Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Horticulture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/5/2005
Publication Date: 3/6/2006
Citation: Fare, D. 2006. Container size and liner size effects on growth of red maple. J. Environmental Horticulture. 24:18-22. Interpretive Summary: Container grown trees are an important product for the nursery and landscape industry. Red maple is ranked in the top 5 trees grown and marketed in the US. Determining optimal container size for specific liner size is essential for producing quality trees in a one or two year production cycle. Data from this project showed that more growth occurred with smaller tree liners in a one year production system and were similar in size after 2 growing seasons to liners that were initially larger at potting. For a 1 or 2 year production system, results indicated greater plant growth and performance occurred with plants grown in 56.8 l (#15) containers compared to 26.5 l (#7) or 37.8 l (#10) containers.
Technical Abstract: Two studies were conducted to determine container size and liner size effects on growth of Acer rubrum L. red maple. In experiment 1, maples liners with trunk calipers of 12.2 mm (0.5 inch), 15.9 mm (0.6 inch), and 22.3 mm (0.9 inch) were potted in container sizes 26.5 l (#7), 37.8 l (#10), and 56.8 l (#15) and grown for 18 months (2 growing seasons). Height and caliper growth at the end of each growing season were affected by both the initial liner size and container size. During year 1, liners with an initial caliper of 12.2 mm increased 28% and 70% more in height growth compared to liners initially 15.9 mm and 22.3 mm in caliper, respectively. Twenty three percent more height growth occurred with maples in 37.8 l (#10) and 56.8 l (#15) containers compared to those in 26.5 l (#7) containers. Caliper growth increased 50% more with 12.2 mm liners compared to 22.3 mm liners. A 25% increase in caliper growth occurred with liners potted in 56.8 l (#15) compared to 26.5 l (#7) containers. At the end of the second growing season, final tree size was similar with liners that were initially 12.2 mm and 15.9 mm liners in caliper to those initially 22.3 mm when potted into 37.8 l (#10) and 56.8 l (#15) containers. In experiment 2, maple liners with calipers 17.5 mm (0.7 inch), 20.5 mm (0.8 inch), and 29.0 mm (1.1 inch) were potted in container sizes 26.5 l (#7), 37.8 l (#10), and 56.8 l (#15) and grown for 18 months (2 growing seasons). Liners grown in 56.8 l (#15) containers had 92% more height growth and 48% more caliper growth than with liners in 26.5 l (#7) containers. At termination, the foliage canopy was 62% larger with maples in 56.8 l (#15) containers compared to those grown in 26.5 l (#7) containers.