The Smart Pot® Story
The Evolution of a Great Idea into a Top Notch Product
In 1980 a tree farmer had the idea to sew together containers from fabric. He hoped to make his trees easier to harvest. Little did he know he had just started a new way to grow trees and plants of all kinds. These fabric pots would later become known as Smart Pot® fabric containers and a revolution to the growing industry.
That tree farmer was Ralph Reiger, raising his trees near Guthrie, Oklahoma. He thought the fabric bags might hold the plant’s root structures more intact. And just a few short years later, in 1982 and 1983 Ralph was greatly surprised. Not only were the trees easier to harvest, and the roots held intact, but the roots had pruned from being in the bag! Eureka!
This meant that the root ball was thicker, bigger, denser. And showed no signs of circling like in traditional containers. This also meant that the trees were healthier. So when he transplanted them in the dead of summer they thrived.
Ralph knew a good thing when he saw it.
So in 1984 he incorporated and started selling his new tree bags. He called them Root Control Bags. And the company, fittingly named Root Control, Inc.
Tree nurseries started using and buying the bags. And soon more and more nurseries came on board. To this day some of those same nurseries still use the bags.
Soon Ralph needed some more help to further the company. And so Kurt, Ralph’s son, returned to Oklahoma City to join his father. And together father and son worked hard to build the company.
From the basement of Ralph’s house to a one room office, Kurt found new ways to help grow the company. And over the next fifteen years, Kurt and Ralph spread the news of growing trees in fabric Root Control Bags. They shared the advantages of root pruning and the ease of harvesting and transplanting.
Customers soon began using the Root Control Bags in unexpected ways. Some grew trees in them above ground. Others used them to grow aquatic plants in water. It became clear this was turning into something bigger. So much so we specifically designed fabric containers for above ground and aquatic uses.
As our customers’ creativity grew, the company grew.
But the product needed a name. Ralph originally coined it the Root Control Bag. But as tree nurseries used it above ground, we tried on the name Above Ground Root Control Bag. And that’s the name it sold under… for about nine months.
Until it didn’t.
So we turned to our amazing customers and asked for suggestions on what to call it. One of our better customers advised: “You should call it Smart Pot, because it helps distribute water evenly in the container,.. it root prunes,.. it releases heat, and I do not even have to leave the office … for it to do these things,.. I feel smart when I use it, so call it Smart Pot!”
He liked it. We liked it.
And the Smart Pot was born!
It was only the beginning. Smart Pot hit another great turning point after realizing its full power of root pruning. We knew growing plants in our Bags helped develop a better root structure. But this was originally to help in transplanting trees. Could it also benefit other plants used by the common gardener?
We soon recognized, yes, it could. A better root structure helps all plants. And all gardeners could benefit from more roots. For vegetables and edibles, more roots mean there’s more to eat and more to enjoy.
Smart Pot was introduced into the retail market with resounding success.
With this shift to the retail market, and a new product name, we figured the company name needed an update, too. Root Control, Inc. became High Caliper Growing, Inc. Caliper being the measurement of the diameter of a plant. The higher the caliper, the bigger the plant! Fitting. No?
As the retail market grew we created more products for our thrilled customers. The Big Bag Bed – giving gardeners a raised bed and all the growing benefits of a Smart Pot. Tray liners for enthusiasts to grow seedlings. Compost Saks that recycles fall leaves for planting in the spring season. And more ideas coming!
High Caliper Growing manufactures its products at our headquarters in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Smart Pots, Big Bag Beds, and Root Control Bags all made right here. That allows us to keep the highest quality standards. Every Bag is made for growing a great plant and for the best possible experience. Kurt Reiger is now the company president.
We want you to experience the joy of container growing a fuller, healthier plant. The container you use will affect the plant you grow! Grow it better in a Smart Pot!
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