Questions with Kurt Reiger

Questions with Kurt Reiger

Advertorial - Ask the Experts: Containers

Learn from Kurt Reiger, president of High Caliper Growing, about how the Smart Pot fabric container improves plant growth in nursery production.

November 7, 2022

NM: What is the Smart Pot and what makes it different from other containers?

KR: Starting in 1984 with our Root Control Bag, a fabric bag used for growing and transplanting caliper-sized trees, we have pioneered the concept that containers don’t have to be plastic. The Smart Pot is a fabric aeration container, constructed of a tough, porous fabric that releases heat, stops root circling and helps moisture distribute evenly. The result is improved plant growth.

NM: Is there a Smart Pot for container nurseries?

KR: Yes, we have a commercial line of Smart Pots at very attractive prices. We call it the Smart Pot Pro.

NM: What are the advantages of using a Smart Pot Pro in nursery production?

KR: A fuller, healthier, more vigorous plant that is ready to sell earlier or for a premium. This plant will last longer into the season. The Smart Pot helps the plant produce a greatly improved root structure. Better roots yield a nicer plant.

NM: Who uses the Smart Pot?

KR: Lots of growers. For example, Alldredge Gardens in Midland, Texas, produce about 10,000 geraniums in Smart Pots. The plants handle the heat much better, which is a big advantage in west Texas. These plants stay in full bloom whereas in the plastic pot they kind of stop blooming. Alldredge Gardens tells me Smart Pot plants are more “goof proof,” meaning water distribution stays even instead of too wet on the bottom and dry on top. Customers grow to appreciate a fuller, healthier, “goof proof” plant. Alldredge Gardens grows a number of other items in Smart Pots.

NM: What other advantages does the Smart Pot offer the nursery grower?

KR: A better root structure allows the nursery grower to grow a wide range of saleable plants. Owasso Berry Farm, for example, grows blueberries to large sizes. You would have trouble producing a large, quality blueberry in a plastic pot. Keep in mind the Smart Pot is a fabric that releases heat. Direct sunlight will not heat up the pot and retard growth. Another advantage is greater utilization and longevity of control release fertilizers. A recent study at University of Florida showed considerably less leachate loss of nitrogen and phosphorus for plants growing in Smart Pots vs plastic containers. That’s a big advantage in the productive use of fertilizer and in limiting polluted water runoff.

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