Soil For Potted Tree - Knowledgebase Question

Napa, CA
Avatar for ahorton7
Question by ahorton7
April 22, 2002
I am planting picea glauca 'conica' in a large pot. UI am wondering
1)if I should mix in a slow release fertilizer
2)should I mix top soil with potting soil or what is the best type of soil fot this situation?
3)should I mix peat moss in to help keep it moist
4)someone mentioned a 'live' mix that started with the name doctor something. this helps keep the soil alive and full of nutrients. have you ever heard of this?

thank you,

Answer from NGA
April 22, 2002
Plants growing in containers require more water and more frequent fertilizing than plants grown out in a garden bed. This is because the roots are not able to search out water and nutrients the way they can when planted directly in the landscape. To overcome these restrictions, it's best to use a good quality potting soil rather than regular soil, or even a mix of potting soil and garden soil. Commercially prepared potting soil is a mixture of peat, sphagnum, sand, and perlite or vermiculite. The combination makes for a growing medium that is light, airy, holds moisture, yet drains well. I'd suggest using a prepared potting soil in your container (make sure the container has adequate drainage holes!). Fertilize throughout the growing season by using a half-strength dilution of a liquid fertilizer, applying every two weeks. This will keep a constant supply of nutrients available to your picea. Water when the top of the growing medium begins to dry out. When you water, apply slowly so that it wets the entire root mass. I find that I need to immerse my containerized plants periodically in a larger container filled with water. This soaks the soil and drives out any air pockets that develop around the roots. I soak the containers for about 10 minutes (until no air bubbles rise to the surface), then allow them to drain thoroughly. Hope this answers all your questions!

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