When the ground is frozen, please don't plant your
bareroot trees, shrubs or hedges! They'll be much
happier staying bare and dormant...
Most of the damage caused to bareroot plants in cold, freezing conditions is to the delicate roots themselves.
The roots are fine, fibrous structures with a high water content: moving them, or even the slightest touch whilst frozen, can cause damage.
Almost all of a shrub or a tree's energy reserves are stored in the roots during winter. So broken roots mean that stored energy is lost, and this reduces the plant’s ability to establish. And poor establishment means poor growth in spring.
Worse still, if root damage is serious, the plant may not grow at all.