Most young trees available for the home owner to plant are sold as "bare root" trees. Bare root trees take less storage space than container-grown trees, so for economic reasons nurseries offer them for sale more often than container-grown trees.
Bare Root or Whips
Although they can be planted in spring, trees sold without soil on their roots, or "bare root" trees, are best planted during Ohio's cool fall weather. The same is true for "whips" -- young saplings with a thin trunk, no branches and bare roots. They survive better when not exposed to hot summer weather soon after transplanting.
Trees sold in containers in active growth can be planted in Ohio any time during the growing season, up to about three weeks before your average first fall frost. Container-grown trees suffer less shock when transplanted than bare root trees.
Fruit trees, such as apples, should be planted in March or April in Ohio, especially if they are bare root or whips. Container-grown fruit trees, although best planted in spring, can be planted anytime up to mid-October.