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Feed for container trees

I have only grown fruit trees in containers and use either tomato feed or my own comfrey tea. I’m having a play with the idea of a container woodland on a courtyard in my garden and wondered what feed type is best for native trees in containers. Field maple, Guelder rose, Rowan and spindle. Given I’m not growing for fruit would a different feed be best?

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  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,032
    I've never fed any tree.  :)
    The only thing they'll need is good soil to grow in, which will need refreshed yearly. In containers, that will be difficult long term though.
    Rowans and field maples will really struggle unless you can give them plenty of water. They'll all need adequate drainage too. 

    They'll all need pruning [tops and roots] to keep them happy unless the containers are massive. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 3,083
    @AnguisFragilis I would say that what you are doing is absolutely fine. Tomato feed promotes flowers and therefore fruit. Comfrey tea is free and as you know organic that would be my choice althogh you may not always have this available.
    The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker,for it involves hours of walking round in circles,apparently doing nothing. Helen Dillon.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Wirral (free draining sandy soil)Posts: 1,743
    For non fruiting trees in containers, I'd feed them with Blood Fish and Bone which is an organic feed with an NPK ratio of 5-5-6 to support leaf, root and flower growth.  As you have said, tomato food promotes fruiting and will be less useful for woodland trees.  Repotting and using a soil based compost will be important for healthy growth but the trees' size, health and longevity will be dependent on you for constant maintenance, watering and feeding. They will be far better off in the ground. Perhaps a fastigiate or dwarf variety of tree would be a better option to consider if you are restricted to growing trees in containers.
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,677
    A Japanese maple would be better for a container than a field maple. There are green ones with less-divided leaves if you want it to look less exotic than the ones with bright-coloured, finely-divided leaves. I think there are varieties of rowan that are smaller than the native one, so it might be worth looking for one (try specialist nurseries).
  • Thanks for replies. They are currently between 30-60cm tall so I think they’ll be fine in containers for a while. I’ll look at the fish and bone meal. 
  • bédébédé Surrey Hills, acid greensand.Posts: 1,326
    edited 19 January
    My bonzai field maple, grown from a seed, is 20 years in a small pot.  I change the compost from time to time and top and root prune.  Grown in full sun.  I make sure it gets enough water to which I add general purpose  garden fertiliser now and again.  It's very happy.

    I also grow lime, elm, beech, hornbeam, oak, ash, horse chestnut, Norway maple, all from seed ... and a weeping tsuga from a garden centre plant.

    Something similar for my mop head bay trees.
    "Have nothing in your garden that you don't know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
  • bédé said:
    My bonzai field maple, grown from a seed, is 20 years in a small pot.  I change the compost from time to time and top and root prune.  Grown in full sun.  I make sure it gets enough water to which I add general purpose  garden fertiliser now and again.  It's very happy.

    I also grow lime, elm, beech, hornbeam, oak, ash, horse chestnut, Norway maple, all from seed ... and a weeping tsuga from a garden centre plant.

    Something similar for my mop head bay trees.
    That's cool, this is kind of what I'm going for. If it doesn't work I'll find a spot for them in the ground. Like I said they are still whips at this stage. I certainly dont intend on letting them grow indefinitely.
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