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Bare root fruit bushes arrived sooner than expected just in time for this weekends cold snap! Help!

So my bare root current bushes, potted blueberry bushes and kiwi arrived sooner than expected (good work on the rapid delivery, I just wasn't expecting them until next week) and just in time for this weekends cold snap! I have most of the containers constructed, painted to match the fence (a pre-requisite for fruit bushes on the patio) and have (most) of the compost ready to fill them with. 

They arrived yesterday, if I get up super early tomorrow I might be able to get the currants and kiwi planted, however I still need to build and paint the planters and obtain compost for the blueberries! 

Im in the Midlands and while I'm not overly concerned that the 'beast from the east Mk2' is going to cause snowmageddon, I am concern that planting them immediately before a cold snap may not be optimum!

Conversely I don't know how long I can keep the bare root currants out of the ground for, and how I should protect them and the other bushes from the weather if I don't plant them as I'm not allowed to bring them in to the house as we have friends (and children and dogs) visiting this weekend! 

Arrrggghh!  Also help!!

Thanks J. 



  • purplerallimpurplerallim Posts: 5,258
    If you have a cold greenhouse or garage you could put the starts into garden tubs ( mine were empty awaiting summer bedding) plant them at 45° a few inches below the surface in potting compost damp not wet. Mine lasted from January to March and were just starting to grow when planted out. This was what the grower told me to do and it worked. Hope this helps.😁
  • Joyce21Joyce21 Posts: 15,489
    If you have an empty bit of ground, dig a trench and heel them in until you can get them planted.
    SW Scotland
  • johnbaronjohnbaron Posts: 75
    I'm just concerned if I temporarily plant them in immediately before the forecast snow they might not survive. 

    Im debating which is the lesser of two evils, keeping them out of the ground for a few days or planting them immediately before snow/frost is due? 
  • Joyce21Joyce21 Posts: 15,489
    I would get them heeled in tomorrow.
    SW Scotland
  • johnbaronjohnbaron Posts: 75
    Is it worth getting some horticultural fleece or something to protect them do you think? 
  • Joyce21Joyce21 Posts: 15,489
    Doubt it. The main thing is to get the roots into the soil.
    SW Scotland
  • Posts: 127
    I don't think there's any hurry to get bare roots planted.  After all, they hang around in shops/garden centres for weeks! Wrap them in newspaper for a couple of days and keep them somewhere as warm as possible. Car boot? The potted ones should be fine as long as the compost doesn't freeze rock hard
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 8,336
    edited March 2018
    Why as warm as possible? These are plants which have been growing outside - they don't need to be cosseted.

    I agree with Joyce and Purpler - it's more important to prevent the roots drying out. So, either heel them into a spare piece of ground or make a temporary planting in a plant pot or, failing that, wrap the roots in some damp newspaper or damp fabric (damp - not sopping wet).

    It may be a little cruel to expose them to the full force of the extremely cold winds we're experiencing this weekend - but a sheltered spot in the garden or a shed or garage will be fine.

    If you leave them somewhere warm for any length of time they may spurt into growth and the new soft growth will be very vulnerable to frost damage. You may also need to harden them off again.

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • johnbaronjohnbaron Posts: 75
    Thanks all for the advice, I was just worried I was going to be planting them out to face a blizzard! 

    Got up early and got the planters sorted so if got the currants in. The planter is in the patio against a fence so sheltered from the worst of it. The blueberries are in pots so can stay there for a few days but at least all the bare root stuff is in the ground. 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,874
    edited March 2018
    Putting bare root plants somewhere warm is the worst thing for them ... the warmth would stimulate growth and at the same time dry out the roots, resulting in desiccated plants.  

    As has been said, the best option and long established practice is to heel them in until the cold snap is over ... Glad you've been able to get that done ... now get in the warm with a cuppa and watch the rugby  ;)

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

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