Potting mix questions

maple_grove_gwFebruary 1, 2012

Hello all,

I'd like to ask you guys about which mix is optimal for my situation. I have some plants that will live temporarily in containers, say for 3-5 years, while they get bigger and until I am ready to plant them in the landscape. Call them medium-term container plants. They are mostly conifers (spruce, pine, fir, etc.) and are relatively young (1-3 year grafts), and I think they'd greatly benefit from one the potting mixes discussed here. Which mix would be more appropriate - the 5:1:1 mix, or the gritty mix? As described, they will reside in pots (for the most part, square 1 gallon rootmaker pots) for a handful of years at which time they will go into the ground and/or raised beds. Until then, the pots will reside outside spring, summer and fall and go into my garage (w/windows) during the winter.

My first choice would be to put them into the gritty mix as I think that my conifers would enjoy the superior drainage offered. My concern here, and my main question is, how easy is it to transplant from gritty mix directly into the landscape? This could be done late in the winter while they're still dormant, but that being said, would there be excessive transplant shock as the plant has to reacclimate from gritty mix to landscape soil? If so, maybe the 5:1:1 would be a better choice.

Thanks all for sharing your expertise.

Alex

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Alex,
I'd use 5-1-1, and I'd re-pot and bump into larger pots every year or two.
Regardless of whether you use Gritty or 5-1-1, your plants will transplant well into the landscape
if done at the proper tiem of year. Bare-rooting and planting in native soil will be no problem.

If you were planning on keeping these trees in containers, I would opt for the Gritty Mix,
with a special eye paid to root-development during the first few years.

Josh

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 1:48PM
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maple_grove_gw

Thanks, Josh, for the response. For my own edification, what is the reason you prefer 5-1-1 for a plant that will eventually go into the landscape, and gritty for one that will remain in a pot?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 12:33PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Gritty outperforms the 5-1-1 in subsequent years due to its particle size, low organic content, and durability.

The 5-1-1 is economical, easy to mix, and fantastic for a year or two (and probably longer, although you should
re-pot by that time anyway).

Josh

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 7:05PM
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