What is bare root stock?

If you've never purchased from a Conservation District before, you might not be familiar with Bare Root stock. Purchasing from a Conservation District Spring Tree and Plant Sale is less expensive than buying from a nursery and supports local Conservation, but involves more risk buying younger trees with bare roots. Extra care needs to be taken to ensure the trees and plants you purchase have the highest survivability by keeping them dormant and healthy until you are ready to plant. 

The Blue Water CD picks up and keeps your plants and trees dormant until you pick them up from a distribution by keeping them cool, watered, and out of the sun. We use Ecto Root dip for fruit trees and the larger flowering trees and damp shredded paper for most of the other stock. Trees and plants are wrapped in butcher paper or in plastic bags to keep moisture in at the roots. 


Conifer Tree Sizing

Most of our trees and plants available are a few years old and vary in size. Size descriptions are a range (i.e. 18"-24") because height can vary from plant to plant, but trees will be in that range when we receive them from the nursery. Plant size is determined by the nursey at the time of pick up.

Conifers are the only tree/plant that will be available in 3 different sizes. These sizes are: Seedling, Transplant, and Extra Large. On our order form you will see that within those categories tree age and size will vary also. 

Tree age is described in a (A-B) format, giving you the numbers of years the plants spent in the original seed bed (A) and the numbers of years spent in a transplant bed (B).

Now you may be wondering, what difference does 1 or 2 years in a transplant bed make? We'll show you! 


In the photo above you can see a spruce Seedling (left), Transplant (middle), and Extra Large (right). 


In the photo above, you can see the spruce Seedling (left), Transplant (middle), and Extra Large (right) root system development. Seedlings tend to be (2-0), Transplants (2-1), and Extra Large (2-2). 


Deciduous Tree Sizing

The Conservation District only offers one size of deciduous tree. These trees tend to be 2-3 ft in height, are sometimes branched, but not always, and have a small root system. They are not graded by years in beds. Below is a photo of what a deciduous tree may look like from our sale.


Flowering Shrubs Sizing

Bare root shrubs are similar to deciduous trees at our sale. Many of them are not branched and only require the root system to establish when planting, for example the Butterfly Bush and Trumpet Vine. A few examples can be seen in photos below.