Live oak (Quercus virginiana Mill.), red maple (Acer rubrum L.), and sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua L.) trees were planted in #7 fabric or plastic containers on April 18, 2004, and grown for two growing seasons. Live oak and golden rain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata Laxm.) trees were planted in #10 fabric or plastic containers on May 6, 2005, and harvested the following summer. Plant height, canopy width, and caliper were measured periodically, and root zone temperatures were recorded at 30-min intervals throughout each study. In the 2004 planting, live oak height and canopy width increased more for plants in plastic containers than for those in fabric containers from May to July 2004. In contrast, no difference in live oak height or canopy width growth occurred between container types from July to September 2004, but trunk caliper increased more in plastic than in fabric containers during this time interval. No differences between container treatments were noted for any measured parameter for red maple or sweet gum trees planted in 2004 or for golden rain tree or live oak trees planted in 2005 at any measurement interval during the study. Average monthly high and low substrate temperatures were similar between the two container types throughout the study. Fabric containers appear to be a reasonable alternative to plastic containers for above ground nursery crop production, although small differences in growth occur for some species.
Approved for publication by the Director, Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station. This research was supported under project OKL02324. Partial financial support and fabric containers were provided by Root Control, Inc., Oklahoma City, OK. Plants were provided by Sooner Plant Farm, Tahlequah, OK. We thank Ann Marie Smith for help in washing and grading roots.
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