What If I Can't Plant Immediately?
We strongly advise that you plant your stock as soon as possible. If unable to plant upon receipt of trees, try to find a walk-in cooler. Otherwise, store your trees and shrub seedlings in a cool area, away from the sun and wind. The basement or cellar can be a good place to store them where they are not subject to temperature swings. If it is cooler outside, a shed, barn or other unheated outbuilding works well too. Just make sure that if the seedlings are placed in an out building, it does not heat up with the daytime sun. It is a good idea to open the plastic liner in the box ever so slightly to allow some circulation to occur. It is even more important to make sure the seedling roots stay slightly damp and covered with moist shredded paper or sphagnum moss.
If you need to care for your seedlings for longer than 3 to 5 days before planting, it is recommended that they are placed in cold storage at a temperature between 33 and 38 degrees. This will help keep the seedlings dormant. If no cold storage is available, it is recommended that you use a process of heeling them in. To do so, dig a trench that allows the seedlings to be placed inside without the roots bending. Cover the roots of the seedlings with soil to just above the root collar. Water well and firm the soil with your feet. Try to minimize the handling and breaking of bundles as much as possible. The less handling at this time the better.
It is important to note that “Our Guarantee” only covers seedlings that are planted within a couple of days of receipt. While caring and heeling in can be done with great success, the level of care given during this critical time can vary greatly from customer to customer. If the seedlings are not intensively cared for before planting, the survival rate will drop greatly.