Fruit trees in pots?

I am about to embark on a big -- at least it's "big" to me! -- project in my backyard. Involves converting a central veg. patch into a recreational "Island" with flagstones, umbrella table and chairs, decorative elements, potted plants.
I also want to to replace two fruit trees that bore for years, but died a few (more than a few? who keeps track?) years ago. I should have done it right away; would be harvesting plums and apricots now!!! Damn, damn damn!
Question: I see mature fruit trees advertised on Craig's List. They are in pots. How long could I keep them in pots while I work on the project? Can I leave them in (very large) pots indefinitely? They would be part of the "decorative elements".
Your experience valued.
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I'd begin by contacting the people offering the trees and asking whether they'll also have them available in spring or whenever. This way, they're taking all the risks.
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You need to supply more information, like what zone you're in (plums/apricots won't live through a hard freeze in pots), and whether dwarf, semi-dwarf, or full size trees. If your ultimate goal is to harvest fruit I would wait until you're ready to plant your fruit trees directly into the ground. And I'd purchase fruit trees from a reputable local nursery. If what you want is decorative, perhaps for the blossoms, then buy a non fruiting flowering version.
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Higgs Boson wrote:

How long you can keep them in the vendor's pots depends on how rootbound they are. If they have just been potted from bare root into a good size pot a year or maybe two. If they are already heavily rootbound don't even buy them. Look for roots running around the top at least and if the top growth seems big for the pot try to tap them out and inspect the roots while nobody is looking.
You can keep them in large tubs indefinitely provided you care for them. Historically this has been done for many hundreds (probably thousands) of years. They will tend to dry out more than in the ground even in a big tub and feeding is a bit more tricky. The trees will be dwarfed when they become rootbound but this may not be such a bad thing. A small fruit tree like a cumquat may even reach its full size. I have a Kaffir lime in a 60cm (2ft) tub that is doing well it has nearly stopped growing at about 1.2m (4ft) but that suits me fine.
David
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You are a disgusting creature. Get you mind above your belt.

Irrelevant to anything David has written in this thread.

Yep, you'v got a mind like a cesspit.
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On 8/17/10 1:52 PM, Higgs Boson wrote:

I would suggest buying dwarf or semi-dwarf fruit trees in 1 gallon or 5 gallon cans and moving them up to large flower pots.
The best time to plant them is late winter or early spring. This is true whether you are planting deciduous trees (e.g., stone fruits, apples) or subtropical evergree trees (e.g., citrus).
If the pots rest on pavement, get 3 paver bricks for each pot (available at Home Depot and many building material supply yards). Arrange the bricks in a triangle with the corners open. Set the pot on the bricks so that air circulates under the pot. This will prevent the drain hole from becoming clogged, which can easily happen if the pot rests directly on the pavement.
See my <http://www.rossde.com/garden/dwarf_citrus.html for how I handled dwarf citrus, three of which are actually within the edges of my back lawn. The dwarf lemon produces more lemons than we can use. I seem to be the only one who likes kumquats, so the dwarf kumquat produces a sufficient crop for me. I really could use more oranges that my dwarf tree produces. However, unlike many other fruits from the supermarket, store-bought oranges can be quite good. (I won't touch store-bought peaches.)
As an alternative to fruit trees (or in addition), you might consider shading your recreational "Island" with table grapes growing on arbors. They can cover an arbor in just a few years. One vine can provide an abundant crop of grapes, so get varieties that do not all ripen at the same time.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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Good point. Can the same result be obtained by placing the pots over gravel? The landscape architect (my only begotten son) who is advising me from NewYorkistan says that the "recreational island" (whatthehell should I call it?) needs to be laid over 'n' inches of gravel for drainage rather than laying the flagstones directly on the ground.

I give away lemons in droves to the neighbors. There is a local citizens' group that is raising funds to replace recession cuts to the schools*, called "Lemon Aid". Maybe they can use donated lemons.
* Idea: Stop pissing away money on our two wars and bring the money home for domestic use. I

I really could use more oranges that > my dwarf tree produces. However, unlike many other fruits from the

(writing this in l/c so the jealous gods can't read it. after 3 frustrating attempts, my Washington dwarf orange has produced several beautiful globes. they should be ready to harvest by december. can't wait!)
(I won't touch > store-bought peaches.)
You can get good ones at the farmers' markets. Sigh! I had fifteen good years of the best (*&^%$((& peaches ever grown, till the tree finally gave up the ghost. RIP

What a kewl idea!!! Must bounce it off my o.b. son, the landscape architect. Thanks.
[...]
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Here's my squirrel story: I was away for a week or so, and didn't want the *&^$() squirrels to get the last few plums on the last viable limb on an aging plum tree. So I carefully covered each plum with a small paper bag, fastened at the base with twist-ties.
Hah! Squirrels way ahead of me. Ixnay plums on return.
Why did I give away that .22!
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I just got done hacking down my grapes over the "arbor". there were lots of bunches of little grapes and tasty, but the mess of the grapes falling onto the walk which attracted flies, wasps, etc was too much. I think the kiwi that is eating the arbor and reaching out for the Japanese maple is going to go next. I have such a small back yard. sigh. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Somewhere between zone 5 and 6 tucked along the shore of Lake Michigan on the council grounds of the Fox, Mascouten, Potawatomi, and Winnebago
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there are dwarf fruit trees that do very well in tubs. the advantage is they are precious and fruit the year after planted. however, they need to have most of the fruit stripped because it is hard on the young tree.
I keep fig trees in tubs (the fig harvest is beginning now, yum). Actually I have 9 figs in tubs but in zone 5 they have to be prunned and dragged into the heated garage to make it over winter as they are not winter hardy. this was a few years ago, they are bigger now and more productive. http://weloveteaching.com/landscape/figs/figgrove.htm
wrote:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Somewhere between zone 5 and 6 tucked along the shore of Lake Michigan on the council grounds of the Fox, Mascouten, Potawatomi, and Winnebago
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well precocious rather than precious. sigh
On Fri, 20 Aug 2010 09:42:56 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@wi.rr.com wrote:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Somewhere between zone 5 and 6 tucked along the shore of Lake Michigan on the council grounds of the Fox, Mascouten, Potawatomi, and Winnebago
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