We’ve started lifting bare root trees!


This week we have started to lift the bare root trees out of the field. We have to wait until they are sufficiently dormant before we can do this so the sap movement is minimal. Despite the wet weather, the soil is very workable and we have had no problem getting the tractors and machinery onto the ground. This is a good start, some years it can be very muddy which slows the whole process down!

In the last few days we have worked in a field we call ‘Ashbed’, (all of our fields have names!). The two year old trees are lifted first. So far the field team have lifted approximately 30,000 trees which were planted out in 56 long rows. These are mostly fruit trees: plums, cherries, apples and pears. Our two year old trees are grown to be either bushes, half standards or straight leads. You can find out more about the forms we grow by clicking here.

Two year old trees are always for onward sale and not for potting, they are ideal for quickly establishing an orchard or for growing into specimen fruit trees. Because they don’t have a container full of compost, they are also ideal for sending by mail order. It is possible to get several bare root trees into one box whereas generally only one container tree can be sent in a box. Bare root trees often get their roots down quickly giving the tree a great start in life but they do need to be planted before they start growing again in early spring. We recommend any bare root trees are planted before the end of February, if possible.

After the trees are lifted out of the ground they are bundled into fives and taken to our large heeling in bay. This is an area of almost two acres or 0.7 of a hectare, covered in a deep layer of sawdust. The roots of the trees are buried to keep them from freezing or drying out. Each bundle is given a location so that they are easy to find when they are needed for an order to despatch.

The field team consists of 14 crew for the lifting process and 3 field staff to heel the trees in well once the trees are out of the ground. We generally use one tractor with a lifter and another tractor with a long trailer to transport the trees.

Next, we will begin to lift the one year ‘maiden’ trees…