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satellitehead

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Reply with quote  #1 
I noticed a couple of things today while up-potting half a dozen figs to 3+ gallon containers.

While taking pots up out of their stall where they are close to the dirt, I realized that my best growers this year had run large roots right through the hole(s) in the bottom and into the ground, there were also lots of fine roots, but some of the larger roots were upwards of 1' long and half as thick as a pencil.

The plants that ran roots through the pot and into the ground suffered from the worst transplant shock after repotting and had to be placed in the shade.

Some of the plants were spaced almost an inch off the ground and still managed to run roots through the air and into the ground!

I have some plants in pots that have NO holes in the bottom (only on the side of the pot near the base) and those suffered the least from transplant shock, could be put into direct sun after up-potting; they also had much fewer, much finer roots running into the ground.

My conclusion:

I think it's better to avoid pots that have holes on the bottom when you know you will up-pot.  These types of pots seem to be very hard to find!  I know Nursery Supplies makes them for Monrovia and others.

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Jason
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Reply with quote  #2 
The flip side of the coin is that your best growers might BE your best growers because they got their roots into the ground.
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Ken
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satellitehead

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Reply with quote  #3 
Noted. But if they are just gout to be set back on up-pot because of it.... Is it worth it?
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Reply with quote  #4 
Hard to say. I guess it depends on your long-term plans for the fig. If it's going to always be in a pot, maybe letting it root into the ground each growing season and then cutting it loose in the fall once it goes dormant might be a good idea (a number of people have posted about the benefits of partially-buried pots). Wouldn't that reduce the need for annual root pruning? If it sends new roots into the ground each year, it would probably also be less likely to get root-bound, and maybe wouldn't have to be "up-potted" as often.

If it's going in the ground anyway, maybe it's best to just plant it and let it get to work on building a good root system--unless it's too young and delicate to make it through the winter outdoors.

I suppose the important thing is to not to be surprised. I recently shifted a fig and in doing so, discovered it had rooted into the ground (the roots broke when I lifted it). What I didn't notice was that the emitter had come loose some time ago and no water had been getting into the pot at all. It had been living solely on the moist soil under the pot, and when I broke its lifeline, it crashed in a matter of hours. Fortunately I noticed and replaced the emitter before it died, and now it's growing new leaves.

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Ken
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Reply with quote  #5 
Interesting story on the irrigation issue. Seems to be similar to what I saw. Who needs to bury when .... ?

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Jason
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Reply with quote  #6 
Good point--if yours are literally rooting through the air to reach soil, who needs a shovel?
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Ken
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Reply with quote  #7 
Jason,

Maybe you waited to long to repot, if your plants were outgrowing the pot that much>


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satellitehead

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Reply with quote  #8 
The plants exhibited no signs of being rootbound. In fact, the entire top of the footballs were nearly devoid of significant roots.
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Jason
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pitangadiego

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Reply with quote  #9 
It is sort of like having your cuttings in clear cups. The top growth does not reflect the bottom (root) growth, you want to be able to see what is going on. With larger plants, you just have to pick them up once in a while.

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Reply with quote  #10 
But if pots will have no holes on a buttom where extra water will go?
I did kill my Hollier this year..
what happen? I put this one in a big 10 gallon pot and after some time I find out pot split on a side.. So I put this plant in another pot without removing plant from this split one.. Still was hole on a buttom.. So, because extra water was have no way to go.. Roots start be too wet.. and plant died.. Even I try re pot this one as soon as I start think this is the way plant start loosing leaves.. I don't save this one..
So, I think this is important to have holes on a buttom of a pot..
I don't lost any other plants.. So, I'm sure this was a reason.. extra water didn't have a way to go away..
About re potting..
May be better wait till later to do so, when plant became dormant..
And I saw this myself plants do better if they roots go in ground from pots..
Even..I do have just salty sand..
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Reply with quote  #11 
I have noticed that some plants will abandon the root ball in the small pot once they have managed to get roots into the surrounding soil. I had a guava tree that escaped its pot and when I transplanted it, all of the roots in the pot were dead and only the roots going growing outside of the pot were still alive. I think it might be good to check the root ball in the pot to see if the roots are still alive before damaging the roots that are growing into the ground. If the root ball is still healthy and growing it might not matter as much to sever the escaped roots.

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satellitehead

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Reply with quote  #12 
@olga - if you use a pot with holes at the bottom-sides (not the actual bottom) then they work out of the side holes, but there are not as "significant" of roots, so the plant still relies on the pot.

'afigfan' has nailed it on the head.  it seems once the plant found a direct path to the ground, it worked on that root (or roots) and abandoned all efforts to root inside the pot.

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Jason
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Reply with quote  #13 

I wanted to touch base on this and post some pictures to show what I'm talking about.

In the picture below, I labeled the various trees in my 'corral' that require some shade from the heat generated from being on the south side of my house.  Note the picture following to see what these trees looked like just a couple months ago so you can appreciate the growth I will discuss.

The ones on the left were rooted just a few months ago.  Literally - and look at how tall they are.  I allowed them to run roots through the holes in the bottom of the pot and into the (rather rich, mineral-heavy) earth of my raised bed.  After each one laid a tap root into the ground, the tree started shooting up new green growth.  I cannot move the trees without really damaging the root system, so once this green growth hardens, I will up-pot.

The ones in the middle were never allowed to dig into the ground.  They are scrawny.

The ones on the right are older (c. 2009) and were never allowed to grow into the ground.  Notice that the ones from this year are taller, but in much less time.


This is just a sample of what I've been playing with.  If you let your trees dig into the ground like this, you better make sure that you won't want to move them later.  If you do, you'll be nursing them back from wilting due to destroying their mainline to water....



This is the picture from a few months back:





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Jason
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Reply with quote  #14 
Jason I am glad you posted that picture. Its been my experience that when plant's regardless of pot size have the roots hit ground its like a spike of growth. Since 2009 I have drilled atleast a dozen holes on the bottoms of all my pots plus the side holes and place them directly on top of the backyard soil and then throw a bit of soil around the bottom of the pot instead of burying it.

This is Vincenzo in April 2010
SAM_0170.jpg

Vincenzo Aug. 2010
103_0323.jpg V
you can clearly see the roots coming out the sides of the pot was not easy to pull this one out without cutting the roots off on the bottom with a spade shovel.

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satellitehead

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Reply with quote  #15 
Here are some close-up pics of the wide shot above. 

The first pic is this year (2011) batch on the left side and the spring 2010 batch on the right. 

The second picture is several shorter trees from 2009/2010 which have mostly been up-potted to 3ish gallon size.








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Jason
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Reply with quote  #16 
Very interesting, Jason. Looks like there are lots of benefits to rooting into the soil, if you don't have to move the pots before the end of the season. I'm wondering, if most of the significant roots are in the soil beneath the pot, why do you need to up-pot? Couldn't you just leave them where they are till they go dormant, and then cut them loose and store them indoors for the winter? I suppose you would have to increase the pot size a little in the spring, but if you kept letting them root into the ground and stay in one place for each growing season, it seems like you would have many of the advantages of growing in-ground, while maintaining good-sized plants in relatively small pots--without all that annual root pruning.
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Ken
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Reply with quote  #17 
That's a nice setup Jason. I was kind of starting to wonder how I was going to organize my growing collection. Gives me some good ideas. It keeps the critters out and it looks tidy.
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satellitehead

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Reply with quote  #18 
@Ken, I am conflicted on whether to up-pot.  Right now, I need to move them because they're crowding each other out of light and it's creating nodes that are starting to get too long (too leggy)... I know, I could pinch back, but then they're just going to branch over one another, which will make matters worse.  I'm on the fence with this one.  I wish the wood would hurry up and harden off so they won't 'limp out' as much when I cut those main roots.

@hex, thanks for the compliments.  If you need any details about the iterations this area went through, see:  http://figs4funforum.websitetoolbox.com/post?id=5235884

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Jason
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Reply with quote  #19 
Oh, and for a comparison, check out this picture from that thread:

http://figs4funforum.websitetoolbox.com/file?id=1148367

That is what my fig collection was looking like a couple months ago.  As you can see, most of those trees I'm showcasing on the left above were shorter than 8" tall just a couple months ago.

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Jason
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Reply with quote  #20 

I was going to make a topic asking this, but I think it relates and Jason has helped me with up potting before. I have a few new trees went from 1 gallon to 2+ and 3 gallon pots about a month or so ago. they were showing roots out of the bottom. I moved them up and now I am seein even more roots out of the holes then I did in the 1 gallon. I most of my pots on ground. The roots have not gotten into the ground yet they just stay moist sitting under the pot. I don't think they would be root bound at this point, but would this be an example of just wanted to seek the ground?


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Reply with quote  #21 
Jason if you cut those roots now it will set the plants back several weeks easy then they will have a growth spert just in time for cool weather.
They may be a little crowded and the nodes a little long but they are very healthy.
Thats just my thought and you are more qualified at fig growing than me so keep us updated on what you decide and how iwell t works out.

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Reply with quote  #22 
@71GTO, sounds like your trees have some roots that are seeking earth. 

@Jim, I disagree when you say, "more qualified at fig growing".  You've been growing far longer than I have.

I think I may 'thin out' the herd by strategically removing a couple of trees and leaving the others in rooted to the ground.  I'm working out local trades, a couple of Italian Honey trees (I have 4-5) for some Goumi cuttings and young rooted Loquats.

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Jason
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Reply with quote  #23 

@Jason:  what are the dimensions of your "stall" and how many fig plants are housed there?  


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Reply with quote  #24 
Jason,

Next year I plan on using the one part of my yard next to the arbor and fill it with a yard or two with mulch ( maybe more ). The area is approx. 10' x 30'.
This is where I plan on placing most of the fig trees.

I have included a picture for all to see.

Herman mention once that it is good for the roots to grow out into the soil. I think growing into the mulch should be just as good.


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Reply with quote  #25 
My fig orchard is a flower bed filled with mulch. Any roots that grow into the ground are welcome to do so until pot up time. Not all have. At the appropriate time - potting up or garage overwintering, I cut. I have cut off roots growing through pots and into the ground all summer and experience problems only once.

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Reply with quote  #26 
Sara, it is 6' x 13' and fit approximately 50 one gallon pots and 10 two or three gallon pots. When I started up-potting to three and five gallon pots I ran into some issues with jamming that many trees in there. It is really damned hard to water the trees when they leaf out at that density. I had to cram them in this area because the squirrels killed a couple of trees and set a few more back badly (still recovering). Squirrels are like billygoats ' round here.
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Jason
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Reply with quote  #27 
Jason--"thinning the herd" sounds like a great strategy.
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Reply with quote  #28 

????? wondering if having plants this close to each other so there in contact with each other can they spread any disease or fugus etc. . and also i am confused about shading plants. i thought when healthy we want full sun, no. as soon as i think i'm learning something, ugh. one step foward two steps back. then there's another question about new air layers that have been planted for a while( like i think you have lined up along side your house and neighbours house, Jason) and have grown 4' or so. will they grow branches on there own or will you have to do something to make them? Phew!!!! as always good health, Luke

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Reply with quote  #29 

@Jason....are you using any type of irrigation system, or doing manual watering?   Thinking drip irrigation would be quite easy to setup.


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satellitehead

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Reply with quote  #30 
@Sara, Manual watering, almost every morning it's necessary, it only takes 5-6 minutes really.  I leave a lip inside my pots, so it's just a matter of putting the sprayer on the top of the soil for 5-10 second count, and the water soaks in, I'm good for another day.

True, drip would be easy to setup, but you're talking about trying to keep at least 30 and upwards of 60 nozzles free and clear of debris/sediment, and in GA, that's pretty tough to do, even if you add screens in multiple places along the line.

@Luke, It is hot as hell down here in GA.  The setup I am using provides filtered sun all day and some direct sun in the evening hours (2-3 hours), it's the only way I can keep my pots from getting so hot that it will kill the roots, and it's the only reason I water only once a day, because the extreme heat literally will evaporate all water out of the soil in the course of a day here.  Before the shade went up, I was watering once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

It doesn't hurt to put plants in filtered sun like this.  I am only blocking 50% of the sun from them, so they get sun all day, it's just not 'concentrated' sun.  What I have noticed is .... most of my trees which do not get "full sun" also do not produce as much fruit, and the fruit sometimes drops for the shaded plants.  My current situation is one of necessity - we are selling our house, so I must keep everyone together in one place and in pots until we buy a larger piece of land elsewhere.

I have no problems with fungus or mildew or mold with this setup.

I am not aware of any diseases that spread by plant-to-plant contact; do you know of some that I should be worried about?  Up until now, it was not something I was concerned about.

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Jason
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Reply with quote  #31 

where i'm new to figs i do not know if any thing can spread? this does happen with other plants and was asking if this was a problem with figs. I'm sorry if i alarmed you it was not my intent. every one of your plants look beautiful and i hope that i can keep my plants as healthy as you do. still wondering if you must do something to force out branches when the plants keep growing tall? Luke

satellitehead

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Reply with quote  #32 
Yes, you cut off the tip of the leading branch (or "pinch" it off)

Doing this will force branching below the cut/pinch point.

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Jason
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Reply with quote  #33 
So ....

I "thinned out".  I had at least three Italian Honey in there ... traded two of those for four Loquat plants and a couple swamp mallows.  I had a Hardy Chicago in the back corner... it went into the ground this weekend, I pinched the top down to force it to branch a little.  I haven't noticed a lot of setback on any of them after the into-the-ground roots were cut.

I still have a Sal C and Salem Dark that are rooted into the ground and need some up-potting.  Probably get to it this weekend.

Slowly whittling away at the bunch....

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