Air root pruning pots

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Philippe Vranken, Jul 20, 2021.

  1. Philippe Vranken

    Philippe Vranken New Member

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    Hi all,

    Does anyone have experience with air root pruning pots? Are they better to grow maples in or does it make little to no difference than regular pots?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. 0soyoung

    0soyoung Well-Known Member

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    Anacortes, WA
    I use pond baskets for growing trees to be bonsai. They are advantageous with pines and other conifers that don't cope well with being repotted. Root pruning is a necessary 'evil' to the development of a compact root pad. This is accomplished in situ with an air pruning pot and so one can keep a pine growing vigorously for several years before it must be repotted (to remove old dead roots). Maples (and most angiosperms) cope well with being repotted, even as often as every year. From a pre-bonsai perspective, it is easy to bare root a tree in spring, combing out the roots radially and removing dead roots in the process, so an air pot doesn't offer any similar advantages, though some hobbyists/practitioners use Anderson flats that have a mesh bottom which offers air pruning of any roots that grow downward (maple bonsai have thin, flat root pads).

    Air pruning pots generally require more frequent watering, otherwise growth can be slowed versus a standard container. To a certain degree, one might expect enhanced growth in an air-pruning pot as its structure leads to air being more readily accessible to the roots. But, by the same token this leads to more rapid drying of the growing medium, which tends to retard growth.

    The chief advantage of growing maples in air pruning pots, IMHO, is in commercial production. Clearly, they are an effective, labor-free way to eliminate circling roots that can become girdling ones later.

    emery, Acerholic, maf and 1 other person like this.
  3. maf

    maf Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Northamptonshire, England
  4. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    nr Orléans, France (E.U.)
    Very sound advice. And they're not that expensive, I mean the pond baskets.
    Even if you don't want to "grow bonsai", putting a tree in a pond basket with some growing soil, then putting the basket in a larger, wider pot filled with non-organic soil (5mm lava rock for instance) is an excellent way to grow a strong, star-shaped root system. After a year or two, you just have to pull out the tree, trim whatever goes out of the basket and repot it, and that's it.
    maf likes this.
  5. LoverOfMaples

    LoverOfMaples Contributor Maple Society

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    Rhode Island
    i cant agree more. this is one reason im thinking about switching back to my regular pots. ive also contemplated on changing my mix to accommodate the frequent watering problem.

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