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Proceedings of the International Plant Propagator's Society

Vol. 53

Up With Pots — Solutions for Heat, Cold, and Blow-over Problems

Carl E. Whitcomb and Andy C. Whitcomb

pp: 255-263


Containers confine plant root systems to a specific volume of growth medium. Containers provide a neat and practical system for production, shipping, and handling. Plants in containers are the overwhelming preference by the gardening public. Nevertheless, growing plants in containers also provides an assortment of unique challenges, particularly, heat, cold, and blow-over. Roots of terrestrial plants evolved in soil and were often insulated by leaf liter and other debris over the surface. As a result, roots are far more sensitive to both heat and cold compared to plant tops (Barney, 1947; Havis, 1976; Nightingale, 1935; Shirley, 1936; Studer et al., 1978; Tinga, 1977). Plants that blow over do not get watered, topdressed fertilizer is spilled, roots on the exposed side of the container can be killed by heat; in some cases foliage and stem damage can occur, and if plants are actively growing and not returned to the upright position promptly distorted growth may result. An

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