Welcome To Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

Root Management Research

Root management in nursery production is of growing interest to tree producers and tree purchasers alike. The reason for this is that the development of a tree’s root system is a critical factor in the ability of a tree to become established in the landscape. The roots secure the tree and stabilize it against wind and other elements. The tree develops strong coarse roots that form the framework for the fine roots, which access water and nutrients, and form relationships with microorganisms. It all starts with soil and roots! Greater understanding about how roots develop, grow and interact with their environment allows for improvements in nursery production practices and tree planting in the landscape.


We have been studying the importance of the structure of roots on woody plants for over five years. Our team found that proper root development begins as soon as the roots start to grow on a newly germinated seed or a cutting stuck in the nursery. Tree roots in natural settings don’t face the obstacles we have created in our nursery production systems, like container walls. When roots hit the smooth impermeable wall of a plastic container, they are deflected and do not extend outward like they would in nature. These misdirected roots should be corrected before the tree is moved to the next container size or planted out in the landscape. If left untreated, the root deflections will persist and can negatively influence tree growth. Based on our extensive research on tree propagation we have developed a propagation tray called RootSmart™ with A.M.A Horticulture, which is now available to growers. For more information on RootSmart™ visit www.rootsmart.com


What's New

A transplanting trial is underway and Vineland is evaluating the effects of different propagation trays, including RootSmart™, on root development of trees and wine grape vines after transplanting from different containers. Comparing various propagation containers is important because of the formation of coarse structural roots of woody plants early on. Some preliminary results are available from this trial with more to come in 2020.