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How to Container Garden with Trees

WarnersDo you long for the leafy, serene pleasure of a tree in your outdoor space but can’t see quite how to make it work? Maybe you live in an apartment and your “outdoor space” is a small patio, or maybe your soil isn’t the best for trees.

We have a solution for you: Think a little smaller and consider containers.

Any type of “dwarf” tree can be grown in a pot, adding a little bit of arboreal splendor to your backyard, patio or garden.

And it is not difficult to do: it basically requires the same items you would need for any container or raised bed gardening – a container, good soil and your plant.

At Warner’s Nursery, we have an excellent variety of dwarf trees, including fruit and flowering varieties, that are perfect for container gardening in our “hardiness” zone.

One of the more popular reasons for tree container gardening is wanting to fully enjoy a fruit tree. In much of Northern Arizona, it is difficult to actually get fruit from your fruit tree because of the high winds and freezing temperatures that are common during their bloom times.

With a dwarf variety in a pot, you can move your tree into the garage on cold nights when it’s in bloom, or more easily cover the tree because it is smaller.


Here are some other reasons tree container gardening might be for you:

  • Privacy – You’d like to make your yard a little more secluded, but the border of your property isn’t great for planting. Let a row of tall container trees give you the privacy you crave.
  • Gophers – One of the reasons people grow vegetables in raised beds is so they can ensure a great soil mix and reduce the risk of critters like gophers ruining their crop. Growing a tree in a container has the same benefits.
  • Too Much Shade – The place where you’d like to grow a tree is too shady. In a container, you could move the tree throughout the day to sunnier parts of your garden to ensure good production.


There are some things to consider when growing a tree in a container.

The ground naturally insulates the roots of plants during the winter, but in a pot, it’s a little more limited. So you will need to either have a big enough pot to ensure there is enough soil to insulate, or you will need to wrap the container in frost cloth during the winter. You can consult with our experts at Warner’s to determine the best option for your tree.

Also, plants in the ground are able to absorb moisture from the ground, whereas plants in containers cannot, so you have to remember to water. You might want to consider putting a drip emitter into the pots if you can; it has worked well for me at my house.

It’s also good to remember that just because a tree starts in a pot, it doesn’t have to stay there forever. Depending on its growth rate and final size, it may be able to remain in a container, or after a few years, you may want to transplant into the ground.

Happy gardening!

By Misti Warner



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