Starting Bare Root Trees in containers

MadameMeowJanuary 19, 2013

oh no! I came across this site and the 'gritty mix' discussions yesterday, AFTER potting Fuyu persimmon, Blenheim apricot, and sugar plum (prune), in 24" containers with peat based bagged soil, plus perlite, plus 3yo horse manure (I was running out of mix). Do I need to pull them all out and redo? They are still quite please!

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MadameMeow, the content of horse manure might be a problem on two counts.

  1. If it is not completely decomposed. A practical test is that if you can identify individual contents (bedding material, hay etc), then the mixture might be too "hot".
  2. How much of it is in the mix. Not more than 10% of well decomposed organic matter would be my recommendation.
    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 5:22PM
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redecoratingmom(8 GA)

My novice advice would be to first see if you can locate and easily purchase the ingredients for the gritty mix. Some people have difficulty finding them. If I could not locate and prepare the gritty mix anytime soon then I would go for the 5:1:1 mix which would still be better than peat based potting soil as far as aeration and drainage. The ingredients for the 5:1:1 are easier to get your hands on IMO so I would mix up a batch and gently replant. Since your plants are dormant I don't think this would be too stressful to them. That's just what I would do, hopefully some of the experts will chime in.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 1:47AM
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Thanks for your responses! I spent yesterday searching for the bark and rock. I found 2cu ft bagged bark, with a lot of fibrous stuff in at Home depot for $4.37, and, at OSH 8quart bag of pumice for $8 (yeow! no sale there!. The stone yard wanted $8/cu ft for any of the small lava rock, and for the small bark. Today, I'm going to the horse supply store to see a product called "Dry Stall" reported to be a volcanic expanded rock, at $11/40# bag (I have no idea the volume or texture)...cross fingers. And Monday, Horizon landscaping will be open, but I don't think they sell anything retail...
BTW- the horse manure/bedding is completely composted, you would never know what is was- it is 3 years old, my veg plants liked it last fall, and I needed something to cover the bare roots...
used to be gardening was cost effective- if you enjoyed the work, but it's clearly become an expensive hobby...

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 1:06PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Gritty Mix will work well, but it'll be real heavy in that sized container.

I think you'd be well-served to mix up some 5-1-1 for these fruit trees.
I've done the very same thing, and I'll be doing so again for a peach I just purchased.

Here's the last peach that I potted for a season in 5-1-1, then planted in-ground.
Now it's in the ground. The new peach will go into this container.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 2:07PM
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WOW, Josh! Now, that's an inspiring pic! Not sure where you're located, but here in the castro valley, CA hills, it's something of a desert climate in summer- very little humidity, so I won't get my hopes up too much... haha! thanks for sharing,

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 3:37PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I'm in the Sierra Nevada foothills, outside of Auburn, CA.
Very low humidity during the Summer.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 4:07PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

I'll echo what greenman said about the weight of Al's gritty mix. It's HEAVY. I have two naval orange trees potted in gritty mix in 16" terra cotta pots, and moving them is extremely difficult. For that reason (and because, as you discovered, gritty mix can be quite expensive by comparison), I now use Al's 5-1-1 mix for all of my other potted fruits (blueberries, figs, pomegranates, apples, and pears). Of course, the 5-1-1 mix isn't all that light either, especially when it's wet. Because I have a lot of potted fruits and move them at least twice each year, I'm in the process of moving everything to 10-gallon fabric pots with handles.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 12:25PM
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OMG! ready to keel over now, I bought materials and mixed and replanted today. I was a bit confused, tho, when reading the recipes...the '5-1-1' read as 2-3 ft cubed of bark, 5 gallon peat, 5 gallon perlite. Actually that's more of a 3-1-1, since 2.5 feet cubed= 16 dry US gallons. Anyways, not to get hung up...for EACH tree I mixed (lord help me) 2.5 ft^3 bark from HD, 2.5 gallons peat based potting mix (as 'peat'), 2.5 gallon Turface MVP, and 5 gallon Dry Stall (a crushed pumice made for keeping horse stalls dry- NOT to be confused with 'stall-dry'), plus prilled dolomite lime and lilly miller 10-10-10 granular fertilizer. I sincerely hope my poor little trees will survive it- they're sleeping, so I think it's ok. BTW- the potting soil I had used on them (and turned out today onto a big tarp) was quite soggy- so I'm sure this new mix will warm up well at least...fingers crossed and back tired...

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 9:30PM
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