Some New Research Into Container Design
Derek G. Moore
In Australia the vast proportion of nursery-grown trees spend some part of their life
containerised, usually in a rigid plastic pot of some type (Lawry and Gardner, 2001).
The challenge facing nursery growers producing these trees is to not only optimise
canopy growth but to ensure that the root system has been managed to ensure that
it doesn’t have a negative impact on long-term growth and even survival.
Historically, container production systems in Australia have been quite successful
(May, 2002) but nevertheless there are serious concerns about the quality of
the root systems of many trees that are being produced by some container nurseries
that use smooth (or almost smooth) sided plastic, frustum-shaped containers.
This is despite a substantial body of research related to this issue and the many
products and techniques that have been developed to improve root systems, e.g.,
Harris (1967); Whitcomb (1988); Appleton (1995); Struve et al. (1994); Arnold and
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