Advice on keeping these trees


The following are things I bought from Direct Gardening early in 2016. They are supposedly 5 in 1 trees, by which the vendor meant a stick of unknown variety with 5 chip grafts. I have no idea which branches are which either, since they
weren’t labeled in any way and I know at least some of them failed to grow out. I would have returned them, but the returns policy is such that it wasn’t really worthwhile.

The apple is Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious, Dark Red Jonathan, Yates and Winesap.
The pear is Bartlett, Kieffer, Moonglow, Orient and Ayres.
The peach is ‘Red Haven’, ‘Hale Haven’, ‘Elberta’, ‘Bell of Georgia’, ‘June Gold’.

Frankly, I’m not sure they’re worth keeping around considering how they’ve grown although I didn’t really do much of any training or pruning the state they arrived in. Opinions?


I don’t know… They look like they could grow into something pretty OK. They are not going to do it in those little pots.

I would take off the really low ones and have less varieties.


I would prune and train the tree.let them fruit. You can always graft something to it later


I think getting them in the ground with some food will do them a world of good and put you in a much better position to decide how to handle them.

I don’t personally know all of the varieties you named but many are highly regarded. Winesaps and Jonathons can be excellent, and a lot of us like Yellow Delicious. Bartlett and Moonglow are fine pears (I don’t know the others; Clark can tell you), and any peach you can ripen at home is sure to be a treat.

If nothing else you can use them for practice and for grafting, like IL847 says.

When you plant them you will probably find them to be very rootbound. I would do my best to force the rootball open, even cutting into it with a butcher knife, and spreading it open. When they go in the ground they’ll benefit from being put in a ragged hole that encourages the roots to go off in new directions instead of circling the hole like they did in the pot.


Those pots are 20 x 20 x 16, about 20 gallons. I can’t find larger ones without going to ceramic decorative pots that cost $75 a piece.

I don’t really have room to put them in the ground and still have more than half day sun.


I don’t see anything wrong with those trees besides needing more root space and a bit of pruning. Those aren’t too far gone,not by a long shot.


I see your problem- so I guess you’re going to have to live with pots. I’m a failure at that, so I’ll let somebody else have the floor!


I’m restricted to growing in my front yard since the back is quarter sun at best, and everything is VA red clay to boot. I’m already abusing spacing minimums as it is, and there are some big trees on one side. The driveway gets shaded at 5 PM or so from that, and my remaining spots are either going to shade around 2 PM or are on the slope down into the drainage ditch.

I suppose I should post some pictures to ask how close to that oak tree I can get.


Have you consider planting them on raised beds?

Also, even though full sun is ideal, I have some of my J plums, apples and pears in locations that get sun from about 10 am- 3 pm. They have produced. They would have been better produced with more sun but it is what it is.


I find that these heavy duty totes work well as an improvised planter. I have a dozen of them in wooden holders on my deck.


Very neat. How long have you had them? I wonder how many years they will hold up and if the black color (absorbing more heat) would be good or bad for plants.

I recognize those totes. We sent our daughter to college with her “stuff” in several of those containers. We bought them from Costco. They were chaeper there.


You can buy ugly plastic pots or even garbage containers and decorate them with some kind of creative wrap, but 20 gallons should work a while, especially for pears. Oh, and the wooden, so called whiskey barrels aren’t too expensive and last a few years. Looks from the photo that they need more nitrogen, but they are newly leafed out so it could be cool overcast weather or too much rain that is the problem. Another possibility is poor drainage- some potting soils are too heavy, and don’t drain adequately well, I’ve even encountered large pots without drainage holes at all.


20 is not bad, maybe 30 would be better, but hard to move around. Root pouches are affordable, you can buy 3 x 30 gallon for 30 bucks.


Those root pouches are very interesting. I assume they would last for a long time since they are made of recycled plastic. Surprised to see the large choice of sizes and the largest ones are 600 gals! I’ll be buying some the next time I need pots.


i use the white 30 gal fabric pots and they work great! they air prune the roots so they don’t get pot bound. need to water more often though.


I use them, not perfect. they dry very quickly. They tend to attract algae growth when old. I have ones 4 and 5 years old, and i would say that is about as long as they last. Maybe 5 or 6 years at most. Of course most of my plastic pots have flaws when that old too. Especially with larger sizes. Rims break off, and rough handling can crack them. What I do like about them is they can be left out all winter with no harm. Because of air pruning a 30 gallon root pouch is supposed to have the same root growth as a 60 gallon plastic container.
They are hard to remove plants from them, so i try to use them till I need to transfer and just cut away the bag. A good use to recycled plastic too.
All the plants in the photo are now growing, peach, currants, black raspberries, and honeyberries.


I’ve been using those pots since they were the biggest size I could find without the price getting completely out of control.

They may look small, but the picture was taken from 6 feet up. The trees themselves are 4 feet tall or so.

How easy are grow bags to move? A significant fraction of what I keep in pots are too tender to leave outside in winter in a pot.


What kind of trees in root pouch can be left outside? I don’t have much of garage space at winter (need to part both cars in).


Those pots get bristle after a few years. I just moved my fig trees from those pots into 20 gallon root pouch. Grow bags are easy to move as they do have handles.


I’m not sure really? I left peaches in them and they look fine. But in a very cold winter they may be hurt. Peaches are only hardy to zone 5, so usually they say pots are 2 zones colder, so the pots should be at zone 3, yet the peaches survived. The roots will freeze which normally doesn’t happen with in ground plants, well not all the roots. I will leave them in again just to see what happens next winter. I can’t really make conclusions on one winter.