Heeling In – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Horticultural Terms Glossary

I. What is ‘Heeling In’?

‘Heeling In’ is a gardening technique used to temporarily plant bare-root plants or shrubs in a nursery bed or temporary location until they can be permanently planted in their desired location. This method is commonly used when the ground is too frozen or waterlogged to plant directly into the soil, or when the plants cannot be immediately planted due to other reasons.

II. When is ‘Heeling In’ necessary?

‘Heeling In’ is necessary in situations where the ground conditions are not suitable for planting, such as during periods of extreme weather conditions like frost or heavy rain. It is also used when plants need to be stored temporarily before they can be planted in their final location. Additionally, ‘Heeling In’ is useful when gardeners need to protect plants from drying out or becoming damaged while waiting to be planted.

III. How is ‘Heeling In’ done?

To ‘Heel In’ plants, start by digging a trench or hole in a nursery bed or temporary location. Place the bare-root plants or shrubs in the trench, ensuring that the roots are covered with soil. Gently firm the soil around the plants to secure them in place. Water the plants thoroughly to help settle the soil and provide moisture to the roots. It is important to keep the plants well-watered while they are heeled in to prevent them from drying out.

IV. What materials are needed for ‘Heeling In’?

The materials needed for ‘Heeling In’ include a nursery bed or temporary location, a shovel or spade for digging, bare-root plants or shrubs, soil or compost for covering the roots, and water for watering the plants. Additionally, mulch can be used to help insulate the plants and protect them from extreme temperatures.

V. What are the benefits of ‘Heeling In’?

There are several benefits to ‘Heeling In’ plants before planting them in their final location. By heeling in plants, gardeners can protect them from harsh weather conditions, prevent them from drying out, and provide them with temporary shelter until they can be planted in a more permanent location. ‘Heeling In’ also allows gardeners to store plants for a longer period without causing damage to their roots.

VI. Are there any tips for successful ‘Heeling In’?

To ensure successful ‘Heeling In’, it is important to choose a well-drained location for the nursery bed and to water the plants regularly to keep the roots moist. It is also recommended to check on the plants periodically to make sure they are healthy and to monitor the weather conditions to determine when they can be planted in their final location. Additionally, adding mulch around the plants can help insulate them and protect them from extreme temperatures. By following these tips, gardeners can successfully heel in their plants and ensure their healthy growth once they are planted in their permanent location.