Container gardens are an easy way to keep your garden organized and controlled, and many gardeners enjoy choosing beautiful pots to complement their flowers, herbs, or vegetables. There’s a lot of benefits to this method of growing, but like anything else to do with plants, there’s a lot of maintenance that goes along with making sure the sprouts are growing as strong as they can.
Besides checking the leaves for garden pests, looking out for wayward weeds, watering, and feeding, there’s one more step that is generally overlooked because it’s out of sight…pruning the roots.
Roots are often excluded from garden maintenance schedules, and if not attended to, can end with the plant becoming root-bound and eventually in its demise.
The roots continue to grow with the plant, but since they’re in a container they only have so much room branch out. As they continue growing, they’ll hit the edge of the pot and circle back onto themselves. This is how the roots end up eventually eating up most of the soil in the pot, and the plant could die of stress or starvation as a result. This is why it’s so important to prune your plant’s roots to keep it healthy. Here are the top 3 ways to prune the roots of your container plants:
Hand pruning: When the plant’s roots are getting too big for its container, but it can’t be moved to a larger pot, it will need to be pruned by hand. Because some plants are sensitive to having their roots disturbed – such as some houseplants and other ornamentals – it’s important to make sure you look up the instructions for the specific plants you have.
To remove the plant from its pot, tip it on its side (if you can) and gently pull it out by gripping the plant as close to soil level as possible, making sure not to use force to get the plant out of the container. When it’s removed, shake of trim off the excess soil. After this is done, use a single pronged cultivator, start to carefully tease the roots apart. Avoiding the taproot, prune up to two-thirds of the feeder roots back, which will encourage the roots to grow in a new direction instead of circling. Place the plant back in the container with fresh soil, providing new nutrients, and water it right away. It may show signs of shock for a few days, so be sure to keep it out of direct sunlight and watered for a few days.
The new roots that will grow will be able to absorb nutrients better than old roots, and with the fresh soil, the plant should look healthier than before.
Light pruning: You can also use a container that will do the root pruning for you. Light pruning occurs when using a white grow bag, and light passes through the walls. Because the white color does not block light transmission like black or black-lined pots do, the light is able to transmit through the plastic to the edge of the soil inside the container where it prunes any roots that extend that far. The light only affects the roots that grow as far as the edge of the container – not the roots in the soil itself - pruning them at that point and preventing them from circling and becoming root-bound. If you let your plants live in this type of container for an extended period of time, you’ll still need to fertilize it and replace the potting soil periodically.
Air-root pruning: One of the easiest and most effective way to prune your container plant’s roots is by using a pot made especially for air-root pruning, like the GeoPot Fabric Gardening Pot. Air-root pruning happens when the roots reach the edge of the fabric container, when the roots reach this edge they come into contact with the air that passed through fabric walls. The material that the containers are made of allows the root tips to grow into the fabric, but not sideways through it, thus pruning the roots that grow into the container walls. The root pruning is thus completed entirely by the pot, saving you the trouble of needing to remove the mature plant from the container.
What makes the GeoPot Fabric Pot so good for air root pruning is that it’s an aerated fabric pot, promoting healthy roots through air-root pruning - leading to better fruit and higher yields! The benefit of the GeoPot Fabric Pot as part of your container garden is that it will cut the amount of time it takes you to maintain your garden, leaving more time to enjoy those beautiful spring days!
Have a hydroponic or garden supply store? Left Coast Wholesale has you covered with wholesale pricing available on GeoPot Fabric Pot. If you’re looking for the GeoPot Fabric Pot near you, call 800.681.1757 today to find a local GeoPot Fabric Pot retailer!