High Caliper Growing Systems was founded as Root Control, Inc. in 1984. But the story actually started six years earlier when Ralph Reiger took an early retirement from a long career at Merrill Lynch & Co., the financial firm, and started The Tree Farm in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Guthrie is not a center of the nursery business, and Ralph immediately began to have problems finding people to dig trees ball and burlap. He priced tree spades, but that was expensive, and you still needed skilled personnel. With help from people at Oklahoma State University, Ralph fashioned the first ROOT CONTROL BAGS and put them out at The Tree Farm in Guthrie in 1980.
The initial harvest was in August of 1982. The first thing Ralph noticed was – the trees lived! August in Oklahoma is hot, and not the right time to harvest 2” caliper river birch, or any other variety of tree. Upon inspection, Ralph realized the fabric Root Control Bag had root pruned the plant’s root structure, giving him a vastly improved plant.
The Root Control Bag immediately drew the attention of a number of progressive nurserymen. Ralph formed Root Control, Inc., and incorporated in Oklahoma in 1984. Since that time, Root Control, Inc. has gained thousands of customers growing millions of plants, in all fifty states and a number of countries worldwide. We are a proud supporter of our industry, with longtime memberships in a great number of industry trade organizations, including; The American Nursery & Landscape Association, the Texas Nursery & Landscape Association, the Southern Nursery Association, the Oregon Association of Nurserymen, the Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association, the Western Nursery & Landscape Association, the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers, the Oklahoma Nursery & Landscape Association and other organizations.
In 2004, to better reflect our mission in the nursery business, Root Control, Inc. began operating as The High Caliper Growing Systems. The trademark Smart Pot® name is now used on all products, with the Root Control Bag being re-christened as The Smart Pot – In Ground.
Ralph’s son, Kurt Reiger is now President of the company. Steve McCurdy is head of sales. Alison Campell is the office manager. Charles Jackson is production manager. Bruce Feiertag, an adjunct professor at Oklahoma State University, is the head engineer.