Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas



The Economics of Producing Nursery Crops
Using the Pot-in-Pot Production System:
Two Case Studies

(Southern Cooperative Series Bulletin #402)

By Dr. Charles R. Hall, Professor & Extension Economist,
University of Tennessee

r. Charles R. Hall, formerly a long time faculty member at Texas A&M University and now at the
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The pot-in-pot system close up
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Stewart Thompson of Arbor
Ridge Nursery demonstrates
the pot-in-pot technique

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University of Tennessee, is a contributing author, along with John Haydu and Ken Tilt, of a new and useful electronic bulletin on growing trees and shrubs with the pot-in-pot system which may be of interest to nursery producers in the South.

The electronic bulletin may be viewed at http:www.utextension.utk.edu/hbin/scsbpip.htm and downloaded from Adobe Acrobat to create a permanent paper version, if desired.

The pot-in-pot (PIP) production system for nursery crops and Christmas trees is gaining popularity among nurseries. PIP reduces production time, allows crops to be overwintered where they grow, and uses trickle irrigation. There are many advantages to the PIP system, and practical experience indicates that many plants grow better. PIP production combines the advantages of both above-ground container production and in-ground production.

With the pot-in-pot system, a container (the “socket pot”) is placed permanently in the ground so that 3 to 4 inches of the container lip protrudes above the ground. Then, a second container, the “insert pot” that contains the plant in a soilless medium, is placed into the socket pot. The advantages of this production system are that pot-in-pot:

  • insulates the root zone from extreme temperature variations
  • allows in-place overwintering
  • decreases production time from liner to finished product
  • reduces water usage with trickle irrigation
  • eliminates the need for staking to prevent blow over
  • offers year-round harvest capability
  • reduces labor cost associated with in-field harvesting
  • prevents root loss associated with in-field harvesting
  • offers light-weight shipping compared to ball and burlapped plant material

Live oak production was chosen as one of the type protocols. Texas Extension Offices often receive questions about locating information on methods of growing live oaks to harvest size in containers, so that Bulletin #402 should be a welcome addition to available resources.


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