Baring The (Plant) Soul

Most gardeners can point to at least one plant and tell you a story about how it came to be in their garden. Very frequently, it was a gift from a friend or family member; if that person has since passed, it is a cherished memory, a tie to the past.

Gardens all over the world contain these much-loved plants. But gardens here in Maryland frequently have much un-loved invasive jumping worms, and the first rule for prevention is don’t move soil from one location to another.

What’s a gardener to do? How can a gardener share their delightful hibiscus, etc., and keep the recipient from adding jumping worms to the list of things to hate in the 20s? Bare root the plant, of course. It’s easy and keeps this ancient tradition alive and healthy.

How to Bare Root a Plant to Share

Dig up the plant.

After digging up the plant, shake to remove soil.

Shake the plant/roots vigorously to remove soil.

Dunk and agitate roots in a bucket of water until all soil is removed.

Dunking the roots in water helps remove the remaining soil.
Now that the roots are bare, wrap them in wet material and give to a friend.

Cover roots with a damp paper towel, damp shredded paper, damp newspaper, etc.

Give to friend!

Maureen Rice is a Master Naturalist living and writing in Talbot County.

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