I have just bought some land. I have 5 acres to play with. I would like to get some fruit trees and grape vines now, and plant them in five-gallon buckets. It will take me a year to set up the trellis's and places for the fruit trees. Will my newly bought trees and vines survive in buckets until I am ready to plant?
On a side note; does planting in buckets and allowing the trees/vines to become root-bound cause them to remain dwarfed after transplanting?
I got some grape vine prunings started in 5 gallon pots once, and did not plant them in the ground until a year later. If you want to use 5 gallon buckets, make sure you drill drainage holes in them so your grapes won't get waterlogged. You could also just wait until you have the place prepared and the trellis built and buy a grape plant then.
For the fruit trees, I think it makes more sense to plan exactly where you want them, get your ground ready, and buy some nice bare root trees at the right time for your area to plant directly. There are often good selections of bare root fruit trees at many garden centers in January and February, so if it takes you a year to get your area cleared, that will be perfect timing.
I am completely understanding of buying plants and later preparing a place for them. I have done this many times while the poor things wait in pots on my porch, but It has usually been better for the plants and for me (don't have to worry about keeping them watered all summer) when I get the place ready first, then buy the plants.
So, is there a particular reason you want to buy the plants now? I don't think it will help them grow bigger or get off to a better start in the long run. If there is a particular, unusual variety that is available now and you might not find it again, that could be worth it.
The reason I want to buy them now is because we are on the brink of hyper-inflation combined with an overall awakening into gardening. It is supply and demand. I am afraid I will have much less selection a year from now. Call me paranoid, but we do use a fiat money system...and now it is the worldwide base currency. No fiat money, except the US Dollar, has ever lasted more than 40 years. The US Dollar has lasted for 49 years so far. When the dollar collapses, which will be the day after the Arabs refuse to accept it in exchange for oil, you will be limited to only the trees and vines and seeds you and your neighbours have to trade between each other.
Just being prudent...we are 16+ Trillion (with a capital T) in the hole.
BTW, you owe $54,000 in US debt. So does your wife, and each of your children. Our country is a country by the people, for the people. Each of us have unwillingly co-signed the loans that the Feds are getting. We voted them into office...remember?
You are probably right for the long run, but we still have time to pot and grow a few trees. Go ahead and put them in old nursery pots, and after each growing season when they are dormant, hold by the trunk, lift off the ground and bump the pot down a few inches. If roots are starting to cover the outside of the root ball, just put the tree in the next size bigger container. If it looks like the trunk is pulling out of the root ball as you first move it, leave it alone for another year. Root binding is nothing to fear as long as you do not let it get too bad. If solidly covered with roots when you plant it, you just slice the roots on the outside of the root ball when you plant it.
When i buy trees in containers, i do the lift and bump before i buy, because some are badly root bound that have been held over because they did not sell the last year, but a bigger problem around here is the nursery just sticks a bareroot in a container and sell it immediately as a containerized tree.
I had good luck with bare-root trees else where, but not here. They just don't have enough roots to survive the transpant shock and establishment period in our extremely dry climate. I use potted trees that have survived at local nursery for a while. Meanwhile, I have had a corresponding increase in root-bound trees and shrubs. So now I dig an extra wide hole, sit the root ball in it, and spray the top and outside of the rootball with a jet nozzle. If I see any circling roots (around or up & over), I cut them with pruning shears. Then I fill the hole before the exposed roots can dry out. This has worked fairly well. You would also need to check the roots when moving to a larger pot.
I don't know if being root bound would help dwarfing - I wouldn't recommend it. We have had plants die that when we dug them up were root bound, and that was the most likely cause of death. I have heard of keeping Passion Vine root-bound to improve fruiting. For dwarfing, you are better off reading up on pruning and training. Different pruning cuts stimulate different types of growth, and training branches to angle outward rather than upward also slows growth.