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  • trees in a max sized pot How do you guys manage them?

    I know that many of us have an lots of fig trees, but I notice though that many people on the forums are new to the hobby have only been doing it for a few years we all accumulate lots of little trees and we are always changing them out for the latest and greatest. I don't see many people posting with a huge tree in a pot. When I look out at all my little trees I do feel like I am looking all these baby pet alligators and don't know what I will do when they get full grown. I just want to know what do you think is the best all round pot size? What do people who don't have acres of property, barnes or warm climates do to keep large trees?
    Right now most of my trees are in 15g or smaller, but I do have a few in 25g pots. the trees are still on the smaller side and I use a light weight mix, but I wonder if I will be able to handle moving them around once get big. I am kind of regretting going with that size pot... Also, I can't imagine keeping so many once they get really big. I gained some property with my new house, but I lost garage space. I linked some pictures of what i'm talking about.

  • #2
    I was looking into something like this

    Plant pot mover: http://youtu.be/SOyvFlNAnDQ
    RI Zone 6a
    Container Herder

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    • #3
      Im in the same situation, Ive planned on only keeping a few in bigger containers and trying to plant most of them. In the winter I have a few sets of steps outside and inside in order to get them in and out and having 10 or more in large containers isnt going to be fun.
      Travis
      Pittsburgh, pa

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      • #4
        IMO, the best size containers for evaluation for the first 3 - 4 years in colder zones is a 5 gallon bucket or a "7 gallon" Nursery Pot. You can get very good harvests when the trees are pruned for production. 4 years and older the maximum size would be 10 - 15 gallons. I'm currently up potting a few surviving larger trees into ~15 gallon containers made out of cut 30 gallon plastic barrels, they were grown in 5 gallon buckets for 3 years. They could be root pruned and placed back into the 5 gallon buckets indefinitely, but I'm setting up the 1/2 barrels as SIPs which will decrease the planter area to ~ 10 gallons with a 5 gallon reservoir. I only plan on keeping about 30 in the 1/2 barrel SIPs, since many of my trees will be planted in ground as low espaliers. The trees will be pruned to maintain 6 feet high by 5 feet wide using the Japanese pruning technique, http://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-ho...form#post11735

        I will be maintaining a separate group of trees in 5 gallon buckets for several years as a test and will update those results yearly. My intermediate size containers are 5 gallon buckets so its a simple experiment. Attached is a picture of a 3 year old O'Rourke fig tree in a 5 gallon bucket, Its almost 7 feet tall and 5 feet across and ripened almost 100 figs last season. The limbs that are producing figs in the picture will be the scaffold branches this season. The tree and 5 gallon container are light and can be easily moved by simply grasping the main trunk with one hand.
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        I have a few dwarf apple trees and a Mulberry tree (Illinois Everbearing) planted in the 1/2 barrels (10 - 15 gallons of mix) and they are relatively easy to move single handed. I'll upload a few pictures of the 1/2 barrels with planted fig trees this weekend...
        Last edited by AscPete; 05-01-2015, 08:44 AM. Reason: typo...
        Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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        • mountainfigs
          mountainfigs commented
          Editing a comment
          Great system, Pete. Do you do anything to stabilize the pots in wind?

          I have an Illinois Everbearing in a 5 gallon, growth slow, so thinking of drilling holes and partially embedding in ground. Do you know if mulberry tree root systems tolerate shearing off each year like fig trees do?

        • AscPete
          AscPete commented
          Editing a comment
          Tony,
          Haven't had much problems with wind knocking over plants, but many 5 gallon pots are buried in 2 - 3 inches of Mulch and the 6' max height (pruning) eliminated tipping of trees.

          Don't know about root pruning mulberries but my in-ground Alba (Russian) grows like a weed even when I chop (cultivate) the roots to keep it contained.

      • #5
        Maxed out? I'm going to keep up potting until they are in those storage pods!
        https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
        SE PA
        Zone 6

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        • brettjm
          brettjm commented
          Editing a comment
          I read that as "storage ponds" and laughed out loud....almost spit out my coffee. I was thinking of the absurdity of having a fig tree in a pond-sized container.

          I shouldn't laugh. My LSU purple is in a ~50-60+ gallon container. I can lift it when its dry (who needs a back, right?), but after it rains it must weigh 200-300 pounds. I can barely drag it.

      • #6
        Thanks guys, I'm going to plant a few of my 25g trees in ground this year. I don't know if I will do much up potting this year and since a lot of my trees have Breba and broken buds it might it a little late for root work. The move and new house had taken up way more time then I thought. Pete, that sounds like a good system. I shouldn't be in a rush to up pot since unfortunately I haven't been able to taste a lot of figs from quiet a few of my trees for one reason or another, mostly squirrels...

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        • #7
          Brettjm,
          How many figs do you harvest from that LSU Purple in the 50 gallon container?
          Just curious.


          71GTO,
          The 5 gallon buckets can be used for years with root pruning at least every 2 years. By the 3rd year the buckets get completely root bound unless you are also practicing in-ground burial or they are used as SIPs. Its a good size for multi-year cultivar evaluations.
          Last edited by AscPete; 05-01-2015, 08:26 AM.
          Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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          • brettjm
            brettjm commented
            Editing a comment
            Pete. The tree is still growing, so this # doesn't reflect potential, necessarily. Last year I got about 100 figs off of a 4 year old plant. This year its looking to be well over that, though they're just starting to form. I'm expecting between 150-200, I hope. It's not the most co-operative in terms of growing how I want it to grow though, and its had tough times root-wise (e.g. 5" rain in 2 weeks here stressed it pretty bad earlier this year)

          • AscPete
            AscPete commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks for the reply...
            I was looking for a quantity to use as a comparison to a 5 gallon tree which can easily get 70 - 80 figs by the 3rd year. Its a continuation of a topic from F4F, http://figs4funforum.websitetoolbox....+gallon+bucket

        • #8
          Pete I will say that the growth rates I have seen from my half 55g barrel SIPs have been much greater than my 5g SIPs. I started two RdBs the winter of 2013 and placed one in a 5g, the other in the half 55g. The 5g grew to about 3ftx3ft. The half 55g grew to about 6ftx6ft. Same mix, similar location, both on timed irrigation.
          Youtube: PA Figs eBay: tdepoala
          Wishlist: Galicia Negra, Paritjal Rimada, Black Ischia UCD

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          • AscPete
            AscPete commented
            Editing a comment
            IMO, the larger containers and in-ground planting should yield larger trees and hopefully larger production. But from a labor and storage point of view multiple 5 gallon buckets can provide as many or more figs than the individual larger containers. Two or three 5 gallon buckets could out produce one (1) 25 gallon tree and are much easier to maintain (root prune), move and store.

          • PA Figs
            PA Figs commented
            Editing a comment
            Agree completely Pete. I am getting away from the 5g though due to the difficulty in keeping them upright as well as the constant water requirements... if my irrigation stops working while I am out of town, bad things happen to large trees in 5g.

          • AscPete
            AscPete commented
            Editing a comment
            Automatic watering setup with 5 gallon (or any sized) SIPs and partial burial of the pots can also eliminate knock-over.
            Automated watering with a Level Control Bucket with float, http://www.alaskagrowbuckets.com/grow-bucket-gallery/ and the complete manual, http://www.alaskagrowbuckets.com/ala...-bucket-guide/

        • #9
          I have a lot of trees In 7g nursery pots. Most are one or two years and I did a little root work last year. Hopefully everything does ok this year.

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          • #10
            Have a few in half barrels but use a tractor so a non issue.
            Cutting sales have ended for the season. Plant sales will start March 1 at 8 eastern time. If it is still too cold in your area I can hold your plants till a date of your choosing.

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            • #11
              I won't go larger than a 15 gallon pot and much prefer a top size of 7 gallon. Too heavy otherwise. A carpenter friend came by the other day, took a look at the 7 gallons, and said, "A dolly would be perfect for these." I'll get one soon.
              Tony WV 6b
              https://mountainfigs.net/

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              • #12
                I am going to keep a lot of trees that go into my greenhouse in 10-gal containers on a permanent basis. Larger than that probably won't fit in the greenhouse. All the Col De Dames and Panachee will be in 10-gal for life.
                Rafael
                Zone 10b, Miami, FL

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                • #13
                  It sounds like i've gotten pot happy... I guess I'm going to have to think about this.

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                  • #14
                    Here are two knockover remedies used by local nurseries...
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                    The first is "Pot in Pot" and the second is a Rail Bracing. For the above ground Braces the metal rails can be located 2' above ground. The barrels are weighted down with Cement Blocks or Cement Bricks.
                    Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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                    • #15
                      I'll never go above 15 gallon for anything again. Just too difficult to move. I am in the process of moving my blueberries into their new enclosure but some will have to remain where they are because they are in larger containers. Next winter I'll severely root prune and put them back into 15 gallons. Yes, plants generally will grow larger in larger containers, but if you have to move them, it's just not worth the hassle. I'd rather have more, smaller containers. Wish I had lots of 10 gallon pots, but there seem to be more used 15s available, so that's what I use.
                      SoCal, zone 10.
                      www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

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                      • #16
                        I have 2 in 40 gal pots. Harbor freight and Northern tool have hand trucks with extra long tangs but the NT one is a lot better.

                        http://www.northerntool.com/shop/too...6484_200586484 - rated 600 lbs, $79 but 20% off coupons abound.

                        It's not at all difficult to move a 40 gal pot with one of these. But I use a lightweight mix - pine bark chunks plus organic fertilizers like worm castings, etc. No gran-i-grit for me The rest are in 7 - 20 gal pots.
                        Last edited by Harborseal; 05-01-2015, 12:27 PM.
                        Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

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                        • #17
                          Coincidentally, I just ordered a new hand truck this morning. I went with the one (or similar) Dennis recommended the other day - 600 pound capacity and highly rated at 4.8 out of 5. And alas almost twice as much as the second Harbor Freight one linked above. Just over $50 and delivered to my local HomeDepot (free shipping). I use a heavier mix to help retain water so I suspect my larger pots could break a cart that could only handle 150 pounds.

                          I actually did move one of my larger pots with my old hand truck yesterday. Not only was it heavy, it was very cumbersome... not the stuff of a hobby. A gal's got to know her limitations.
                          Last edited by Gina; 05-01-2015, 11:29 AM.
                          SoCal, zone 10.
                          www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

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                          • #18
                            This is the cart that I use. It works perfect, I just use a tie down strap to secure the pot to the frame of the cart. If the tree gets too big on top that it is in your face, just insert a wood block or simple V-type wedge/spacer made from 2x4. They price is right at $100, but the stair climber rails are garbage. They offered to return and refund the money, I said I liked it but just wished they could do something about the stairclimbers. They said they have recieved many complaints on the issue and then offered nearly an almost %50 percent refund to keep the cart. I'm just going to cut the welds to the climber assembly and leave the skid bars. They said they are probably going to stop selling it, so there is an opportunity to get one at a great price. 600lb capacity, the folddown extension holds 350 lbs.
                            I should also add the pneumatic wheels are a huge advantage in the yard.
                            Calvin, Wish list is to finish working on the new house, someday.
                            Bored? Grab a rake, paint roller, or a cordless drill and come over!

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                          • #19
                            I use a big dolly with a cap of 600 lbs. A whiskey barrel fits nicely on one.
                            Dennis
                            Charlotte, NC /Zone 8a

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                            • #20
                              I do have a plane Jane hand truck that I use and it works ok, but maybe I need to step up my game, lol.

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                              • #21
                                Today was the start of my bare rooting and up potting. I have sixteen (16) additional 5-gallon containers to up pot and prune (canopy and roots), they were "donated" to this year's fig raffles at the Northeast Fig Gatherings by an older F4F member from Connecticut that can no longer care for her plants. Some are unknowns and a few have faded tag, but many are without tags.

                                I thought that it would be relatively simple since they were "only in 5 gallon bucket", but they haven't been root pruned in years and the potting mix is extremely dense and heavy. There were very few feeder roots and a tangle of healthy looking medium sized roots. Attached are a few photos including the new containers, "in-ground burial pots". The tree has been pruned back to a single main stem.
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                                Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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                                • johnnieb71
                                  johnnieb71 commented
                                  Editing a comment
                                  Wow Pete that is some root ball.

                              • #22
                                For moving the large SIPs and Pots I would recommend a "Low profile landscape nursery cart" Instead of a hand truck or standard dolly its similar to the "Large Pot Mover" linked by PasturedFigs in post #2. They are commercially available, but are more expensive than a good hand truck. http://www.amleo.com/leonard-flatbed...y/p/VP-2448LW/ and http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/ma...landscape-cart the size is much larger than required for individual large pots.
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                                I modified my original homemade 4 wheeled tilt bed platform dolly to the 2 wheeled design and am amazed by the maneuverability and ease of use. The weight of the pot simply has to be centered over the axle. The low tilting bed allows the pot to be walked onto the bed of the dolly and then it's easily pivoted level for transport (with very little effort and no lifting), https://youtu.be/ns2oiopZXUI?t=21 . The homemade dolly is constructed of readily available materials I used two 10" diameter tires (rated at 300 lbs each) 2 pieces of angle iron for side and wheel support with a piece of 3/4" plywood 24" wide x 36" long for 55 gallon or 24" diameter maximum sized containers. Its bolted together with 1-1/2" carriage bolts. Its basically a platform hand truck with only 2 wheels on the side instead of directly under the platform.
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                                Last edited by AscPete; 05-25-2015, 01:07 AM. Reason: Typo and added link to Global Ind.
                                Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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                                • #23
                                  If you are only going to use one pot at a time, why not make it square or at least a little shorter?
                                  Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

                                  Comment


                                  • #24
                                    Bob C,
                                    It could be made 6" shorter on the back end due to the 24" max pot size, but the front end needs to remain at 18" for a shallow loading ramp angle (similar to an automotive Car Dolly). The size is actually dependent on the size of the pots, ones with more taper from bottom to rim can be sized proportionally.

                                    I've also ordered a set of fixed 4" dolly wheels to build and test a simple modified platform truck for those who traverse paved or cemented hard surfaces. Its simpler to build and a kit with all the parts (for a standard Platform Cart) can be purchased online. I need the pneumatic "floatation" tires due to my gravel and grass covered paths. The 10" tires are able to carry a 250 lb load (full 30 gallon barrel) easily over loose gravel and with much less (almost no) effort over harder packed surfaces the max load is ~ 600 lbs, due to the load rating of the wheels. The attached diagram is a revision of the diagram provided with the Platform truck kit http://www.northerntool.com/shop/too...1811_200631811
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                                    BTW, the axles on the prototype with the 10" pneumatic tires are grade 5 - 5/8" bolts (overbuilt).

                                    Forgot to add that the cost of material for the 2 wheeled prototype is less than $60.00 for all the materials needed to fabricate one cart. The only tools needed are a large drill (for 5/8" and 3/8" holes), a saw to cut the angle iron and plywood (which could both be purchased precut) and wrenches to tighten the nuts and bolts.
                                    Last edited by AscPete; 05-25-2015, 07:46 PM. Reason: Added material cost.
                                    Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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                                    • #25
                                      Wish I had a layflat trailer... http://farmhack.org/tools/lay-flat-trailer
                                      .

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                                      • AscPete
                                        AscPete commented
                                        Editing a comment
                                        If I had a lay flat trailer I would just build a green house structure on top of it....
                                        It would eliminate the need for a tree dolly....
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