Suggestions for next spring

As many of you know from earlier posts I currently have around 30 trees in pots waiting to be planted. They were dug up this spring while dormant and moved into 7 gallon grow bag/soft side containers. I used 5-1-1 mix for all my trees. Right now I’m in the process of building a 14x23 foot rectangle raised bed for my 10 plums similar to what I did for my peaches, but rectangle this time not circle. They will be planted in two hedge rows of 5 trees each. Kind of got of topic, but the real question is this…

Since they were planted bare root 2 years ago, dug up this spring, replanted this time in soft side pots would it be more beneficial to clean the roots of again and bare root them again, out just cut the fabric off of the trees and plant them 5-1-1 mix and all without disturbing the root system for a third time.

Any and all suggestions will be welcome. After these 10 this spring I will have 20+ more to hopefully plant the next season.

I’m sure there will be many different opinions on this. My opinion in most cases is to not disturb the root mass any more than you have to while planting. Unless the roots have been circling the pot and I’m pretty sure yours have not the disturbance will slow down the tree getting established. Last winter I moved about 25 plants from pots into my small orchard. Good luck, Bill


That’s the same thing I thought. The only thing that worries me though is the difference between the porous 5-1-1 mix and the surrounding soil. Granted I will be adding in a lot of compost, bark chips, manure, etc to the new soil to make it very workable but not to the consistency of the 5-1-1 mix.

I would hate to go through all this work of making sure the trees don’t get pot bound with circling roots only to throw them in the same situation I happened to take one out of this spring. If you haven’t seen my post with photos I made earlier this spring I can link it for you.

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I only did the air prune pots on a limited basis. My last years goal was to get everything planted into the orchard so as to reduce long term watering as much as possible. Most all my roots are on M111/interstems and Callery/interstems so after this year most will only need occasional watering. Hope your planting goes well. Bill

I’m interested to see what others say. When faced with the same decision this spring, I planted them with the fabric pot still in place. In the time I’ve had the pots, I’ve often had trees root through the bottoms of them. So, I figure that if dirt is on all sides it will probably send roots through to the side as well.

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The bags should break down with time too.

I saw your other photos Sean. The 5-1-1 mix is not a nutritious mix, so it will probably be ok to plant as is, but considering your other photos, maybe it best to bare root them anyway.

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You’re right about the mix. The only nutrients are from the osmocote plus (and some organics I mixed in) so the trees might just well venture out looking for more. I plan on again making my own soil mix for these raised beds like I did for my peaches. My usual is 1.5 parts tree/shrub soil, 2 parts top soil, and 1 part compost/manure. It worked well for the peaches and has no issues draining… Don’t think I could go wrong for plums with it.

So maybe I go in the middle, cut away the fabric pot, but leave the root ball alone kind of like Tom Spellman does in the BYOC with the Apple tree.