Trials: Increase the survival rate of young plantations

28 September 2021
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How to increase the survival rate of young plantations

In most European regions, irrespective of the perennial crop you would like to grow (e.g. new plantation of Orchards, Vineyards, Forestry), Autumn seems to be the best time to do it.

In Autumn the soil is still warm, and thanks to the right amount of rainfall, roots have enough time to properly establish. Plants well-established in Autumn have a higher survival rate, and start their vegetative stages earlier in Spring.

A fast and well established root system is key to success!

How can we further improve root growth of perennial crops and increasing the survival rate of young plantations? This question was the beginning of a new innovatie technology, led by ICL's R&D Department: Agroblen with V-Factor technology.

The new product combines the long-lasting effect of 100% coated nutrition with the beneficial advantages of an organic growth enhancer (V-Factor technology). V-Factor is especially designed to improve root systems of young plants.

Thanks to the fully coated NPK, and its application in planting holes - close to the root system - makes this product the safest granular fertilizer that meets the plant’s needs over a well-defined period of time.

V-Factor technology: what's in it?

The V-Factor technology contains a balanced composition of amino-acids, such as glutamate, beneficial on root development and nitrogen metabolism, and betaine, which serves as osmolyte in case of abiotic (osmotic, drought) stress. The addition of the V-Factor improves roots, decreases plant stress, and even promotes microbial biomass in the soil.

Trials throughout Europe

We trial our products extensively in different cultivation situations and climates in Europe and overseas. The insights gained from the results form the basis for the safe use of products and for the further development of existing and new technologies and solutions.

Barbara Meijkamp, Sr. Scientist and Agronomist at ICL Specialty Fertilizers, says: “We carried out trials everywhere in Europe. In colder climates such as in Sweden, and in warmer climates like in Spain. In Sweden we experienced a dry summer. We noticed that the plantations that were not treated with V-Factor had difficulties to survive and grow. The plantations that were treated with V-Factor grew much better. It was interesting to see that V-Factor worked so well in cases of drought stress.”

Agroblen with V-Factor technology | Highlights of trial results

  • improved Spruce root growth by 25%

  • improved Eucalyptus root development by 27%

  • improved Vine plant root growth by 28%

Spruce trials

The trials in Sweden were carried out with spruce (Picea abies). Without any additional fertilizer, as was the grower practice, the development of the plant was very weak. The application of only 20gm/plant of standard Agroblen increased plant’s root weight with 1.5 times more than grower practice and the shoot weight increased by 69%. The same application rate of Agroblen + V-Factor showed a further improved root and shoot weight of 25% and 50% respectively.

 

Figure 2. Trial results of root and shoot weight in spruce - overall results of three years trials.

Eucalyptus trials

Eucalyptus trials were carried out in Spain, where 50gm of Agroblen increased the root weight of the plants with almost three times more than in the grower practice (i.e. no additional fertilizer). Agroblen + V-Factor increased the root weight with extra 27% compared with the ‘standard’ Agroblen.

 

Figure 3. Trial results of root weight in Eucalyptus - overall results of three years trials.

Vineyard trials

A field trial in vineyard plantations in Italy showed that the combination of Agroblen + V-Factor can really improve survival rate and growth of the young vine plants. The root growth of the vine plant was improved by 28% in comparison to the Agroblen practice without V-Factor technology. “This is a very interesting development for this market,” says Barbara. “Vine plants are expensive and therefore you really want the highest survival rate possible when starting new plantations.”

 

Figure 4. Trial results of root weight in vine plants.

Agroblen and the new V-Factor technology turned out to be a perfect match. The growth enhancer gives an upfront effect at the application, while Agroblen will take care of the long-term release, supplying nutrients in a controlled and safe way.