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J. Roger Harris, Alex X. Niemiera, Robert D. Wright and Charles H. Parkerson

Three experiments were conducted to determine the feasibility of using Biobarrier, a landscape fabric with trifluralin herbicide-impregnated nodules, of various sizes to prevent root escape of trees from the drainage holes of 56-liter containers in below-ground pot-in-pot (P&P) and above-ground Keeper Upper (KU) nursery production systems. In addition, side holes or slits were cut in some container walls to test the effect of Biobarrier on the prevention of circling roots. In Expt. 1 (P&P), Betula nigra L. `Heritage' (river birch) trees with no Biobarrier had root ratings for roots escaped through drainage holes that indicated a 5-fold increase in numbers of roots than for treatments containing Biobarrier. All Biobarrier treatments reduced root escape and resulted in commercially acceptable control. In Expt. 2 (KU), control and the Biobarrier treatment river birch trees (30 nodules) had commercially unacceptable root escape. In Expt. 3 (P&P), control and 10-nodule treatment Prunus × yedoensis Matsum. (Yoshino cherry) trees had commercially unacceptable root escape, but treatments containing 20 and 40 nodules resulted in commercially acceptable control. Biobarrier did not limit shoot growth in any of the experiments. The results of these experiments indicate that Biobarrier did not prevent circling roots, but sheets containing at least 8 or 20 nodules of trifluralin acceptably prevented root escape from drainage holes in the pot-in-pot production of 56-liter container river birch trees and Yoshino cherry trees, respectively.