Sam, I am experimenting with Root Pouches for specific cultivars. Generally these are dwarf maples that require less water than their larger cousins. Small, slow growing cultivars cannot absorb the same amount of water in a container the same size as the one with a fast growing upright. As you know 99% of all maple deaths are caused by poor drainage or over watering. Maples like to be thoroughly watered and then given time for the roots to dry out. If a maple is kept wet everyday root rot can set in and eventually kill the maple. With the onset of root rot the maple is susceptible to diseases such as Pseudomonas and Verticillin wilt. These viruses may be the final cause of death, but they are not the beginning of the problem. Both viruses are found in our natural environment. A healthy maple is not susceptible to these viruses, but a weakened one is. The root pouch avoids this problem for the grower. The soil in a root pouch dries out quicker than a plastic pot. This means that you can have 2-gallon plastic containers for faster, larger growing maples sitting next to dwarf cultivars in 2-gallon root pouches and provide the same watering schedule.
When a maple is planted in a plastic container the roots cannot grow past the plastic so they hit the plastic and circle the pot over and over. When the roots hit a root pouch which is made of a biodegradable fabric they grow into and through the pouch. This helps to create a strong root system that does not need to be loosened. The key to a happy, healthy maple is to reduce the amount of stress the roots endure during planting, or repotting. With the root pouch you simply cut back the top portion of the fabric so that when planted it does not show above the soil line. Dip the root pouch in SuperThrive solution (please see SuperThrive under Maple Info) and plant the pouch directly into the ground or in an ornamental container. For more information about the type and size please see Container Growing.
More on Root Pouches –
Excerpt from the Root Pouch website – “Do you worry about the environmental impact of those plastic pots? If you answered yes, Root Pouches are the perfect choice! Every year, millions of plastic pots find their way into landfills. The petroleum and other fossil fuels used to create these pots, along with their inability to break down, result in a negative impact on our environment. Root Pouch uses its award-winning technology to convert a mixture of recycled natural fibers and recycled bottles into their patented grow bags. These materials, otherwise destined for our landfills see a second life as a lightweight, breathable geotextile. Root Pouch then uses this textile to create plant pots that degrade (break down) once you plant them in the ground. These fabric pots are wonderful for plants. They are breathable, so roots stay cool in summer and do not suffocate from over-watering. The fabric material allows for water permeation, so there is sufficient drainage without the need for holes in the pot. This product is perfect for in-ground as well as above ground growing. The uses are endless! Since they are made from flexible fabric, they do not chip or break like standard pots.”
So far I find them perfect for slow-growing dwarf cultivars. Please contact me if you have any questions.
Sam, the Maple Lady
Phone 360.263.2662 Pacific Time – Please check your time.