While many believe that the right seeds and nutrients are the main factor in their plants' health, there is another key component. The root system of the plant plays a large part in the health of your plant. In this article, we are taking an in-depth look at air pruning.
If the plant doesn't have a healthy root system, it cannot access or absorb the nutrients it needs to grow. The root system also helps stabilize the plant in the growing medium.
When the roots of your plant do not receive proper nutrients because they are too crowded or don’t grow big enough rootzones, you can end up with small, unhealthy, airy yields.
So how can you ensure that happens even if you have the right lights and nutrition? By air pruning your plants. When you want to ensure your plants’ roots are well-developed and build your dream yield, air pruning will help you get the job done.
What is Air Pruning
Air pruning happens naturally when roots are exposed to air without high humidity. The roots are effectively “burned” off, causing the plant to constantly produce new and healthy branching roots. If roots are not exposed to air, they continue to grow around the container in a constricted pattern. The roots may spiral, twist, kink, or become strangled. When the plant is later replanted, it will likely fail to establish a normal root structure and will have reduced water uptake and nutrients. Eventually, abnormal growth should be obvious and could cause the plant to fail. Damaged root systems also cause leaves to turn yellow or brown, shrivel or drop. Healthy, highly branched root structures allow plants to efficiently uptake water and nutrients while increasing growth and overall health. A strong root system will make a plant better able to establish itself when installed in a restoration project.
What are the benefits of air pruning
- promotes branched root systems
- encourages new roots to sprout
- prevents roots from spiraling
- prevents plants from becoming pot-bound
- plants may remain in pots, plugs, or plant bands longer
What Do You Need to Air Prune Plants?
The good news about air pruning is that it is not a complicated process. All you have to do to help this process is ensure plenty of air is available throughout your medium. You'll need a few things to get started.
Air Pruning Pots for Seedlings
Vego Garden has Seedling Trays with Drip Irrigation & Air Pruning Strips. The trays feature eight spacious growing cells per tray instead of only six cells like most traditional flimsy "6-pack" trays.
With air-pruning strips along the sides of each cell, you can say goodbye to root binding and transplant shock for your seedlings; plus, each cell's individual draining hole allows for hassle-free plug extraction. Additionally, specialized drip-watering channels provide gentle hydration to the delicate seeds without upsetting their placement. Talk about the perfect way to set your seedlings up for success!
Air Pruning Pots for Growing Plants
An air pot promotes this healthy root structure with just what you’d expect: air. Plants don’t want their roots to grow above ground, so when a root encounters the air, the plant stops its progress in that direction and concentrates its energy in other parts of the soil. There are many different types of air pruning containers on the market, and some gardeners even make DIY air pruning pots, but the basic concept of all of them is letting in airflow on the sides and bottom of the container to stop root growth around the edges and promote it inside the soil.
How to Identify and Fix a Root-Bound Plant
If you think you may have a root-bound plant or need help avoiding root-bound plants when buying plants, check out this article: How to Identify and Fix Root-Bound Plants. In the article, I show you how to identify and fix a root-bound plant.
I hope you enjoyed this In-Depth Look at Air Pruning. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section below or our Facebook group.