Bare Root Seedlings
Bare root seedlings are originally planted as seed and nurtured to grow. At some point, depending on age or height, they are lifted from the ground and sold as seedlings. Some will be replanted and left to grow longer, transforming into an even larger and better branched tree called a transplant. Bare root seedlings do not have soil surrounding the roots when you receive them. This makes for easy planting and seedlings that more easily adapt to your own soil.
Bare Root Transplants
Bare root transplants had originally started as seedlings for the first couple of years. The seedlings were then lifted from the ground and replanted, hence the name transplant. When this is done in the correct environment, an amazing natural transformation takes place. The transplanted seedling branches out and becomes much more dense in form. Our transplants are well branched, healthy and beautiful. All of the tree measurements are from the ground up and are very conservative. Bare root simply means that the tree comes to you free of soil on the roots. This helps reduce the price of the seedling and makes them more adaptable to the soil that you are planting them in.
We provide the best nursery stock available and keep our prices as low as possible. There are many factors outside of our control once the order is delivered to you. As a result, we have a limited plant guarantee on our nursery stock. Please refer to the “Our Guarantee” page for full details. You can access the page by simply clicking HERE.
Yes, you may pick your order up rather than have it shipped to you. All tree and shrub seedlings are brought via refrigerated semi to our shipping facility in Grafton, Wisconsin. Plants are typically available for pickup between the early part of April and the end of May. Simply select the pick up option during checkout. In early April, we will call or email you to coordinate the pick up date. On the morning of the date of your pickup, your order will be assembled and placed back into cold storage until you arrive. Standard pick up hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you need to pick up your plants outside of those times, we would be happy to accommodate you by appointment. A flat fee of $9.95 will be charged on each order that is placed for pick up. The fee will be charged at checkout and helps cover our costs for packaging your order.
Our shipping facility is located at 976 Ulao Road, Grafton, WI 53024. If you would like a map or directions on how to get to Chief River Nursery, click HERE.
Planting zones were established to help us correctly plant the right plants in the right climates. The zone map was created to illustrate plant hardiness based on the weather year round including factors such as average low temperatures and special climate areas like the Great Lakes. While it is not a hard and fast rule, planting outside of the recommended zone for a specific plant exposes you to a much higher chance of failure. For instance, a plant grown outside of its recommended zone may bud out too early for your area. If the early bud break is followed by a frost or too low of a temperature, this can damage the plant and even cause it to perish.
Each one of our product pages includes a map which shows the area that the plant is most likely to thrive. If you would like to verify the recommended zone for your area, have your ZIP code handy and click HERE.
We ship anywhere in the U.S. except Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington state. These four states have stringent regulations and require special fumigation which we do not offer. Shipments to Canada are available, but require additional paperwork which must be coordinated directly with our customer. Please note that our nursery stock begins to ship towards the beginning of April and ends towards the end of May. We will ship orders to the warmest climates early on in our shipping process and orders in the coldest climates then follow.
Always take into consideration the type of soil on the planting site, sun conditions, and whether there is good air and water drainage. Some trees thrive in loamy, wet soils, like hardwoods; while others like dry, light conditions, like pines. The purpose of your planting is also important. Do you want a tree that will give you privacy, bear fruit, grace you with beautiful fall color, attract wildlife or provide shade? These are all important considerations when planning your planting project.
In the online store portion of our website, each tree and shrub has a description that shows a map of where they are most likely to thrive. Also described are the moisture requirements, acceptable soil types, sun/shade requirements and mature height and widths of the tree. If you have additional or specific questions about one of our trees or shrubs, please email us at [email protected] and we will respond promptly.
We strongly advise that you plant your stock as soon as possible. If unable to plant upon receipt of trees, try to find a walk-in cooler. Otherwise, store your trees and shrub seedlings in a cool area, away from the sun and wind. The basement or cellar can be a good place to store them where they are not subject to temperature swings. If it is cooler outside, a shed, barn or other unheated outbuilding works well too. Just make sure that if the seedlings are placed in an out building, it does not heat up with the daytime sun. It is a good idea to open the plastic liner in the box ever so slightly to allow some circulation to occur. It is even more important to make sure the seedling roots stay slightly damp and covered with moist shredded paper or sphagnum moss.
If you need to care for your seedlings for longer than 7 to 10 days before planting, is is recommended that they are placed in cold storage in temperatures of 33 to 42 degrees. This will help keep the seedlings dormant. If no cold storage is available, it is recommended that you use a process of heeling them in. To do so, dig a trench that allows the seedlings to be placed inside without the roots bending. Cover the roots of the seedlings with soil to just above the root collar. Water well and firm the soil with your feet. Try to minimize the handling and breaking of bundles as much as possible. The less handling at this time the better.
It is important to note that “Our Guarantee” only covers seedlings that are planted within a couple of days of receipt. While caring and heeling in can be done with great success, the level of care given during this critical time can vary greatly from customer to customer. If the seedlings are not intensively cared for before planting, the survival rate will drop greatly.
In general, it is a good idea to soak your plants for up to 6 hours just prior to planting. This ensures that the plant has taken up full moisture and gives them a good start. However, if you are storing your trees longer prior to planting, we recommend putting 2-4″ of water in a bucket or tub and placing shredded newspaper or sphagnum moss around the roots. This creates a micro-climate which will hydrate the trees without drowning them. If you would like more information on planting and care, you can be taken to our planting and care guide by clicking HERE.
In the field planting tips:
When heading to the field, keeping the roots moist is critical. Seedlings can be killed in less than 20 minutes if exposed to the drying effects of wind and sun. We have listed a couple of pointers below.
- It is a good idea have a tub or large bucket available for planting time. The tub or bucket should be filled with 2 to 4 inches of water mixed with shredded newspaper or sphagnum moss placed around the roots. As long as the seedlings will not be allowed to sit for hours, it is sufficient to place the roots directly into water. Just make sure the roots are fully submerged so they cannot dry out while in the field.
- It is not recommended to take plastic bags containing seedlings out into the field on sunny days. The bags can act as mini greenhouses and expose the trees to undesirable temperatures, especially in black bags which particularly absorb the sun.
- Only take as many seedlings as you will plant in a couple of hours. Leave the rest in a protected area out of the wind and direct sunlight.
- After the hole is dug, dip the roots of the plant in a root gel such as our Super Gel or Super Spore products. These products are designed to retain moisture around the root zone and release it when it is most needed. Super Spore has addition essential fungi that will stay with the plant its entire lifetime.
- Cover the roots with soil as soon as possible to avoid overexposure to wind and sunlight.
- Water the trees in thoroughly to help get them off to a good start. A regular watering routine should be implemented, especially during the first full growing season when the plants are getting established.
If you would like to review our full planting and care guide, you may do so by clicking HERE.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to spacing as it depends on the purpose of your project. We have compiled a small list of considerations below for you to think about when you plan your planting project.
- When planting conifers for privacy, consider planting two to three staggered rows of pine or spruce trees. Not only will the privacy screen fill in faster, but staggered rows will give you privacy from every angle with little or no open spaces. Space the trees every 8 to 10 feet and space the rows the same. In time you will have a living wall that gives you the privacy you want.
- For commercial operations remember that someday you will need to run equipment in and around the trees.
- The number of trees per acre will depend on how far apart you want to plant them. This accounts for space between trees and space between rows of trees. Here are a few spacing guidelines listed by the number of feet between seedlings: 5×5 spacing = 1,742 trees per acre, 8×8 spacing = 681 trees per acre, 10×10 spacing = 436 trees per acre, 12×12 spacing = 303 trees per acre, 15×15 spacing = 194 trees per acre. The purpose of your project will dictate your spacing. Planting a thicket or a privacy hedge will use much closer spacing than
- Think about the tree or shrub as a mature specimen when you are planting. The seedling you are planting may seem small now, but it is sure to grow into something large and magnificent. In each description we provide details about the mature height and width of the tree or shrub. If the mature width says 20 feet and you plant several of those trees with 20 spacing, they will eventually touch someday at their widest point. Most people will plant the trees closer than the mature width for faster and greater coverage.
Some weed control may be necessary, particularly in richer soils. The trees and shrubs you plant will be competing with weeds for soil nutrients, moisture, and fertilizer. You may want to eliminate this problem with herbicides and/or mowing. Maintaining the area that surrounds your seedlings is an important part of survival rates. Like anything else, the more work you are willing to put into it, the better results you will get out of it.
- Granular formula that is mixed with water to make a root dip for your seedlings.
- The root dip is used just before placing the seedling in the planting hole.
- Super Gel sticks to the roots, absorbs moisture when it rains and releases it to the root zone over a period of time.
- Seedlings receive moisture over a longer period of time and the highs and lows of watering are mitigated.
- Reduces stress on the seedlings during establishment and increases survival.
- Granular formula that is mixed with water to make a root dip for your seedlings.
- Has Super Gel mixed in along with it.
- Includes beneficial fungi that multiplies and stays with the tree or shrub for its lifetime.
- Includes Endo & Ectomycorhizal fungi that naturally increases water uptake.
- Makes trees more drought resistant and more adaptable to those tough planting situations.