Gilman, E.F., C. Harchick, and M. Paz
Effect of container type on root form and growth of red maple

Journal of Environmental Horticulture 28 (1): 1-7


The study was designed to evaluate impacts of #3 container wall attributes on root morphology. Trunk diameter of “Florida Flame’ red maples (Acer rubrum L.) growing in smooth-sided containers was no different than for any other container type. Trees in Smart Pot® grew more in height than trees in Florida Cool Ring™. Only trees in smooth-sided containers had roots 100% around the top of containers. As a result all 9 trees excavated from smooth-sided containers were graded a cull according to Florida Grades and Standards for Nursery Stock. Trees in smooth-side pots had lesser root ball quality rating than all other container types except RootMaker®, but trees in Jackpot™ had a higher quality rating than those in smooth-sided and RootMaker® pots. No container reduced length of descending, ascending, or kinked roots compared to smooth-sided containers. RootBuilder® had fewer descending roots than Jackpot™. RootMaker® developed more roots growing up the container wall than any other container except smooth-sided. Diameter of the 5 largest roots emerging from the trunk was smaller in Jackpot™ than smooth-sided, RootBuilder®, RootMaker®, and Smart Pot® containers. RootMaker® had larger diameter peripheral roots than Fanntun pot, Jackpot™ and Smart Pot®. Jackpot™ had smaller diameter peripheral roots than smooth-sided and Smart Pot®. A higher percentage of the largest 5 roots branched as they met the container wall in Smart Pot®, RootBuilder®, and Fanntum Pot compared to smooth-sided. A larger percentage of the 5 largest roots circled in the RootMaker® than in Air-Pot™, Florida Cool Ring™, and Jackpot™.

Click here for full article (PDF file)