To: Anyone who can advise me on â€œair root pruning.â€
We are involved in a project to plant Himalayan apricots (easy to dry fruit) in a very poor, remote region of Asia (elevations 6 to 12 thousand feet). Villagers have no fruit in their diet (children have vitamin C & A deficiencies). Our resources are very limited. We would like to employ the new nursery practice of air root pruning. We do not have access to the many new products specifically designed for air root pruning. We must use locally available materials. I have no experience in air root pruning methods. We would love to learn from you. Please advise me on any problems you foresee with the following plan/hope:
Available locally, at a very cheap price - waste paper baskets. They are made of plastic. I can get light or dark colors. I can either order waste paper baskets with round holes or square holes. I think round holes may be less prone to tearing with repeated use. One foreseeable problem with these containers is that they have solid bottoms without holes. Is this a problem?
Also available locally is a kind of black plastic shade cloth. It is very porous. A liner for the basket could be sewn up using this shade cloth. The idea I have is to pry the basket off the root ball just before distribution to remote areas. The baskets would be missing during transport but the root balls would still be contained within the shade cloth bag. Does this sound reasonable?
Another idea occurred to me after seeing a photo of a folding, snap together, porous box, designed for air root pruning. We cannot buy this kind of folding plastic box locally, but we do have metal mesh wire. With a homemade template for cutting and a homemade form on which to form the wire, we could make something similar to this box (but cylindrical not square). It would not have the â€œhandy dandyâ€ snap closure, but we could simply band it shut with some bailing wire. This wire cylinder might be easier to remove than the basket. Is it worth the considerable extra effort (as compared to the waste paper basket)?
I have another question concerning air root pruning. I am guessing that a nursery seedling, grown by the air root pruning method, will have a greater abundance of roots coming from a more limited area of the root system. My question is this: Will this kind of root crowding adversely effect the maturing tree as it grows older and older in its permanent location?
I would be most grateful to any of you who are experienced in air root pruning - would you please advise me. We are trying to teach nursery practices, that villagers themselves can replicate, with locally available materials, at minimal cost.
Gratefully yours, thetreeguy. !!!!!!