Potted fruit trees

Asked October 23, 2017, 7:11 PM EDT

I have several citrus in pots. I feel they are getting root bound . The size of the pots are perfect for me to pick up and move inside for the winter. Can I take them out of the pots and trim back the roots then add soil and put them back in same pot. If so when can I do that.

Josephine County Oregon fruit trees horticulture

1 Response

The best time to repot your trees is in the spring so that actively growing roots will have enough time to grow into newly added potting mix. There are several signs that your tree can exhibit when they are pot-bound. First check the frequency you are watering.

•Do you notice that the potting mix dries out quickly even during periods of cooler temperatures?

•Also, are any roots growing through the drainage holes?

•Does it appear that the foliage and stems have either stopped growing or growth has slowed even when fertilized regularly in spring and summer?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, remove the plant from the container and examine the roots. If the roots are circling around the root ball or are so dense that it is difficult to see any potting mix in the bottom third of the root ball, it's time to repot.

When you discover that your plant is pot-bound, you have a few options. First you need to decide whether you want the plant to continue to grow larger or if you're satisfied with the current size. If you don't want a larger plant, it will be necessary to remove the outer section of plant roots, return the root ball to the container with some new potting mix, and cut back some of the plant's top growth. If the goal is to let the plant grow larger, get ready to repot it.

Here are some publications you may find useful.

https://extension.psu.edu/programs/master-gardener/counties/lackawanna/news/2015/container-grown-trees-and-shrubs-2013-fix-those-roots-before-you-plant

https://extension.illinois.edu/containergardening/choosing_drainage.cfm

https://extension.psu.edu/repotting-houseplants

Hope this helps!