Last fall, I preordered some (okay, more like six dozen) bare-root plants from the local conservation district. They have an annual sale offering native plants as bare root or plugs. Bare-root plants are exactly what they sound like: a plant stem with roots. These plants are dormant or not actively growing. They are dug up and sold without any soil around their roots. Plugs are really small plants, usually grown in trays. When you are sitting in your warm home office in November, it’s easy to understate the challenge of planting 71 plants during an unusually cold March. I did cheat a bit. I learned through desperation that sticking the bare root plants in pots buys you time. Plus, the trees I bought five years ago and put in pots first are larger than their counterparts that went directly into the ground.
Now I just need to keep the crazy squirrels from digging in the pots while they acclimate. And then dig 71 holes.