RootMaker containers are a specialized container used in the production of plans. We use them to encourage the growth of a fibrous root system. They are different than the typical, solid-walled container in a few important ways. Namely, preventing the plant from developing stem-girdling roots, a condition that can arise from growing a plant without considering the shape of the root system at installation. RootMaker pots overcome this by having multiple ridges and air holes on the sides of the pot walls and base. This allows root tips to be periodically ‘pruned’ by air-drying and physical diameter restriction instead of allowing the root tip to grow along the side of the pot in a circling direction. This root-pruning action is the main design benefit of the RootMaker pot and why we like using it on our growing small trees.
A fibrous root system translates to:
At Johnson’s, we’re very lucky to have the ability to produce many of our own trees in-house. This translates to a high degree of control on our own plants. We focus heavily on Local-ecotype natives. Almost all our native offerings are collected within 50 miles of the nursery, with attention paid to soil types, historical origins and qualities such as vigor, disease resistance and overall appearance.
RootMakers represent a great tool in the pocket of every restorationist. They are bigger than many plants prone to being browsed by deer – so – while needing protection, they often need it for less time. Most RootMaker plants are in the 3-7’ range, so they only need a few years to grow above the browse line of deer. They can be planted at any time of year so long as they receive consistent water. A favorite time is in the fall, when cool weather, lower water requirements and consistent fall rains, winter snows and spring rains make for an easy transplant and establishment period.
Difficult to transplant species, such as oaks, hickories, and Musclewood are easily transplanted from a RootMaker pot – the design of the pot combined with early training as a seedling trains the typically coarse roots of these plants into something much more transplantable. Oaks from a RootMaker pot typically grow 1’ or more their first year.