What to do with Bare Root Trees and Rootstocks

Post delivery handling, storage and planting advice

VERY IMPORTANT - On arrival trees should be watered and heeled in or planted within 24hrs.

Your bare root trees have been lifted, handled and stored prior to delivery in the most careful and professional way.  It is possible that due to the time in transit that roots may have dried out to some extent, this is not detrimental provided the following advice is followed.

  • Immediately soak all roots with water. Preferably even root dip in a tank of water for between 1 and 2 hours.
  • Place bundles root to root in a frost free building and cover against drying out and for vermin protection.

Heeling In - this is recommended if trees are not planted or potted within 24hrs.

  • Select a well drained piece of ground with loose and friable soil. Sand, peat and other soil less mediums are also very good for this purpose.
  • Lay in such a way as to bring soil into close contact with all roots.
  • Bundles should be cut open at the bottom and laid with their roots well spread out in an adequate trench, covered with kind soil and firmed.
  • Protect from rabbits and mice.
  • Positioning your laying in area in the shade on the north side of the building, will keep trees and rootstocks dormant for longer as spring approaches.

Cold Storage

  • Existing fruit cold stores and large refrigerators can be used for storage of trees but at the risk of the customer only.
  • If using a fruit cold store make sure that the store is clear of all fruit and has been ventilated for at least 4 days.
  • Roots should be covered and kept damp at all times with daily inspections.
  • If possible roots should be put in poly bags with the tops loosely tied or put on pallets and completely protected with poly sheeting allowing no draught or drying out.
  • Temperature should be maintained between 2 & 4 degrees C.

Please note that we are unable to guarantee replacement trees through losses unless trees are heeled in or planted within 24 hours.


It is better to plant late in good conditions than early in poor conditions. If planting conditions are not ideal when the trees arrive than heeling in is recommended and allows the right planting moment to be taken from then on.

Digging holes in advance of tree arrival is not recommended.

Frank P Matthews Ltd Tel: 01584 810214