Bare Root Fruit Trees

Bare Root Fruit Trees: In California (Definitive Guide)

Bare root fruit trees are trees grown in the ground, but the roots are not covered. Instead, they’re planted on peat moss or potting soil meant for planting. Bare root orchards also provide advantages over other types of orchards, such as increased flexibility and reduced labor. The first step is to decide what you want to buy.

Types of Bare Root Fruit Trees

Pome Fruit Tree:

stone fruit

Apples, pears, and Asian pears fall into this category. In California, apples are the most popular choice as they have a long harvest period. They’re also easy to store and eat–and many different varieties are available. The easiest time to plant an apple tree is in winter or early spring before growing again. Some planting options include:

Stone Fruits Tree:

Nectarines, peaches, and plums fall into this category. These trees should not be planted from December through February because the cold will kill them off. Planting stone fruits should occur from March through May.

Citrus Tree:

This type of tree is a little more difficult to plant because they’re sensitive to cold weather. The best time to plant a citrus tree is in January through March. There are many different types of citrus trees, so make sure to research what will grow best in your climate.

Fig Tree:

Fig trees can be planted during the winter or summertime and are a great option if you want a fruit tree that’s easy to maintain. They don’t require a lot of pruning and can grow in most climates.

Berry Bushes:


There are many different types of berry bushes, such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. They can be planted at any time of the year, but they should be watered regularly.

Picking the Right Location

When picking a spot to plant your fruit tree, make sure to consider the following:

The amount of sunlight the tree will receive:

All fruit trees need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. If you don’t have a spot that gets enough sun, you’ll need to purchase a citrus tree or plants that grow in the shade.

The size of the tree:

Make sure there’s enough space for the tree to grow. Most trees will reach their maximum size within ten years, so make sure you have enough room for them to grow.

The type of soil:

Fruit trees need well-drained soil to thrive. If your soil is wet or doesn’t drain well, you’ll need to amend it before planting your tree.

The water supply:

All fruit trees need a steady water supply. So make sure the spot you choose has access to a water source, whether it’s from a hose or rainfall.

Sprinkler systems:

If you don’t have access to a water source, you’ll need to install a sprinkler system. This will ensure that your tree gets the water it needs to grow and produce fruit.

Planting Bare Root Trees

Once you’ve chosen the right spot, it’s time to plant your bare root fruit tree. Keep in mind that the planting process requires hard work and patience. If you’re working on a large-scale orchard, there are some things you should keep in mind:

Pick the suitable trees:

Begin by picking out 15 to 20 ideal trees based on their height and shape. Then, try to pick ones with sturdy trunks and healthy foliage.


Water all of your new trees before transplanting them because they take a while to adjust after being moved around so much. Once they arrive at their new home, water them thoroughly but don’t drown them–water is critical at this stage for establishing roots avoid overwatering.

Digging the hole:

Dig the hole twice as wide as the tree’s root system but only as deep as the root system. Be sure to remove any rocks or debris from the hole before planting.

Placing the tree in the hole:

Carefully place the tree in the hole and make sure it’s standing up straight. Next, fill in around the tree with soil, making sure to pack it down sufficiently so that there are no air pockets.


After planting, cover the area around your tree with a 2-3 inch layer of mulch. This will help keep the soil moist and protect it from erosion.


Once your tree is in the ground, it needs a steady water source. Make sure you have an irrigation system set up so that your tree is getting adequate water throughout the year.

Planting Potted bare root fruit Trees

If you’re planting fruit trees as part of a landscaping project or don’t have enough space for a more extensive fruit garden, then planting potted fruit trees might be your best option. However, keep in mind that there are some drawbacks to this process:

When and how much to water:

Be sure to check on your fruit trees regularly and make sure they’re always adequately watered (but not overwatered). Not only will it need daily watering during hot summer days, but it should also be soaked once every week or two in winter.

Limited space:

Potted fruit trees take up a lot of space, so you’ll only be able to grow a few trees in this way.


Since the trees are in pots, they’ll need to be pruned more often than planted in the ground. Make sure to keep an eye on their height and trim them back as needed.

No pollinators:

Since potted fruit trees aren’t planted outdoors, they won’t access pollinators like bees. Unfortunately, this means that you’ll need to hand-pollinate your trees yourself if you want them to bear fruit.

Winter protection:

Potted fruit trees need to be brought inside to protect them from frost during the winter months. If this is not possible, you’ll need to provide some other form of winter protection, such as wrapping the tree in heavy plastic or covering it with a blanket.


If your potted fruit trees have been growing for more than three years, they’re likely ready to transition into a larger pot. This will ensure enough room for new roots and can help prevent suffocation.


The best time to plant bare-root fruit trees is in the spring between March 1st and May 15th–the exact date varies depending on where you live. However, for best results, make sure you wait until all chance of frost has passed before planting your trees.

As you can see, planting fruit trees requires a bit of work and forward planning, but it’s well worth the effort when harvest time comes around.

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