Bare root season ain't what is used to be

We had a great weekend with weather in the high 60's and clear skies. People are starting to come in and check things out. Surprisingly shrubs and trees we're high on the list for people, while the bare root fruit trees just sit there. I think that bare root is a dying aspect of our business. I wish it wasn't so, but people just don't seem to understand the concept of bare root. It seem most people are more interested in buying fruit trees in the spring and that means they are containerized. We potted up half of our bare root right off this year. Maybe next year we will pot up even more. I shouldn't get ahead of myself though as we often have a last minute rush to buy the bare root in early spring, by which time they have started to leaf out.

People are interested in fruit tree gardening. They just don't want to deal with it in the winter, so it's up to us to make sure we have the fruit trees when they want them, in spring. I think thats the hardest part for us in the business, changing our habits to coincide with the customers new habits. I think interest in gardening is there, its just not following the patterns of the past. We can sit around until we are blue in the face shouting the praises of lower prices and better selection of bare root, but it doesn't make a difference if people just don't understand bare root.

I think the death of bare root came about when we started to see fruit trees packaged in plastic bags at the chain stores. You can pick up the tree, take it home and deal with it in a couple of days. If you buy true bare root you have to “heal the roots in” right away. “Heal it in”, whats that? Besides we have to pull them out of the bin for you, while the packaged trees can be picked up self-service by the customer. It's clear that bare root season for us is a declining season, as far as sales.

As a customer do you know about, or care about bare root? As a retailer do you find bare roots sales declining or growing? If they are growing, what are you doing? Are you selling more container grown fruit trees as opposed to bare root? I am not sure the decline in bare root sales for us is a bad thing, as long as we can make it up with the trees we have “canned up” for spring sales.