Equipment and products introduced at Four Oaks

Horticulture in the UK showed its strength and ingenuity at the Four Oaks Trade Show with a host of equipment introductions and product launches.

Airplants Heating' Breezair units attracted a lot of attention at the show
Airplants Heating' Breezair units attracted a lot of attention at the show

New items covered all aspects of commercial production, including structures, lighting, pots, growing media and growth regulators.

Fully opening in under two minutes, the new All Climate greenhouse system was illustrated by Plantopia. The first of these polycarbonate-clad houses, which allow natural rain and sunshine to reach plants while giving protection, is already employed at Plantopia Nurseries near Lancaster.

Recognising that only growers building new glasshouses can enjoy the benefits of Anti-Reflection glass, Mardenkro partnered with Fargro to introduce a breakthrough in light transmission. Inspired by nanotechnology, AntiRelfect coating allows more light inyo the glasshouse. It is being trialled in the Netherlands and expected to be available in the UK next summer.

Designed to introduce cool fresh air into polytunnels, garden centres and even outdoor areas, the new Breezair units from Airplants Heating attracted a lot of attention. They utilise a natural evaporative cooling process that is quiet and uses only 15 per cent of the energy required by air-conditioning systems.

Continued interest in LEDs has driven the development of two units. The FL100 from Senmatic is the only light bar currently available with spectral composition and intensity control, making it ideal for vertical production systems, while the new units from BSS LED allow green and yellow light to be varied as well as red and blue.

Growers looking for peat-replacement ingredients are targeted by Sinclair Pro's latest product, West+. Produced from softwood spruce, it has an organic colourant that works as a wick to absorb moisture and acts as a filter to protect plants from phytotoxins and as a biocide to slow down decomposition. It can be used at rates up to 50 per cent in pot, bedding and nursery stock mixes.

A loose-fill substrate that stabilises in the plug tray when water is applied joins the range of products from Jiffy. FORMiT provides plug integrity to allow mechanical transplanting without root disturbance. Jiffy has also added durability to its degradable pots with the introduction of the R2 Jiffypot that better maintains a rigid form and clean surface.

Making its first UK appearance, the Root Pouch fabric planting container drew interest from tree and shrub growers. Available in degradable and non-degradable formats, the breathable fabric is made from recycled plastic water bottles. Pot and container company Modiform has also entered the recycled products market with a range of trays and packaging made from recycled paper and card.

Making its first appearance, plant growth regulator Configure from Fargro is the only product of its kind available in the UK. It is based on 6-benzyladenine and works by stimulating cell division, encouraging the plant to produce more stems and flower buds, leading to a more compact and saleable plant with a higher market value. It is currently offered for use on Phalaenopsis, Schlumbergera, Kalanchoe and Sempervivum.

Awards - Products and firms win prizes at Four Oaks Trade Show

The Four Oaks Trade Show 2016 awards were hosted by Horticulture Week on the opening day of the show. Judges were Sally Drury, Simon Davenport and Chris Day. The winners were:

- Best Professional Equipment: Ecovision Renewables ground source heat pump. 
- Best Bedding or Pot Plant Introduction: Calibrachoa hybrid WFL Chameleon Sunshine Berry, Elsner PAC. 
- Best Retail Product or Service: Bathgate, Champions Blend All-Purpose Compost. 
- Best Nursery Stock Introduction: Coreopsis UpTick, Ball Colegrave. 
- Best Professional Product or Service: Universal Bedding Packs, Modiform. 
- Best International Stand:  Beekenkamp Plants
- Most Innovative Stand: Newey Group; 
- BPOA Home Grown Grower of the Year : Peter Eastwood Plants. 

Thompson & Morgan, Kernock Park Plants, Hogendoorn Holland and Bioline AgroSciences all won high commendations.

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