Quality roots, quality trees

The trees that we cultivate at Belloch are destined to be transplanted. Conventional cultivation systems compromise the root system of trees. At best, a rootballed tree only retains 18% of its roots; the rest is left in the cultivation area. Cultivation in a container causes root deformities that compromise root establishment, development and stability. This leads, for example, to root spiralling, which is one of the main causes of falls in urban tree planting.

In Air-Pot® cultivation, the shape of the container wall guides each root towards a hole where the increased amount of air dehydrates the root tip, stimulating root branching and maximising the ability to absorb nutrients, water and oxygen. Each new root follows the same path towards the air hole and the process repeats itself. In this way, the plant rapidly develops a large mass of fibrous roots. The increased oxygenation of the substrate due to the holes plays a key role in the quality of the root system.

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Benefits of Air-Pot® cultivation

• Prevents root spiralling (one of the main causes of fall risk in urban tree planting)
• Allows supply and planting in its final location at any time of the year
• When supplied, the entire root system is complete, without pruning of roots
• With this system, it is possible to cultivate species that are difficult to root
• The percentage of failures or planting losses due to the quality of the plant is significantly reduced
• The transplanting process at the destination is much quicker
• The plant has higher growth rates
• The root ball shape facilitates better anchoring, improving stability
• It is a reusable cultivation system and does not generate any type of waste

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Until now the advantages of using the Air-Pot® – although evident – were not measurable.

The Spanish Association of Arboriculture, in its desire to disseminate advances in arboriculture and its related disciplines, publishes its official quarterly magazine La Cultura del Árbol [Tree Culture]. In issue number 88, from December 2020, appears the article “Advantages of the use of Air-Pot®” written by Bas Van Dijk, VDL Horticultural Consultant. In the article, there is a summary of two pieces of research published in The Netherlands and Germany that show the benefits of Air-Pot® cultivation.

In the Dutch trial, carried out by Chiel van der Voort of Cultus Crop and independently verified, it was discovered that trees cultivated in an Air-Pot® container, unlike those grown in the ground, grew up to 60% faster.

In the German trial, carried out by Dr. Axel Schneidewind of the Saxony-Anhalt State Office for Agriculture and Horticulture, the root development and root health of Tilia cordata was compared. Cultivation was carried out in five different containers (standard plastic container, pot-in-pot®, PlantinBag®, ARBO-Perf® and Air-Pot®). The results leave no room for doubt: the trees cultivated with the Air-Pot® system – in contrast to all of the other systems used in the trial – do not cause the roots of the tree to spiral, not only during cultivation, but also after 4 and 8 years planted in its final location.

The conclusion to the aforementioned studies is: “the Air-Pot® container is the only type of pot that completely eliminates root spiralling. The resulting root system translates into better health and quicker growth of trees.” It should be remembered that one of the main causes of the risk of urban trees overturning is due to root spiralling. Until now, the advantages of the use of Air-Pot® containers – although evident – were not measurable. Thanks to these studies, the benefits of their use are demonstrably evident. At Belloch Forestal we have no doubts about the quality of trees cultivated in Air-Pots®; it is for this reason that we have a wide variety of species grown with this cultivation system. We can claim to have the largest nursery in Spain specialising in the Air-Pot® system.

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