Bare Root Apple Trees

If your apple tree comes to you as a bare root tree, you must care for the roots of that tree immediately when you get home. If you are not ready to plant for any reason, then pick up a couple of bags of sawdust at the nursery before you get the tree home. If your soil is too wet, or frozen - or if you still need to amend the soil before planting, then you will want to do this. You should "heel in" the tree. This means bury the roots in moist sawdust until you are ready to plant. The tree should be leaning toward the ground when it is heeled in so that wind won't blow it down, exposing the roots.

bare root, heeling in

When you are ready to plant, soak the roots in a bucket of water for several hours before planting. After your hole is dug, you will want to trim the roots. Trim off any broken roots, or dead ones. If you have one root that is extremely long, you can trim that down rather than bending it around to fit your hole. A long root that is bent around can become a girdling root and kill the tree.
Here's how to plant your tree.
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