Q. Is there anything new for weed control, ideally biodegradable?
A. Hy-Tex has introduced Ecotex MulchMat. It looks and feels like conventional non-woven petrochemical-derived weed-control fabric but is made completely from organic material. The fabric is strong, naturally ultraviolet-stable and absorbs water but fully breaks down to a nutritious matter and leaves no environmentally-harmful fragments.
Q. What's new for erosion control purposes?
A. GrassMat Supreme is a biodegradable textile, pre-sown with seed and fertiliser, that provides an easy method for vegetation restoration and erosion control. Available from Hy-Tex, the blanket is made from cellulose fibre that degrades over four-to-five months, with the residue enhancing the soil. Various seed mixtures are offered.
Q. What are the latest developments in netting for side vents on tunnels?
A. XL Horticulture has a new side ventilation material for tunnels. Just arriving from manufacture in Greece, XL Side Vent Mesh is made of a clear material so that plants at the sides of tunnels still get good light levels. With a 7mm square mesh structure, the fabric gives around 80 per cent air transmission.
Q. What other developments have there been?
A. Capatex director Peter Strauss reports a gradual move away from PP spun-bond fleece to knitted transparent netting, which the firm calls CA127. The fabric has some thermal properties but is also breathable and provides protection against larger winged insects. Capatex also now offers stronger netting to protect salads and vegetables against pigeons.