HortiPro’s Sub-R As A Peat Substitute

Growers in North America are aware that a large shortage of peat moss is projected for the coming growing season. HortiPro is bringing a replacement for peat moss to the market with a growing medium called Substrate-R, or Sub-R.

Some of the attributes of Sub-R include:

• Water-holding capacity over 60 percent and low salt below 0.4 EC is comparable to peat moss.
• High readily available water of more than 30 percent to plants with superior capillary properties
• Uniform quality
• Antiseptic, Sub-R naturally suppresses root disease
• Continuous availability

Sub-R can be custom produced for different needs for different growers in more fine or coarse forms, and in blends with different amendments. Complete physical and chemical property reports are available to growers.

Similar To Peat

Growers who take advantage of Sub-R as a peat moss replacement for growing in smaller containers and propagation trays will find that growing in Sub-R will feel familiar. Filling pots by machine or by hand, soil wetting and irrigation practices are similar. Sub-R is offered in different textures from fine to larger particles to meet growers’ needs for mechanical or manual pot filling. Sub-R1 is typically used for propagation and has a fine texture, while Sub-R2, Sub-R3 and Sub-R4 become coarser.

In larger containers and longer lasting cultivations, Sub-R breaks down slowly. It stays inert and maintains aerobic conditions.

Monitoring Water Content, EC & Temperature

HortiPro will be answering questions about any differences in cultivation practices or concerns growers may have about Sub-R. HortiPro offers the capability to continuously monitor water content, EC and water content and many other parameters with the help of the Decagon Devices.

Depending on choice of equipment, we will be able to do this from our location in California or anywhere in the world. Decagon Datatrac 3.0 software gives growers the option to allow the HortiPro consultant to help you online and access real time data collected by the Decagon equipment at your greenhouse.

Decagon Devices is a company that develops and produces instruments up to recently mainly for research purposes. Now, the company has released a line of products especially designed for commercial soilless growing media in cooperation with HortiPro.

With the newly developed Decagon GS3 sensor it is possible to make irrigation decisions based on accurate volumetric and EC data, not just trends. Root zone management depends on precise volumes of substrate water content in order to dose correct irrigation water volumes per irrigation.

Taking multiple measurements throughout the growing area is necessary to evaluate uniformity of water content and placement of the EM50 G, in order to collect representative data. The new GS3 sensor and the ProCheck hand meter are tools for this task.

DataTrac 3.0 is a dynamic graphical interface that lets you organize and visualize your measurement data as it’s collected in either graphs or tabular form.

HortiPro’s Role In Your Transition

If desired by the grower, HortiPro can play a supportive role making the transition from peat moss products to Sub-R as smooth and informed as possible. A HortiPro crop consultant is available to answer root zone management questions and if using Decagon Devices, HortiPro will help with the initial setup of the instruments and will help the grower understand how to correctly interpret the collected data in the Datatrac 3.0 Software.

Data consisting of water content, EC and temperature graphs to some growers may be somewhat abstract information; it takes a certain knowledge and experience on how to interpret those data correctly. It is an art as much as a science. For example:
• Correctly reading the correlation between EC and water content development will help the grower irrigate at the correct intervals and duration.

• Measurements with the ProCheck hand meter can point out dry spots in the greenhouse and using the correct irrigation strategy this can be corrected most efficiently and prevented in the future.

• EC levels in the growing medium can be managed by manipulating EC of irrigation water or by increase or decreasing volume of irrigation cycles. 

• Water content data will point out plant stress, levels of transpiration of plants by accurate water content readings.


HortiPro offers a solution to the anticipated shortage of peat moss by not only bringing Sub-R as an alternative to peat moss to the market, but also by making growers comfortable as possible making the transition with technical support and instrumentation. As a result, growers can look forward to the coming season with the confidence that their need of a suitable growing medium, be it peat moss, coir products or Sub-R, will be satisfied.

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