With labor being so front and center of the news, other very important ways of reducing costs when propagating plants get lost.
Making processes efficient is of course incredibly important – but so is the quality of plant. An exceptional quality plant will not only delight your customer (and make them re-buy from you), it will also help you achieve a higher return on investment.
A plant grown in an air-pruning container will have a higher quality root ball than just a basic gallon pot, for example. The right air-pruning containers will prevent root circling entirely – something your customers will appreciate indeed. This root ball will be packed full of young, vigorous, non-tangled roots and once planted out will grow very strongly. But there are many other benefits to you, the grower, too:
- Better survival rate. Reduced wasted seeds or cuttings.
- Easier to pull plants. Roots don’t tangle in the bottom of the container, and the soil and root ball is held together, so plants just often slide right on out. This helps speed up transplanting or pulling for shipping etc. And time is money!
- Potentially reduced fertilizer usage. Better roots mean more is taken up by the plant each feed.
- Quicker turn-around time. This allows you to ship quicker and fulfill orders more efficiently. You might even be able to grow more plants in the year!
How air pruning works
An air pruning container works by having slots or holes in its walls along with a system of ribs or other devices to force the root to grow out of the slot or hole. When the root grows out of the slot into relatively dry air its tip is desiccated or “killed”. Once this first root is air pruned it loses its dominance and many secondary roots develop to replace it. These are then in turn air pruned and again they are replaced by even more roots.
Other benefits of air root pruning over other methods of root pruning
- No chemicals, no toxicity
- Cheap and affordable – the technique is built into the pot
- Incredible results
- Practical: can cover many formats and is easily adapted to any nursery’s needs.