Caring for Potted Plants


(This includes everything in containers)

DO NOT plant any of our container grown plants now. Continue to grow them in their containers, without transplanting, until they are fully dormant in December and January. Planting or transplanting them before they are fully dormant will send them into shock and likely death.


Continue to water them regularly until they go dormant, every two to three days, growing them in a semi-shaded area, to keep them from drying out. Avoid over watering as it will cause root rot. They like to be fully watered, then allowed to dry out a bit, but not bone dry. A good way to judge the need for watering is by measuring their weight dry and wet. Learn the difference between wet and dry. Pick up the pot when dry and again when fully wet and feel the difference. The large containers are going to be significantly heavier than the smaller ones.


Plant the trees and other plants this first winter. Do not grow them a further year in the existing container. If you cannot plant them in the ground this winter, transplant them into significantly larger pots while they are dormant this winter. Otherwise the plants will be root-bound by early next growing season and stunted the rest of their lives.  Gently remove the plant from the container. Inspect the root system and prune off any damaged roots. Prepare the planting hole with approximately 2/3 native soil and 1/3 fully digested compost (be sure there is no heat or ammonia smell in your compost). Mix the native soil and the compost with up to 5 pounds CalPhos – Soft Rock Phosphate. Encircle the entire planting hole with gopher wire to a depth of 24 inches, plus six inches above ground. ½” aviary netting is adequate. However, stainless steel wire is much superior as regular wire will rust out in 2-3 years, long before the tree is fully able to tolerate gopher attack. The gopher wire cage should be at least 2 ft diameter, preferably 3 ft. For large pots 4-5 ft. diameter. Place the plant in the prepared soil and fully water it in to eliminate any chance of air pockets. (Air pockets cause root die-off). It is also necessary to provide deer protection from day one, as deer will severely stunt small plants. Deer protection should be at least 6 ft high, preferably 8 ft or more.  This should be installed at or before the time of planting, as deer will feed on newly emerging sprouts in late winter and spring.  A couple of feedings by the deer will permanently stunt the plant. Make a small basin all the way around the plant to hold water from rain and irrigation. 

Stand back and enjoy your efforts. With proper management and care, you will have a lifetime of beauty and productivity.