Container Culture [was Perched Water Table]

Wed, 04 Dec 2013 10:29:53 PST
Great discussion. Peter's comment made me realize immediately one of the
main problems with growing in pots, namely that there is no capillary
action to speak of at all. A plant's roots will respond to the
downward/outward hydrostatic principle but in pots this stops at the
drainage holes, where there is drying instead of an "expected" refuge for
moisture-seeking roots. The wicking effect only lasts a very short time
after watering.

Instead of root-encouraging water movement, in containers there is a drying
effect from above and below and at the sides and the last region to dry out
is toward the center of the rootball-- where feeder root development is
poorest. This staleness or lack of proper water movement must account, in
part, for the relatively poor performance of many species in pots that
thrive when planted in the ground.

One way to abate this problem is to keep plants more pot-bound than usual.
This necessitates more frequent watering and keeps the cycle of air and
water movement more brisk.

Dylan Hannon

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