Gardening

Help us name this amazing new pot moving device!

Help us name this amazing new pot moving device! thumbnail
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As we’ve written about elsewhere, our citrus obsession has caused us to grow lots of big plants in pots. We have nearly a dozen citrus varieties and since we live in a moderate climate zone where winter temps regularly dip into the teens and 20’s, that means we have to move our pots indoors or into our garage at various points throughout the fall and winter months.

These aren’t small pots, mind you. Each one likely weighs at least 100 lbs. Until recently, I (Aaron) was using a standard pot roller to move them around. I’d carefully tip the pot over to one side, pull it onto the roller, then push the pot into our garage. This took quite a bit of time and worn out roller wheels had to be replaced seasonally.

We grow a wide variety of citrus in an equally wide variety of pot sizes, shapes, and weights. Is there a way to easily move large potted plants given all this variability?

We grow a wide variety of citrus in an equally wide variety of pot sizes, shapes, and weights. Is there a way to easily move large potted plants given all this variability?

I’d tried other moving contraptions: wheelbarrows don’t work since I’d have to awkwardly hoist a huge plant a few feet off the ground each time I wanted to move it. Two different sizes of hand trucks didn’t work: one was too small and the other larger one didn’t have a foot plate long enough to support the pot nor was it able to secure a belt around the pots to prevent it from tumbling off while moving.

How To Easily Move Large Pots: First Get One Engineer…

Lucky for us, we’re friends with John and Kirsten Robertson of Pecan Dale Farmstead. They’re both engineers and John has a career of mechanical engineering under his belt. He also happens to have the ultimate machine shop/man cave on their farmstead.

I told John about our pot moving problem. He came over, did some brainstorming, ate some citrus, and went home with one of our large empty pots so he could create a prototype and test it on an actual pot.

Getting to eat fresh organic citrus throughout the year is adequate reward for the work that goes into growing them. Moro blood oranges (top) and variegated pink lemons (bottom).

Getting to eat fresh organic citrus throughout the year is adequate reward for the work that goes into growing them. Moro blood oranges (top) and variegated pink lemons (bottom).

A month later, just as our forecast showed temperatures dipping into the teens over an extended period of time, John sent me a text message saying, “It’s done save for a few small details and paint. I can bring it by tomorrow morning if you’d like.”

His text message plus accompanying picture set my heart aflutter.

The picture John sent me from his shop (left) and John showing off the prototype device on our potted avocado plant. -pot moving device from Tyrant Farms

The picture John sent me from his shop (left) and John showing off the prototype device on our potted avocado plant.

The next day, John pulled up and unloaded the most glorious device I’d ever seen. It was a work of genius.

Does it work well? Better than I could have imagined possible.

The biggest challenges that had to be overcome were:

  1. Universality – How do you create a single device that can work on any large-sized pot regardless of its dimensions?
  2. Grip – a) How does the device grip the pots without crushing them or the branches of the trees, and b) how does the operator easily close, open, and release the grips?
  3. Snug Without Snapping – When the device hoists and moves the potted tree, it can’t damage extended branches in the process.

The new mover accomplished all three objectives.

The "jaws" open, close, lock, and unlock with the hand grips. The ground plate at the bottom clips on and off really easily, allowing the device to move virtually any size and weight of pot. You can see the pin clip on the right and the brackets the plate fits on to. -pot moving device from Tyrant Farms

The “jaws” open, close, lock, and unlock with the hand grips. The ground plate at the bottom clips on and off really easily, allowing the device to move virtually any size and weight of pot. You can see the pin clip on the right and the brackets the plate fits on to.

What Should We Name This New Pot Moving Device?

John’s creation works so well, that it made us wonder how many plant nurseries, landscape architects, interior decorators, or other potted plant nuts like us, are currently having the same problem moving their plants and would benefit from owning this tool.

We don’t have any idea what kind of demand for such a device exists, but the next step is coming up with a funny or clever name for it. That’s why we need your help!

What would you name this pot moving device? A few ideas that were shared privately within our group: Porta-Potter, Container Maintainer, Pot Wheels, and Robertson PowerPot.

The Tyrant moving demonstrating how easy it is to move large potted citrus trees. -Tyrant Farms pot moving device

The Tyrant demonstrating how easy it is to move large potted citrus trees.

Please chime in with your ideas in the comments section below! Also, let us know if you’d be interested in buying one of these time- and back-saving devices for your personal or business use.

Now, we’re going to get some more citrus plants. πŸ™‚


KIGI,


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29 Comments

  • Reply
    Lindsay Grega
    April 5, 2023 at 10:17 pm

    PORTA-POTTER. YOU MUST!!!!

  • Reply
    joseph
    February 27, 2023 at 7:31 pm

    Porta-Potter for sure – now how do I get one here in California?

    πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      February 27, 2023 at 10:49 pm

      Ha! Yeah, that’s a winning name for the pot mover. πŸ˜› Unfortunately, our engineer friend no longer has the time to build these custom pot moving devices for anyone else. However, if you or someone else you know is very handy and wants to try to build your own, message us on our contact form and we’ll do our best to get you photos and videos to help you replicate ours.

  • Reply
    Shanthi Subramanyam
    January 13, 2023 at 12:27 am

    Wow – nice! Every winter and spring, I pay my lawn guys to move them in and out of the garage – so it gets expensive! I would love to be able to buy one of these!

  • Reply
    Michele Logan
    January 9, 2023 at 1:34 pm

    Hi Aaron,

    I can never thank you and the Tyrant enough for all of the valuable information and delicious recipes you offer. It has been immensely helpful as we build out our farm.

    We are located in NJ and have 6 citrus trees and our collection is growing (waiting for the Moro Blood orange to be back in stock!). If you could please provide your engineer friend’s contact info I’d love to ask him to make us a Monster Pot Mobile. ;o)

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      January 9, 2023 at 4:51 pm

      Thanks Michele! I’ll email you his contact information now. Best of luck with your growing citrus “grove” – ha!

  • Reply
    Mary Ann Hunnicutt
    August 3, 2022 at 9:28 pm

    I would love to have a large citrus /fruit tree mover to bring my large plants into a cool but above freezing sunroom in the fall before a zone 7a winter that would kill them. Could you please put me into contact with the engineer that built yours so I can contact him about purchasing one.
    Thank you for any help you can give!

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      August 4, 2022 at 11:16 am

      Sure! I’ll email you now so you can check to see what it would cost and if he’s interested/available in building you a pot moving device.

  • Reply
    Caroline
    July 25, 2022 at 10:15 am

    This device is exactly what I need to move several of my monster sized palms, frangiapanis, jades and now papayas. I recently moved to SC from Illinois where I had a greenhouse but do not have one here. However I have a wonderful summer room with windows all around that is a year round room I can keep them in during the coldest months. Would it be possible to find out if your designer is still able to make one? Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      July 25, 2022 at 10:51 am

      Hi Caroline, and welcome to SC! Yes, I’ll email you with the contact info for the engineer who built our pot-moving device.

  • Reply
    Cathy Persch
    June 28, 2022 at 4:06 am

    That looks awesome and like a fantastic time saver! It would probably work well for other large plant pots too (container grower here!!) would your friend still potentially be able to make something like this? Happy to pay for something so sturdy and versatile! As for the name, I liked the tree truck suggestion I saw in the comments

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      June 28, 2022 at 11:00 am

      Hi Cathy! Yes, this pot moving device is a huge time saver. I can move 20 huge potted fruit trees in ~15 minutes. Frankly, there’s no way we could grow as much citrus and other tropical fruit trees as we do if we didn’t have our custom pot mover. I’ll email you right now with the contact info for our friend who built it so you can reach out.

  • Reply
    Alok
    May 14, 2022 at 7:08 pm

    Hi, my wife and I also have some plants that need to be moved indoors in the winter and I am very interested in the pot-moving device. Is it possible for you to connect me your engineer friend? It would be a lifesaver for us, thank you!

  • Reply
    larissa
    March 1, 2022 at 9:47 pm

    How much are you selling them for?

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      March 2, 2022 at 3:36 pm

      Hi Larissa! We don’t make or sell them. This pot mover was custom built for us by an engineer friend. You can reach out to him to see what he’d charge to make one for you. His name is John Robertson; reach him here: john at rrci.com (spelled out to prevent bot spam).

  • Reply
    Greg Cooper
    February 18, 2022 at 8:33 am

    I’m very interested in this amazing invention. Would you be kind enough to share? Thank you, Cooper

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      February 18, 2022 at 11:53 am

      Hi Greg! Wow, just realized we’ve now had our custom pot moving device for four years now. It still works as good as new. Anyway, I’m going to email you privately to share contact information for John Robertson, the engineer who built our pot mover for us. He could likely build one for you as well.

  • Reply
    Douglas Schilly
    March 14, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    How far have you all gotten with this device? Are there any available for sale? Is the designer available to make one….for a price? Any idea what one would cost? My wife and I have several huge potted citrus trees that we constantly find ourselves moving. Ive looked at the PotWheelz but something about it makes me question it. Ive designed some devices myself but the geometry and physics of the task complicate the need to be able to move a variety of sizes of planters. Hope all is well and hope to hear back from you on this subject.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      March 15, 2021 at 7:40 am

      Hi Douglas! Our pot mover is still working perfectly 3 years later. I’ve had to replace the tires once but that’s it. It’s built like a tank, and will probably outlive me – ha. I’m not sure the cost but it wouldn’t be cheap since: a) it’s hand-built by an engineer who lives here in the US, b) it’s not mass-produced, c) it’s really high quality/durable. My guess is it would be around $500. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll connect you via email to the gentleman who built it. We have about 20 large tropical fruit trees and it’s an absolute life-saver (and back saver) for me.

  • Reply
    Valerie Mercer
    January 16, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    I think it should be called Grab ‘n Go Mover or Grab ‘n Go Pot Mover
    Valerie M

  • Reply
    Douglas R
    January 16, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    Plantsport or maybe Treetruck, either should be trademarkable.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      January 16, 2018 at 1:35 pm

      Good ideas, thanks Douglas! Especially like the TreeTruck name. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Marie Viljoen
    January 15, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    That looks fantastic! Especially as someone who has moved house twice with big pots. Especially as someone who is typing semi supine because her back just went on strike. Back Saver. Back Friend. Come to mama. I’d buy one.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      January 16, 2018 at 12:10 pm

      Sorry to hear about your back problems, Marie! I pulled my back last year and those are the worst injuries because they render you pretty much physically useless. Hopefully, you’ll get better soon. Maybe some pilates, yoga, and/or weight training are in your future once you get back to normal to try to prevent future occurrences. πŸ™‚ I’m going to message you on facebook with a question.

  • Reply
    Jodi Rodner
    January 15, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    How about the “Trans-pot-tation gripper” or something similar? It’s catchy!

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