Why are standard Nursery Pots more popular than Air Pruning Pots ?

Bonsai Hunter

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Why are standard nursery/regular pots more popular than air pruning pots, in bonsai & gardening ?

And this is a general observation, not specific to any location or country. Shouldn't the air pruning pots be the default standard everywhere, specially at pre-bonsai nurseries and tree nurseries ?

Why this :

Source - Botany Shop Garden Center

Instead of this :

Source - Knecht's Nurseries
 

Paradox

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Nursery pots aren't preferred by bonsai people. They aren't the right shape for bonsai. I haven't seen them widely used at bonsai nureries, at least not the ones I go to.

I dont use either of those, because of their shape. I get my trees out of those as fast as I can (at the right time) into something that will promote horizontal root growth not vertical root growth.

Also the holes look too big for the soils we use, but even if they were smaller, they just aren't the right shape.

The better question is why the first is preferred by nursery tree growers. My guess would be they are cheaper and the retain soil better.
 
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coh

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Yeah, I'll go with cheaper as my number 1 answer. Probably requires a little less watering as well, and watering = $$
 

Cypress187

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I think the air-pruning pots dry out much faster, it's more work.
 

aml1014

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Yeah, I'll go with cheaper as my number 1 answer. Probably requires a little less watering as well, and watering = $$
This is why we don't at my nursery. The air pruning pots need watering 3-4 times a day in summer plus they are quite a bit more expensive.

Aaron
 

Anthony

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The air pots out of Scotland say they use 100 % compost.
That shouldn't dry out too quickly.

Cost may have to go down.

Bonsai would need inorganic for the long term growing ?
Good Day
Anthony
 

hemmy

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Why are standard nursery/regular pots more popular than air pruning pots, in bonsai & gardening ?

And this is a general observation, not specific to any location or country. Shouldn't the air pruning pots be the default standard everywhere, specially at pre-bonsai nurseries and tree nurseries ?

Why this :

Source - Botany Shop Garden Center

Instead of this :

Source - Knecht's Nurseries
$$$$

But some production operations must be using them, because there are still air pot manufacturers. I'm guessing we don't see it at the retail nursery level because the trees are shifted to cheaper pots before they are sold to the nursery or they aren't used as much on the smaller 1 - 5 gal trees.

IMO, the gold standard of air pots is the Rootmaker brand. It has smaller holes, but still prevents circling. I have gotten amazing root ball ramification and top growth. But plants still have to be potted up or growth will slow as they get rootbound.
IMG_1400.JPG
 

Eric Group

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Air pots are for specialty growers: bonsai and weed. (You think Bonsai folks are crazy about soils, air exchange, ferts....)

Nursery pots are for mass production- cheap and easy to get in huge quantities.

Doesn't mean they do not produce large, happy, healthy trees.
 

Potawatomi13

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"Cypress187, post: 391708, member: 18490"I think the air-pruning pots dry out much faster."

This is why we don't at my nursery. The air pruning pots need watering 3-4 times a day in summer.
Agreed. Not wanting any tree to die from lack of H2O would not take the chance;).
 

Bonsai Hunter

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@Paradox
Nursery pots aren't preferred by bonsai people.

This is a recent video below. Most of the bonsai demo videos seen online show trees in nursery pots, not an air pruning pot. In some demos, they cut away the upper half and still keep the tree in the same nursery pot. Just to be clear, I am talking about trees in training pots & grow pots, not the final display pot.

Minoru Akiyama demo, 5th US National Bonsai Exhibition, Bonsai Empire -

No air pruning pots here either. Just observing & wondering -

Tropical Pre-Bonsai trees from Wigert's Bonsai Nursery in Ft. Myers Florida -

Green thumb bonsai nursery trip 2015 -


Cost of pots
If you look at the link below, a square pot & a traditional round pot both cost $8
but square pot has a mesh floor. They could easily have that on the sides, at the same cost
since less plastic is used. The bulk of plastic pots they sell are non air pruning type, probably
bcos they sell more ?

http://www.americanbonsai.com/Bonsai-Supplies-s/1823.htm

Here, in India, a perforated plastic office trash can, with a solid base, sells cheaper than a garden pot of the same volume. The cost of a perforated pot should be same as a regular pot, if not cheaper. I do not understand why a perforated pot should be sold at a premium price.

@Eric Group
You can mass produce air pruning pots easily. They are mostly injection molded one press operation. If the mold has bumps, then you get holes in the pot, else regular pot.


More watering & higher frequency
Surely shallow bonsai pots (final display pots) seen in the video below will dry out faster than a vertical net pot shown at the beginning of this thread & need extra watering too.


Are bonsai artists consciously choosing watering over air pruning ? Is it not possible to solve the watering issue and still keep air pruning pots ? Why should it be one or the other ? I have seen some people using bonsai pots with drip irrigation. Other than that, maybe have more water retention in the soil mix ? Some use shade nets or mulch to slow down water loss.

So, I am still confused why air pruning pots are not popular.
 
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GroveKeeper

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And issue I have noticed with air pruning pots is that finer soils like compost can easily wash out of the holes. i think cloth bags are good compromise but that have their own problems.
 

Anthony

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Actually @Bonsai Hunter ,


those of us that ground grow, would probably use colanders for ease of lifting and less disturbance to the immediate
roots surrounding the trunk.
Once you get used to a thick trunk, positioning for [ if needed radial roots ] and the first 6 branches, the air pot has no real
use.

One can easily refine in an over sized Bonsai pot / wood flat box and so on.

Most newbees make the same mistake over and over. Trying for size in a standard nursery black pot.
Plus trying to control that urge to get reasons for constant pruning.
As well as soil mix and watering.

Once you understand ground growing, and how to / why to, the craft moves very fast.

Then if you are lucky like us, and have the Ficus priminoides or J.B.pnes, you can get trunks in the correct soil mix. [ for the
Ficus ] 1" [ 2.5 cm ] deep pots ] or for the pines simple less than 6"[ 15 cm ] internally deep clay pots at around 12 to 14 " wide [ say 30 to 36 cm ]
and the pines are from seed and cuttings.
I suspect the same for the Maple.

As time goes by more trees will probably found down here, able to thicken in shallow pots.

Then there is still the :eek: double and triple colander for those who don't have a great deal of space.
[ yes, our test is still ongoing ]

As usual, bonsai only costs if you must have Chinese / Japanese exported efforts [ tree or pot ], import soil mixes and lots of
pretty, pretty tools.
Good Day
Anthony

* If trees up in the cold climates were really that slow growing, then why would they log ?
If trees in the tropics really grew that fast, then wouldn't we constantly log ?

Soft wood versus Hard wood:D:D:D:)
 

Paradox

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@Bonsai Hunter

I am NOT talking about final bonsai pots.

The 2nd and 3rd links shows shorter black pots, much like bulb pans. I do use bulb pans, I also use because they are shallower.

They cut it down to see the trunk/nebari when doing a first stlying and keep it in the pot because they just styled it. Repotting at the same time could kill the tree.

$8 for a nursery pot is expensive. I pay way less for my bulb pans and for Anderson flats when I need something that big. Ive also made training pots out of plastic storage bins purchased from Walmart that have holes in the side and I add plastic art mesh to retain soil. Again, this is way less than $8. All of these cost about $4 or less. I have over 50 trees so anywhere I can save money I will. I repot into whatever the tree fits into at the time regardless of whether it's meshed or not. My mesh pots don't perform any differently than the bulb pans as far as the tree is concerned.

I only pay more for a training pot when I am moving to a plastic bonsai shaped pot as the last training pot before the real bonsai pot. Those promote even greater horizontal root growth over my other pots, but at that point, that is what I am goin for.

Tall pots that you show in the first post do not promote horizontal root growth. Most of the prebonsai I have purchased were in bulb pans or in plastic bonsai training pots, not in tall nursery tree pots.

We gave you other reasons.

Cost
Watering
Soil retention

Are you trying to start a buisness selling air pots and wondering why youre not selling well. What does it matter? If you want to pay for them and use them, have at it.
 
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Eric Group

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@Paradox
Nursery pots aren't preferred by bonsai people.
This is a recent video below. Most of the bonsai demo videos seen online show trees in nursery pots, not an air pruning pot. In some demos, they cut away the upper half and still keep the tree in the same nursery pot. Just to be clear, I am talking about trees in training pots & grow pots, not the final display pot.

Minoru Akiyama demo, 5th US National Bonsai Exhibition, Bonsai Empire -

No air pruning pots here either. Just observing & wondering -

Tropical Pre-Bonsai trees from Wigert's Bonsai Nursery in Ft. Myers Florida -

Green thumb bonsai nursery trip 2015 -


Cost of pots
If you look at the link below, a square pot & a traditional round pot both cost $8
but square pot has a mesh floor. They could easily have that on the sides, at the same cost
since less plastic is used. The bulk of plastic pots they sell are non air pruning type, probably
bcos they sell more ?

http://www.americanbonsai.com/Bonsai-Supplies-s/1823.htm

Here, in India, a perforated plastic office trash can, with a solid base, sells cheaper than a garden pot of the same volume. The cost of a perforated pot should be same as a regular pot, if not cheaper. I do not understand why a perforated pot should be sold at a premium price.

@Eric Group
You can mass produce air pruning pots easily. They are mostly injection molded one press operation. If the mold has bumps, then you get holes in the pot, else regular pot.


More watering & higher frequency
Surely shallow bonsai pots (final display pots) seen in the video below will dry out faster than a vertical net pot shown at the beginning of this thread & need extra watering too.


Are bonsai artists consciously choosing watering over air pruning ? Is it not possible to solve the watering issue and still keep air pruning pots ? Why should it be one or the other ? I have seen some people using bonsai pots with drip irrigation. Other than that, maybe have more water retention in the soil mix ? Some use shade nets or mulch to slow down water loss.

So, I am still confused why air pruning pots are not popular.
I am not talking about the cost to PRODUCE the pots, I am talking about the costs to BUY them. Sure you COULD mass produce them, but those who do actually mass produce pots for the nursery trade do not make the air pruning pots, they make regular nursery cans because that is what sells, so if you do find an air pot, or a colander pot, or any of those, they are "specialty" items- harder to find, produced in smaller batches and much more expensive! The truth is, nobody in the nursery trade is looking for maximum drainage and air pruned roots. They want easy to care for, easy to water and that is why those pots are cheaper. It has nothing to do with the amount of plastic it takes to make them.
 

Bonsai Hunter

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@Paradox,@Eric Group

Thanks Paradox & Eric for clearing that up for me and being patient with me. I am not from America and hence do not understand what is cheap or expensive but now I understand the difference between $4 & $8. No, I am not selling air pots but am an air pruning junkie, as my avatar shows :D I too scrimp & look for cheap deals.

So, basically air pruning pots are specialized products, commanding a premium price and not easily available in America. I had wrongly assumed they would be cheap & common. Hence, my questions. But if I understand correctly, from some of the posts here, colander is a cheap option.

I am now in the process of moving some of my trees to colanders. I tried melting holes on plastic containers but its way too much work. I had good fibrous roots with nylon net bags, kept inside a regular nursery pot (for shape), with some gap between them. The bottom 1/3rd of the pt is filled with rocks to keep the bag high. Some of the roots needed manual pruning. The net bags are the cheapest solution but need another container for support.

Net1.jpg

The above tree was uprooted and discarded by gardeners and I happily collected it after chopping the top. I live in an apartment. So ground growing is not an option for me. The trunk is already thick enough for me. The roots are well established now.
 
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Paradox

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See if you can find pond baskets or a plastic storage bin that is more horizontal than vertical. I'll post pics of mine when I can.
 

Anthony

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A colander does not quite give the same results as an air-pot.

The air pot test done versus a colander showed the air pot producing much denser feeder root growth
and an ability to hold more foliage, though the Tamarind didn't fatten in trunk any faster.

If I had to -------- air pot, which what we use.

Just an insert -Leucaena - will lose leaves every month and so is defoliated every month - leaves have the
same N P K as a rabbit's poop.
So it has to be fertilised every week with something that has 12 N.
Good Day
Anthony



leucaena.jpg
 
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With the vast amount of material I do construction work on, that are "Pre-Bonsai" ... they regularly come in nursery soil and are grown in nursery pots. I keep them this way until it is time to begin actual refinement, and begin to make the material into a bonsai.

It is much faster, results are faster and in fact I encourage people to do the same.

Regular Nurseries use them, because it is counterproductive to use an air pruning pot of any nature in the field they are in. They are in the biz of growing trees tall for people to put in their yard. They want roots to run free to Alllow for a tree to grow tall.

Bonsai Nurseries use them, or often Bulb pots... which are nothing more than just shorter nursery pots...because they are in a similar biz. They are trying to grow out a piece of "pre-bonsai" material quick and fast to be able to sell it to people who then want to begin to make it a bonsai.

They pretty much all do this, and it is for a reason, it works. And this is why I do it as well, because it works.
 

10-brink

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So when is it beneficial to use colanders /air pruning pots?
 
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So when is it beneficial to use colanders /air pruning pots?
Well let me just say that I don't use them. I have tried them out in the past and have not seen any benifits in doing so, that could not be achieved a different way.

So, the question is when to use pots that air prune? The answer would be when you want to air prune roots.

Why would you want to air prune roots? To keep them from growing long. And to help create more roots, and finer roots.

Why do we put our trees in a bonsai soil and in a bonsai pot? To keep roots from growing long and to help create more roots and finer roots... same thing.

The whole goal at this point is to slow down the amount of very fast growth, in favor of more growth on a smaller scale. We want more roots, more branching, more foliage, and smaller spacing between internodes.

In Pre-Bonsai and when doing construction work to prepare a piece of stock to become one day a bonsai.... We want none of this really. .. we want stuff to grow fast to get big, and to heal over in a short amount of time.

Normal nurseries are not concerned with any of this, they just want stuff to grow very tall to be able to shade a person's house, or add privacy.

Now there are some instances where one might choose to use one even during a pre-bonsai phase... such as Vance does, to help increase the look if bark on a pine... to make it more older and more to scale, or perhaps to help increase a more radial nebari. But, take in mind here that by doing so you are sacrificing the growing speed of the tree in doing so...It will take a lot longer to grow a thick trunk, to grow out branching, and to grow out a scar. And the fact that you can still do this in a bonsai pot.
 
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