It’s great to be able to go into your backyard and pick some fresh fruit right off a tree. However, not all of us have the space or time to grow a full-on fruit tree in the garden without making some serious sacrifices. Try growing a fruit tree in a container instead, which usually gives you fruit a year or so earlier (although maybe not as many). Here are some steps on how to go about growing fruit trees in a container.
The first step is choosing the container. It needs to be big enough without endangering the roots of the tree. Depending on the fruit tree you choose to grow, it’s usually best to pick a pot with a diameter between 10-16 inches. Make sure the container has a drain hole so the water can escape.
Next up is the soil. There are lots of different choices, but the best kind is, obviously, potting soil since it’s specifically designed to be used with potted plants. Make sure to choose a soil that drains well so you don’t flood the roots.
Before you plant your tree, you may want to take some time to prune and thin it out a bit if that hasn’t already been done. Fruit usually grows at the tips of branches, so be aware of that as you go cutting and removing. Pruning will help you get better, healthier fruit, which is especially important in a tree growing in a container.
You’ll also want to do some root pruning as well. Before you plant the tree, take a look at the roots and make sure they look strong and healthy. Remove any root tangles you see or other issues that may cause problems when your tree begins to grow.
Once you’ve planted your tree, make sure to stake it down so the roots remain stable and the tree doesn’t grow bent. There are various ways to stake down the tree, just choose what works best for you and the space you have to grow your tree.
We all know that sunlight is a necessity for growing a strong and healthy tree. Make sure your fruit tree is in full sunlight and, if possible, with a southern exposure. This will give it the most nutrients and energy to grow the best fruit possible.
It can sometimes be difficult to gauge how much water our potted plants need since they’re growing in a contained environment. When watering your fruit tree, make sure you don’t make the soil too soggy or keep it too dry. The best way to do this is carefully paying attention as you water it, noting any changes in the soil that occur.
Most potting soil comes with nutrients and some type of fertilizer mixed in. However, if the soil you chose doesn’t have those things, then look into getting some fertilizer to help make the soil healthier. Compost and other organic materials are a good source for these necessary nutrients.
During the first few years of your fruit tree’s life, you may want to take special care of it during the winter, especially if where you live has harsh winters. One of the ways you can do that is by simply moving the tree indoors during the cold season. An unheated garage usually provides the environment necessary to keep the tree healthy and safe.
If that’s not an option, then try putting mulch across the top of the soil to insulate the tree roots during the winter. Any kind of mulch can be used, just make sure that it doesn’t dry up or freeze over; replace when necessary.
Put in the Ground
Another tactic to protect your potted fruit tree during the cold weather is by simply planting it in the ground! Take the entire container, put it in the ground, and then bury it again. This will keep the roots warm and insulated while still allowing you to remove the tree and container when the weather warms up.