Our objective at Derby Canyon Natives is to grow native plants that meet our customers’ needs in both quantity and quality. Most of the plants we grow are planted in restoration projects, often in challenging environments east of the Cascades with little or no irrigation. A quality plant should survive, if not thrive, in these situations. One thing we do to ensure quality, among others, is our choice of deep and narrow growing containers.
Lisa with thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus) and a 10ci tube
Almost all of the containers we use are produced by Stuewe and Sons in Corvallis, OR. Whether 10 cubic inch tubes, 40ci Deepots or the 1 gallon Treepots we use, they all create a deeper root ball and limit root circling.
Juan with Rocky Mountain maple (Acer glabrum) in a #1 pot (left) and Western larch (Larix occidentalis) in a Treepot (right)
The common 4″ square pot and round 1 gallon (#1) pot can grow high quality plants and have the advantage of being relatively inexpensive (even free if you dig through a landscaper’s pile of old pots!). Their value becomes limited with restoration projects in drier sites, and with many of the native plant species from our region that are drought adapted and prone to root rot. I’ve found that the container dimensions, in addition to the growing media and irrigation schedule, make a big difference in whether touchy plants like mountain boxwood (Paxistima myrsinites), snowbrush ceanothus (Ceanothus velutinus) or many wildflowers from the shrub-steppe flourish or fail.
Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) in a Treepot supporting frame
This year we are growing tens of thousands of plants in Treepots. These 14″ tall pots won’t stand on their own, so we’ve had to become creative in finding economical and effective ways to support and transport them; it’s worth the effort!
Vine maple (Acer circinatum) in a fruit bin modified to hold up to 128 Treepots
Tractor transport works well, saving our backs for a few more years, at least