Bareroot trees are dug out of the field when dormant- either late in the fall or early spring, and kept in cold storage with moist roots until planting time. Beside the obvious advantage in shipping and handling of dormant, bareroot trees, there is also less chance of transplant shock. However, timely planting is important.
We quote Micheal Phillips in ‘The Holistic Orchard’:
“I recommend the bareroot option hands down: young whips do not go through transplant shock like more sizeable trees that have been waiting, rootbound, in bundled soil for a year or more. People tempted by the bigger tree right there that very day, frequently end up making less-than stellar variety choice, transplanting a tree that’s in full leaf (definitely not recommended), and then compromising future growth for years to come by not loosening up the roots so they can reach out beyond the matted disaster often found in the pot. Repeat after me: I will plan ahead and arrange for bareroot stock to plant out at the right time.”
(Used by permission)