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Author Topic: Growing fruit trees in pots  (Read 1208 times)

zands

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Growing fruit trees in pots
« on: December 20, 2017, 10:10:45 AM »
  • Would drilling 1/8 inch holes in the bottom of the pot help drainage and other problems? I am talking hundreds of 1/8 inch holes.
    For more benefits -- How about doing the same to the sides? For aeration and drainage.
  • Any real good and tested soil mixes for avocado and citrus?

KarenRei

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Re: Growing fruit trees in pots
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2017, 10:19:05 AM »
More is better, but the biggest impact is from a well aerated growing medium.  Plants with sensitive roots can be tough to grow in pots; I've had bad luck with mangoes, for example (although I know it's faired better for other people).  Plants that love water and organic-rich soil however thrive in them.  The downsides to side holes are A) they can sometimes lead to water escaping when you water your plants, depending on the details of your soil, and B) at least for indoor cultivation they can be another entry point to the soil for pests like fungus gnats.  But they do help aerate.

Might want to consider a copper hydroxide coating if these pots are going to be long-term homes for your plants.  It helps prevent root binding by stopping roots from growing when they get to the walls rather than wrapping around them.

Some people are advocates of plant bags rather than plant pots.  I've personally never tried them. They're designed to aerate well inherently.

Your ability to get fruit will depend on A) pot space, and B) light.  Don't shortchange either.  I'm rather light-limited here (only under grow lights, and not enough), so it mostly limits me to berries and other small fruits (although some plants still get quite sizeable), and my yields are low (my acerola yields are measured in weeks per fruit rather than fruits per week  ;)  ).  Shortchanging pot size can be just as bad. If you want, say, a banana to fruit and have a full yield, its pot needs to be the size of a rain basin.  The more you shrink it, the smaller the yields will be, until it's too small to bloom or even reach full size. 

I don't grow avocado and have only one citrus (which I'm only cultivating as a rootstock until I can get a good scion up here), so I wouldn't be the one to ask.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 10:27:11 AM by KarenRei »
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Re: Growing fruit trees in pots
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2017, 10:49:44 AM »
  • Would drilling 1/8 inch holes in the bottom of the pot help drainage and other problems? I am talking hundreds of 1/8 inch holes.
    For more benefits -- How about doing the same to the sides? For aeration and drainage.
  • Any real good and tested soil mixes for avocado and citrus?


www.rootmaker.com
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spaugh

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Re: Growing fruit trees in pots
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2017, 11:08:39 AM »
Perlite, lots of perlite.
Brad Spaugh

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Re: Growing fruit trees in pots
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2017, 12:28:28 PM »
If you need to drill a lot of holes, you might be better off buying Air-Pot.

Cassio

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Re: Growing fruit trees in pots
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2017, 01:41:16 PM »
First, excuse me if I made use of bad words to explain what I have here, But Im not sure about how to translate some words from portuguese to english. ;)

Almost all of the fruit trees that I have are in pots. From 30cm x 30 cm (the smallest) up to 80cm x 50 cm (the largest).
They have holes just in the bottom.
I put expanded clay at bottom, covered with bidim blanket, then a thin layer of sand. After that the soil mixture and the tree.
Afeter two years, I do root pruning and soil renewall.

I have jabuticaba, citros, lychee, dovyalis, pitanga, blackberry, guava and other fruit trees producing. Not a lot of fruits, of course, but I am happy anyway. :)

achetadomestica

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Re: Growing fruit trees in pots
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2017, 03:59:44 PM »
Perlite, lots of perlite.

This has worked for me so far. I agree with everyone, it doesn't matter how many holes you
drill if the soil is poor. Perlite is wonderful for drainage.

nana7b

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Re: Growing fruit trees in pots
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2017, 08:32:00 AM »
It would help to have the holes but it would also cause more evaporation and require you to water more often depending how dry your climate is. I have not personally tried drilling holes in my containers. I grow all my tropicals in containers due to my climate.

I have tried the smart pots or fabric pots and plants grow really well in them. The only disadvantage is that it is a bit difficult to remove the plant for up-potting or root pruning. The roots sometimes grow into the fabric and may also grow through it.

As for soil mixes I like ProMix. ProMix HP(high porosity) would be probably good for citrus as they do not like wet feet. Or you can buy ProMix BX and add as much perlite as you like to customize the mix. Eventually you will have to up-pot or root prune and rejuvenate the soil by removing some old mix and adding fresh mix.





« Last Edit: December 22, 2017, 08:33:32 AM by nana7b »

zands

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Re: Growing fruit trees in pots
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2017, 10:24:00 AM »
 Thanks for all the advice. I am going to try drilling many holes on the bottom and fewer holes on the sides. I like Cassio idea with expanded clay on the bottom. Many times at nurseries you see older trees in pots that do not branch out enough and are not leafy. The test of pot culture is to have your fruit trees nice and leafy.

I never thought of root pruning but this seems essential. I have an avocado tree in an unfortunate location that I will put in a pot next spring. This tree has grown back beautifully after being scalped down at ground level. I scalped due to HOA pressure. So get it into a pot and see how this root stock tree does.



https://imgur.com/a/n8Z8Z
Anyone know what the most likely root stock is? It had a Pine Island nursery tag.

My soil is too alkaline for citrus. I am going to get some ph neutral soil and try Persian limes or pink grapefruit in a pot this spring
« Last Edit: December 22, 2017, 10:56:49 AM by zands »

Bananaizme

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Re: Growing fruit trees in pots
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2017, 10:39:54 AM »
   Nana7b

 That looks like a 7 gallon Kampong Mauve ? Is that correct ? I have a kampong mauve in a 7 gallon squat that gave me 1 fruit during thanksgiving weekend. It set probably half a dozen fruit but over time all but 1 fell off, I'm guessing because the tree is young. I have since assembled a few greenhouses to provide a more humid environment for my annoas. That was my first time trying a sugar apple .  It was good but I think cherimoya beats it hands down. Still waiting to try ilamas and reticulata.

 William

andrewq

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Re: Growing fruit trees in pots
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2017, 03:47:48 AM »
some of the concepts here are incorrect.

the drainage of your soil is determined primarily by the container soil - the number of holes will NOT improve aeration or drainage.

small particles (<0.100 in) increase water retention and cause the container to have a perched water table, which is basically a layer of water sitting at the bottom of the container - this is bad for aeration and root health but good for water retention (eg allows less frequent watering). the higher % of small particles , the higher/taller the PWT (which means less aeration/drainage and more water retention).

you must consider this trade off  - plants that dont tolerate wet feet need well aerated soil (ie few particles <0.100 inches). some plants can tolerate wet feet fine (i grew a lychee in a mix that was basically mud befor), but others might die (avocado comes to mind).

if youre motivated, you can make your own potting mix. start with pine bark fines, #4/5 perlite , and peat moss. standard ratio is 5:1:1 for best aeration. decrease the pbf for greater water retention if desired

sunny

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Re: Growing fruit trees in pots
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2017, 07:20:47 AM »
But the plant will drink more when it gets bigger.  So if you start with peat and that will become mud after a year it can also be a good thing if the plant grew a lot in that year so it can get more water from the mudsoil.

nana7b

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Re: Growing fruit trees in pots
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2017, 08:53:43 AM »
   Nana7b

 That looks like a 7 gallon Kampong Mauve ? Is that correct ? I have a kampong mauve in a 7 gallon squat that gave me 1 fruit during thanksgiving weekend. It set probably half a dozen fruit but over time all but 1 fell off, I'm guessing because the tree is young. I have since assembled a few greenhouses to provide a more humid environment for my annoas. That was my first time trying a sugar apple .  It was good but I think cherimoya beats it hands down. Still waiting to try ilamas and reticulata.

 William

William, this is a Red Sugar Apple. Its 2 yrs old and I believe it is in a 5gal. It made multiple fruits as well and all  turned black and fell off except for one. Unfortunately I was out of town when it ripened. Gave it to my BIL who said it was excellent. Yes, Cherimoya I would say is better, but SA is very good as well and easier to grow in containers.


Bananaizme

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Re: Growing fruit trees in pots
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2017, 11:01:52 AM »
Thanks for clearing it up. I also have some red sugar apples but their too small to fruit. Richard who posts sometimes on this site gave me some really good advice regarding potting up sugar apples ect so this spring everything is going up in pot size and being put on drip system.

William

simon_grow

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Re: Growing fruit trees in pots
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2017, 01:01:29 PM »
I like to use Pumice, Turface or other expanded clay type products for inorganic drainage. These types of products also help stabilize pots due to their heavy weight but makes repotting and moving the plants more difficult.

For pot culture, you have to use a good slow/controlled/smart/temperature( any is better than conventional) fertilizer or use conventional at very diluted rates but applied much more frequently.

More holes on the bottom and sides of the pot is better even considering the perched water table because it will allow for faster drainage when flooded and it also allows for a better chance that water will be released if roots clog drainage holes. After a year or two, if you notice flooding in the pots, you should re drill holes because debris or roots may have clogged holes.

For long term potted plant culture, sections of roots should also be renewed every couple years starting when the roots have completely filled the pot. If you root prune and up pot on a regular basis, this may not be necessary. Let us know how it goes Zands!

Simon

KarenRei

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Re: Growing fruit trees in pots
« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2017, 04:09:55 PM »
Has anyone experimented with scoria in pot culture?



I'm thinking about using it here.  It's cheaper than pumice (both are local products, but scoria doesn't have to be trucked as far).  It's denser than pumice, with larger, thicker-walled pores, but it's also more "mineral rich" (pumice is mostly just silica)
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spaugh

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Re: Growing fruit trees in pots
« Reply #16 on: December 24, 2017, 04:52:49 PM »
It looks like a good idea to use that.  The only issue may be it is not PH neutral.  Best to test water soaked in that in a bucket.  Then rinse and see if you can change the ph.  It maybe PH neutral, you just need to test and see.  They have cheap 10$ PH tester pens or liquud test kits on amazon if you dont already have one.
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Mark in Texas

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Re: Growing fruit trees in pots
« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2017, 09:57:31 AM »
Anyone know what the most likely root stock is? It had a Pine Island nursery tag.

My soil is too alkaline for citrus. I am going to get some ph neutral soil and try Persian limes or pink grapefruit in a pot this spring


They use Waldin which is well suited for your alkaline soil.

Sour orange rootstock is the one for you unless you have a tristeza issue in the area. It produces very fine citrus in open to very heavy clay soils up to a pH of 8.2 with no chlorosis issues.

I do primarily root tip pruning systems - RootBuilder in the greenhouse and some pots are treated with a copper hydroxide paint.  Roots go top to bottom with the pots not needing bottom aggregate.  In fact, it will work against you.  Good read - http://forums2.gardenweb.com/discussions/1384315/container-soils-water-movement-and-retention-xiii

I don't get worked up about soil mixes, I use whatever is stock piled outdoors or on the shelf.  50/50 organics and inorganics - peat, pine bark, compost, sand, perlite, vermiculite.

If you have a good canopy and robust root system you don't have to resort to any pot tricks or hassles as excess moisture will be wicked out of the soil via transpiration.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2017, 10:03:33 AM by Mark in Texas »

Mark in Texas

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Re: Growing fruit trees in pots
« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2017, 09:59:26 AM »
Has anyone experimented with scoria in pot culture?



I'm thinking about using it here.  It's cheaper than pumice (both are local products, but scoria doesn't have to be trucked as far).  It's denser than pumice, with larger, thicker-walled pores, but it's also more "mineral rich" (pumice is mostly just silica)


Yep, for orchids.  Stock yards that sell bulk roofing materials is a good source.  Good for a general filler, not much value otherwise.

 

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