Bare root plants
These are plants that have been grown outdoors in a field. They are lifted from the field once the plants are dormant, ie they have stopped growing for the year.
They are then usually held in the retail shop in a holding area where the roots have been covered with earth and hessian to protect them from the frost. If ordering bare root plants online ensure that when you receive them they are wrapped up well with hessian and soil to ensure the roots are kept alive and have not dried out. I would not recommend buying bare root trees and shrubs for planting in the spring as the establishment may be difficult.
Ideally, bare root trees and shrubs should only be planted in the late autumn to early winter whilst the soil is still warm. This gives a chance for plants to establish some new roots as that is there natural reaction after being disturbed such as when they are removed from the field.
Bare root plants of some perennials and soft fruit such as strawberries are able to be planted at most times of the year as their root structure is much more fibrous and there is less damage to the roots when they are lifted. Although watering is essential for good establishment.