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  • “Orchard”of figs growing in containers sank in the ground

    Im planting my figs in 10 gallon plastic containers sank in ground about half way. I will let them root into the ground at autumn dig underneath to cut the roots just not to let those roots become too thick.
    What would be the ideal spacing between the trees grown like this?
    United Kingdom, Zone 9a, maritime climate
    Wishlist: every early, cool summer and rain tolerant variety

  • #2
    After doing this the first two years of growing, I found digging them out is not as easy as one would think. One recommendation though, use pots with drainage holes on the side vs on the bottom. In my opinion, fig roots, when given the opportunity, will run rather than forming a root mass under the tree. I found that by cutting the roots off at the pot left a smaller root system and a I lost several trees the following year. Also, of those that survived, some have major reduction in fruit production the following year. In my opinion, if you can’t totally plant inground, a larger pot with proper root pruning every three or four years is the better option.
    Last edited by DaveL; 02-16-2020, 10:00 AM.
    Dave- Waterford, Ct. Zone 6a


    • Thorntorn
      Thorntorn commented
      Editing a comment
      Good advice, Dave.


    • a.tibor
      a.tibor commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you. I will keep it in mind. Do you know at what temperatures does the rootball damage if it is kept in a large container at wintertime?

  • #3
    Four ft apart is room enough for anything in a pot. Even less if you are tight on space. Four ft between plants and 6-8ft between rows would be about where I'd start.
    Alpine, Texas 4500ft elevation Zone 7


    • a.tibor
      a.tibor commented
      Editing a comment

  • #4
    I use deep wood chips to sink the pots in and they come up easily when the time comes to put them away. I don't put them in the ground at all. It works great! Mine are spaced 3 and 4 feet apart, often with smaller pots in between them.

    I second the comment from Dave above about pots with the drain holes on side for easier removal.
    New Madrid, Mo. Z7


    We all bleed fig-honey!


    • #5
      Ditto on surrounding the "Side Drainage Holes" with deep wood mulch.
      My 5 gallon buckets at 5' centers had overlapping branches by the end of my short growing season, but my trees are pruned as low "Tree Form", ~ 7' tall with 2' - 3' main stems and 3' - 4' scaffold branches.Good luck
      Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b


      • #6
        I know of some growers spacing them at about 18 inches apart with no issues. I suppose it depends on how many trees you have, how much room you have to grow them.

        I'll be doing the same this year with all of my potted trees, however, I'm going to try both methods - above ground buried in mulch and buried halfway in the ground with holes at the sides of the pots. I would be interested to know if there is any difference in soil temperatures and watering frequency with both methods.
        WL La Radek BT, Improved Celeste, Florea


        • #7
          I have done this also, for three seasons, as many as 14 plants in the last 2 years. Mine are in smaller buckets, side holes as mentioned by others. I spaced mine just 2 ft between buckets which worked pretty well, some minimal overlap by end of season. My buckets were in good garden soil, not wood chips. By severing the roots with a garden spade they came up easily. A side note - some roots have grown as much as 5 ft out from the buckets in a single season.
          I am transitioning away from this method - some of the trees have not grown or produced well. Maybe I should have fertilized more. Maybe they needed root pruned inside the buckets too. But most of the trees have not been as productive as trees in regular 5g SIPs. I also think that the trees are so busy establishing an expanded root system that they focus on making roots first and on making figs second.
          I still have a few I plan to experiment with but some have been re-potted into SIPs and a few will be planted in ground this spring.
          SW PA zone 6a


          • #8
            The problem is that when you're chopping the current years roots that extend from pot you're changing the tree balance between roots and canopy.
            This forces the tree to try and adjust and as stated by others this affects production and can also shock plant.


            • #9
              Has anyone else mentioned side holes? LoL! Seems I’m not the only one who learned that lesson the hard way!

              I had a Negronne a few years ago..... loads of holes in the bottom of a pot sunken very deep. I got it out but my back was unhappy

              Guildwood Village - Toronto, Canada - Zone 6


              • #10
                I had my MBvs sitting on top of the ground / mulch unintentionally put out roots through the side holes near the bottom of a 15 gal pot last year. At least two of those roots are more than an inch thick. Tree grew about 15 ft high in one season, trunk got to almost 2" thick. It was shading the solar panels on the roof. I had to prune it with a saw, pruning shears were a joke. I've been avoiding dealing with it, but gotta cut those roots soon, sigh...
                Richard - San Diego 10a
                2020 Cuttings Sale Link


                • #11
                  DrDraconian When you do cut those roots, what are you going to do with them?
                  WL: Maltese Beauty, Dalmatie, Texas Peach, Buzzone Nero, BFF, BB10, Adriatic JH, Battaglia Green, CLBC, White Baca, Del Monte, Raspberry Tart, Watermelon, Edith Lamb, Thermalito, Hative D'Argenteuil, Azores, Martinenca Rimada, Paratjal Rimada, Golden Rainbow


                  • DrDraconian
                    DrDraconian commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Leave them in the ground. Ain't no way I'm going to try to dig them out, Way too much effort for little benefit.

                  • FigHearted
                    FigHearted commented
                    Editing a comment
                    True, true