Topdress to get spring sales off to the best start

20 February 2023
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Now is a good time to plan ahead to get your spring plant sales off to the best start – says Ian Todd, Technical Area Sales Manager for Scotland

As spring approaches, make sure your nutrition programmes are not running out of steam. To ensure plants look their best for early sales, and to boost quality during the early growing season, consider topdressing over-wintered nursery stock.   

High rainfall leads to leaching                                                                                                                      

High rainfall, particularly in western regions of the UK, means nutrient leaching is a very real challenge for many growers.  This is particularly true for plants growers weren’t expecting to carry over from last season.   

European growers tend to use less controlled release fertilizers and rely more on water soluble products.  This means there is a good chance that plants bought in from abroad in the coming months may need a ‘top up’ - as they are more likely to run out of nutrition in the spring, particularly if grown on outside.  In contrast to evergreen specimen, deciduous shrubs and trees will show little sign of nutrient deficiency until spring arrives.    

What are the options?  

Option 1: Quick greening up and sustained plant growth 

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

Before applying topdress, ensure the top of the compost is free from leaves, 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  (NPK), as well as Magnesium and essential trace elements.  It provides quick greening up as well as sustaining plant growth over the subsequent 4-5 months.  

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

Option 2: Quick greening up  

For growers simply looking for a quick green up, or to reverse deficiency symptoms in well-rooted overwintered container nursery stock, we offer OsmoTop.  This partially coated fertilizer has a fast start portion and releases over 2-3 months.  Formulated to stick to the growing media surface the granules are dust-free.  

Efficient application                                                                                                                                            

For easy and accurate topdress applications, why not purchase a purpose-designed Fertil Dispenser.  

Similar looking to a knapsack sprayer, it holds up to 15kg of Osmocote Topdress and can be calibrated to dispense 1 -28 grams per dose.  Highly efficient, the Fertil Dispenser enables the operator to topdress up to 1500 plants per hour. 

As with all Osmocote products, it is reassuring to know that it controlled release technology gives optimum results and safety in all situations. 

For more information on topdressing, speak to your ICL Technical Area Sales Manager.