Five Innovations For The Young Plant Growers
Selecta First Class, Ecke Ranch, Ball FloraPlant, Jiffy and OHP emerged from the lab this year with new products and processes to simplify production.
September 15, 2011
1. Trixi 2.0 Combos
Selecta's Trixi 2.0 will change the way its growers do business. Rather than root three cuttings into a single combo liner, Selecta came up with a method to root individual cuttings in 209 trays for three weeks before moving them into a newly developed tray that fuses the three cuttings together like a battery pack.
In the United States, Selecta is moving entirely to Trixi 2.0, which launches with 19 combination options. The biggest advantage of Trixi 2.0, Selecta's Stefan Reiner says, is growers get 100 percent root take. With the original Trixi, growers would sometimes lose one or two cuttings within liners. The new method gives roots three weeks to develop before cuttings are combined into a newly developed tray.
Another benefit of Trixi 2.0 is endless combination options.
"You can do crazy mixes in the future, including seed items, grasses, ipomoea - all is possible to be done in the Trixi," Reiner says.
2. The Ecke Snap System
Ecke Ranch is putting growers in a position to speed up the propagation process with its recent development of the Ecke Snap system that starts with growers receiving pre-stuck callused cuttings in ES media and trays (ES78) directly from Ecke's offshore farms.
"This is a whole new way in which to process cuttings," says Steve Rinehart, chief operating officer at Ecke Ranch. "What we're doing in Ecke Snap 78 is pre-filling a tray out of Guatemala. We put in the media and pre-stick the callused cutting prior to leaving Guatemala."
The system eliminates three key phases of the propagation process, putting growers in a position to simply apply two weeks of bench heat and mist before moving directly into the transplanting stage.
Because cuttings arrive pre-stuck in media, growers will require fewer people on hand when their cuttings arrived. With Ecke Snap, growers no longer have to rush unrooted cuttings into coolers and stick them within 24 hours.
3. Ball FloraPlant's Genesis Cuttings
Ball FloraPlant's Genesis cuttings for geraniums and osteospermums arrive ready to direct stick into finished containers, cutting propagation time by 10 to 14 days. The grower benefits are shortened crop time, reduced input costs as a result of that shortened crop time and, ideally, less shrink.
"You can direct stick in 4.5-inch pots, for example, and finish in eight weeks compared to a traditional unrooted cutting that takes about 10," says Kris Carlsson, Ball FloraPlants's geranium product manager.
4. Jiffy-Mix For Propagation
The Jiffy Group is now sourcing peat from both Canada and Europe and blending it for growers at a new production facility in Macon, Ga. Jiffy's total number of standard mixes is now at 20, including a new paper plug that blends European peat with coir from Jiffy's plant in Sri Lanka. Jiffy can also incorporate graded perlite and match the fertilizer charge to the fraction sizes in its peat.
"In peat moss the fraction sizes or length of the fibers is a major factor to achieving high quality and consistent results on a grower's bench," says John Bonin, Jiffy's manager of business development. "With the new Jiffy-Mix program we are using a blended peat with longer fibers. We are seeing consistent results on grower benches, and that is leading to quicker rooting."
5. OHP's Augeo PGR
Augeo is a plant growth regulator that enhances the overall structure and appearance of plants by reducing apical dominance and promoting lateral branching, resulting in thicker, fuller and a more compact plant with an increased potential for blooms. Augeo works by disrupting cell wall integrity, resulting in a pinching effect on plants.
OHP has been working extensively with growers and academic researchers trialing Augeo. OHP's Dave Barcel trialed Augeo earlier this year at American Takii on dark-leafed seed geraniums, delphiniums and the vigorous Cadenza petunias. Among his goals were to induce more lateral branching and double the flower count without delaying the crop.
"We've really learned a lot in two years," Barcel says. "The grower feedback has been, wow! They're trying it on verbenas, calibrachoas, veronicas and petunias. This is a new product for us, which is exciting, but the real acid test is the growers."
Recommended rates are 400-800 ppm on herbaceous crops and 800-1600 ppm on woodier crops.