Happy Accident (Solved A Strainer, Colander Problem?)

milehigh_7

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First a quick nod to the father of the "happy accident." Thanks Bob Ross!
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Everyone knows I love me some strainers. I have been using them since @Vance Wood's patented work turned me on to them about 10 years ago. (Hey Vance, who knew you would pretty much change the way pre-bonsai are grown and get zero credit? I digress...) Anyways... As much as I love them, they have a limitation (this limitation was discussed in a very old thread here and I can't remember who mentioned it. I think it was one of the So Cal gang.) The problem is that, the roots really never make full use of the strainer as they get too hot and dry as they near the edge. This is exacerbated in hot and dry climates. To remedy this, one has to 1) Water much more frequently, 2) add in organics such as bark that hold more water or some such thing. Both of those have some drawbacks. I also believe this is what gave rise to the MYTH of doubling the strainers. I believe this happy accident solved this problem.

I was getting ready to repot something, don't even remember what in one of these 10" dollar store specials.

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When I repot, I like to have everything at hand so I can move fast. So when carrying the strainer out from the garage I gave it a toss into a pile of other miscellaneous junk. It landed in one of the millions (very slight hyperbole) of cut down 5 gallon cans. You all have em, you know you do!

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Well as "happy accidents" go, this was a great one! It fit perfectly with the rim of the strainer resting perfectly on the rim of the 5 gal can! I thought, well that was a nice toss. I finished the repot and went to bed.

(Get ready for a peek into the very strange mind of Milehigh. This is a greatly abridged version as the rabbit trails criss crossed the galaxy a few times.) If you don't want to mess with this... simply skip to the next paragraph! I started thinking about all the seedlings and cuttings I want to get started, then I got sad because as many of you know for the next 3 months it will be over 100F and under 5% humidity which is not great for new plants... :( Then I started thinking about possible solutions to keep the root zone cool on those root-maker pots. Then i remembered many years ago taking a 3" hole saw to plywood and dropping in those hydroponic net pots. Then I started thinking about the folks that put t-shirts over their pots. Then I remembered I don't like that look and always thought about just dropping one pot into another that was painted white and then it hit me!

I decided to go get some of that spray paint that bonds to plastic and paint those cans! So Here is what I got:

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Krylon Fuson in Matte Glacier Grey (I think Rust-Oleum makes one as well but this works pretty darn good)

Finished product:

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Here is a couple of pics with a new Escambron 'Clerodendrum heterophyllum' (I love this plant BTW) Thanks @markyscott I believe it was you who recommended them.

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As you can see it's a perfect fit. I have not done any scientific tests but the 5gal can is cool to the touch with the sun of a 110F day beating down. The screened portion of the strainer is also cool with plenty of air flow (I may drill more holes if this is not enough air.) I put my hand on a black can right next to this and it actually burns and within a few seconds turns my skin red. I dropped this into the can before I left on my cruise and in about a week roots are beginning to poke out the bottom of the strainer and air prune! I think this will work! Let me know what you think peeps.
 
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Ingvill

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It sounds logical and sensible in my head :)
Holy cow, 110F?!
Living where I do, 110F is unheard of....100F is unheard of....90F is pretty much unheard of...
We tend to get super excited when reaching 77F here. And on them very, very few days we get to 83F, hospitals fill up with heat stroke patients before lunch time.
So I obviously don't have the same issues as you do, but this is still really interesting.
Just a question because I can't tell from your pictures; have you drilled some holes in the painted pot? So that air can flow through it, or is that not needed perhaps?
Thank you for sharing this and please keep us updated on how this goes over the summer!
 

milehigh_7

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It sounds logical and sensible in my head :)
Holy cow, 110F?!
Living where I do, 110F is unheard of....100F is unheard of....90F is pretty much unheard of...
We tend to get super excited when reaching 77F here. And on them very, very few days we get to 83F, hospitals fill up with heat stroke patients before lunch time.
So I obviously don't have the same issues as you do, but this is still really interesting.
Just a question because I can't tell from your pictures; have you drilled some holes in the painted pot? So that air can flow through it, or is that not needed perhaps?
Thank you for sharing this and please keep us updated on how this goes over the summer!

LOL and we have at least 15 degrees to go. We regularly hit 125F (news does not report this, it's bad for the tourism). This is about the earliest 110F that I can remember however.
 

Ingvill

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LOL and we have at least 15 degrees to go. We regularly hit 125F (news does not report this, it's bad for the tourism). This is about the earliest 110F that I can remember however.
Good god.... My first thought to that is; F**k the trees, go save yourselves, humans! :eek:
 

just.wing.it

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Hmm....I love simple solutions...well done!

The strainers/ colanders I'm using are all stainless steel, which has very poor heat transfer capabilities...but still...I'll have to pay attention to what my roots look like next year when I do some repotting of those ones.
 

jimib

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I have a few trees in the pond baskets. They seem to hold up better than the cheap plastic colander’s.
 

wlambeth

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LOL and we have at least 15 degrees to go. We regularly hit 125F (news does not report this, it's bad for the tourism). This is about the earliest 110F that I can remember however.
The official temps are taken in the shade so add at least another 15 degrees and that’s the real temp in direct sun!
 

theone420

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LOL and we have at least 15 degrees to go. We regularly hit 125F (news does not report this, it's bad for the tourism). This is about the earliest 110F that I can remember however.
thats funny because its been mild here we usually hit higher temps way earlier like in March. I'm not complaining i like the cooler weather just been a real weird year.

And the colander thing I think came from the Bonsai Today issue 20 from 1992. It is mentioned to put the pines in after the second or third year to thicken the trunk rapidly and then they mention placing in a larger colander after the fourth year so you dont have to transplant and so the growth stays continuous through the whole year.
It is also mentioned to wrap the colander with a bag or plastic to keep it from drying in summer heat. (So your method is similar to the recommendation except much easier to use and implement) you can see in the top of the picture the colander is wraped

colander pics.png
 

JoeR

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I did this exact thing with an ume in a colander inside a terra cotta pot. Better results, I’d say. Here is what it looked like after a year maybe less. They definitely grew outside the colander especially at the bottom, but were closer to the edges around the whole colander
 

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M. Frary

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I don't have the high heat. The roots on trees in colanders here don't come out the side but they make it to the edge.
Seems to me if they can grow outside of the mesh they aren't getting pruned. No?
 

milehigh_7

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I don't have the high heat. The roots on trees in colanders here don't come out the side but they make it to the edge.
Seems to me if they can grow outside of the mesh they aren't getting pruned. No?
Exactly what I was going to say about @JoeR's solution. I don't know how mine will perform yet (it may need more air flow) but you want enough air flow so that they "self-prune" as they hit the edge of the strainer yet not so much as to dry the substrate. It is this that allows continual growth with no root pruning stress like you get from "double strainers", burying and the like.
 

milehigh_7

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I must say...it looks great from a visual appearance. Fingers crossed that you find success with this new trial of yours.
So far so good. Off the top of my head, crabapple, Gremmel's pear and evergreen pear are growing in full sun and did not blink at 110F with 30mph wind and 4% humidity.
 

Underdog

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Is that a needle juniper? Nice looking tree. I always favor those swaying trunk shapes. The porta potty it’s in is nice too!
Cryptomeria japonica - Japanese Cedar Quite strange creatures and am still learning how to handle...

I don't have the high heat. The roots on trees in colanders here don't come out the side but they make it to the edge.
Seems to me if they can grow outside of the mesh they aren't getting pruned. No?
Kind of what I was thinking when I pulled it out to look at them and they were strong and white. I left them out for the afternoon sun and they dried up/pruned them selves quickly. That pic was next day after seeing this thread.
 
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