Skip to main content

Live Root Planting Tips

Planting Live Roots

When your live roots arrive:

Open plastic bag to allow oxygen.  Keep bag open and roots lightly misted until time for planting. Plant roots as soon as possible, no later than two to three days after receipt of your order. 

Do not let the roots dry out.

Tip: ‘Heal-in’ your roots if you are unable to plant them right away.  One method of ‘healingin’ is to bury the bundle in the ground in a semi-shade area, cover the bundle lightly with moist earth, keep the bundle misted so as not to dry out. 

Proper Soil Preparation

Roots will grow healthy plants in soil that has been loosened and enriched by digging in compost to a depth of 6”. It will also help the longevity of your planting if you take the time before to clear invasive plants from the plot. The best method but one that is time intensive is solarization in which you use plastic or cardboard to smother the undesirable plants and let the sun and heat turn them into compost. 


 Carefully separate roots from each other. Open up a hole in the earth for each root.  Set the root down into the hole, being careful to set the top of the root crown even with the surrounding ground.


Firm the soil gently into place with your fingers. Create a ‘planting well’, or saucer shape, on top of the ground. Fill the well with water after the roots are in the ground. A deep soaking will be best achieved by flooding the ‘planting well’ on the first watering.

Mulching the Roots

It is very helpful to mulch your newly planted roots. Mulch the top of the soil 1” to 2” with organic compost or some other non-packing organic matter. Tip: you can reuse the packing material (Eastern Gamagrass leaves) for your mulch. This keeps the roots cool and the soil moist by shading the soil so the sun can’t bake away the precious soil moisture.  


Carefully check newly transplanted roots for sufficient soil moisture, especially during hot weather. There are no timetables for watering, as watering requirements vary from season to season and according to local weather.  When you water, water thoroughly. Allow water to soak in to the soil around the roots. Light overhead sprinklings are not sufficient.


An initial soaking at planting time is essential. Re-water only when the soil dries out a bit. Continue to water throughout the first summer season as necessary until the plant is established. Always check the soil moisture before watering, then soak the earth thoroughly if dry.  No fertilizing is necessary.