The Q&A Archives: Trees in containers

Question: What type of ornamental/shade trees are suitable to be grown in containers in the city of Philadelphia PA

Answer: Unfortunately, most trees do not do well long term in containers because the larger the tree the larger the needed soil volume. Also, in cold winter areas such as Philadelphia, there is the risk of cold damage to the roots. This happens because they are not as well insulated as they would be if planted in the ground. So as far as growing a large shade tree, a container would not be realistic. But you could probably grow a smaller variety of crabapple in a large sized container for a few years, as long as you are careful to keep it well watered during the growing months. Use a half whiskey barrel sized planter or larger, a good quality potting mx formulated for container planting, and fertilize regularly with a slow release granular fertilizer such as 10-10-10 per the label directions. Good luck with your tree!

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