Rooted in achievement

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RootMaker® products are backed by more than a half-century of research and development.

January 10, 2022

A vibrant root system courtesy of current RootMaker® Technology.
Photos provided by RootMaker and their customers; used with permission

The story of the development of RootMaker® technology goes back to the mid-1960s and details many setbacks and great accomplishments along the way. The long hours of research and observation led the way to developing plant growing technology that is the gold standard for producing root systems that lets plants thrive.

A rejected design due to inconsistent pruning and salt buildup.

Dr. Carl Whitcomb began the research that led to RootMaker® technology in the 1960s and personally discovered the miracle of air-root-pruning while studying at Iowa State University. RootMaker® Products Company was founded in 2000 to commercialize the growing technology based on air-root-pruning research championed by Dr. Whitcomb. For more than 20 years, RootMaker® has provided the tools necessary to grow trees faster and transplant easier, helping nurseries manage profitable enterprises.

This was rejected for inefficient design issues.

RootMaker® containers are unique, patented root-pruning containers resulting from more than 50 years of continual research by Dr. Whitcomb. The RootMaker® System is the most thoroughly researched root-pruning system on the market and is designed to create fibrous, non-circling root systems, both horizontally and vertically, at all phases of production to equip plants for transplanting success. Our containers are not simply root packaging; they are production tools designed to create superior plants. All RootMaker® products are proudly manufactured in the USA. (No waiting for containers from China!)

RootMaker history

This design was rejected for lack of air openings.

Many of the current products claiming to be root-pruning containers today are designs rejected by Dr. Whitcomb’s research. He tested numerous container designs including milk cartons (today’s “tree bands”) which he found only prune roots at the bottom, creating few side branches. Containers with vertical slots still result in circling and excessive water loss. These and other designs were rejected until root-pruning containers evolved to the current line of patented RootMaker® products. The following list chronicles the milestones of the scientific journey of Dr. Whitcomb to achieve the development of his patented RootMaker® technology. More detailed information on Dr. Whitcomb’s research can be found at

In RootBuilder® pots, roots are directed outward to holes in the sidewall and forced to branch again by air-root-pruning.

The strongest root systems

The key factor of the RootMaker® technology is “The Four-Inch Rule,” which states that root branching occurs four inches back from the point of pruning. The RootMaker® growing system utilizes this process in all its containers to ensure the strongest root system possible. A strong root system allows a RootMaker® plant to grow 2-3 times faster and thrive after transplanting. The other important factor is the discovery that the biggest trees always have the most roots close to the root/stem junction, which the RootMaker® System supports.

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