Advice on keeping these trees


This will be the first season, The amount of exposed plastic is almost nothing so I’m not worried about heat. I’ve had plants that were in plastic buckets in the direct sun all summer and they didn’t cook. The boxes were designed to flow air through them while shading the sides of the actual container so I expect things to stay quite cool. Also the wood is pressure treated and isolated from the wet dirt, so it won’t rot in 3-4 years like most planters which are just “dirt in a wood box”.

They should hold up fairly well unless I decide to put my shovel through one accidentally, (not very likely). If I do break one I’m not going to cry about it since they’re only $10 for a bin and there’s lots of people who make/sell them.


At the nursery I work at we grow some trees in #20 and #25 plastic pots.
Many of my clients like to try to return the empty pots! At first we re-used them but now we do not. We do collect empty pots for recycling. Often when someone comes and asks about large pots I point to the collection pile and tell them to help themselves. FREE! Some use #10 and #15 for growing flowers/veggies on the patios and others take the bigger pots.

Before buying NEW pots, try your local garden center/landscape firm and see if they have used ones for free. Better to recycle them that way and save money
then to have them hauled away to a recycling place.


I’ve sprayed the outside of them w/ vinegar. kills the algae and doesn’t hurt the plants any.


Awesome, i will be doing that! Good way to clean your sprayer too!


There are so many variables on this. Heat is coming from the ground to the potting soil and the medium itself is insulating. Outer roots can be killed without apparent damage to the tree- they just won’t leap out of spring with as much vigor.

I learned from nurseries around here to throw wood chips against pots in the fall and they become as hardy or almost as in-ground trees. If heat is coming from below, often wrapping posts with insulation helps as well. Expensive specimens in pots on estates around here often have insulation inside the pots.


These were on concrete, I will in the future use some insulating material and maybe get them on the ground too. I need to keep them in containers, no room in ground. Plus these are my hybrids that if crap will be scrapped. Still may if good, just grafted unto existing in ground trees.


So, I took some pictures of my lovely plant based kingdom today. The first shot is pointing North Northwest, and there is a 25-30 ft tall oak tree just out of frame to the left on the first picture. It starts shading my lawn starting maybe 1 PM and hits the far edge of my property by 6 or so.

This is my dwarf apple tree row, and a Tomcot apricot. I should probably trellis those dwarves. I’ve got 2 slots here, and a recent plum arrival is going to go in one of them.

These are a multigrafted cherry, a multigrafted pluot, a multigrafted apple, my celeste fig that either froze to the ground or died, a brand new multigrafted peach, and my oldest tree: a multgrafted cherry on mazzard. I didn’t check the rootstock when I bought that one. I can probably fit another tree between the fig and the left side cherry, and maybe another in the triangle between the pluot, apple, and peach? It’s close to the walkway.

Next is my berry bed. I took a cultivator to this area and turned it with some wood chips, gypsum, and other stuff to loosen it since everything is red clay. Maybe I should have built raised beds everywhere, but making the sides seemed like a lot of work at the time. The side rows are gooseberries and currants, with mostly thorny blackberries in the center row. I need to put in a trellis or something. I also need to get the landscape timber siding replaced and extended. And maybe remove that useless bush.

My pots. A lot of blueberries, since shifting PH in the clay is hard. Some other stuff, blackberries, a jostaberry, lingonberries, a VdB fig, a Karmijn apple that got fire blight last year so it’s not near the others, etc. And a muscadine I bought because I was dumb and I have no idea what to do with it.

A front shot of my house. I’m not sure how close I can get to that oak tree, or if I should be planting on the slope down to the drainage ditch in front. It’s steeper than the picture looks. I’ve throught about removing the oak and the little thicket behind it, but that would be expensive and there is another huge tree not 20 feet away on the neighbors property anyway. There is an area bewteen the walkway and the 2 window room on the left, but it tends to get soggy since I think being surrounded by the house, the driveway, and the walkway tends to cut off drainage.

How much more can I realistically fit? I was thinking of abandoning those 3 trees I opened the thread with and using the pots for some gooseberries & currants from Edible Landscaping. I liked the few gooseberries I got last year, but I’m on the edge of their range so they struggle in the summer heat/humidity and clay soil. I was intending the blackberry canes to provide a little summer shade.


I think the answer is obvious. You just need to buy a bigger place! LOL :slight_smile:


Anybody else have advice on further planting?

Plum, Pear, Peach, which is which?

I doubt you’ve had a zone 5 winter in the past 3 at least… This winter doesn’t seem to be letting go, but my coldest this winter (for those unaware we are about 12-15 miles apart) was 0.5 above F. I’d be surprised if you were more than 5 degrees colder…

How is your flooding? I had to get a second pump because my brand new (less than 2 weeks old) sump was falling behind and water was rising.

Are you anxiously watching anything to see if it returns? I’m watching where I planted melittis ‘Royal Distinction’ and clematis Scottii. Both of which were first year in the ground last year and damn near impossible to find I the first place.



Not this winter, but the one before I hit -12F. Which is in the zone 5 range and the winter before that i hit -16F

The only thing I’m worried about is some small young figs. My Sherbet berry tree cracked at the base. It’s one that needs too warm of winter temps. Maybe I will water less if it makes it. I think it may be dead? Everything else looks fine, it’s going to be a good year, almost into spring now. We should be fine. I’m removing a lot of fruiting wood to graft, last year I’ll be doing that. Only a few in the future at most. Filling spots that don’t take this year.


You’re close to the water, I’m not. My cottage is about 12 miles north, takes 35 miles to get there because you have to go around Anchor bay. It can be 0-5 degrees warmer there in the winter, and 0-5 degrees colder in the summer. The St Clair river is maybe a mile wide. You are very close to a much larger body of water. Our temps could differ a lot at times.

I would say I’m about 8-9 miles west of Lake St Clair, still close, you’re much closer though.
So even though we dip into zone 5 numbers, I am still 6. I just meant we can have zone 5 temps at times ,0F to -10F is zone 6 and that is an average low temp, whatever that means? I think they take your lowest temp for each year for ten years, and that is your zone. We hardly ever go past -10, but we do some years. Sometimes we get close to going over!


Hey Grog,

OK, since you asked, here’s a totally gonzo planting plan. First, you could run a Belgian fence of apples and pears running along a line just above where the lawn dips down into the drainage ditch. Just eyeballing it, it looks like you’ve got about eighty feet there, maybe more? So, with a tree every two feet, trained to overlapping Ys on a trellis, you would have room for forty apple/pear trees.

Now, between that fence and the house you would plant your multi grafted stone fruit trees. Am I right in understanding that the house faces north? If so, being somewhat in the shadow of the house during early spring might delay blossom a bit, which might be beneficial. Up against the house itself, you could maybe put in some currant bushes (again, if that’s a north-facing front).

I’ve read that ericaceous plants can do well under oak trees, so you could look into using that area as a blueberry bed (maybe a raised bed, given your soil). Maybe an arbor of hardy kiwi could do ok in that shadier area to the left of the last picture?

Now, along the face of the drainage ditch, you could plant yourself maybe a nice bramble patch, or maybe a hedge of goumi, or rosa rugosa, or possibly bush cherries?

Like I said, that’s kind of a gonzo plan, and I should add that I have no experience growing in your zone or soil and only very limited experience working with many of the plants I’ve mentioned. But maybe this will give you some ideas (and hopefully not only bad ones…)