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Author Topic: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants  (Read 14989 times)

TropicalFruitHunters

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Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« on: March 13, 2012, 09:17:42 PM »
I love this hobby and unfortunately do not live in a climate well suited for the plants we love to grow.  Nor are there any nurseries selling these types of plants.  My only recourse is mail order.  On the GW forum, we've discussed receiving bare rooted plants a few times...especially when several of us were ordering from Thailand.  Ever since the boys designed this wonderful forum, I wanted to put a little something out covering what I've learned over the years and what works for me.

I've certainly killed my fare share of plants since beginning this hobby.  Let's just say that the shape of my learning curve would have been popular well back in Columbus' day...you know...the earth is flat theory?  Anyway, I just didn't get it.  After crying to Bryan Brunner often and some experimentation here at home, the sun was finally shining thru.  Humidity.  Boosting the humidity around the plant was the key.  There are several methods for this.  Oscar mentioned the other day about a misting station.  This method is recommended by many.  If I were to place a very large order from Thailand, I would most likely try and set this up.

The following quote below are little tidbits of experience and science I've received from a few folks a lot smarter than me in this game.  You can take it as you will or not at all, but it makes sense to me...
Whether bare root roses or bare root fruit trees, from the tiny to 15' tall, 3" caliper trees...the key is to address the shock of the bare root process- the root hairs are mostly blown off or dead from exposure to the air and they are how water and nutrients primarily enter.  The only way to minimize the chance that the non-functioning roots start to rot (besides fungicide) is to control soil moisture and you cannot do that in a oversized container.  The smaller container is a temporary one to have better control over soil moisture until new roots and root hairs have flushed out.  Can you go straight into the larger container? Of course, but then how it is watered is more critical and if it is a cool time of the year, the days are short, or the humidity is not reliably high, then you have made your life a bit harder.  Well drained soilless mixes to get a plant established enable you to take advantage of better oxygenation in the beginning and then move it after reestablished into its final mix.  Raising humidity helps to then maintain soil moisture at a lower level to again reduce the chance that a bacterial/fungal/viral infection will opportunistically appear due to favorable conditions (for the pathogen).  Dead air in a plastic bag will accelerate the chance of rot, so it must be ventilated to a degree to allow for the exchange of fresh air.

So over the years I've gotten to a point where I've achieved a very good keep alive rate...nearly 100%.  Keep in mind that you will receive plants that only have a chance with divine intervention.  Some of the ones I received from Thailand were beyond even that!   :'(  Sad but true.  The following works for me.  I hope it helps or at least opens the eyes of those thinking about ordering a bare root plant for the first time.

First things first...don't assume that the person sending you the plant knows what the hell they are doing.  Don't be afraid to ask questions.  You're paying a lot of money for something you obviously cannot get locally so make sure you get what you are paying for!  Make sure the roots are wrapped in damp moss and wrapped in plastic.  Never assume.  Ask about the box.  That guy in Thailand was using the cheapest and flimsiest boxes found on the planet...only one other person shipped worse than he did and this guy is from Hawaii but I will not mention any names...not Oscar and not Frankies.  After pestering the guy in Thailand, he started sending my plants in sturdy boxes that have the full lid.

I always have proper soil mixes made up well in advance of the plants arriving.  I make sure the mix has lots of perlite to help aerate the roots and allow water to drain well.  I also have several different sizes of containers handy also to accommodate root ball sizes.  After carefully removing the plants from the package and any plastic and ties, I immediately place the plants into a 5 gallon bucket of water with something like Thrive Alive and soak for about 15 minutes in the shade...all the while continuously spraying the plants with a hose.  Does any of this help?  It's all a part of my ritual now and it makes me feel better.   ;)  Next it's into the containers and a good watering.

I usually have a structure erected and covered in plastic with screening material over that to provide shade.  I make sure some air can circulate.  I will always try and keep the gravel/ground around the plants wet and even spray the inside of the plastic.  I try and boost that humidity as much as possible.  I used to put one of those ultra-sonic humidifiers inside and they really pump out the humidity.  Unfortunately I've not come across one that lasts very long in my greenhouse environment.  I will keep my plants under plastic for at least 2-3 weeks and usually until I start to see them flush new growth.  I try very hard to water the plants only when I know for sure they really need watering...otherwise I let the humidity do its job.  Don't rush to get the plants into full sun either.  I will not attempt to transplant anything until well after a good flush and I'm confident the plant is doing well.

Here's something I learned the hard way and by doing it myself...I will no longer bitch about a shipper charging me $5 to bare root a plant.  I've done it.  Hate it.  It's a pain in the butt.  And if someone has a bunch of plants to get out in one day, then my hat's off to him or her.  It's a lot of work to bare root, get it ready, and box up.

Well...that's it.  Like I said, this works for me.  There are a lot of good resources on this forum.  We just have to ask for help.  Don't lose a plant due to pride or being stubborn.

murahilin

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Re: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2012, 09:29:20 PM »
Excellent post Jay. I didn't read it but I assume it is full of good information.

Tim

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Re: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2012, 09:36:53 PM »
Excellent post Jay. I didn't read it but I assume it is full of good information.
lmfao  ;D ;D ;D
Tim

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Re: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2012, 09:37:27 PM »
Excellent post but you DIDN'T READ IT?  Come on slacker!  lol

It is an excellent post, and I did read it!  :)

lycheeluva

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Re: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2012, 11:00:17 PM »
sheehan u r a funny dude.
great post jay

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Re: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2012, 11:09:17 PM »
Thanks jay. I have not really focused on the humidity issue but will from now on.  Dave

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Re: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2012, 12:24:02 AM »
Great thread you started Jay! What i tell people is that they have to treat bare rooted plants received in the mail in an ICU (intensive care unit). Don't think you can just pot it up and forget about it. That plant has been in a totally dark coffin box for several days and it's not just going to pop back into health by itself.
Another very important point is to shorten the duration that plant is in that coffin box as much as possible. If you can opt out for EMS (express mail service), especially for plants coming from overseas. A plant in a dark box has very good survival rate after 3 days, after 5 days the survival rate is ok, but not so good. after one week in a dark box the survival rate is poor, after 10 days very poor, after 2 weeks you can  usually kiss the plants goodbye.
Shipping time is a sum of mailing time plus time spent at ag customs. So it's also important to lessen the time at agricultural customs. It's good to get to know the people there at APHIS and forewarn them you will receive plants soon and all your paper work is in order. Also try to time it so the plants don't arrive late on friday, sit there over the weekend, and then monday is a holiday. All these little details can make the difference between live or dead on arrival plants.
After you've done all these things all you can do is pray a lot. Many of these things are plain out of your control...that's the part that makes me really nervous!  :-\ If you're not religious you might want to hold your lucky charm in your hand during the whole process.  ;) To get really good at the process you really have to do it several times, so if it's your first time keep the order as small as possible till you get the hang of it all. Test those waters first.
Oscar
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Re: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2012, 06:57:30 AM »
Thanks all.  Sheehan...you're too much.  Great additions Oscar.  Even when shipping from the states or PR...our excellent postal services don't always put much effort into their own "priority mail" shipping parameters.  Last year I shipped two boxes of equal size and price on the very same morning.  One box arrived within the 3 days.  The second box arrived almost 2 weeks later.  And of course had the most tender plants of the bunch which included durian and pulasan.  These plants stayed in my "ICU", as Oscar calls it, for at least a month before they flushed new growth.  But they did!

To go along with this post and what Oscar followed up with...I appeal to Warren to give us his experience in shipping a large amount of plants from Thailand...legally of course!  He's done this twice now with a different experience each time but with one theme in common...the process can wear you down!  So Warren...please share these experiences for not only the educational side of it, but the entertainment side as well.   :D

puglvr1

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Re: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2012, 07:38:25 AM »
Excellent Post Jay, and I read the whole thing too,lol...Thanks for putting it all together. I agree with you I HATE bare rooting plants too. I've only done it once (twice maybe) on a Mango and a few Citrus. Most of the ones I've done were small tropical plants, those weren't as bad. The bigger the plant the harder it is.
Great article...I'm sure many here will find it very useful

CoPlantNut

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Re: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2012, 10:22:43 AM »
Great topic and suggestions, Jay.

Being in a non-tropical climate myself, I've received a lot of mail-order plants, and it's clear that some shippers know what they are doing when packaging, others not so much.  I've received packages where the shipper thought that writing "This End Up" on the top of the box would be enough to make sure the plants would be fine loose in the box.  It doesn't work that way. 

Even when the plants are packaged perfectly, sometimes they get lost in the mail, or fall off the back of a truck which then runs over the package:



-- the tire tread marks never really showed up in the photo.  (For the record, Logee's does a great job of packaging and when I received this they immediately sent replacement plants...  A very reputable firm in my opinion.)

   Kevin


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Re: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2012, 11:45:21 AM »
Good tips, I will try to use some of these with the replacement Myrica rubra. Thanks again!
Grow mainly fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

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Re: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2012, 12:05:24 PM »
Kevin,

It looks like your cat is wincing at the smell of whats left of the plant material inside the box!

fruitlovers

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Re: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2012, 06:34:11 PM »
Thanks all.  Sheehan...you're too much.  Great additions Oscar.  Even when shipping from the states or PR...our excellent postal services don't always put much effort into their own "priority mail" shipping parameters.  Last year I shipped two boxes of equal size and price on the very same morning.  One box arrived within the 3 days.  The second box arrived almost 2 weeks later.  And of course had the most tender plants of the bunch which included durian and pulasan.  These plants stayed in my "ICU", as Oscar calls it, for at least a month before they flushed new growth.  But they did!

To go along with this post and what Oscar followed up with...I appeal to Warren to give us his experience in shipping a large amount of plants from Thailand...legally of course!  He's done this twice now with a different experience each time but with one theme in common...the process can wear you down!  So Warren...please share these experiences for not only the educational side of it, but the entertainment side as well.   :D

About shipping inside the USA, it's very slow and snail mail is about to get much slower. You may have read in the news that 200+ mail processing centers will close starting in May of this year. This will add another day or two to the current snail transit times. So whenever you can fork out the dough and opt for express mail, especially from far flung places like Hawaii. (Even express mail from here takes minimum 2 days. No such thing as overnight service here.) Priority mail from here usually takes now 3-5 working days, after May it may be more like a week or more, which already happens now sometimes with priority mail. Let's face it, with current budget crunch the USPS is not going to get any better. The private couriers are too expensive to use for small boxes, and a big hassle to go to their offices, one hour drive from here.
I've had plants sent to me several times from Thailand. I found that success rate varies a lot from species to species, not just how good the packaging and transit time is. Surprisingly, for example, i found that mangosteens can take the cruelty of barerooting. Durians can't. No matter how well treated the durian plants will not survive bare rooting, so don't waste your money. Only buy plants from overseas that you absolutely cannot get in USA. If you can get them here it's better to pay a lot more here than have the high casualty rate from over there. My 2 cents.
Oscar
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Re: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2012, 09:59:05 PM »
Jay
Outstanding article Jay. Your commentary is right on target!

Sheehan
I'll try to find you the "Cliff Notes" version that summarizes Jay's article!
Just read it man! (:>)
FloridaGreenMan

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Re: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2012, 10:50:15 PM »
Jay - really really good post!  Humidity is the key, for sure when those root hairs are non-existent...
I only have one disagreement with you though;

Bare rooted fruit trees like apple, peach, pear, cherry etc. if received during their winter hybernation
do NOT need anything special done to them but stuck in the ground and kept moist.  I got a pear tree about 3 years
ago that arrived with just a single stump of a root, and I called the company, sent them a picture and
told them if this did not take it was on their nickel......well....after about 2 months in the ground as the
weather warmed, the tree sprouted and grew very quickly and nicely....

anyway, other than that being my experience with those kinds of plants, you are right on, brother!!!!!!


Fanged

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Re: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2012, 09:47:50 PM »
taking care of bare rooted plants ,, done it and failed (many times) maybe its not my thing ,,, thanks jay for the perfect information and for your encouraging ,, you did help me a lot during these times and i really appreciate your efforts to help others ,,

Amr

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First time Flying with Bare Root Tree Today
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2012, 07:20:19 PM »
Today I'll be making a short international trip with a bare rooted tree.  It will be out of soil for about 24 hours.  Already I have broken a soft white root while laying some damp paper over the roots.  This is a trial run for my plan to carry lots of material out of here in October.  All I know about bare root trees is that citrus survive well.  No idea about anything else.

FlyingFoxFruits

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Re: First time Flying with Bare Root Tree Today
« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2012, 07:30:59 PM »
sometimes defoliating the tree partially (by cutting leaves in half) or fully removing 20-100% of the leaves, can be the difference between a speedy recovery and a slow decline.   

it helps the tree deal with damaged roots and compromised water acquisition and retention ability.  Water is dissipated from the plant via the surface area of the leaves.

you can also use sterile media like blond sphagnum peat, or coco peat,(or similar) to place about the fragile roots.

wrapping the roots with slightly moist media, then bagging the roots, then bag the entire plant once again.

and buy a bottle of super thrive!

then you'll  have pretty much everything covered!

Ethan

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Re: First time Flying with Bare Root Tree Today
« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2012, 08:04:00 PM »
Good info Adam, here is a little more for you RD.

http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=634.msg7654;topicseen#msg7654

good luck and safe travels

CoPlantNut

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Re: First time Flying with Bare Root Tree Today
« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2012, 08:04:35 PM »
Spraying the leaves with oil (neem and / or horticultural highly refined paraffin oil) before bare-rooting can dramatically reduce transpiration water loss and seems to work as well (for me) as partial defoliation; I use either or both practices when taking cuttings as well.  Oil also has the benefit of smothering any insects that may be trying to catch a ride.

   Kevin

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Re: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2012, 09:16:00 AM »
There are at least 3 different danger points for plants being transported bare root:
1) transport, 2) inspection, 3) recooperation in nursery. If your plants are being carried to USA you can also add number 4) post entry quarantine.
Doing a trial run, or even 2 or 3 trial runs, is an excellent idea. There are all types of snafus that you won't anticipate until you've actually done the whole process.
For inspection purposes it's good to remove most of the leaves. Any leaf is capable of carrying tiny insects, and one little bug on any leaf can mean losing your whole shipment. You need to make sure also your paper work is all in order and that you know all the rules. Don't expect agriculture agents to know all the rules. For them it's much easier to confiscate all your plants based on any invented rule than to thoroughly inspect them. So the burden is on you to learn all the rules and correct the ag agents and not get your plants confiscated.
Oscar

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Re: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2013, 09:40:40 AM »
Thanks all.  Sheehan...you're too much.  Great additions Oscar.  Even when shipping from the states or PR...our excellent postal services don't always put much effort into their own "priority mail" shipping parameters.  Last year I shipped two boxes of equal size and price on the very same morning.  One box arrived within the 3 days.  The second box arrived almost 2 weeks later.  And of course had the most tender plants of the bunch which included durian and pulasan.  These plants stayed in my "ICU", as Oscar calls it, for at least a month before they flushed new growth.  But they did!

To go along with this post and what Oscar followed up with...I appeal to Warren to give us his experience in shipping a large amount of plants from Thailand...legally of course!  He's done this twice now with a different experience each time but with one theme in common...the process can wear you down!  So Warren...please share these experiences for not only the educational side of it, but the entertainment side as well.   :D

About shipping inside the USA, it's very slow and snail mail is about to get much slower. You may have read in the news that 200+ mail processing centers will close starting in May of this year. This will add another day or two to the current snail transit times. So whenever you can fork out the dough and opt for express mail, especially from far flung places like Hawaii. (Even express mail from here takes minimum 2 days. No such thing as overnight service here.) Priority mail from here usually takes now 3-5 working days, after May it may be more like a week or more, which already happens now sometimes with priority mail. Let's face it, with current budget crunch the USPS is not going to get any better. The private couriers are too expensive to use for small boxes, and a big hassle to go to their offices, one hour drive from here.
I've had plants sent to me several times from Thailand. I found that success rate varies a lot from species to species, not just how good the packaging and transit time is. Surprisingly, for example, i found that mangosteens can take the cruelty of barerooting. Durians can't. No matter how well treated the durian plants will not survive bare rooting, so don't waste your money. Only buy plants from overseas that you absolutely cannot get in USA. If you can get them here it's better to pay a lot more here than have the high casualty rate from over there. My 2 cents.
Oscar

It is very encouraging news because I want to import "manggis master" mangosteen.  However big let down on durian. I had import permit and I was about to import durian varieties from Malaysia, until we found out that only durian need special permit from main offices in capital city. All other plants at the state level. I did not have time to pursue "special" export permit. But looks like it would have been waste of time anyway, since durians don't recover from bare rooting according to you.
You also mentioned that durian scions are very short lived. What's very short?? It is really important for me to have as much accurate info as possible. Also do you have any idea how chempedak and pulasan takes bare rooting?


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Re: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2013, 12:22:51 PM »
Thanks all.  Sheehan...you're too much.  Great additions Oscar.  Even when shipping from the states or PR...our excellent postal services don't always put much effort into their own "priority mail" shipping parameters.  Last year I shipped two boxes of equal size and price on the very same morning.  One box arrived within the 3 days.  The second box arrived almost 2 weeks later.  And of course had the most tender plants of the bunch which included durian and pulasan.  These plants stayed in my "ICU", as Oscar calls it, for at least a month before they flushed new growth.  But they did!

To go along with this post and what Oscar followed up with...I appeal to Warren to give us his experience in shipping a large amount of plants from Thailand...legally of course!  He's done this twice now with a different experience each time but with one theme in common...the process can wear you down!  So Warren...please share these experiences for not only the educational side of it, but the entertainment side as well.   :D

About shipping inside the USA, it's very slow and snail mail is about to get much slower. You may have read in the news that 200+ mail processing centers will close starting in May of this year. This will add another day or two to the current snail transit times. So whenever you can fork out the dough and opt for express mail, especially from far flung places like Hawaii. (Even express mail from here takes minimum 2 days. No such thing as overnight service here.) Priority mail from here usually takes now 3-5 working days, after May it may be more like a week or more, which already happens now sometimes with priority mail. Let's face it, with current budget crunch the USPS is not going to get any better. The private couriers are too expensive to use for small boxes, and a big hassle to go to their offices, one hour drive from here.
I've had plants sent to me several times from Thailand. I found that success rate varies a lot from species to species, not just how good the packaging and transit time is. Surprisingly, for example, i found that mangosteens can take the cruelty of barerooting. Durians can't. No matter how well treated the durian plants will not survive bare rooting, so don't waste your money. Only buy plants from overseas that you absolutely cannot get in USA. If you can get them here it's better to pay a lot more here than have the high casualty rate from over there. My 2 cents.
Oscar

It is very encouraging news because I want to import "manggis master" mangosteen.  However big let down on durian. I had import permit and I was about to import durian varieties from Malaysia, until we found out that only durian need special permit from main offices in capital city. All other plants at the state level. I did not have time to pursue "special" export permit. But looks like it would have been waste of time anyway, since durians don't recover from bare rooting according to you.
You also mentioned that durian scions are very short lived. What's very short?? It is really important for me to have as much accurate info as possible. Also do you have any idea how chempedak and pulasan takes bare rooting?
Lychees do very well as bare root.
I  can confirm Oscar: Bare root durian equal to dead durian.
I will go the other way: seed, seedling, scion wood, gafting etc. I am also interested in detailed informations about durian scions.
Mike

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Re: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2013, 03:01:58 PM »
What I know concerning durian propagation is that in Indonesia it usually is approach grafted, which means it is a tought one to graft...

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Re: Receiving and caring for bare rooted plants
« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2013, 03:15:49 PM »
Epicotyl grafting seems bulletproof for them durians. I would germinate some rootstocks in very light soil medium, and in small pots(light enough to carry from a Southeast Asian vacation ;) ) In one to two weeks they are ready for grafting. The healing process should be fast too. It will take at least a month to complete.
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