Heeling in the Trees

Our new fruit trees arrived really early this year (March 18, actually). Like anything else, they come in a box:

The trees are cushioned in some bubble wrap and come packed with a bunch of damp, shredded paper around their roots. As long as that stays wet, you don’t have to plant the trees right away. Good thing, too, since it promptly snowed

I get that the ground is technically warm enough to dig in and plant these trees, but because we got them so early from the over-zealous nursery shippers, the snow — combined with our still-partially-frozen compost pile — has made it nearly impossible to plant them in a timely manner. 

They can’t stay in a box in the basement forever (if you want them to survive, anyway), so I decided to heel them in while we wait for better weather and a more convenient day to plant. All you do is dig a wide, shallow hole:

And then you pop in the tree at an angle so it’s mostly lying down. That protects it from the cold and keeps its roots happy while we work on preparing a place to plant them for real:

So here are three small, new trees (two peaches and an apple), looking like sleepy sticks tucked in for a nap in one of our raised beds near the house. It’s unlikely we’ll get to plant them this Saturday (we’ll be watching World Championship Figure Skating down in Boston!), and Sunday it’s supposed to snow again. This is turning into a pretty long delay, so I’m glad I took the time to do this little project last weekend. 

We were originally planning to plant these the second weekend in April (you know, normal tree-planting time in Massachusetts), and it looks like that’s how this is going to end up anyway.


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