Holly Bushes - Knowledgebase Question

Springfield, OH
Question by Hilfigeroo
December 26, 1997
Should holly bushes bought in the winter be hilled in zone 5?


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Answer from NGA
December 26, 1997

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Could you maybe mean "heeling in"? If your ground is still workable in zone 5 you can heel the plants in by digging a trench in a cool, shady spot and laying the shrub so its crown (where stem and roots join) is at soil level. Water well and cover the roots with soil. Another option if the ground isn't frozen is going ahead and planting it. It's not the best time for planting in zone 5 but generally you can plant a shrub anytime the ground isn't frozen. You shouldn't leave the holly in the container it came in until spring, so if the ground is frozen and you can't heel it in or plant it, it will need to be transplanted to a large container. The container will need to be at least one and a half times larger than the rootball. Keep the holly in the new container in a cool (40F), dark area (such as an unheated garage or basement) and keep the soil moist. Remove and plant as soon as you can work the soil in the spring.

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