart. At the bottom of the hole, make a mound of soil mixed with aged manure or compost. When placed on the mound, the crown (where the roots come together) should be about 3" below the top of the trench. Cover the crown with soil and gently firm the soil. Fall-planted asparagus should be mulched until spring, when the mulch is replaced with soil. To extend your asparagus harvest, plant crowns at 3 different depths. The deepest plants will send up shoots last.

Avoid the temptation to start picking soon. For best long-term performance, wait until the third year for asparagus. Even then, pick lightly. It’s best to fertilize annually with a good balanced fertilizer.


Raspberries

Raspberries are the hardiest of the cane berries, and perhaps the most worthwhile home garden crop.  The thing that makes a raspberry a raspberry is the fact that it pulls free of it's core when you pick it. Other bramble fruits take the core with them.  One crop (single crop) raspberries produce fruit on canes that grew the previous year.  Two-crop (ever bearing) raspberries produce some fruit at the top of the current-season canes in fall, and then produce a second crop on the rest of the cane following planting time for best results. 

Set raspberry plants in early spring.  Prune the canes to within six inches of the ground at planting time for best results.  For home garden plantings, a single hedge row at one end or along one side of the garden is desireable.  Space new plants 3-4 feet apart in the row.  They will fill into a solid hedge row when cultivated on both sides of the row. 

Raspberry plantings should be cultivated thoroughly and frequently.  If weeds and grasses get a start, they are difficult to control.  Raspberries are extremely hardy, so no special protection is needed except in the coldest mountain and plains climates.  Where winter temperatures stay extremely low for long periods, and winds add to the chill, you should protect your plants in the following manner; Lay canes of the current season along the row or trellis, pinning portions that arch upward.  Be careful not to snap them.  Where mice are not likely to be a problem, cover the canes with straw or sawdust to a depth of several inches, and then cover the mulch with poultry neting to hold it in place.  If winter mouse damage if probable, bury the canes under 2" of earth.  In spring, uncover the canes before they begin to leaf out, just as the buds swell.  If the buds break while still covered, they will be extremely tender to even light frost. 


Pine/Spruce

Before planting, examine the root system and prune broken, twisted and dead roots.  Plant the tree with the crown of the plant at ground level.   Spred the roots out and backfill soil, working it between and around the roots with your fingers.  Continue the process until the plant is stable and standing upright.   Continue filling the hole; then build a basin and fill it with water.  Most bare-root evergreen plants are small and do not require staking.  When watering evergreens, it is essentail to soak the soil around the plant as deeply as the plant roots penetrate.  How long you will be able to go between waterings and the amount of water depends on multiple factors, including the plant, the weather and the soil.  Too little water causes the youngest and tenderest leaves to wilt, then die.  If the soil remains dry for long periods, older leaves or needles die, beginning with the tip or outer edge.  If the plant isn't watered then, it will drop enough leaves so that it will die.  Overwatering can kill plants by reducing oxygen in the soil.  Each plant part must absorb oxygen from its environment.  If air can't enter the soil because it is full of water, the feeder roots die and are unable to take up water even though the soil is sopping. 

Feed your plants with a complete fertilizer. Complete fertilizers are those that contain the three major plant nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.  Follow application rates on the package label.  Fertilizer is best applied in October and again early to late spring.  Fertilizer applied in summer or early fall may start a new wave of growth that will not have time to harden off by winter.  

 


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