Garden checklist: Keep bare-root plants happy while they wait

Published: Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 - 12:00 am

If you have bare-root roses, fruit trees or other dormant plants awaiting transplant but don’t have time (or a prepared space) to plant them in the ground, keep them happy and healthy while they wait.

If the delay is less than a week, put the plants’ roots in a bucket of water. If it’s a large plant or tree, use a wheelbarrow or large trash can. It’s important to keep the roots moist and hydrated, even while the plant is dormant.

Another option: Plant your new bush or tree in potting mix in a 5-gallon or larger container. Add two spoonfuls of bone meal, but hold off on any high-nitrogen fertilizers. In spring, transplant it to its permanent location. That will allow the roots some time to develop, too.

Also in the garden this week:

•  Remove old flowers from camellias and azaleas to avoid petal blight.

•  Finish pruning roses. Pull off and discard any leaves that remain from last year’s growth.

• Start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed indoors.

• Plant bare-root roses and ornamentals such as peony, bleeding heart, coral bells and astilbe. Plant blooming camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons.

• Transplant or direct seed snapdragon, candytuft, lily of the valley, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisies and stocks.

• In the vegetable garden , plant Jerusalem artichokes, strawberries and rhubarb.

• Transplant seedlings of lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and kale. Direct-seed radishes, beets, peas and chard.

– Debbie Arrington

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