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US: T.O. Plastics expands line of square pots
The large square plant pots have a two-quart soil capacity, with nine bi-level drain holes strategically placed to aid drainage. Enhanced drainage was a specific concern among the growers that T.O. Plastics spoke with while designing the new pots and carry trays, said Doug Laubenstein, the company's National Sales and Strategic Business Development Manager.
"We asked 'how can we make this better for you?' and they responded with two specific requests, the first one being better drainage," he said. "The greater soil capacity of larger pots retains moisture, which impedes plant growth."
Excess moisture prevents oxygen from reaching plant roots, leading to poor plant health, and encourages root rot and other diseases that further prevent the plant from developing properly.
To overcome those challenges, T.O. Plastics Product Design Engineers Scott Klein and Warren Sowers designed an array of raised and lowered drainage slots in the pots themselves and incorporated significant advancements into the two-quart, 5.5'' square pot carry trays.
"The trays are the key," Laubenstein said. "We built in a ridge along the inside bottom of the tray to allow the pots to sit above water as it drains out. We also increased the height of the tray bottom and incorporated holes there that not only allow water to drain quickly but also allow air to reach the plant pots and help the soil properly dry down."
With a raised divider down the center for added stability, the square pot carry trays are equipped to hold up to 35 pounds' worth of pots and soil. Innovative automation grooves on the bottom of the tray allow growers to employ multi-tray handling.
"The growers' second request was for a sturdy tag slot to allow for efficient labeling and uniform alignment for merchandising," Laubenstein said. "Our two-quart, 5.5'' square is one of the first thermoformed square pots to successfully incorporate an integrated tag slot on all four sides."
"The inherent thinness of thermoformed plastics previously made creating an integrated slot difficult, but T.O. Plastics' team found a way to engineer around that challenge," he said.
"The new square plant pots were designed specifically for perennial and woody ornamental growers and berry producers but are well-suited for other uses in the greenhouse and nursery industries," Laubenstein said. "The two-quart, 5.5'' square appeals to a broad market."
T.O. is accepting pre-orders for February 2018.
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