The usual time for planting young, bare-root young trees and shrubs is from mid-November to early March. Each year these timings may be slightly different depending on the weather, as bare-root planting is really all about taking advantage of winter's seasonal cold and wet. Bare-root plants are exactly as they sound. These are plants that have no soil or compost around their roots. They tend to be sold in bundles rather than in individual pots. At this time of year, being bare-rooted does not cause the plants undue stress as it is the dormant season. Prior to planting, they can be happily heeled into a trench, covered with soil and left to their own devices, as long as they don't dry out.
For the gardener, the immediate advantages of bareroot plants is that they are cheap and they are easy to plant. This makes them an excellent choice if large numbers are required such as planting long stretches of hedge or even your own mini-woodland. The plants are small and young so don't expect mature specimens but another advantage of planting young trees is that they'll often develop into vigourous plants more quickly than older, pot-grown examples.
Below is a full list of availability as of 27th Dec and includes the classics, such as beech, hawthorn and hornbeam. We also have some interesting alternatives, especially selected by our tree men Rob and Nick. There's three in particular that come highly-recommended by Rob:
Alnus cordata (Italian alder) - 60-80cm. This is a great screening tree that can put on 1.2m per year. It's also handy as it retains its foliage until after Christmas. while it can cope equally well in damp or dry soils. £1.99 each.
Amelanchier canadensis - 40-60cm. Making a very pretty addition to a mixed hedge, this is excellent for wildlife, with white, starry flowers in spring, followed by dark fruit in June / July. There's attractive orangey-yellow autumn colour to boot!
Prunus padus (Bird cherry) - 60-80cm. The bird cherry is a lovely medium-sized tree with white flowers in upright clusters which produce dark fruit, much-loved by birds.