A highlight of my week was visiting local nurseries to search for bare root plants. I love bare root plants for many reasons, first they are cheaper!- this is a big plus, honestly if the bare root plants don't sell in a nursery they pot them up and sell them for more. You might as well get them for less. (I found some grape vines this week that were 4.99 each! In the pot they are usually $15-$30 each) Second, it is easy to inspect the root system and get a healthy plant. Look for a root system that is large and has some healthy white areas. My opinion is that plants are healthier going from unlimited space to unlimited space- no pot needed, put them in the ground right away. Look for bare root plants that are not leafing out already, the more dormant they are the better.
Make sure you get them in the ground right away after purchase so they have optimum conditions!
Things you can find bare root:
Fruit trees of all kinds...(The cheapest way to buy healthy fruit trees)
Asparagus (remember you shouldn't harvest till the third season, but after the wait they are well worth it- 1 plant will produce for 50 years!)
Raspberries both ever-bearing and June bearing
Strawberries (It is much cheaper this way- you are going to replace them every 3-4 years anyway for the best production)
Grapes- Again there is 3-5 years of training till they start producing, bare root gets them in the ground earlier for more seasonal growth/settling.
Blackberries-(awesome growing in zone 5 you most likely get more blackberries than raspberries with fewer plants)
I have heard you can find some ornamental plants bare root also- although I have yet to find a nursery in my area that carries them. I also found a number of other berries at the nursery I went to. Check it out at local nurseries- some specialize in bare root plants in the spring so call around and find a nursery that has everything you need. It feels good to get them in the ground and ready to grow in the right place so early!
Here is a link from the University of Nebraska Extension site for more info on bare root plants