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Am I the only one who has received bare root fruit trees to plant in the post, but the ground is completely water-logged? I have heeled them in a drier spot, but not sure how long I can leave them like this before they HAVE to be properly planted. Everything I read says water-logged ground will drown the roots. I live in the driest part of the country, but we have never seen so much rain as this year! Any advice?
My thoughts are leave them heeled in until the ground is less boggy, then dig in some sharp sand to the area to improve drainage around them before planting. They'll be fine for a good while if properly heeled in, as they are dormant at the moment.
Just a thought, if the area doesn't drain well, is this the right spot for them?
Dont worry. Just leave them heeled in. There will be dry spells. Most of us have emcountered this problem over the years because this is the time for bare root dispatch and planting.
Is the recipient area prone to water logging? If it is don't plant too deeply...I.e. slightly higher than surrounding ground....otherwise just plant as normal.
Thanks for the replies and advice. This is a newly cultivated area of old pasture And we were surprised at how wet it is, but so much rain this autumn that whole garden is soaked. We have decided to have a ditch dug out on the lower side of the area which should help with drainage.
Dig a ditch on the upper side if it's coming down from a hill. Divert it before it gets to you
From past experience fruit trees will last a couple of months in the dormant period (up to end of February) if heeled in.
I've had problems in the past with planting in heavy clay. If the hole you dig retains water at the bottom then it may be wise (apart from relocating your hole) to dig a bigger/deeper one, back fill with broken bricks etc, then organic material before planting. Look for signs of poor growth/yellowing in the next few months after because you can save the tree for a better location before the wet conditions kill it entirely.
Thanks paull2. Our garden is stony loam on a bed of London Clay. As we are near East Anglia, we are normally too dry not too wet, but this winter has been exceptional. Hopefully just a rare occurrence!