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Can I pot up plum trees until I can plant outside?

 
Erin Blegen
Posts: 21
Location: Minnesota, United States
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The various trees and berries that I ordered for my forest garden project have started to arrive, while spring has not (we sit under several feet of snow yet). I received a bare root plum tree in the mail today and it will be a while before I can plant. What I am wondering is if I can plant it in a large pot and keep it in the house until the weather decides to turn? I know you can keep bare root trees in a dark basement for a while, but it will probably be a month yet before it can go outside and I don't want to risk losing it. Thanks for any help you can provide!
 
Deb Stephens
Posts: 374
Location: SW Missouri, Zone 7a
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I would do it. After all, it will die if you put it outside, so you don't have a lot of choice. Actually, it should do okay in a pot as long as you transplant it carefully, with the entire soil block intact, when you put it outside. It should suffer very little shock that way. Besides, plums are pretty hardy and can usually take a bit of neglect or mild abuse. Otherwise, you could keep it wrapped in slightly damp moss or shredded paper (whatever was packed around it in the mail) as long as you keep it very lightly moistened (NOT WET!) and open the package a bit to keep it from mildewing or rotting. Just keep it cool and relatively dark (basement or garage that stays above 32 degrees) and it will think it is still winter and stay dormant.
 
Erin Blegen
Posts: 21
Location: Minnesota, United States
food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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Thank-you so much Deb.
 
Stu Smith
Posts: 7
Location: MN, USDA zone 4a
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You must be in the Arrowhead? I'm in central MN and the ground has been bare for quite awhile now.

You should be fine potting up your plums. I've got a number of freshly grafted apple rootstocks/scions sitting in my unheated shop now and they won't get planted out for another month or so. I have them in a big tub and covered the roots with dirt. Did the same last year with great results.
 
Erin Blegen
Posts: 21
Location: Minnesota, United States
food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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Yes, Stu- I'm up in Grand Marais We actually just got 8 more inches of snow yesterday and now tonight we're looking at another 8 inches. This winter just won't quit.

Thanks so much for your advice. I appreciate it!
 
Stu Smith
Posts: 7
Location: MN, USDA zone 4a
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I love Grand Marais...at least from late May through October anyway. If you think of it, I'd sure appreciate a "heads up" when the lupines are nearing full bloom
 
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