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Plant root bound trees in spring or wait until dormancy?

 
Posts: 15
Location: Southern California Zone 9a, desert transition zone, Live Oaks are life savers
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Hi Friends,

I've just taken over a garden project in a desert transition zone east of san diego county. I have about a dozen potted fruit trees of various kinds and was planning to plant them in the fall after they'd gone dormant, and use the summer to prep the soil and irrigation for the orchard. Upon inspecting the trees this spring, some are definitely root bound. I'm a little concerned about leaving them in the pots for another season. Some of these trees are 3 or 4 years old by the look of them and producing fruit (plums, apricots, peaches and pomegranates). Just curious what the permies would do. I'm inclined to stick to the plan and plant in the fall...
 
pollinator
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Location: Zone 6a
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If it were me and my space were limited, I wouldn't plant them at all if they were root bound.  If I had plenty of space, I *might* plant them and that's a slim might.  What's the point of planting a root bound tree that will probably never do well.  I would probably plant any of the trees that look half decent right now and leave the rest in the pots over the summer.  In the fall, I would take cuttings from the root bound trees to graft on to other trees or root stock and then get rid of the root bound trees.    
 
pollinator
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Jackie Dragon wrote:Hi Friends,

I've just taken over a garden project in a desert transition zone east of san diego county. I have about a dozen potted fruit trees of various kinds and was planning to plant them in the fall after they'd gone dormant, and use the summer to prep the soil and irrigation for the orchard. Upon inspecting the trees this spring, some are definitely root bound. I'm a little concerned about leaving them in the pots for another season. Some of these trees are 3 or 4 years old by the look of them and producing fruit (plums, apricots, peaches and pomegranates). Just curious what the permies would do. I'm inclined to stick to the plan and plant in the fall...



I wouldn't leave them another season to become more root bound.  If it were me, I would unwind any roots I could, and then take a very sharp knife, slice thru the roots that are bound and can't be separated, starting at the tree and going straight downward.  Spread the roots as much as possible to the sides and get them in the ground.
 
gardener
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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After years of growing bucket trees, I have come to the conclusion that once a tree is too large for its container, there’s no time of year that the tree is better off in the bucket. True, planting in the spring means you gotta irrigate ... but it’s not like you don’t need to water when it’s in the bucket anyway.
 
Jackie Dragon
Posts: 15
Location: Southern California Zone 9a, desert transition zone, Live Oaks are life savers
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Thanks everyone. Good info. I have plenty of time and space, so I'll plant em. My intuition has been leaning me in that direction, so good to have some input.
 
steward
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I'd plant them as soon as possible. Things grow better in the ground than in pots. Already producing fruit? What a joy!

 
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