What You'll Receive
Bare root perennials and woody plants are just that! Plants with bare roots. They are dug from the field where they were grown, are washed and then stored in the perfect climate over the winter months. This process has many benefits. Soil is heavy and messy to ship. Removing the soil makes it possible to bring in these hard to find plants from Holland where they are grown by the very folks that breed them.
Soil also can harbor insects and pathogens, so removing plants from soil helps satisfy import requirements of the USDA and ensures you are receiving healthy disease free plant material. The plants are harvested in a dormant state and held that way until they are shipped. They won't even know they have changed countries when they wake up in your garden or field in the springtime.
Our woody plants are grown in the field in Holland for 1 year before shipping to you. They are pinched a couple of times during the growing season resulting in a stocky well branched plant that will have a good structure on arrival. These plants will establish quickly in 2024 and you may be able to start harvesting as soon as 2025 on the faster maturing crops. Height will vary, but in general they will be around 12" in height.
Bare root perennials are very similar, but since they die down in the winter you will be shipped the root system only. They will quickly recover and start growing in your soil, on your farm. Crops like Astilbe can be harvested in their first year, and others like peonies will take 2-3 years before they are ready.
All of these plants will ship to you from Vermont in early April. They will be just coming out of dormancy. You may see swelling buds or a bit of new growth, but in general they will be in a dormant state and may look a little dead. Don't worry. They will wake up.
You may see a bit of mold on the roots but this is normal. Simply wash it off and plant immediately. As a precaution you can treat the roots with a fungicide or biofungicide, but this isn't necessary. Small broken branches are also of little concern. Just prune off any broken bits and the plant will recover quickly. The root system is the important part at this stage in the game.
If you can't plant immediately on arrival store your bare roots in the cooler. The cold will delay their growth. Keep them from freezing. You can either pot them into 1 gallon pots or plant them directly into your prepared soil. Just make sure to plant them within a few days of arrival. They are waking up and are ready to grow, and they will decline quickly if they are not given soil, water and sunshine.
This is a carefully orchestrated process to get plants quickly from their storage conditions to you so please do your part and be ready to plant them on arrival. There is no reason that these plants will experience any stress if you prepare for their arrival.