Growers across North America are evolving their soil and media programs to HydraFiber Advanced Substrate for a multitude of reasons: year-round availability, more efficient material storage, improved root zone development, reduced dust, easy mixing, locked-in pricing and more. One of the most important advantages realized with this innovative and sustainable new soil amendment is water management.
Marc Verdel, Head Grower Manager at Battlefield Farms in Rapidan, Virginia, shares, “I like the root system I get from HydraFiber due to the high porosity in the mix.”
Retailers, too, see a noticeable difference with crops grown in HydraFiber blends. Patrick Herzing, General Manager of Michael’s Greenhouse in Cheshire, Connecticut relates, “In the past, our sell-through on moss baskets was poor, mostly due to the fact that they would just dry out at retail. Switching to HydraFiber blend for the Spring 2017 season, we saw an improvement in our sell-through on moss baskets by over 50%, mostly because they looked nicer at retail longer.”
HydraFiber comes from Profile Products, recognized worldwide for supplying researched and proven soil / media solutions for over 50 years. Profile’s unique patent-pending Thermally Refined® process combines wood and bark chips from renewable and virgin southern yellow pine, and refines them in a pressurized vessel (patents pending), using heat, steam and pressure, never any chemicals, varnishes or added agents. This creates very long, thin fibers with an incredible amount of surface area – up to seven times greater than peat.
The higher surface area of 98% porous HydraFiber provides 10% to 35% more available water to plants. HydraFiber’s Business Manager Jennifer Neujahr says, “HydraFiber creates an amazing structure in soil, building a little interstate system for roots to ride out on, grow and develop in all that air space.” HydraFiber’s high air space can also deliver a superior air-rich root zone environment and a lower bulk density than other popular substrate ingredients.
A few water management tips to maximize root development
- With HydraFiber, most growers report that it behaves differently with water compared to conventional mixes, and have adjusted their watering practices.
- HydraFiber mixes tend to have more available water than conventional mixes – this means more water is more easily extracted by the plant and growers are typically able to water less frequently.
- HydraFiber mixes have lower bulk density – they get lighter in weight faster than non-HydraFiber mixes. The best results come from both picking up the pots and visually checking the plants before watering.
- Lighter-colored HydraFiber mixes surface-dry faster than conventional darker-colored mixes – while the surface appears dry, the mix is wetter below. It’s best to spot check a few pots before watering and not water based on appearance alone.
- The airspace HydraFiber adds to mixes makes them more forgiving should growers water plants too much.The first substantial substrate innovation since Cornell University introduced soilless mixes in the 1960s, HydraFiber Advanced Substrate is turning growing upside down! It’s the only consistent and managed growing mix component that is domestic, sustainable, highly uniform and readily available.
HydraFiber is available year-round as a raw material to growers who mix their own media, with all four standard formulations in stock and ready to ship when needed. HydraFiber is also incorporated into blends from several pre-mix partners, including Berger, Gro-Bark, Oldcastle and Ball Seed.
The HydraFiber team is committed to working with growers to make sure their substrates work harder, and eliminate quality, storage and availability issues. Growers are encouraged to “start small” with free HydraFiber trials to see the proven results for themselves. To learn more about the HydraFiber difference and start your trials, contact Jennifer Neujahr at [email protected] or 630-386-5926. She would also be happy to connect interested parties with growers across the country who are willing to share their story on the switch to HydraFiber.