Bransford Webbs to start Sylvamix trial

Midland grower to start new trial of peat-free product following Government pressure on peat.

Bransford Webbs managing director Geoff Caesar says the nursery will begin trials of Melcourt Industries' peat-free growing media next year.

"We ran trials years ago when they first did the Sylvamix product and it did very well," he said.

"We grew a range of plants - herbaceous perennials, roses, trees, Meconopsis - with good success. The reason we didn't stick with it was that we weren't getting demand from customers. With the latest Government moves, aiming to phase out the use of peat, we thought that we should go and have a look."

The Midlands Regional Growers Group, of which Caesar is chair, visited the producer's manufacturing facility and bark processing site last week.

Cesar said: "They busted some myths. If there is a huge increase in demand they can meet it."

He added that switching to Sylvamix would not require any changes to the equipment used or to the operation of the nursery.

"It was also useful to know that we can grow on the same beds with the product and that the finished article is no heavier than peat," he said.

Melcourt director Andy Chalmers added: "These presentations to small groups of growers are a very effective way for us to demonstrate first hand the lengths we go to ensure excellent quality every time - and to be able to discuss the real situation regarding availability."

Grower View

- Derek Jarman, owner, Hayloft Plants

"We had a bit of a phobia about non-peat products, but it was a very interesting day. As an industry we have relied on peat and been a bit brainwashed. We have a few bags of peat-free and will look at products on offer. We are being forced to look at peat-free by Government policy, the market tells us what to do."

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