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planting bare root fruit trees in containers...


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  • planting bare root fruit trees in containers...


    I would love some advice.

    I have a few assorted dwarf fruit trees (apple, pear, peach, etc) on order.

    I have some 50cm plastic pots. my questions are:-

    1) what should i use for drainage - small stones, shingle, ceramics?

    2) Can i put some good thermal inulating polythene on the inside of the pot? I cant find info on this, but would it not protect at winter and stop over heating in summer?

    3) finally, how does 45% john innes 3, 45% compost, 10% grit sound?

    thanks loads for your help


  • #2
    This will sound very strange, but it's what seems to work best for me.......

    For drainage, I'd just pick up some stones from your garden.

    For insulation; bubble-wrap lining around the inside of the pot.
    I have also successfully buried pots up to their rim in the garden, to protect the plants roots from frost.

    For planting, believe it or not, I'd use a mix of 75% garden soil (be prepared to do a bit of weeding from your pots) and 25% compost - and give a small amount of fertiliser pellets/beads about once a month once they start to leaf-out.
    They will have been grown in soil at the nursery and I wont grow any plants with more than 50% compost.
    Curiously, 25-50% compost seems to make many plants hardier and better able to cope. I think it makes their roots stronger as they try to find nutrients. We never use more than 50% compost (with 50% soil) for seedling plants for the veg garden, either.
    By all means, if you prefer, change your fruits to a high-compost mixture after they go dormant at the end of 2009.
    I find that with older plants, less-nutritious soils tend to make plants more fruitful. Too many nutrients makes them grow and not fruit.
    Summer pruning ceases growth for that season and increases fruitfulness for the following season. Winter pruning reduces fruitfulness for a couple of seasons and increases growth.

    Don't prune your new plants on arrival, nor within their first growing season. It will be too much shock for most plants to lose both roots and wood.

    Give them plenty of watering - water every few days for the whole of their first season. Moist soil in spring and autumn is especially important to get the roots going. Roots don't grow much in summer.



    • #3

      I have a friend who does fruit in pots in ireland and blogs about it Pots of Fruit

      I currently have 3 types of plum, a pear, an apricot and a morello cherry in pots. The majority are sunk into the front garden so I don't have to worry about watering them so much.

      I didn't bother with drainage. If you're on a patio I don't think it makes a lot of difference.

      Suggest you get some nice big saucers to go underneath, as the worst thing you can do is let them dry out when they're young.

      Also maybe paint the containers white or keep them in shade to stop the roots scorching which they may do in black pots in the sun.

      I planted mine (due to no garden soil at the time) in 75% potting compost and 25% processed farm manure. This was earlier in the year and they're looking lovely. I got 3 cherries but nothing on any of the others, which was kinda expected.

      Bubble wrap sounds like a great idea. Gives the frost protection of terracotta without the weight!

      Given the comment above I don't think I'll feed mine much next year and see if I get some fruit off them! (on the other hand mine were 4.99 each from morrisons so they were worth it just for the foliage)
      Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.


      • #4
        If you reduce feeding next year, growth will slow, but fruit effects will probably be to produce more flower buds for fruit in the 2010 growing season.

        Slightly reduced watering/drier soil also seems to increase fruit bud formation for the following year. Fruit bud formation for the following season has already happened by late summer.


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