Bare-root plants are nursery dug (usually machine lifted) with all the soil shaken off and are only sold in the dormant season from October-March…preferably before the end of January. Native hedging such as Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Field Maple ,Hazel as well as Beech and Hornbeam are usually sold like this and need to be planted asap otherwise the roots can dry out leading to losses. Their advantage is that they are dirt cheaper and can be planted in a double row to account for any losses. It is especially important to prepare your planting area carefully and to take in to account that native hedging may need protection from vermin.
Root-balled plants are also nursery dug during the dormant season but are lifted with a ball of soil on the roots which is then tied up with a piece of sacking to protect the roots while they are out of the ground. If lifted properly the plants stand an excellent chance of survival but more often than not the root-balls are drooping like a wet baby’s nappy and the soil drops off on planting which is useless! Our plants are properly lifted with solid root-balls. As with bare-root plants it is important to prepare your planting area properly.
Container grown plants are grown in pots and can be planted all the year round. The really great advantage is that they have more root and hit the ground running in the first year. Since they have no root disturbance on planting you really should have no losses from container grown plants and a quicker better hedge. They may cost a bit more but you are far more likely to get the hedge that you want and quicker. Big hedging really should only be bought in containers.