From lockdown to meltdown - coping with demand
Whilst we were looking to hold growth for the last two months in anticipation for the season to resume, we are now in a situation where plants cannot leave nurseries quick enough to meet demand. To help growers Technical Area Sales Manager Sam Rivers outlines a number of products from the ICL range that can help crops withstand stress and optimise their performance.
To help explain how these products can be used to ensure crops are better able to withstand stress and optimise product quality, he has harnessed his creative talents to create a series of accompanying helpful infographics.
Although we have had some rain, April and May were exceptionally dry. Whilst this worked in favour for a lot of growers looking to hold crops during this pandemic, we now need to ensure plants have adequate moisture to ensure their quality. H2Gro is a unique wetting agent specifically formulated for use in growing media in ornamental horticulture crops. Helping to improve water uptake, water distribution and re-wetting of the substrate, it can be extremely useful if plants have been sitting dry. H2Gro can be applied either as a liquid through an irrigation system or it can be incorporated into growing media in the form of granules. For peat free growing media mixes that can naturally be dry, H2Gro has proved crucial to optimise performance.
Vine weevils are the scourge of many growers and one of the most destructive ornamental horticulture pests out there. With Exemptor being withdrawn over the coming months (please see latest Exemptor communication for further details) there are limited options available to help control this pest. Pitcher is the new biorational pesticide for the suppression of Black Vine Weevil eggs and early stage instar larvae. It is approved through an Extension of Authorisation for Minor Use (EAMU) in containerised ornamental plants, both protected and outdoors. The active ingredient in Pitcher is garlic extract. Contained within the active ingredient are a unique range of Diallyl polysulfides (DAS). It is these compounds that provide the lethal biochemistry.
Many pesticides and fungicides, once used as a silver bullet to control certain pests and diseases, have been banned or have had their use restricted due to environmental pressure. While there are fewer conventional chemical crop protection products available, growing concerns about the wider effects these products can have on ecosystems is also gearing growers to switch to more biologically friendly alternatives - offering a similar solution without the environmental pressure.
One alternative is the use of Biostimulants. Products derived from natural ingredients, such as Brewers’ yeast (Saccharomyces cervisae), these can help stimulate the plants natural defence response. The aim being that the plants defence system is primed and ready to withstand any ‘attack’ before it happens which helps reduce the risk of crop loss. Plants are also better able to withstand abiotic stresses, such as the drastic changes in the weather we so commonly see in this country.