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FutureStarrABare Root Perennials
Historically, bare root divisions were one of the main sources of starting materials for greenhouses and nurseries. With the popularity of plugs and liners in the past couple of decades, some growers have reduced their dependency on bare root divisions and switched to other types of starter plants. However, many growers have recognized that it continues to be more advantageous to utilize bare root liners for particular crops.Large growers typically purchase perennial liners in quantities of 72 or more individual plants per tray. This is often too many for small growers who may find themselves spending more money on liners and growing more finished plants than they need. A benefit for small growers in particular is that bare root starting materials are usually available in smaller minimum quantities.
Bare root perennials typically become available from wholesalers to ship in late summer and early fall. Logistically speaking, this is good timing for growers who can shift the transplanting of their perennial crops from spring to late summer or early fall when the workload is typically lighter and labor is more readily available. Once established, many fall planted perennials can be overwintered directly outdoors with the appropriate amount of winter protection. When the plants are kept outside and emerge in the spring, they are more tolerant of natural temperature fluctuations. Perennials grown outside with natural temperatures are often of higher quality than plants grown inside structures.Bare root perennials can usually be finished in less time than those started from plugs, with production times being an estimated 25 to 30% faster (up to 50% faster in some instances). This benefits large growers by giving them the ability to turn their production space faster, which could result in increased sales revenue over time.
For growers who are new to or unsure about using bare root liners, start with easy perennials that are simple to grow. You’ll see tremendous results by starting with a bare root plant on some key genera listed at left. For example, it’s tough to fail with bare root Hemerocallis, Hibiscus, Sedum, and Lavandula. As a rule of thumb, look for the mark left by the soil line on the crown and pot the roots up to that line in the container.Growers should seriously consider using bare root divisions to start many of the perennial items they are producing to obtain higher quality plants with improved value and marketability. Perennials started from bare root finish as larger plants with more eyes or branches per pot, often allowing growers to produce them in larger sized containers that sell at higher price points. High quality crops which can be produced with less labor, lower heat requirements, and faster production times benefit growers of all sizes. (Source: www.waltersgardens.com)