Improved growth and even accelerated cropping time were demonstrated for container-grown blueberries on the Certis stand at Fruit Focus.
Certis account manager Morley Benson was delighted with the blueberry results and also had a demonstration of the effects of adding Celcote to compost for primocane raspberries using the variety Glen Ample. With the same watering regime, the Celcote-treated potted raspberries were at least a third taller with similar internodal length compared to the untreated.
Certis UK general manager Peter Hingley stressed that Celcote works in an entirely different way to the now-familiar swelling jelly products sold to help sustain hanging baskets and containers.
"Water is retained within the jelly so the roots are attracted to the pieces of jelly but cannot easily source the water.
"Celcote is a unique, naturally derived polysaccharide which has been modified to lock onto the organic fibres in compost and produce a water holding film on them, facilitating water uptake by the roots without affecting the air porosity of the compost. The film absorbs water and then gradually releases it as the plant requires."
Celcote has been trialled extensively by the Dutch for use in container-grown nursery stock and is widely used as a compost additive.
Certis has introduced the product to soft fruit growers as a compost additive and now has trials results to show growers. The Blue Crop blueberry plants at Fruit Focus had been potted in June 2007 and both treated and untreated pots had received all the same inputs - including irrigation via trickle. Celcote was added at the recom- mended rate of 1kg/cu m compost. The results were impressive, with Celcote-treated plants obviously more vigorous, taller and already bearing some fruit. Assessments carried out in May this year measured the average height of untreated plants at 47.1cm and Celcote-treated at 57cm.
Certis claims that, by specifying Celcote in their compost mix, growers can not only reduce water bills but also save labour costs, improve plant growth rates and get better root development leading to stronger plants.