Resin vs. wood planters for fruit trees

heavens123April 28, 2013

I need to buy several planters for my community garden plot and am considering resin pots vs. store bought wood boxes. I will be planting bush cherries, blueberries and column apples.

I've never used wood boxes. Aesthetically, I would prefer them for this project and would want them to weather to a natural grey color. Plant health is most important, though, so a few questions: Do they need to be sealed on the inside? if so, with what (non-toxic)? How does a wood box affect water retention? Do you need to water plants in wood more than the same plant in resin? Do I line them with anything or just drill drainage holes? What about cold hardiness? I am in zone 6b and most everything I'm getting is much cold hardier than that. Should they be elevated off of the dirt of the garden plot? The boxes have legs but the resin pots do not.

Thanks for any input.

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mrcaballus

I like to do a couple coats of linseed oil when I'm using wood. Coat it once, give it an hour, coat a second time, and after another hour or so, wipe off the excess with an old rag. You can even come back on a yearly basis and coat the exposed surfaces again. I have raised beds that I used a urethane on before I went to linseed oil. The urethane doesn't allow the wood to breathe, and causes a lot more cupping than the oiled wood does.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 11:28PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I remember a post regarding this not too long ago.

Here is a link that might be useful: Don't use wood containers for trees!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 11:56PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Yeah..i got just a few years out of a whiskey barrel. Obviously whatever they do to them (burn them?) is all that was done to that, but it was completely rotted in the end and that is pretty thick oak. All that moisture/soil and then roots took their tool. I would either treat the wood or line it with something. Wood looks a heck of a lot better then plastic, but my feeling is that plastic will (should) last longer, unless it cracks or something.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 12:11AM
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heavens123

milehighgirl: very helpful link, thanks. The containers I'm looking at would be cedar and not oak. I've seen plastic crack in my area as well, so I guess there are downsides to both.

Mr. Cabballus: I've read about using linseed oil before. Are you using it on the inside and outside or only the inside? I would want the outside to weather to a grey...would the oil on the outside prevent that?

Anyone know about whether watering is increased with wood?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 11:12AM
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mrcaballus

You want to use the linseed oil on every surface. You're trying to protect the wood and keep it from cupping. Don't worry, it'll weather juuuust fine.

Water requirements are going to be a function of construction, as much as material in my experience. Using a single slab of wood or resin will keep the soil damper than multiple slats which will allow more air in. The resin probably keeps a bit more moisture in, but in my experience, you're going to be watering daily or every other day no matter what. Bushes and small trees take up a lot of water.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 8:48PM
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