How to Gain the Best Growth on Trees in Development

Well, growing trees in airpots to help replant the rain forests would be surely interesting. Is that what you plan to experiment with? :slight_smile:

Thanks for your input, @Tac and welcome to the discussion. Yes, substrate for trees in development should include some organic material.

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grown in pots til they are about 60cm high (still seedlings) and then put into the ground.

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I like to grow the seedling through a couple of repots using fairly shallow pots in order to get a good nebari started. Typically about 3 years for seedlings I purchase (most often 2 year old) and about 4-5 for ones I start. I feel the time up front results in a better tree since I really like a good nebari.

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Thank you, I appreciate.

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Thanks. A good nebari is always greatly invested effort. I’m planning to do the same with young plants but have troubles to find suitable shallow pots. Could you send me a link or pic of those you use? That would help a lot.

I make mine. Traditionally I have used the plastic trays for under other pots that are 20 - 40 cm diameter and about 5 cm deep. I use a propane torch to heat a 2.5 cm copper pipe coupling that is held in a pair of pliers to melt holes in the bottom of the pot. I also use a 16d nail to melt smaller holes where water might pool and as tie down locations. More recently, I have been making boxes from cedar fencing material (1.5 cm thick) that are 20 cm on a side, 5 cm deep, and have 3 mm mesh bottom. I have attached a couple of pictures of the boxes, I also make larger grow boxes as a transition from the ground to a pot or simply to develop in the box. I could not find a picture of the plastic pot.Grow boxes bottom


Marty, thank you for your prompt response as well as the pics and details about your production. Now I know almost all of your trade secrets :slight_smile: but still missing one - where do you get the 3 mm metal mesh? I went to Home Depot today and the densest mesh they have has 0.25 inch openings…

1/8 inch is aprox. 3MM
Sometimes you will see it as sold as hardware or builders cloth.
I have purchased it here to make both grow boxes and to screen soil components.
You will need a pair of tin snips to cut it easily, and gloves. Cut ends are very sharp.

I will also champion the use of grow bags in the ground. I recently dug a few trees that were in a flower bed out. The ones in the grow bags came out easily and I suspect will not miss a beat once relocated. The trees I had growing in ground on tiles may have more setback. The roots had run and the extraction was much more violent. The actual difference in growth since in the ground between the two is none.

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did you notice any difference in the grow bags vs the tile planted trees during the dog days of summer?

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As @moon stated the 3 mm / 1/8" mesh or hardware cloth is available in some hardware stores. It is also available on-line. I recommend buying a roll since I got stung very badly with shipping getting a flat sheet from a very reputable on-line hardware dealer (it was in a big box). The last batch I got was a 3 ft. by 50 ft. roll from Amazon that will last me and whoever ends up with my trees a lifetime or two. In addition to tin snips (sheet metal shears) You can also cut it will heavy scissors or shears. I often use the low cost florist shears I use for rough pruning to cut pieces for covering the holes in pots. I like it better than the plastic sheet since it is stiffer and has a much higher open area than the plastic, but it can’t be torn to size.


I didn’t notice a difference between the two in the summer, they were quite happy. No additional water needs after about the first 30 days of planting them. They are just watered once or twice a week by the sprinklers along with the beds and the lawn. The bed these trees are in gets morning sun and dappled sun the rest of the day, with shade in the late afternoon. It is a South facing bed on my home. Good conditions for Japanese Maples in Texas. Understory planting with North wind and late afternoon sun protection.

That’s helpful. Thanks, @moon.
Regarding grow bags and trees on tiles, it’s good to combine both.

Thanks, Marty, that’s helpful.

As you can gather @sevastan there are numerous ways to develop trees. Ask two gardeners the same question and if your’e lucky enough to get any info each will be different. Bonsai enthusiasts however, love to share and pass on experiences…

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Surely noticed but also expected - there are responses of people from different regions and countries here - with different environmental conditions, different materials and resources available to them and perhaps also with somehow different preferences. Also, I have noticed and appreciate very highly the willingness to share information and experience, and provide advices. All of that makes me pretty glad I’m a part of this community.

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