Growers called on to register interest in peat-free

Growing-media manufacturer Melcourt has urged growers interested in peat-free to register their interest now to ensure long-term supply for the future.

Speaking at a recent technical open day showcasing advances in peat-free growing media, sales and marketing director Andy Chalmers said: "Growers who are keen on this should get on board now because one benefit we have is the availability of the raw materials, and those that start now will be guaranteed it for the future."

Technical director Catherine Dawson reassured growers of the availability of bark and wood products and said despite an increase in the biomass sector, bark was still readily available for the horticulture industry.

"The biomass market in general is not interested in virgin wood or bark and our source materials are too wet for them," she said. "Melcourt is partly owned by another company, which is the largest handler of forest residues in the country, so we have a good source of information and we are not immediately concerned about supply."

Current users of the company's peat-free mix Melcourt Sylvamix, which can be custom made to suit individual grower needs, discussed their experience of the product.

Andrew Fenton of Deepdale Trees reported a smooth transition to peat-free using Sylvamix and an overall better crop.

Chalmers said Melcourt was looking at developing a list of the growers using peat-free so that landscapers and designers can easily source plants grown peat-free. "We can help draw demand from customers," he added.

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