Root pruning various types of plants

I am a big advocate of growing plants in various types of root pruning containers, whether it’s a smart pot, rootmaker, or even just using something like Microkote painted on the inside of a plastic pot.

It does not eliminate the need for potting up, despite what some people say, but it does tend to produce a more well structured root system, with little to no circling/girdling, and in my experience, does tend to make establishment faster if it’s something that’s going in the ground, especially for woody plants.

I’ve grown even oaks from seed this way, and had near-zero transplant shock (as long as I keep up on watering until it sends roots sufficiently into the native soil).

But I was thinking about something. I don’t feel like this would work for any plant that is a monocot, because of the structure of a monocot root system. Like a palm, or corn, or grasses.

Monocots, with few exceptions, don’t branch their roots. Root pruning works for dicots because the root response by sending out branching behind the cut, creating a dense, fibrous root system. If you cut a monocot root, it functions for a while until the plant replaces the root with a new one generated from the crown, then, it dies off. I’ve had monocots grow just fine with root pruning pots, but I feel like I’m not actually achieving anything, either.

Am I off-base here?


From what little Botany I have read monocots such as Palms stop root growth totally once they reach a specific size.

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