soil for fruit tree in raised bed

Asked February 4, 2017, 11:07 AM EST

I live in Medford (OR) and have clay soil, so garden in raised beds. My question is about fruit trees. If they need to be planted in native soil, how do I do that if I am using raised beds? Do I have to dig a big hole elsewhere in the yard to fill the bed? I use concrete blocks, large ones, two high and two wide. My soil is soggy right now, and will be for a long time into Spring, so using it would be nearly impossible.

Jackson County Oregon fruit trees horticulture soil and fertility issues

1 Response

We're not certain where you received the idea that fruit trees should be planted only in native soil. Fruiting trees such as apple and peach and shrubs such as raspberry and blackberry can thrive anywhere, even in containers so long as the drainage is good; you do not plant them too deep, and they receive proper nutrition. One of the main concerns of raised bed or container growing of fruits is keeping them protected from cold weather.While fruits need a certain amount of chill hours to produce , they lose this potential when the thermometer dips below freezing. Buds can be killed and if the soil freezes (as is possible in a raised bed) so do the roots. You must use varieties of fruit adapted for containers (separate pots can be much deeper than the soil in a raised bed) which generally means dwarf or columnate types. In addition to information you can glean from free publications available from extension.oregonstate.edu you can find an excellent discussion of growing fruits in containers (read also as raised beds) in The Bountiful Container, by Rose Marie Nichols and Maggie Stuckey, Workman Publishing.