Grow boxes

amatbrewer

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During the winter lull I am trying to keep busy (distracted so I leave my sleeping trees alone) so one project I have is preparing to to experiment with some grow boxes. I am building some of my own (Cedar sides with hardware cloth & window screen for the bottom) and have been thinking about picking up commercial boxes (e.g. Anderson trays).
I ran across these on Amazon (10.75" x 10.5" x 2.375"). I am not sure there is enough drainage in these, but they look strong and the price is attractive, so I was wondering if anyone had tried them and or had ideas about them.

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Soldano666

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I just use fir strapping or 1x4 cheap pine boards. About the time it starts falling apart your ready for a repot anyways. I have a bunch going on 4 yr and they are not falling apart yet. After the first year I realize I should have used brass screws or galvanized at least. Regular drywall screws will rust away after a season or 2. Your plan for the bottom is fine. Price out materials and see you cheapest option. The ones on Amazon look okay again price pending. You'll need to take a soldering iron or 1/8 drill bit and rifle about 200 more holes in the bottom of them. That way you optimize drainage and get the effects of the screen bottom for root development.
 

amatbrewer

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Thanks Solando,
I have one made from some scrap pine that I made last year to see how long it will last. So far it is doing better than I expected.
When I make mine I use wood glue and deck screws, and I am experimenting with 2 where I used glue and finishing nails to see how they compare (I have a crap load of the nails and it makes them easier to construct). Hopefully the cedar boxes will last for multiple trees.
I also built a tall narrow box for a future cascade I am playing with. Being that this is going to be a long term project (5+ years?) cedar was an obvious choice.
One side consideration, that I have had is that if possible I would like the grow boxes to be attractive...or at least not really ugly. Which is one of the reasons I have been leaning towards cedar. But that is secondary to other considerations. "Nice looking box, to bad the tree in it is dead..."

If I have to make significant modifications to the Amazon boxes (more holes), that would offset the advantage (not having to put in any effort) so would probably not be an option for me. Might as well get Anderson trays or make my own.
 
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I have handled pots like these. Sometimes they're flimsy trashbag-plastic. The stuff that lasts half a season before breaking apart.
In all other cases, it was recycled plastic at least a few millimeters thick. That stuff lasts for years, decades maybe, and it's not very flexible.

I did find water to accumulate in the corner edges for some reason. So drilling a few extra holes will be necessary nonetheless. Burning holes is better for structural integrity though.

But I'm moving away from plastic and 2 years from now I plan on having everything in wooden containers. It keeps the roots cool, it retains some moisture and provides micro-organisms with a nice buffet on location. That's a few advantages that I keep repeating to justify the price of using wood. I'm using fir, pine or spruce for my containers. Not that durable, but it brings the price down to about 3 bucks per container.
 

ysrgrathe

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If you are going to go with plastic Anderson flats are hard to beat -- well draining and sturdy enough to tie the tree well.
 

Potawatomi13

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One disadvantage: Flex when handling disturbing roots, hold down wires. Also need blocked up above surface of bench to drain and center of bottom sags. Much prefer stability/anchor weight/breath ability of terra cotta bulb pots. Extra holes can be drilled for hold down wire/drainage. Can be had up to at least 14 1/2";).
 

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