High Caliper Growing
The Story of Smart Pots
The evolution of a revolution
Smart Pots started in 1980 when tree farmer Ralph Reiger sewed together a thousand fabric containers and planted them in the ground with caliper-sized trees. Ralph hoped the containers would make harvesting and transplanting large trees much easier, and he hoped that the plant’s root structures would remain more intact.
In 1982 and 1983, the trees were harvested at Ralph’s tree farm in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Ralph discovered that harvesting bag-grown trees was much easier than the traditional ball-and-burlap method. And the plant’s root structure? Clearly it was intact, but something unexpected had occurred. The fabric bag had naturally pruned the trees’ roots. Instead of circling, the root area increased inside the container by lateral branching and pruning. The transplanted trees thrived, even though many were moved in the dead of summer.
In 1984 Ralph started selling his tree bags. He called them Root Control Bags, and the company was called Root Control, Inc. His customers were tree nurseries who wanted easier harvesting and enhanced root structures. Our company still proudly sells Root Control Bags to some of the same nurseries who tried them back in 1984.
In 1985, Ralph’s son Kurt Reiger returned to Oklahoma City to help his father build a company. Kurt rented a small, one-room office and moved the company out of his parents’ basement.
As customers adopted Root Control Bags, they began using them in unexpected ways. Some grew trees above ground, using Root Control Bags as large containers. Other customers started growing aquatic plants in them.
Recognizing these changes, the company started making fabric containers specifically for above-ground and aquatic uses. But the product needed a name. One customer advised: “You should call it the Smart Pot. It distributes water evenly. It root prunes. It releases heat. And I don’t even have to leave my office. I feel smart when I use it, so call it the Smart Pot!” And the Smart Pot was born!
Another turning point was realizing the full power of root pruning. We knew plants grown in our bags developed superior root structures. Building a better root structure on an oak made it easier to transplant. But was there a benefit to species that grew large root structures on their own?
Soon, we recognized that enhanced root structures helped all plants. For vegetables and edibles, more roots mean higher yields. If you want more tomatoes, grow them in a container where they’ll develop a superior root structure. Grow them in a Smart Pot!
To reflect our shift to the retail market, we changed our company name to High Caliper Growing, Inc. A “caliper” is the measured diameter of a plant. The higher the caliper, the bigger the plant.
In the early days, we often explained that the Smart Pot worked “like a raised bed.” So we decided to introduce the Big Bag Bed, a fabric raised bed. We now offer the Smart Pot, which is a small container, and the Big Bag Bed, which is a raised bed. Horticulturally speaking, they work the same way.
High Caliper Growing manufactures its products at our headquarters in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Because we oversee production, we have the highest quality standards. Every Bag is made for growing a great plant.
We hope you will join us in the joy of growing fuller, healthier plants. The container you use affects the plants you grow! Grow them better in Smart Pots!
Customer Service: (405) 842-7700
- Pots, Planters & Containers