Air Pruning in Smart Pots
As roots grow in containers they eventually reach the container walls. In hard-sided containers, these roots, upon reaching the walls, start circling and continue to circle seeking a friendlier environment. Upon examination, these root systems exhibit a few strong roots growing in circles with very little branching, often are bound or girdled upon themselves and, depending on the type of plant, can produce a strong tap root growing through the containers bottom. These characteristics can hinder the plant's rate of growth and in some cases its chances of survival when transplanted.
Smart Pots are manufactured out of a custom, non-woven, polypropylene material. Roots grown in a Smart Pot come in contact with the fuzzy, fabric inner wall of the bag and penetrate or grow into the fabric. The bag's tough fabric prevents the root's continued longitudinal growth, in effect pruning it, causing the root to develop masses of lateral fibrous roots. Upon comparison, root systems that developed in a Smart Pot have a much greater mass or volume then those found in hard-sided containers. Plants grown in Smart Pots have root balls that contain many more roots then found in a hard-sided container of similar size .
The fibrous root systems produced in Smart Pots are more efficient and enable plants to maximize water and nutrient uptake in the limited surrounding soil mass.
Learn more in this study about Root Pruning in Fabric Containers.
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