May 22, 2018

Exactly What is Air Pruning and How Does it Increase My Yield?

What is air pruning? It’s a question we get asked on a regular basis. Simply put, air pruning is the term used to describe the natural pruning process of container plants when the roots come into contact with the air. Delve a little deeper into the subject and you’ll realize just how cool air pruning actually is…

Container plants and tangled roots

One of the main problems for gardeners who cultivate in standard plastic and ceramic plant pots is root structure. This is because the roots of plants placed in traditional pots can become easily stifled. They get all tangled up and, in severe cases, end up literally strangling the life out of the plant above ground.

If you take a plant out of a regular plastic plant pot, once it’s been in there for a couple of months, you’ll see what we mean. You’re bound to find a series of long roots that have wound round and round themselves inside the pot and are probably dripping with water too, because traditional plastic containers (unlike fabric grow bags) don’t give plants the opportunity to drain excess water away properly.

Air pruning and root structure

However, when gardening with pots that allow the air to penetrate through their walls, like the fabric pots we create here at Spring Pots, roots are happier. Why? Because as they reach the bottom and the sides of the pot, they are naturally pruned (dried up) by the air, which forces the plant to sprout new, fresh roots that in turn penetrate deep into the depths of the soil.

Think about what happens when you take a small cutting from a plant. The stem you cut will sprout at least two more shoots from where you made the snip. In the same way, when air comes into contact with the roots of a plant, it dries them up – effectively, pruning them – and new roots sprout from the old one as a result. The growth of long, single roots that wind themselves round and round in circles inside the pot is replaced by the growth of lots of little plant roots that gradually spread through the soil.

More nutrition and an increased yield

And here’s what’s really cool about air pruning… As the new little roots spread through the soil, they’re able to soak up more nutrition and more thirst-quenching goodness from the water. Much more than what a long, singular root in a plastic container can soak up. The result is a happier, healthier plant, that has all the ingredients it needs to grow bigger, stronger and faster. This is great news for farmers or commercial gardeners, because it translates into increased yields.

So, the only question left unanswered is whether or not you think you might invest in a couple of spring pots to give this air pruning business a try in your own garden. What do you say? Tempted to see how big, strong and fast you can help your container plants to grow?

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