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Shaving can develop quality liner root systems

It seems clear that containers that reduce root deflection down the sides and around the bottom of containers can help produce good root systems on young liners. Teasing and cutting roots also can play a role in reducing defects once they develop.

Poor root systems

poor root system

Many roots growing on the outside periphery of the liner root ball 5 months after sticking maple cuttings. See root system 10 months later.

poor gumbo limbo root system
Roots on gumbo limbo formed a knot from being deflected in the small propagation container. The knot remained and grew larger one year later in a one gallon container.

poor mahogany root system
Tap root on this mahogany tree in a 3 gallon container spiraled around the smaller propagation container. Spiralling roots remained in that deformed position one year later.

Good root systems

shaved maple root ball

Roots on periphery of maple root balls in the left photograph were shaved off using a sharp scissors.

cut gumbo limbo roots
Roots on this gumbo limbo were cut and teased apart and spread as much as possible when shifting into the one gallon container. Roots are growing more-or-less straight out from the stem.


cut mahogany root ball
Mahogany liner root ball was cut and teased apart when shifted into the 3 gallon container. Many roots are growing straight which is better than spiraled around, but they are directly mostly downward. A better root system has some lateral root growing horizontally.