Container Pluot not working out, looking for advice

Hi All,

my pluots in container (zone 7b, SE NY, Metro area) FK (citation), FS (citation), Dapple Dandy (Myro), burgundy plum (citation). they are all in air pruning containers (10 gallon+) and kept in no light unheated but attached garage (avg. 35-55 degree over the winter Dec-March). They grow quite well during last 2 summers and bloom like crazy. However they bloom too early! I did hand cross pollinated them. I also bring them outside for the Sun light during the day and bring them inside if too cold (< 32F) after they bloom, still I can not get them to develop fruit. It just too much work for ornamental tree :frowning:

  • Is the problem maybe related to temp is too low to develop fruit? right now at my area only (32-50 degree outside).
  • How do I get them to bloom late? Maybe I should leave them outside? is Citation winter hardy enough?
  • What would be your recommendation overall?

My other containerized fruit tree like cherry (white/black gold) and peach (redhaven) are doing fine in the same environment. I just can’t figure it out why the pluot and plum bloom so early.

Thank you

picture of the bloom: (photo taken by March 1, 2018)
IMG_1277 (1)

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You need a colder environment during the dormant period. They are certainly hardy in 7b. So outside in the shade would be my suggestion.

What’s happening now is their low chill requirement is satisfied in Dec. After that any warmth above 35-40F is causing them to move towards bloom. Some fruits don’t set well if it’s too cold after pollination. The pollen takes too long to reach the egg and dies in the pollen tube.


Fruitnut, Thank you for the explanation. This makes lots of sense.

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Yes, I like fabric for air pruning because it breathes so much. I leave all kinds of plants outside all winter in the fabric bags. I have 3 trees on citation and they all withstood the 2 winter vortexes here in Michigan. It got to -16 one night. I had no fruit that year but the rootstocks were fine. They are in ground though. I don’t like citation for peaches here. Doesn’t work. Pluots, OK so far.

The attached garage is a lot warmer. I have some trees I grow in containers that are not hardy here. They tend to fruit early if left in the warm garage even though it’s not heated it’s attached and never becomes very cold in there. I kick them out March 1st or so… lows are in the 20’s they do great. Heck I’m in zone 5b/6a and they are fine here.

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The containers are warming up the soil too quickly. Is there any way you can shade the container or even better plant the tree in ground?

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I knew something wasn’t working well but I didn’t understand. During cold weather when the insects aren’t around I have been hand pollinating my apples and pears but the method doesn’t seem to be as effective. Looks like I should at least wait a couple of days until we have warmer days.

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I would leave the tree out over the winter. It needs chill hours and it also is getting too warm and triggering (so to speak)!the tree by telling it “spring is here” about 1-2 months early. It’s not staying dormant as long as it needs too. Obviously don’t put it out now because it can still dip below freezing and harm the plant, but for the future and this fall and winter- keep it out. Good luck

PS they look healthy as can be, nice work

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Why are you brining your Pulots in side in the first place?

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Unfortunately our yard is too small for these fruit trees. Shade is what i will do next winter.

I was asking myself the same question. :smile:

I lost my first 2 cherry multi-grafted (big box store) and craig’s crimson (newroot1) in container without bring them inside the garage. so I switch to the current scheme, I was able to get sweet cherry (g5, g3), peach, pomegranate to fruit. I do have to say by providing indoor environment during winter, they has much less disease pressure (canker, PLC. etc). The flaw in my original idea was around : “low chill” requirement fruit tree will need “more” winter protection. however it turns out too much protection will make them wake up too early. Good lesson for me!

Thank you all

You still do this just bring them in later, and kick them out earlier! Fig trees work so well doing this,

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