Garden Doctor is a touchscreen computer for use in the chemicals and fertiliser aisle. Customers can use it to find the right product for their gardening problem. Bayer head of marketing Steve Mead said: "This sort of thing is going to help keep new grow-your-own gardeners in the market. There's nothing like it out there. It just takes button presses to find your solution - it is simple to use."
Bayer is trialling the system at Groves Nurseries in Dorset, Ayletts (Hertfordshire), Scotsdales (Cambridge), Longacres (Surrey), a Robert Dyas in Dorking and B&Qs in Poole and Swindon.
Mead said if the trials are successful, garden centres that want a unit will be able to have one from next year. In return, Bayer hopes the centres will order the full range of Bayer product so when customers find their solution on the Garden Doctor it is in stock for them to buy.
Bayer has used the £1,400 per unit system for three years in Holland. It does not expect UK garden centres to pay for the system. Bayer used to own the Dr Hessayon brand and Mead
The EU Sustainable Use Directive consultation ended on 5 May and restrictions on pesticide use have to be in place in the UK by 25 November 2011. Bayer, Scotts and Westland are working with the Crop Protection Association to develop further standardised online training for garden centre staff on chemical sales in garden centres.
Garden Doctor features a link to a Health & Safety Directorate page that recommends RHS and Garden Organic advice on alternatives to pesticides.