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Growth from various container types

There are many container types on the market designed to reduce root circling. Many of them reduce the amount of roots circling the container (Marshall and Gilman 1998). Container types appear to have little impact on post-transplant survival and growth. In a recent study, Live Oak trees grown in containers treated with copper on the inside surface were more stressed than those grown in conventional containers in the first three weeks after planting to the landscape without irrigation. However, with daily irrigation there was no difference in stress levels. Increased water stress may be due to the lack of roots on the outside of root balls planted from copper-coated containers (Arnold and Struve 1993; Gilman and Beeson 1994). Those from conventional containers have roots on the outer edge of the root ball providing intimate contact with moist landscape soil. This may provide for more water uptake than trees from copper-coated containers. When regular irrigation was discontinued four to six weeks after planting, stress levels were about equal and root growth into landscape soil was similar for trees planted from both types of containers.

Further study showed that Scarlet and Red Oak grown in copper-coated containers had greater regrowth after planting to the landscape than trees grown in conventional containers (Struve 1993). The central leader was left intact and did not die-back as often in trees from copper-coated containers. However, there was no difference in regrowth between container types for Red Maple or Sweetgum. Trees from all container types survived equally well. One advantage of planting from copper-coated containers is that root balls have few, if any, circling roots, making them superior to trees grown in conventional, smooth-sided containers.

Further study indicated that red maple planted from seven different container types responded about equally well following transplanting to the landscape (Marshall and Gilman 1998) for up to 5 years after planting (paper in preparation, 2002). Live oak from low profile root balls survived poorly after transplanting compared to other container types if irrigation was not provided regularly (Gilman 2001). Survival was similar among container types if irrigation was provided at regular intervals twice each week in the growing season after planting.