HOW TO BUILD A HEEL-IN AREA

    A heel-in area is a temporary holding area or “hospital” for larger plants. Plants can be maintained in this heel-in area under a low-stress environment until their permanent home is made ready.

1.    Select a site that: (1) has drive up vehicle accessibility; (2) is under overhead,
     shade; and (3) has an available water source nearby.

2.    Clean the area of small twigs, sticks, rocks—anything that is surface debris,
     natural or otherwise. Dimensions are variable, depending upon the number and
     sizes of plants to be stored; a 10’x10’ area will get you started.

3.    Install a thick (6-12”) layer of aged sawdust, rotted leaves, fine bark chips, etc. to
     cushion and support the occupant’s root balls. Bagged “Nature’s Helper” or
     something similar will also suffice. Do not skimp here—a pickup truck load is
     usually about right.

4.    Push the “sawdust” into rows and troughs in which to place the root balls. Have a
     pile of sawdust in reserve.

5.    Plants are inserted into the trenches and positioned upright or laid back at an
     angle; the root balls are then covered with the “sawdust” to insulate them from
     drying out and from freezing temperatures. The plants could be installed bare-
     root or with their roots surrounded in burlap .

6.    Rig a hose from the water source to the heel-in area. It is easier if the hose can
     remain in place while the plants are occupying the bed. You will need to water
     twice a week unless natural rainfall occurs. Plants will need the equivalent of 1”
     per week; if the plants remain in the heel-in area for long enough for them to root
     into the “sawdust” and underlying soil, their watering needs may be reduced.