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Bare root plants are dormant (not actively growing) perennial plants that are dug up and stored without any soil around their roots. Usually these plants are dug when they're dormant and then refrigerated until it is time to ship them to you. This system can work really well for many trees, shrubs, vines, and other perennials. Bare root plants weigh less and are easier for the seller to ship. Once you place the plant in the ground or in potting soil and add moisture, the plant will start to grow again.
It isn't always easy to tell! Dormant plants might not look like they're alive if you haven't worked with bare root plants before. But there are some clues about how alive and healthy the plant really is.
Authored by Steve M. Bogash, former Extension Educator. Edited by Lana Adams.
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