Dwarf fruit trees in bottomless pots

Discussion in 'Put Your Questions to the Experts!' started by lockycturn, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. lockycturn

    lockycturn Junior Member

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    I am going to plant some dwarf fruit trees up the edge of my driveway in the garden in pots. Is it possible to remove the bottom of the pot for better drainage and so that the plant will benefit from the bacterial and fungal interactions of the garden soil.
     
  2. Mirrabooka

    Mirrabooka Junior Member

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    Short answer- yes. Really no different to planting into a raised bed, just ceramic rather than timber. Remember to get a soil test to check for mineral composition and amend accordingly, and to wood chip mulch the surrounding soil to help mycorrhizal growth for the tree.
     
  3. Benjy136

    Benjy136 Junior Member

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    Lockycturn: You know, of course, that you'll have a problem should you decide, a year from now, to move these trees, as their roots will seek to anchor the tree to the soil. What materials are the pots composed of? And , when you say "up the edge of my driveway", are you meaning " off the edge, on the soil"? If you don't plan on moving them in the future, just transplanting them directly may be an option.......Just my $.02.
     
  4. Brian Knight

    Brian Knight Junior Member

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    I tend to agree with Benjy, that they will move into the below ground quickly. Your method might be a nice delay tactic though, like if you were thinking of moving but not sure. The pots will help certainly delay establishment and with a true dwarfing root stock, it may not get very far anyways.

    Also depending on your soil, I think that planting fruit trees above the existing ground or just partially buried helps to avoid root rot or waterlogged root balls. You have to berm/mound around the remaining root ball of course and Ive been having good establishment success by using a mix of pine bark fines, peat and or compost as the mounding/berming material. Do you know best practices when it comes to container soils?
     
  5. Rylan Zimny

    Rylan Zimny New Member

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    The soils required by trees in pots differ from other nursery stock mostly by their need for more organic matter and coarse sand for drainage. If you use clay in your pot, you will be in trouble as it will form an impermeable layer through which water will have a hard time passing. When planting trees, using native soil is usually best because of hydrological concerns. In my opinion, many people tend to overcompensate on the organic matter in the pot, creating a water logged plant, or in the case of direct planting, a water bowl in which the tree drowns.
    Here is a link to an associate of mine who specializes in fruit trees for a living, where he gives tips for planting: https://www.treehustler.ca/how-to-plant-fruit-trees

    Rylan
     
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  6. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    Something that has not been mentioned by the others who have responded. Trees that don't produce a tap root will normally only have roots around 18" below the soil surface, some roots as they age and grow larger in diameter will get down to about 24". Growing trees in containers for long periods of time will cause the roots to circle and effectively girdle themselves till they die and so the tree dies. Just opening the bottom of a pot only means that water can drain into the soil below, this will cause those spiraling roots to follow the water, it does not mean they will spread as if the tree were planted directly into the soil. In the case you mention desiring, the trees may very well be stunted or even die because of the containers you want them to live in. Study the needs of the trees before you do something that while looking wonderful, is actually harming the health of the trees.

    It is very important to keep in mind the growth nature of any plant when you start thinking of the plant then you will be able to make the best decisions for the longevity of that plant. You have to plan and be willing and able to do what work is required of you for the health of the plant or tree. Round, deep containers are not particularly designed for growing trees in for long periods of time. The very shape of the container will create the strangling circular growth of the roots and these roots will continue to death spiral as they are forced to grow down (if they don't just keep going round and round within the confines of the container).

    I have grown Bonsai for decades but these are very well cared for trees. They live in shallow containers with a large surface area opening and every year or two they are literally lifted, roots are washed bare and trimmed back, they are then repotted with fresh soil gently tamped and watered in so the roots are in contact with the new soil and they also get a new layer of moss mulch. These get watered up to four times a day depending on the ambient temperature. This is the extreme when it comes to potted trees but they thrive as long as you do the work of caring for them.
     

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