I have a two year old dwarf Asian Pear tree that I initially planted into a large (22" x 26") pot. I've decided I would prefer it in the ground (I noticed that a long root was growing from its one drainage hole). When is a good time to do this (January? February?) And do you have any tips I should be aware of?
You can transplant the pear tree now or in February. Many transplants are done during this time period. The weather is relatively mild.
How to transplant a fruit tree
- Since you have a root growing out of the bottom, I would start by gently digging into the top of the soil and seeing how many roots there are in the pot. Or if you can loosen the soil enough to pull the root growing outside the pot through the drainage hole. Lots of roots in the pot will assist if you cannot get the long root out or need to cut it off.
- The permanent location for the tree should be away from your home and any sidewalks. Even dwarf trees can become a problem for foundations and sidewalks. To make sure the roots do not come above the ground, water at the base of the tree and water deeply.
- Dig the hole twice as wide as the pot but about the same depth as the pot. This will give the plant the same soil level as it has had.
- When you take the plant out of the pot, which might be quite a task, gently shake some of the soil away and gently spread the roots out. If the pot is root bound, you will need a sharp knife to slice through some of the outer roots in order for new roots to grow.
- Make a small mound of soil in the center of the newly dug hole and spread the roots over it. Add soil, making sure the tree is not slanting, and tamp down as you layer the soil. Water in thoroughly.
Prune the tree judiciously if you want the three to stay small — they love to grow tall. It should also be in an area where it will get 6-8 hours of sun and have good drainage. They don't do well in areas that flood, even if it is just during the rainy season.
There are several suggestions for what to put in the new planting area. Some say just use the soil you took out of the hole, and others say to add composted materials and mix them with regular soil. Adding mycorrhizae fungi to the hole assists the roots in growing out further and brings more nutrition to the tree.
See the OSU Extension catalog publication below with detailed instructions on planting a tree, page 10 - 12.