Behind the Scenes with Nursery Management magazine

Departments - Behind the Scenes

Rocky Mountain high

July 13, 2012
NM Staff

Rocky Mountain high
After attending the BASF Agricultural Media Summit in Chicago last month, I thought I might head home with a tote bag or some other trade show trinket. Instead, I received a notification that an acre of land in the Rocky Mountains has been adopted in my name (

It’s a fitting gift. The theme of the conference was “Innovation as the Path to Sustainability,” and the Nature Conservancy’s aim for the Adopt-an-Acre program is to leave a sustainable world for future generations.

Since the Adopt-an-Acre program began in 1991, more than 30,000 people, schools and organizations have raised $22 million to protect 600,000 acres of land.

The donations are used in several ways, from planting trees to combating invasive species to hiring staff to protect against illegal logging or poaching on “my” land.

­­– Matt McClellan

Letter to the Editor

In the April issue, Carl Whitcomb promotes the use of root pruning containers to produce plants with improved root systems by eliminating root circling. I cannot agree more that this is a good thing when producing trees and other woody plants, but feel he should not condemn the use of copper root pruning. The use of copper coatings in containers was first practiced by forest nurseries in the Pacific Northwest to produce lodgepole pines to reduce root circling and improve root regeneration in cold soils where this tree is grown. It has been successfully practiced for over 25 years and there is no evidence of copper toxicity. Yes, copper can be toxic to plants when delivered in the wrong form. Copper fungicides have been used for over 100 years and those grape plants are still fine in Europe. When copper is used to improve root systems in containers, it is delivered in a latex matrix that inhibits root extension and is not toxic to most plants. The information cited in Dr. Whitcomb’s article from 1970 and 1973 is a copper fungicide mixed in ordinary house paint and does not represent improved modern formulations specifically designed for application to nursery containers. I feel that if growers use any type of root improving technology available today, it is better than doing nothing at all. Growers can use one or more root modification methods to produce higher quality plants with great roots. Do not condemn one method over another but rather promote growing woody plants with some type of root pruning technology. The statement that copper is elemental and is never broken down may be somewhat true, however, the plastic in pots will be here for a very long time too.

Mark Crawford
Valdosta, Ga.

Editor’s note:
We welcome your letters. Please send them to