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How to Create Permanent “Pocket Planters” Under Trees

September 15, 2015

Planting seasonal annual color plants under trees where there are lots of tree roots can be a problem. In our Ohio landscape (before we moved to Georgia) we had a big River Birch that had extensive tree roots. Every time we dug holes to plant annuals in spring we had to cut many tree roots only to have the tree roots grow back to compete with the annuals all summer long. Our solution: We created permanent “pocket planters” to easily swap-out plants for spring, summer and fall color. For example, in late spring we would buy coleus hanging baskets, pot them in our “insert containers” using Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix and Osmocote Plant Food. The plants looked great all summer and with the mulch around them you could not tell they were not actually planted in the ground. It was then very easy to swap these plants for mums for fall color.

We cut tree roots to place permanent 15 inch containers in the ground. These planters served as a "pocket" for the smaller 13 inch planted containers.

We cut tree roots to place permanent 15 inch containers in the ground. These planters served as a “pocket” for the smaller 13 inch planted containers. (click photo to enlarge)

The smaller insert planters can be filled with seasonal plants that will not suffer tree root competition.

The smaller 13 inch insert planters can be filled with seasonal plants that will not suffer from tree root competition.  (click photo to enlarge)

Fall is a great time to hit the garden center to get the containers you will need to create your very own pocket planters under your trees. You can fill your containers with Mums to provide fall color. Or you can get this project started now so you will be ready to plant your containers next spring.

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2 Comments
  1. Dave permalink

    Are these empty pocket containers stocked as a regular item at lowe’s or local nurseries?

  2. Hi Dave
    These are not sold as “pocket containers” We bought regular containers at Home Depot this time of year. We picked matching 15 inch and 13 inch plastic containers that fit nicely together.

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