In part one of our series, we gave you some helpful tips for getting started on growing fruit trees in containers. In this article, part two of the series, we focus on what you need to do to take proper care of your potted fruit trees, so they can stay healthy, grow and thrive.
Caring for Potted Trees
Watering Potted Trees
One of the number-one threats to a young potted tree is overwatering. Once the tree is planted in the container, it is very important to keep a close eye on it and only water when needed. While you want to avoid letting the soil dry out completely, daily watering may not be necessary. You should water when the soil is dry to the touch a couple inches below the surface. The sun may play a part in drying it out, so be aware of exposure to the location of your tree. This can vary if the tree is moved at different times of year.
Note: Mature trees in containers outdoors, during the months where they are in full leaf (late spring, all through summer), use plenty of water. Your mature, leafed-out trees may benefit from daily watering, until the temperatures cool off and the trees begin to harden off for the winter again. Keep an especially watchful eye on your trees’ water needs during the growing season!
Fertilizing Fruit Trees in Containers
Many potting soil mixes come with fertilizer included. If you are using a mix like that, then you will not need to fertilize additionally at planting time. However, you may choose to add nutritional soil amendments during the growing season. If you do, be sure to use compost, water in with compost tea/manure tea, or a water-soluble fertilizer like Stark® Tre-Pep®, so that the roots are successful in absorbing the nutrients.
Winterizing Trees in Containers
Just like trees planted in your yard or anywhere outdoors, trees in containers benefit from winter care and protection. After your tree becomes dormant in the fall, there are a few important actions you should take:
- Pruning will give you the chance to remove any damaged, dead or diseased limbs, and it plays a key role in the survival, stimulation, shaping and production of your tree.
- Watering the soil around the roots will help to avoid freeze damage if you have not yet prepared to bring your container indoors, and the weather brings a cold snap.
- Mulching over the surface of the soil helps to insulate the roots and protect them from the winter elements if your potted tree must remain outdoors for the winter. Try “planting” the container in the ground to help further insulate the roots!
For additional details or to learn more about winterizing, check out our article, Preparing Trees & Plants for Winter. Also read our winter-care information specifically for fig trees in our article, Growing Fig Trees in Containers.
When it comes down to it, growing fruit trees in containers can be just like growing them in a backyard. With some attentive care, you can have your very own container orchard on your balcony, patio, sunroom or wherever you want!
Follow the link for an interview with Stark Bro’s and more helpful advice on growing fruit trees in containers from About.com.