Was I too late? (Trees) #790754

Asked May 14, 2022, 12:51 PM EDT

Hi there! I found a great deal on a Yoshino cherry tree in my local grocery store. I planted what appears to be a bare foot in mid April & now am wondering if I was too late getting in the ground. It seems like we went from winter to summer around here: I’m in an Ypsilanti subdivision with clay soil. Was I too late putting a bare root ornamental down in April? Is it a lost cause? It has no signs of life. Just a sad little stick.

Washtenaw County Michigan

Expert Response

You can use a scratch test to determine if the tree is dead or just dormant. If you scrape the bark off a small branch or limb and find green, moist tissue underneath, the tree is still hanging on. If there is no green, moist tissue, the tree is likely dead.
Once they leave the nursery, bare root trees need to get in the ground within a week at the longest. With no soil, the roots can dry out and die if left exposed for any time. It is likely that the tree at your grocery store had been stored for too long and in poor conditions for a bare root plant. It is best to plant bare root trees in late fall or late winter, and ordering them from a reputable nursery will ensure that the plant has been handled correctly.
Thank you for contacting Ask Extension, I hope this is helpful.

Ruth Marcy Replied May 14, 2022, 2:01 PM EDT

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