I’m daring you to go bare for the environment. I know, it is a bit cold for that sort of thing but the time is just right to order some bare-root trees, shrubs or bushes and get them into the ground in your garden or into a pot on your patio/balcony. This will attract birds and beneficial insects to your garden. You will also get a lovely display of blossom and fruit and reduce your carbon-footprint a little.
Now we all know that planting trees to reduce your carbon footprint is often derided in environmental circles as giving yourself permission to carry on with your fossil-fuel driven lifestyle. So how about getting some trees and shrubs planted whilst also reducing your driving, flying and meat consumption too — that should fox your critics.
In our previous property, we had a large garden and plenty of space to grow a mini-orchard. This was when we first discovered bare-root fruit trees. It turns out most trees become dormant during the winter months. At this time, it is obvious that they lose their leaves but, less visibly, they slow down their metabolic processes and stop growing so that nutrients are conserved. While buds might appear in early winter, giving the impression of new growth, they are often covered in scales that protect them from the colder weather.
During this dormant period, trees can be disturbed and carefully transplanted. I discovered this while ordering my cherry, apple, plum, hazel, filbert and apricot trees for the orchard. The company accepted my order in late October but did not deliver the trees until February. They then arrived with no pots of soil, looking just like a stick with roots, ready to be put straight into the ground.
We soon discovered the advantages of bare-rooting: the trees were cheaper, lighter and easier to plant than those we had bought in containers in the past. In addition, by planting them out in February we felt that they got plenty of rain so didn’t feel the need to be constantly watering them in. It wasn’t long before the blossom and fruit that we wanted for the wildlife in the garden appeared.