Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Products We Love: Root Pots

With all the fabric containers on the market (Root Pots, Smart Pots, Dirt Pots, EZ Roots, Root Pouch, etc.) it's hard to choose which to go with, or if you should go with a fabric container vs. plastic container at all. First, here is a list of pro's for fabric containers:

- Fabric containers allow more oxygen into your growing medium and your root system which means that the roots grow more vigorously and stronger than those in plastic containers (see following point). Aerobic organisms that metabolize nutrients for faster uptake depend on proper medium aeration also.

- All of the manufacturers of these types of containers advertise that they allow the plants' roots to "auto-prune," or "air prune," but a lot of people don't know what that really means. We know a plants' root system branches out in search of water and nutrients. In plastic containers, when the roots hit the walls they turn around and keep searching/growing. Eventually they circle and circle so much that they end up choking themselves which shortens the life of the plant (essentially becoming "root-bound.") With fabric containers, the roots find their way to the walls, then find the little spaces where oxygen is coming in and grow through them. Being exposed to the air and light causes the roots to dry out at the end. Normally that would sound bad, but it is actually a good thing. The plant senses the roots getting dry and grows more roots, making your root system even stronger.

- They are washable and reusable, so even though they cost more than plastic containers in the beginning, you will get many uses out of them! They don't crack or get crushed like plastic pots. Not only do they work out to be cheaper in the long run, they're better for the environment. Some companies (including Aurora Innovations, the manufacturers of the Root Pots) even make their containers out of 100% recycled materials, which is even better for the environment.

- They work as a filter, allowing use of most mediums in recirculating systems such as drip and ebb and flow without the risk of clogging your pumps. A lot of people want to use Coco in ebb and flow systems and fabric containers allow you to do that safely.

- There are so many more reasons, such as a better drainage, they can be planted directly into the ground (so you can start plants indoors to kickstart your outdoor season without the risk of transplant shock), they release heat from the root system to help prevent root rot (and insulate the medium better for use in colder climates), they are wider-based so they are sturdier than taller plastic containers, etc.

Ok, so now that you know why fabric...why Root Pots?

First of all, we love Aurora Innovations (Roots Organics and Soul Synthetics) as a company. They bring great, quality products to the market, plus they are good people in general who we love to support. As mentioned above the Root Pots are made from 100% recycled materials, plus they are degradable. If you start a long-life plant in them (say a tree or shrub) and plant it outdoors, the Root Pots begin to break down after about 3-5 years. They cost less than Smart Pots and come in a large variety of sizes. Our most popular sizes are the 1, 3, 5, 7 and 10 gallon Root Pots, which we stock all of the time in both of our locations, but we can order any size you need. We've personally been using these for about 2 years now with coco and are more than happy with the results (the first run was a side-by-side with plastic containers and the Root Pots were the obvious winners). They definitely get The Grow Room's stamp of approval.

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