Getting spring sales off to best start

11 April 2018
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Getting spring sales off to best start

As the recent cold winter weather finally disappears - it is time to think about feeding over-wintered nursery stock.  Here ICL’s Colman Warde explains how helping to ensure plants look their best for early spring sales can also boost plant quality during the growing season.

Ireland’s high rainfall, particularly on the west coast, means nutrient leaching is a very real challenge for many growers.  This is particularly true for plants you weren’t expecting to carry over from last season, as there is a high chance original nutrition programme wil be running out of steam.  Also, plants bought in from abroad may be in need of a ‘top up’.  European growers generally use less controlled release fertilizers relying on water-soluble products.  Plants are therefore more likely to run out of nutrition in the spring, particularly if you grow them on outside, as our high rainfall tends to wash some nutrients away.  

Deciduous shrubs and trees will show little sign of nutrient deficiency until spring arrives.   

Did you know?

Nutrient deficiencies identification and correction

Copies of ICL’s popular nutrient deficiencies poster are available and ICL also have an online app,, to aid nutrient deficiency identification and correction; for use on smartphones, tablets and PCs.


So what can you do?

Quality controlled release topdress fertilizers offer an easy and safe way to invigorate plants - a single application is all that is needed.


Top tip:

Before apply topdress, make sure the top of the compost is free from leaves and debris and scrape off any liverwort.  While this is good nursery hygiene practice, it improves the marketability of the plants and ensures the topdress does not feed the liverwort!



Designed for container nursery stock, ICL’s controlled release Osmocote Topdress FT (Fusion Technology) contains fast and slow release nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, as well as magnesium and trace elements.  It provides quick greening up as well as sustaining plant growth over a 4-5 month period.

Windy wintery conditions can prove challenging with plants falling over.  Our Osmocote Topdress FT contains a unique component that sticks the product to the growing media surface.  So, if plants fall over you haven’t wasted your time and money.

For growers simply looking for a quick green up for overwintered stock, we offer OsmoTop with a 2-3 month release.

Top Tip

For easy and accurate topdress applications, we sell the purpose designed Fertil Dispenser. Similar looking to a knapsack sprayer, it holds up to 15kg of Osmocote Topdress FT and can be calibrated to dispense 1 -28 grams per dose enabling up to 1500 plants to be topdressed per hour.



Osmocote controlled release technology gives optimum results and safety in all situations.