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What's Different?

Specimen Trees Grown in Fabric Bags

Meyer Nursery Specimen Trees are grown in fabric bags in the ground. The Smart-Pot-In-Ground® is a non-woven polypropylene fabric container for the growing of plants in the ground. This type of container has many advantages over ball and burlap (B&B) plant material.

Root System Advantages:

  • The fabric bag contains most feeder roots.
  • Roots do not circle.
  • Abundant secondary root branching.
  • 80% or more of the root system is harvested when dug.

Shipping Advantages:

  • We can dig most material year around, unlike standard B&B material.
  • Smaller root ball size equates to less weight to ship.
  • Nearly twice the number of trees can be hauled in the same space as B&B.

Specimen Tree Quality:

  • Better, healthier root system in a smaller, lighter weight root ball.
  • Ease of handling, and transplanting with lighter weight root ball requiring less equipment and manpower.
  • Fabric is tougher then burlap and will not rot when the plant is held.
  • Better root structure provides for faster establishment in a box or in the ground when transplanted.
  • Soil mix more closely resembles customer's heavier soils for better, quicker establishment.

Meyer Nursery grows 1 ¾" to 3 ½" Specimen Trees in 21" Smart-Pots-In-Ground® for your growing, and transplanting needs.

NOTE: Please remember the In-Ground Smart Pot® is a non-woven polypropylene fabric container and must be removed for planting along with the wire basket.

You can find more information about fabric bags at High Caliper Smart Growing Systems:

What Are Smart Pots®?

A New Container System
for a Better Plant

The Smart Pot® is a fabric container for the growing plants on the ground, called the Above-Ground Smart Pot®.

It has many advantages over solid wall containers:

  • Prevents root circling by air pruning.
  • Promotes abundant, healthier secondary root branching.
  • Promotes quicker growth by providing better root structure.
  • Promotes cooler roots on sunny days by releasing heat.
  • Promotes better drainage while retaining adequate moisture.

With the Smart Pot® system, we will be able to fill your request for our plant material long after bare root season has passed. Our Smart Pot containers come in various sizes:

  • #25 – Specimen 1 ¾”—2 ½”
  • #15 - 1”-1 ¾” cal. (approx. 15 gal.)
  • #10 – smaller caliper tree, Fruit trees, and Shrubs (approx. 10 gal.)
  • #7 – smaller shrubs and tree sizes (approx. 7 gal.)

Why should you buy a Smart Pot®-ted plant?

  • Healthy, strong plant.
  • Best root system in town.
  • Easy transplanting and quicker establishment for the customer.
  • Ready to sell, no waiting for bare root season.
  • Planting instructions and labels available.
  • Holds well in sawdust, no rooting into sawdust and the bag won’t rot – just in case

Why should you buy a Smart Pot? Stronger plant, better roots, faster transplant establishment equates to a satisfied customer who will come back to you year after year.

You can find more information about fabric bags at High Caliper Smart Growing Systems:

How to Plant Smart Pots®

Now that you have a fabric bag Smart Pot®-ted Plant in your possession, what do you do with it? You plant it as you would a solid plastic potted plant.

Plant Preparation:

  1. Water the plant thoroughly, soaking it in a bucket of water if needed. at this time you can add a ‘root dip’ or root-stimulator, following the products directions.
  2. Trim off any damaged branches.

Soil Preparation:

  1. Dig a whole twice as big and deep as the root system. Rough up the sides and bottom of the hole, creating cracks, ridges, and rough spots for roots to burrow into to minimize root circling (especially important for heavier clay soils).
  2. Mix 15-25% compost into the back fill soil. Fill the hole part way. Gently pack the soil and soak with water.


  1. Remove the fiber bag from the plant by cutting the side and pulling/stripping from the root ball.
  2. Set the plant in the center of the hole, adjusting the finished root depth to match the soil line of the tree. Remove a bit of soil from around the base of the plant to form a water depression. Tease a little of the soil out of the roots, to accelerate contact with the native soils/ backfill mix.
  3. Finish filling hole with the back fill soil mix and tamp firmly. Again, soak with water. If settling occurs, readjust the plant depth by grasping at the plant base, and gently rocking it back and forth while carefully pulling up. Once readjusted, add remaining soil as need, and water it again.


  1. Form a ridge of soil around the plant at the edge of the root ball to create a basin to direct the water to the top of the root ball.
  2. Spread a 3-6” layer of compost around the plant at least 3’ out from base (not touching the base). The larger the compost mulched area the better the soil moisture retention round the plant between watering. Add compost yearly for best results. Compost provides nutrients, acts as a sponge, protects the soil surface, and provides soil aeration.
  3. Future watering — don’t over water. Check moisture in the soil and only water when necessary. Even in the Pacific Northwest, you will need to water regularly and deeply for the first several growing seasons, until established.
  4. For larger trees, staking is recommended when necessary and for as short as time as possible, as staking weakens the root and trunk system. Stake outside the root zone area.
  5. Enjoy your new plant.

*note: It is not recommended to add fertilizer at this time. It is too easy to burn or damage new roots and there will be food in the compost for when the plant is ready to eat.

You can find more information about fabric bags at High Caliper Smart Growing Systems:

How to Hold Smart Pots®

Care of a Specimen and Smart Pot:
Holding the Plant at the Nursery or Sales Yard
* It's Easy *

Specimen grown in Smart Pot-In-Ground And Above-Ground Smart Pot Container


  1. Start with 1 ½ gal., twice daily with a spray stick or other irrigation system.
  2. Adjust as needed; sides should be moist as water oozes from center but not running off.
    • Watch containers closely for a few days to become comfortable with your watering system, as the container is fabric and can lose moisture from the sides as well as the base.
    • And as it is fabric, the sides will not heat up or retain heat like a solid plastic pot.

Fertilizer: Plants should hold for the short term; a month or two. But if they need to be held for a longer period of time there will be a depletion of nutrients. Treat these plants as you would any potted material in your fertilizer schedule.

Holding: Specimen and Smart Pots can sit on the ground until they are sold. Or you can put them in a sawdust bed or a larger pot with sawdust. The fabric will slow any roots from escaping in to the sawdust. When sold, just pull out of the sawdust, dust off the sawdust, and send it off to its new home.

Repotting: Always remove the bag from the Specimen or Smart Pot when potting up or holding in a larger pot with soil. The polypropylene (plastic) bag will not disintegrate like a burlap bag and you will not get satisfactory rooting. The end result would be a very unhappy customer.

An unexpected experiment: Due to a customer changing a ship date after we had dug their order of Specimen Trees, we had to keep their trees for a year on the loading dock. When we finally shipped, the trees were in great shape. Our loading dock is set up with drip. So, if it is necessary, you can hold a tree for an extended period of time without loss of quality.

Remember: This is just another type of container.

You can find more information about fabric bags at High Caliper Smart Growing Systems: