A Guide to Repotting Deciduous Fruit Trees and Blueberries
It’s officially repotting season – spring. If you’re going to repot any plant, now is the time to do it, from decorative pots to succulents, get it done now! If you’re like me, you may feel a little busy right now to be spending an afternoon in the garden, but trust me, it’s worth it. Getting your hands in the dirt will help you mentally and physically, and the benefit to your fruit trees can be huge!
Whether you’ve had your fruit tree or blueberry in the same pot for a few years, you’re finally in a permanent location and want to plant your fruit tree, or your soil needs to be refreshed – the principals are really the same. To continue the high fruit yield from your PlantNet® fruit tree, it’s essential to maintain your soil quality and restore it when necessary. To get the best results this spring, read on in our Guide to Repotting Fruit Trees!
Pruning Fruit Trees
Did you prune your fruit tree while dormant? If no, it’s a great idea to trim your tree back lightly before repotting. If you imagine the tree in two halves, above ground and below ground, you can see how there are two forms of energy being created, absorbed, and used for growth. When repotting, you want your plant to focus on root growth. By pruning the top half, you focus the plant’s growth on the root zone, and you get the bonus of more branching in your tree. Plan ahead by researching whether open vase, espalier, or leading branch shaping suit your garden.
If you did prune in winter, you can put your secateurs back in the shed!
Prune or no prune, mark north on your trees so that when you repot or plant the tree you are keeping it at the same orientation.
Repotting Fruit Trees – Step by Step
- Lay your pot flat on its side and gently tease your fruit tree out of its’ pot.
- Use your fingers to comb the old soil out of the roots. Be gentle and try not to damage any of the roots. If you fruit tree is root bound, you may find it easier to first soak the roots in a seaweed-water solution before removing old soil.
- Note: Blueberries may have their roots trimmed so that they can be replanted in their old pot provided it’s at least 50cms wide. They can live this way for many years.
- Place your tree in your new pot or hole to ensure that its new home is big enough for the root ball. If not, get a larger pot, or pull the shovel out and make your hole bigger. PlantNet® fruit trees require a pot at least 50cms wide and deep with drainage holes. For more details on planting fruit trees in the ground, check out our Ultimate Guide to Growing Fruit Trees.
- Place a thin layer of gravel or clay balls at the bottom of the pot, approximately 2cms deep. This ensures water continues to drain out of the pot with the weight of the soil over the drainage holes. You can place a piece of hessian on top of the gravel/clay balls to separate it from the soil.
5. Place Premium Potting Mix on top of the drainage layer. Check to see if your fruit tree will fit again, and that the root ball is slightly higher than it was in the previous pot. You should then backfill the pot with premium potting mix, patting it down tight, and filling the pot up to the point on the tree where the soil line ended in its previous pot.
- Note: Blueberries require 50% Premium Azalea and Camellia potting mix and 50% coarse pine bark which has a more acidic pH and good aeration.
6. Place a thin layer of mulch over the top of the potting mix. Straw mulches are good for fruit trees, and orchid bark is good for blueberries. Only use bark mulches on fruit trees planted in the ground, as it will acidify potting mix in a pot quickly.
7. Water deeply. You can use a seaweed solution for this step to encourage root growth – I always do!
8. Put your fruit tree in its new position, making sure you have orientated it the same way as it was in its old position.
- Note: PlantNet® fruit trees require full sun, which means approximately 5-6 hours of direct sunlight every day, every season.
We have a variety of articles that will walk you through ongoing care. These resources are listed below for you to use. For further questions, Contact Us.
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