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    Climbers' CornerTree Academy

    Landscape Transplant Success of Nursery-Grown Chanticleer Pear and Evaporative Water Loss from Three Container Types: Black Plastic, Root Pouch, and Smart Pot


    The most common container type for nursery tree production is black plastic (BP). Root injury sustained during production may negatively affect tree health when planted in the landscape. Research at Colorado State University is using Pyrus calleryana Decene. ‘Glen’s Form’ (Chanticleer®), comparing trees grown in BP to two fabric containers: Root Pouch® (RP) (Averna & Associates, Hillsboro, Ore.) and Smart Pot® (SP) (High Caliper Growing-Root Control, Inc., Oklahoma City, Okla.). Trees were planted into the landscape, after being grown in a nursery production setting, in fall 2010, spring 2012 and spring 2013; trees will be fully excavated and harvested (after one, two and three growing seasons) to compare transplant success based on growth measurements (e.g. root and shoot re-growth, leaf area, height, caliper and branching measurements). Post-transplant success of trees will be determined during the growing season using pre-dawn leaf water potential and infrared leaf canopy temperature. In 2011 and 2012, there were no significant container effects on height, caliper, root:shoot ratio and dry leaf, shoot and root weight. In addition, there were no container effects on pre-dawn leaf water potential and infrared canopy temperature. However, in 2012, there was a significant difference for average root re-growth beyond the original root ball: BP had 17.5% root re-growth compared to 30.2% and 29.4% for RP and SP, respectively.  There were no significant differences for root re-growth in 2011 (8.4% BP, 10.6% RP and 10.2% SP). Though there were no significant differences in above-ground growth, nor dry root weight, root re-growth and visual root architecture differed among the three container types. One preliminary conclusion from this study is that you cannot predict below-ground establishment potential based on above-ground growth. Another conclusion is that planting to BMP standards is unlikely to correct problems caused by container type in the nursery. This research will continue to investigate root re-growth over multiple seasons.

    Another component of this research is investigating evaporative loss from the three container types to determine if RP and SP containers have a great irrigation requirement than BP. During winter 2013, we conducted two greenhouse studies to measure evaporative loss from containers. The first study examined evaporative water loss among the three container types during a single dry-down from field capacity. In the second study, we wrapped RP and SP containers in plastic to prevent evaporative loss from the outside container surface, and compared this to unwrapped RP, SP and BP. Containers were weighed to determine daily water loss, and volumetric water potential using frequency domain reflectometry was measured. Preliminary results show that fabric containers lose water more quickly compared to black plastic and may require more frequent irrigation under production conditions. We will also conduct these experiments using plant material to determine how transpiration affects container water loss.

    Conference Proceedings Documents


    Alison O’Connor is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Colorado State University.She is also the horticulture Extension Agent for CSU Extension in Larimer County.Alison has been involved in the green industry since she was sixteen years old and became interested in horticulture after working at a large wholesale nursery in Minnesota.She attended Iowa State University and obtained her Bachelor’s degree in horticulture with a minor in Spanish, and completed her Master’s degree in horticulture at The Ohio State University.Upon graduation, Alison hopes to work at a land-grant institution, where she would continue with her passion for Extension and teaching, while doing applied research.

    Climbers' CornerTree Academy

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