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How We Grow Bare Root Trees

Meyer Nursery grows whips to 1 ½” (plus) branched, some transplant material, and some shrubs.

Here's how we do it

A little background...or dirt.

Meyer Nursery occupies about 400 acres of fields combining a variety of soils, slopes, and growing environments. These combinations are at once a scheduling head-ache and an advantage. We can choose the best fields for growing each variety for optimum root structure and overall plant health - high quality.

Plant and Soil Health

Soil quality is a key component. Building soil health is an on going process: rotating commercial crops, cover crops and applications of dairy solids. This is a year round activity and contains a perpetual learning curve as new information comes out of our universities, extension agents, and research institutes.

The long growing season of the Willamette Valley combined with our excellent growing fields help to grow strong, healthy plant material.

Meyer Nursery buys in most of the seedling stock for our production needs. Stock is bought from many of the local and regional growers. Some trees are grown from seed for better root to transplant. By 2005, Meyer Nursery will be planting some of their own home grown seedlings.

Pruning heights: Lower limb ht. Approx. 1yr - 30”

2 yr - 48” Shade

Production Schedule Info

A quick look:


  • Storage
  • Preparation
  • Trimming


  • Timing
  • How
  • After care

Field care

  • Weed control
    • Mechanical
    • Hand
    • Chemical
  • Watering
    • Overhead irrigation
    • Drip irrigation

Plant care

  • Budding
  • Grafting
  • Cutting off stump
  • Staking
    • Grow straights
    • Rods
  • Whips
  • Pruning
  • Topping
  • Fertilizing

Harvest, dug by machine

Grading and Inventory


  • Sawdust
  • Cooler


  • Timing
    • Bare root in spring
    • Specimen and Smart Pot all year
  • Orders
    • Staged
    • Loaded or packaged
  • Mode
    • UPS – Smaller material
    • Pick-up
    • Commercial trucking

How to Plant Bare Root Trees

Planting in the Ground

The hole:

  1. The roots should be fresh and plump. Trim off any bruised or damaged roots. If the roots look dried out, soak the roots in water overnight. If you would like to add a ‘root dip’ or root-stimulator, you can do it at this time following the products directions.
  2. Dig a hole twice as big and deep as the root system. Rough up the sides and bottom of the hole, creating cracks, ridges, and rough spots for roots to burrow into to minimize root circling. This method is important for heavier clay soils.
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The planting:

  1. Mix 25% compost into the back fill soil and fill the hole part way, creating a soil cone in the middle. Gently pack the soil.
  2. Set the tree roots on the soil cone, adjusting the finished root depth to match the old soil line on the trunk of the tree. Soak the hole with water.
  3. Finish filling hole with the back fill soil (75% original soil / 25% compost). Use your hands to pack the soil into and around the root system filling in large air pockets. Again, soak with water. If settling occurs, readjust the tree depth by grasping at the plant base, and slowly rocking it back and forth while gently pulling up. Once readjusted, add remaining soil as need, and water it again.

The finish:

  1. Form a ridge of soil around the hole to create a basin to direct the water to the roots. If planted in hot areas with direct sunlight, paint the trunk of the tree with white latex or whitewash to protect it from sunburn (especially important for small fruit trees).
  2. Spread a 3”- 6” layer of compost around the tree, making sure it does not touch the bark. This will help retain moisture in the overall planting area. The larger the compost mulched area the better the soil moisture retention between watering.

The watering and more:

  1. Future watering—don’t over water the tree. Check moisture in the soil well beneath surface, it should feel like a damp sponge, and only water when necessary. You will need to water regularly and deeply for the first several growing seasons, until established.
  2. Staking should be done outside the root zone area. And only when absolutely necessary, such as windy sites, and for as short as time as possible, as staking weakens the trunk.

The Last Step:

  1. Enjoy watching your plant leaf out, flower, and grow into its new home.

*note: It is not recommended to add fertilizer at this time. It is too easy to burn or damage new roots. The compost will provide nutrients, act as a sponge, protect the soil surface, and provide soil aeration and structure.