At Simmons Oak Farms, all our shade trees are field grown in RootMaker bags. These bags have a solid bottom with a knit mesh on the sides. As you can see in the picture above, this system helps the tree to develop lots and lots of fibrous roots and NO circling roots!
When you purchase a tree, you should always check the rootball. If it has been container grown, ask the sales associate to lift the tree from its pot. Sometimes you will see “circling roots”. These are so easy to identify; they are simply long roots that circle round and round the inside of the container. They are a sign that this tree has been in that particular container for too long. Left like this, these roots will eventually choke the tree. If you MUST plant a tree with circling roots, you can do one of two things. Either pull the roots apart and spread them in the planting hole or prune them.
We have kept harvested trees on the yard for months in these soft containers and they do great. At planting, cut the bag, and rip it from the rootball. The small roots that have grown through the holes in the bag will be torn (or pruned). This root pruning tells the tree to grow more roots.