The objectives of this study were to determine the effects of container volume, container shape, and copper-coating containers on root and shoot growth during nursery production and after establishment in the field. Liners of ficus (Ficus retusa L. ‘Nitida’), a fibrous-rooted species, and Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi.), a coarse-rooted species, were grown in regular or tall #1 containers in a glasshouse and were subsequently transplanted to the field or into #3 or #5 regular or tall containers. During the nursery phase, copper-coated containers improved rootball quality of ficus and pepper, but biomass production was not affected consistenly by copper coating. Tall, narrow versus regular containers restricted pepper growth throughout the nursery phase and field establishment, but had little effect on ficus. Biomass production of pepper trees was greatest in regular-shaped containers, and tall containers reduced growth consistently. Container shape did not affect shoot growth of ficus. The larger container volume of the #5 yielded greater total biomass of pepper and root dry weight of ficus during nursery production than did #3 pots. In the field, shoot dry weight of ficus was greatest when previously grown in #5 containers, and total biomass of pepper was greatest in both regular #3 or #5 containers.

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Author notes

This study was partially funded by USDA Forest Service Grant No. PSW-92-0016CA. We thank El Modeno Nursery for plant material donations and Griffin Corp. for SpinOut™.

2Current address: Department of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721.

3Western Center for Urban Forest Research and Education, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Davis, CA 95616.

4Associate Specialist, Area Environmental Horticulturist, Research Horticulturist Emeritus, respectively.