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Does Air-Pruning Benefit My Plants?

Date: 01-07-2021

There are many ways a grower can promote healthy and abundant roots. One of the easiest and most effective ways is through what is known as air-root pruning. 

When growers plant in traditional pots, roots branch out longer and longer until they reach the constraints of their growing container. When the roots have used up all their available space growing outwards, they begin to circle the pot's base. This can lead to a whole host of issues (including decreased nutrient uptake) reflected in the plant above. 

Comparable to "pinching off", air root pruning sacrifices the tip of your plant's roots to make way for not only new roots but more as well. As a result, growers often notice two or three new roots in place of the one that died. 

Wait there... that doesn't mean you can rush off and give your plant roots a trim with the nearest scalpel. That's a really quick way to introduce an infection that will end up killing your plants. You also don't want to expose the roots of your plants to any more light than is necessary, so ripping them out of their growing container for a haircut is probably not the best idea either. 

The solution is all in the name; let air do the work for you. 

Exposing plant roots to air is going to dry the root out, eventually killing it. When you only allow this to happen to the tip of the roots, you enable the plant to grow a more robust, diversified root system. 

You can air root prune your plants a few ways, but our favourite way is with a fabric pot (we love Geopot). 

As plant roots reach the edge of their fabric container, they dry out, which activates the growth of fibrous feeder roots, and so the cycle continues. 

You should never actually see roots on the outside of your pot. However, if you can see roots, it might be time to migrate your plant over to a bigger fabric pot (options like Geopot even come with a velcro strip down the side, so you won't have any problems when it's time for your plants to move on to bigger and better things). 

As always, if you've gotten this far thanks for reading. We hope you have enjoyed this month's newsletter and look forward to hearing about how you went air pruning your plants!