Though hedging can be purchased as bare root, root ball or container grown plants, we decided earlier this year, after a great deal of consideration, to stop supplying both bare root and root balls and offer only container grown specimens. Why? Quite simply because our tests and customer research revealed an unacceptable failure rate. The problem is that bare root and root ball plants are prone to damage at every stage:
Stage One – Initial Planting
Because the whole point of bare root plants, is their low price, they have to be planted close together – too close, in fact, and the plants quickly become too tall for their bed. They are effectively being forced and while this is fine for rhubarb, it’s not so good for hedging plants. The plants are consequently weakened and when they are pulled from the ground, they are prone to root damage. This, in turn, can prevent the plants from growing from the base once in their new home.
Stage Two – Transit
Regardless of their state when they leave the nursery, neither bare root nor root balls travel particularly well – root balls, for example, tend to lose their soil in transit either through the vibration of the truck or train or simply by knocking against each other.
Stage Three – Reception
Both bare root and root balls require immediate attention once they arrive at the client’s home. At the very least, they’ll need a drink and really should be planted the same day they arrive. Any delay puts the plants at risk.
With these risks it is not surprising that a certain number of bare root and root ball plants don’t make it but our real concern, again based on research, is that because bare root plants in particular are especially cheap, few customers let us know about the plants that don’t take – this is not how we like to run our business.
Not only are container grown plants unaffected by these issues, they offer many additional positive benefits:
They can be planted at any time throughout the year – unless the ground is frozen. Bare root plants can only be planted from November to March, root balls from mid-October to mid-April.
As long as they are kept in an appropriate location and are watered, container grown plants will happily wait to be planted
Because their roots are fully-formed, the plants:
- Are more reliable
- Establish quickly
- Start growing quickly
- Unlike bare roots and root balls, they can be situated, trained and trimmed with precision – vital if you are after a formal hedge.