Did Bare Root Blackberry Plants Die
I am seeking help from an expert on blackberry plants. I recently planted two "bare root" blackberry plants that were sold in cardboard boxes similar to one quart milk jugs. Inside the boxes were plastic bags which each contained one blackberry plant, rooted in some nice potting soil. The roots were healthy, and vigorous. I followed the planting instructions to the letter. It said to remove the plants from the bags, and then to place them into water filled containers, to allow the soil to fall off and to leave them in the water for 1 to 2 hours, and no longer. It then said to take them to my pre-prepared holes, which I dug also to the letter - 10 inches deep, 10 inches wide, nice loose soil all around, a bit of compost, etc. added to the holes, and then carefully laid the bare roots into the holes and gently filled in all around the roots with nice loose garden soil mixed with potting soil. I then watered them in with a gallon or so of water, filled the holes the rest of the way with dirt, and watered them in some more. Here's my question: I planted two plants - one Triple Crown and one Chester. The first even had several leaves on it when planted, and the other had a few buds or leaves forming at nodes as well. I watered them in thoroughly, and have given them some water on most days. Actually, I've given them quite a bit of water. Here's my concern: The Triple Crown, which had leaves on it - all the leaves have died. Also, it had what appeared to be a stem coming from beneath the soil a few days after planting, and that stem appears to have either died, or mostly died. And the budding nodes on the Chester have also died. Other than that, they look fine. The package said they were guaranteed to grow, if instructions were followed, so I'm assuming they are putting all of their energy into recovering and extending their root system. I even gave them some mycorhizzal inoculant directly on the roots at the time of planting, so I can't imagine the roots being dead. Is this normal? Are my plants fine? Any idea how long it takes for a "bare root" plant (i.e. not a potted blackberry plant with leaves and branches on it, just one main cane with healthy roots) to recover from planting and to begin putting out leaves and growing normally? Also, I planted ten raspberry plants which I got from a local person. They were all "dormant" in the early spring with no leaves. Some had more roots than others. They were all planted within one hour of being dug up. Five of the ten have sprouted leaves and are growing well. The other five show no signs of growth at all. Would it be safe to say that those other five are like my newly planted blackberry plants, that is, hopefully alive, but possibly in shock from transplanting, and putting energy into roots rather than leaves? Or are my other five raspberries dead, and (I sure hope not) my beloved two blackberry plants dead?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
"Without being able to personally examine them, I can't say for sure that they are dead. You can examine them and if the branches and roots are still pliable, then they are still alive and have a chance of coming back. If they are brittle or mushy, then the plants are dead. That being said, with the once you bought from the store, you may well have not done anything wrong. Just because the box says that they are guaranteed to grow, does not mean that the company actually thinks that you have a 100% chance of being able to coax them to life. To those kinds of companies, it is a numbers game, they are betting that a certain number of their bare rooted plants will be healthy to survive and that the ones that are not healthy enough, they are betting that only a small percentage of the purchasers will come back to ask for their money back. In the future I would recommend buying from a reputable nursery. It costs a little more, but it will save you time and heartbreak. As for the local plants you planted, transplanting is a difficult time for plants, even if all precautions are taken. You can still lose plants. This article will go over how you help avoid transplant shock: