Coppicing mulberries in containers
I'm working on a practical research project, which involves planting about a hundred mulberry trees of various cultivars in containers and expecting them to stay there, survive, and produce mega foliage for fodder over the course of 10-15 years.
I need you guys' help! What size pot is going to work best (I need the smallest reasonable size--am thinking 18x18x24 inches deep) to support a 'tree' whose trunk will stand perhaps 18" tall...but which has pollarded/coppiced knobs in a candelabra style framework for maximum new branch production. What substrate and fertilizer regimen is most likely to give me what I need?
This type of production is done in-ground in many places for silkworm fodder, but my premise is that it can be done with excellent yield results in containers. I anticipate harvesting each tree's production half-at-a-time, with about 4-6 harvests per year, per tree. The idea is to have large, lush leaf production on vigorous new branches as often as possible.
I'm thinking that the 18" square, 24" deep pots, set in plastic trays to prevent ground access by enthusiastic roots, may work the best for what I have in mind...
Your input is MOST appreciated, and I'm looking forward to your suggestions.