1-800-521-8089 /info@treebag.com
The Root of the Issue

Why Fabric Grow Bags Promote Healthy Tree Roots

High Caliper Growing, March 28, 2017

If you’re a tree farmer, it’s not exactly news — healthy tree roots mean healthy trees. More than any other factor, root health determines speed of growth, time to market and mortality rates after the sale. So it’s only logical that tree farmers across the world are searching for methods to optimize root growth.


Using the ball and burlap method, 50-80% of the root tips are cut off at harvest. The severity of root destruction depends on the species of the tree and the operator of the tree spade. Studies show there is approximately 25% mortality after ball and burlap transplanting. Trees grown using in-ground fabric grow bags retain 80% or more of the root ball at harvest – with no root circling.

Bag-grown trees produce abundant, fibrous roots throughout entire root ball. When transplanted, these fibrous provide more energy in the form of carbohydrates and nutrients. This leads to faster lateral root development and top growth, leaving you with healthy tree roots. Thanks to compact root balls containing little soil, trees grown in fabric bags weigh two thirds less than ball and burlap specimens. Soil loss per tree is considerably less as well.


When roots approach the edge of a fabric bag, the air dries out the root tip causing it to desiccate. This, in turn, causes the roots to branch and become fibrous. The process, known as “air pruning,” promotes fibrous roots throughout the entire root ball. It also prevents undesirable root circling.

Thanks to numerous fibrous roots created during transplant or stepping up, bag-grown trees experience a grow spurt over their first year. After that, the plant grows normally while exhibiting the best survivability compared to other growing practices. With proper care and the right amount of water and nutrients, bag-grown trees have a much better survival rate. This is due to their healthy root systems that have no root circling — the number one problem for plants grown in plastic containers.

Healthy tree roots allow trees to rejuvenate much faster upon transplant. With anchoring roots and top growth quickly established, your customers will see for themselves how healthy and quickly the tree grows.


Fostering healthy trees, in ground or above, also provides extraordinary benefits to nurseries and tree farmers, including:

  • Reduced labor cost: A small, efficient crew can harvest more trees per day than B & B.
  • Lower equipment cost: For some growers, a shovel is all you need. Some also use fork blades or other attachments on skid loaders.
  • Lower shipping cost: Due to smaller root balls, more trees can be stacked on a truck.

Whether you’re just getting started or running an established tree farm, fabric grow bags can give you twice as many trees per acre. They deliver more than just healthy tree roots and a fibrous root system. They cut labor costs and greatly reducing tree mortally. By eliminating costly tree spades, fabric bags are poised to revolutionize the industry. It is no surprise that more tree farmers are choosing fabric grow bags every day.