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Dwarf Peach Tree

Posted by alys Zone 5/6 - MO (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 24, 09 at 15:05

I keep looking at these lovely dwarf peach trees at Lowe's. They're only $30 or $40 and look pretty healthy. Right now they are getting little blossoms. I believe the variety was Bonanza. It's supposed to get about 6' to 8' tall. The ones they have now are about 3' tall and look to be in a 1 or 2 gallon container. I love the idea of growing a fruit tree, but my patio is my best sun other than places where planting a tree would just not work. I've never grown a tree in a container before, but am thinking of giving it a try.

Any pointers? Size of container? Potting mix? (Al's "gritty mix" maybe?) Anything I should watch out for?

Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 24, 09 at 15:31

I think you can do it ;o) ...... (since I have more than 200 trees & woody plants in containers). There's a good thread about trees in containers that will give you something of a foundation to build on. If you read it & have more questions, just ask.

The gritty mix is a very good choice for a long-lasting soil, but I would only pot-up this year (if it's needed) and do the root-work/repot next spring while the tree is still dormant.

Container size: The same size it's in or a size larger, depending on the condition of the roots. Trees are often bumped to the next size container just before they're sold because plants in larger containers command more of your loot. ;o)

Watch out for: Be careful not to over-water. They demand good drainage or a very careful watering technique. If you intend to set it on the patio - be sure you keep a close watch on root temps. Anything above 90* soil temps is problematic.

Al


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

  • Posted by alys Zone 5/6 - MO (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 24, 09 at 15:47

You know Al, you should charge for all this advice! Don't start with this thread though.;-)

You need to post some pictures! I for one would love to see your prolific plantings.


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 24, 09 at 16:45

Well .... a friend asked if she could post a few pics of my gardens I had sent her quite awhile ago. Follow the embedded link to the gallery section of this forum for a peek. ;o)

Al

Photobucket


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

Any pointers? Anything I should watch out for?

I used to own a landscape design & construction business. I never purchased trees at bigbox stores. Nursery professionals do not ensure the cans are adequately watered, pests are removed, plant health maintained. When I explained to my clients why their plant purchases were not done from the bigbox, and we weren't going to look at plants up the road but across town, they always understood.

If you must do it and want to take the risk, I'd take the plant out of the pot before purchasing and ensure plenty of white roots, no circling, not potted too deeply, no extreme root pruning, no obvious drying, not pot-bound.

If they won't let you examine the roots, walk away.

Dan


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

I envy you. I see gardening as Art. Not just a hole in the ground. And you Craft your Art very well.


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

  • Posted by alys Zone 5/6 - MO (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 25, 09 at 9:27

Beautiful Al! (I'm loving that little turquoise colored frog.) I knew your yard would be.

Dan, thanks for the info. I have to admit, I wouldn't know a pruned root if it bit me, but I can look! Perhaps I'll try some of the more reputable nurseries in the area instead of Lowe's.


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 25, 09 at 14:44

Thanks, guys. ;o)

Photobucket
Photobucket

Al


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

Love the toad squashing the little frog!! I too have frogs and turtle art mixed in my gardens, but this one is just too cute. You're a peach Al.


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 25, 09 at 21:51

Lol - I have more than 150 frog/toad figures scattered in very unusual, often whimsical places (as you can see) throughout the gardens. I'm not sure exactly how to describe the reactions of visitors and visiting groups when they start to realize the figures are there, but not always in obvious places. It often becomes game-like as they try to discover new almost-hiding places for them. I guess the best way to say it is they create animation in the visitors - and lots of smiles. THAT is why I like sharing my gardens. It's not for the compliments, though I do enjoy those, too - it's for the look of surprise, smiles, and excitement on the visitor's faces. ;o)

Al

Early spring - just before a storm. You can tell by the sky in the background.

Photobucket


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

  • Posted by alys Zone 5/6 - MO (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 26, 09 at 11:40

Al, my mom would have loved you! She was crazy for frogs. I did read the other thread and it is quite informative.

I was really wondering though, does anyone have any experience with this specific tree? The Bonanza dwarf peach?

I will read up on root pruning, although what I'm seeing about true genetic dwarf trees is that they really should require much if you have them in the right size containers.

I'm suspecting my biggest problem will be keeping the freakin' squirrels from eating my peaches!


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 26, 09 at 16:25

"... what I'm seeing about true genetic dwarf trees is that they really should require much if you have them in the right size containers."

I think a lot of people are badly misinformed when it comes to containerized trees that are 'dwarfed' by their rootstock vs genetic dwarfs. They both require the same attention to roots as a 'normal' tree (all three are actually 'normal trees' and behave the same way) in order to keep them growing at anywhere near their genetic potential. There are some things you can do to manipulate (read increase) the interval between repots, but if you try to keep the tree in the same soil/container, or simply keep potting up, the tree will decline - it has to - there is no other possible way to look at it. ;o)

Let's look at some numbers to get an idea of what I'm talking about. Lets say vitality levels are from one to 10, with 10 being the best. I'll lay out 3 scenarios:
First, you get a tree & lets say its vitality level is at 10, and you do everything correctly, culturally, but you don't repot or pot up. Each number represents a year, the number following that year will be a guess at the trees potential level of vitality:

1) 9
2) 7
3) 4
4) 1
5) dead

Now, lets look at what potting up might do for a tree. The first number is the year, the second number is the level of vitality before potting up, and the third number is the best vitality you could hope for after potting up.

Year ------- before potting-up ------ after potting-up
1) ------------------- 9 -------------------------- 9
2) ------------------- 7 -------------------------- 8
3) ------------------- 6 -------------------------- 7
4) ------------------- 5 -------------------------- 6
5) ------------------- 4 -------------------------- 5
6) ------------------- 3 -------------------------- 4
7) ------------------- 2 -------------------------- 4
8) ------------------- 2 -------------------------- 3
9) ------------------- 1 -------------------------- 2
10 ------------------ 1 -------------------------- 1

Now let's look at what happens if you do a proper root-pruning/repot on a 3 year cycle
After Year #
1) 9
2) 8
3) 7 - 10 after spring repot/root-pruning
4) 9
5) 8
4) 7 - 10 after spring repot/root-pruning
3) 9
2) 8
1) 7 - 10 after spring repot/root-pruning

Root-pruning also rejuvenates the plant because with plants, (unlike animals like us) you can actually roll back the aging process by pruning (roots) and forcing new growth from ontogenetically younger tissues .... but I'll save that for another day. ;o)

Al


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

  • Posted by alys Zone 5/6 - MO (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 27, 09 at 10:12

You are right, I guess I was badly misinformed. I had read something that made me think that the genetic dwarf won't get big enough to require root pruning. So now I know differently.

As I understand the instructions from the other thread, root-pruning basically involves removing all the soil, removing most of the large roots and leaving the small "feeder" roots and is done in late winter, before the buds begin to swell. Right? So if I get a tree that is in bloom already, I shouldn't mess with it any more than potting it up (maybe) this season and worry about root-pruning next February or so? How exactly would I know if it really needs potting up? By checking if it's root-bound?


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

Beautiful garden, Al. I think Mr. Myagi would be jealous. ;) I have my wife to thank for constant awesome pictures of my vegetable garden. My blog shows a few from last years garden (just started blog, so this years isn't on there yet).

Steve's Garden


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 27, 09 at 14:46

"... removing most of the large roots and leaving the small "feeder" roots and is done in late winter, before the buds begin to swell. Right?"

Right - with most deciduous trees, you'll usually saw off a portion (bottom 1/3) of the root mass, then remove the old soil, then remove another 1/3 of the roots, concentrating on removing the roots growing directly down from trunk & basal flare and the remaining largest roots. You'll have removed from 1/2 to 2/3 of the roots.

"So if I get a tree that is in bloom already, I shouldn't mess with it any more than potting it up (maybe) this season and worry about root-pruning next February or so?"

Watch carefully next year to see when the buds begin to move & repot it then. Next time you repot, do it a week to two weeks earlier than the date you noted.

"How exactly would I know if it really needs potting up? By checking if it's root-bound?"

Yes, that's right. Your tree will be on a 'cycle'. You'll be able to see when it needs repotting, and for the first 15 years or more, it will remain on the same schedule. After the tree matures, the interval between repots will stretch out by an extra year & then 2 years after the tree is 30 yrs old or so. ;o) How's THAT for 'optimistic'?!

Al


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

  • Posted by alys Zone 5/6 - MO (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 27, 09 at 15:43

Pretty darn optimistic, my thumb isn't that green. Actually, at best it's kind of khaki. I'm hoping that will change with all I'm learning here!


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

You can do it. All you need for a green thumb is, in this case, an open heart and love when you cut the roots.

That is: let the plant know that your heart is open and that you are trying to do a good thing, and do this 2-3 days before you start. If you have kids-grandkids, go there when you feel love for them and use that. That is a green thumb - knowing and caring. That's it!

Sounds kinda odd, I know, to some folk, esp after they look at my resume without knowing me. But this is how I do it, and also how I am when I plant plants out of a nursery pot, pot up seedlings, etc.. Back when I had a landscape business, my plant failure rate was - literally - less than 1%. In blistering hot Sacramento. It took longer to design, construct, and plant, but nothing died and that means word-of-mouth, and I never advertised. Not once. And I turned away jobs all the time. And I get dozens of houseplant rescues and they almost all live, then I propagate them and give them away. That is how you do it: knowing and caring.

Dan


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

What if I want to get a dwarf peach tree and plant it in my yard instead of keeping it in a container? Will it not live as long without the root pruning?
Thanks!
Julie


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 29, 10 at 16:22

No need to prune roots of in-ground trees except as a means to achieve specific results (slow the tree's development/growth, force more fine rootage close to the trunk in preparation for a transplant, etc). The roots of containerized trees are pruned to reduce the volume of unnecessary conductive roots to make room for the fine roots root pruning forces. That wasn't too easy to follow, was it? ;o)

Al


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

It was perfect - thanks!!! Any recommendations of what "kind" - e z pick dwarf elberta? Something else?
Thanks!
Julie


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 29, 10 at 21:02

I'm not familiar enough with the various varieties to make a recommendation based on anything other than a look around the net, so I'll leave that up to you to research. There are differences in form between the genetic dwarfs, and those plants grafted to dwarfing root stocks; then, most fruit trees can be kept very small if you have a good working knowledge of pruning, so you have lots of options.

Al


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

Thanks again! Off to hunt for information!


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 30, 10 at 16:57

Oh wow! I'm so glad you bumped this thread. I remembered having made a chart to illustrate the approximate difference between repotting up and repotting, and I've looked for it (searched) several times, but I haven't been able to find it - and I JUST DID, as I was scrolling through this old thread. THANK YOU!

Good luck with your search!

Al


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RE: Pruning Roots, Shrub in Container

This is an old thread, but I'm glad it's been bumped up :)

First, I'd like to note that there is no chance that any tree or shrub purchased in a place like Home Depot or Lowes will not need root work before planting. They are ALL pot-bound. However, most local nurseries around me sell the same stuff for much more money, so I buy most of my stuff at the box stores and just perform root surgery.

I prune ALL tree and shrub roots before planting (I plant in the ground), whether grown in pots or bare-root. I loosen the potted roots as best as possible, soak in a bucket of water for about an hour and then prune the roots.

Fruit trees should not be purchased at box stores! Seriously! My first purchase was a whim about 5 years ago - a semi-dwarf Macintosh apple tree at Home Depot for $20. Bad move. At the time I knew nothing about pruning fruit trees. Now I do and unfortunately the tree had already been pruned to a vase-shape, and I prefer a one-leader pyramid shape. I must spray for cedar-apple rust (this was not a resistant variety), and I rarely have apples (I have a crab apple for pollination).

This year Home Depot is charging $40 and up for fruit trees - NO WAY!!! Order from a reputable nursery - there are many online and the average price for bare-root (much better than potted) fruit trees is $20-$40 (depending on rarity of variety). I buy from Miller nurseries in Upstate NY, but there are many other fruit tree specialists online as well.

Not a dwarf peach, but an awesome fastigiate variety, Crimson Rocket grows 16 ft tall and less than 6 ft wide. WOW! I planted one 2 years ago and it grew SO FAST! Last year I only pruned what I could reach; this year I had to balance myself near the top of my ladder to prune the upper branches; I had to remove quite a few branches because there were just too many (this will limit air-flow and light-infiltration to all the branches). The only problem is that almost all the branches must be spread to avoid a "v" connection with the trunk. Even though I spread the branches from the trunk they still naturally grow up, creating a very narrow upright form. And fruit? The first year it had fruit (I took it off); last year I had to remove TONS of baby peaches (do NOT allow the fruit to grow the first couple of years - the tree should be focusing it's energy on producing a strong structure that will hold up to harsh winds). I did allow a couple peaches to develop and they were super-juicy!

Al, I have a question about planting a shrub in a container (I actually posted this question in the soil forum, but it makes more sense here):

I am interested in planting a Purple Gem Rhododendron in a 20 gallon bucket (I'll double the buckets up so if the planted one cracks the outer one will hopefully last longer and not have to be replaced with a concrete planter too soon). This dwarf variety grows 2 ft x 2 ft.

I've never planted a rhodi in a container, so I am nervous. It will remain outside all year-round (so below-0 degrees and harsh winds are my biggest fear). I have tons of rhodis in my garden, so I know how to plant them in the ground. The bucket is 16" high and about 20" in diameter at the top, so the size of the pot should be good.
Any advice?

Also, I saw the pics of your garden - awesome! I am wondering about your succulents. I know Hens and Chicks can grow in zone 5 outside all year. Do you leave your succulents outside all year? What other varieties can I do this with? I love your dish of succulents!


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 6, 10 at 14:54

I like the plant because of its small leaves, and it should be hardy enough to leave out all winter. The only advice I can think of is to be sure you use a soil that drains very well if you're using a container that large; or, if the container will be resting on soil, be sure there is a soil bridge between the soil in the container and the ground below so it will drain well. Otherwise. you may wish to plant it in a smaller container and set that (pot-in-pot) inside the larger container until it puts on some root mass & sort of grows into the larger container. If you plan on using a soil of large particulates (like the gritty mix), just forget what I said and plant it. MG 30-10-10 with a little ProTeKt 0-0-3 mixed into the solution would be a very good fertilizer choice.

Al


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

I'm 15 and new to gardening but can't you just put it in a large pot in the first place and prune the roots every so often?


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 19, 10 at 14:09

How large the pot can be in relation to the size of the plant, depends in a practical sense on the physical properties of the soil. The better the soil drains the larger the pot can be - w/o having to deal with 'over-potting' worries.

Al


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

Ryan: Al has already answered your question, with "it depends, a critical factor is the soil you use". There are a lot of factors, but he is right that a fast draining soil is forgiving (but more work to make and keep watered). Many other types of trees will clearly NOT survive when you plunk it into an overly large pot with regular bagged mix soil.

In my experience it may be fine with a) genetic dwarf peaches, b) in zone 9, c)with a 19 gallon "tub" size container, d) using a bagged mix like Miracle Grow + small bag of perlite, e) for a couple years without a re-pot, e) IF you do not over-water significantly (just wait for drooping leaves and establish your water schedule one day sooner.

Obviously the greater you deviate from those factors the odds of success change. If you live in a very rainy/moist zone, using a bagged mix won't work for as long as my experience. Using a much larger pot, like half barrel size, then you better look into Al's 5-1-1 mix or at least start mixing in a whole bunch of small bark pieces and perlite.

It is very possible to kill a healthy genetic dwarf peach tree, in a half barrel size container, using a typical bagged mix, by watering excessively everyday for a mere couple-three weeks.


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

I have two dwarf peach trees I planted in pots last year. My trees sem to be doing decent but I know I plnted them all wrong. I didnt even put rocks on the bottom to allow heathy drainage. So, I am repotting them both ASAP. Now, what potting mix should I use or measures should I take for the best root environment? Should I cute some of the roots before I replant?? Im extremely new at this.
Also, how can I post pics????


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 27, 12 at 21:30

Before you get to deep into the project, you might want to skip the drainage layer and read why, here.

Then, you can read a LOT about how to maintain trees in containers by clicking on this second embedded link.

If you take the time to understand the information in the first link I provided, it will significantly improve your ability to keep all your container plantings healthy.

Al


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

I bought 2 of the dwarf peach trees mentioned at the very start of this thread back in 2009. They are planted in the ground and have doubled in size since being planted. Currently they are about 4' - 5' tall. They are healthy, bloom like crazy, and every year for the last 3 years they've been covered with "would be peaches" HOWEVER the fruit NEVER develops into an edible peach. The fruit stays green and gets a bit bigger than a peach seed then JUST STOPS.
Why? Is this normal?

Granted, I probably shouldn't have bought peach trees at Lowes but I'd never seen a small variety and the tag on these said they wouldn't get larger than 6 feet (which was perfect for my yard).


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RE: Dwarf Peach Tree

  • Posted by bencjedi 6 - Central Kentucky (My Page) on
    Mon, Oct 6, 14 at 10:38

I bought three of the same peach trees at Meijer in 2013 and had them growing in the ground this year. They have not gotten much bigger and I got one peach between the three of them thanks to an early spring frost (despite my effort of slinging pillow cases over the trees). I decided these guys need to be in containers, so I am in the process of making the 1:1:1 gritty mix. I spent all Saturday afternoon screening a cubic yard of pine bark fines through 1/4" hardware cloth. Yesterday I started screening some through 1/8" insect screening to get the pine dust out. What a sucky process!

I'm using NAPA oil absorbent #8822 Diatomaceous earth as a substitute for Turface. The nearest Turface dealer is not conducive for an afternoon road trip (closed weekends and would have to take off work, losing pay).

Crushed granite is impossible to find in Central Kentucky (limestone and shale territory) so I am substituting pea gravel which seems to vary every time. I had bought some last year and the bag was mostly quartz and fedspar stones. It's working well for my Meyer lemon tree I potted a couple years ago. The pea gravel I bought this weekend looks like a higher composition of sedimentary rocks. Will this be ok?

Reading this thread it sounds like a definitely need to root-prune. So when I dig up these these trees I cut off 1/3 of the root ball off the bat, then selectively cut out the biggest roots and middle roots, so roughly only 1/3 of the possible root ball remains? Then pout them?

I am putting the peach trees into 20" wide pots with the thought that if we have an early spring frost again.. I can drag them into the greenhouse over night.


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