What are the latest products set to make a splash at the Four Oaks Trade Show 2019?

Swirski Plus: sachets contain whitefly and thrips predator Amblyseius swirski - image: Koppert Biological Systems
Swirski Plus: sachets contain whitefly and thrips predator Amblyseius swirski - image: Koppert Biological Systems

Products making their debuts will range across pest and disease controls, composts and fertilisers, tunnels, grow lights and much more, says Sally Drury.

What do you need to help your business? Perhaps you have problems with pests and diseases or need to control weeds. Maybe it is time to expand or replace a structure, or you might want to find alternatives to plastics pots. It is always good to trial new composts and fertilisers, or you could investigate whether new labelling would better promote your plants and whether LEDs would boost your production. You can find answers on all these subjects, and more, at the Four Oaks Trade Show.

A lot of interest is anticipated in the Fargro stand this year as the wholesaler and supplier of commercial horticultural products introduces a new, fast-acting insecticide to control aphids and whitefly on a wide range of crops. Called Sequoia, the insecticide’s main active ingredient is a new chemical class for insecticides — sulfoxaflor. With new chemistry, Sequoia is particularly effective against pest populations that show resistance to older chemicals.

Approved for use on crops grown under permanent protection where full enclosure is provided, Sequoia
is systemic and translaminar, gives rapid knock down and is reported to deliver excellent control within hours of application. Crops include aubergines, courgettes, melons, pumpkin, peppers and ornamentals.

Fargro technical director Dr Joshua Burnstone says: "I am pleased Fargro is offering UK growers another innovative product to alleviate common pest problems. I know that Sequoia can offer excellent control within hours and is effective against pest populations that have become resistant to other insecticides. At Fargo we say that Sequoia is ‘first class under glass’ and I am confident it will be a valuable partner in an integrated pest management programme alongside other key elements of monitoring, hygiene, bio and physical controls."

Beneficial fungus

At the heart of the microbial product portfolio offered by Koppert are the well-known and widely used Trianum P and Trianum G. Both are based on the beneficial fungus Trichoderma harzianum strain T22. For many years, Trianum has been promoted as a disease biocontrol agent for the prevention of Pythium, Fusarium and Rhizoctonia. However, recent scientific studies have shown that T22 is an avirulent plant symbiont that can establish robust and long-lasting colonisations of root surfaces and penetrate into superficial root cells to produce or release a variety of compounds that induce localised or systemic resistance responses. Koppert will be at Four Oaks to explain how this novel mode of action can lead to the production of healthier plants.

The company’s range of entomophathogenic nematodes (EPN) includes Larvanem, Entonem and Capsanem for the control of vine weevil, chafer grubs, sciarid fly and leatherjackets. Koppert UK consultant Adrian Jackson explains that a recent formulation change has significantly increased the product shelf life from four to six weeks for Larvanem and from four to 16 weeks for Entonem and Capsanem.

"This gives the grower an opportunity to advance order and store their EPN products on the nursery, knowing that temporarily stored products will be completely viable and active when applied to their crops," he says.

Visit Koppert’s stand to find out more about the redesigned Swirski Plus waxed-paper sachets, which contain whitefly and thrips predator Amblyseius swirski, and the Swirski Ultimate sachet, which is made from a degradable foil. Latest products on the stand include PredaNostrum, based on the hoverfly Sphaerophoria ruepellii, for control of a wide range of aphid species in ornamental crops, and Spical Ultimate, which offers glasshouse ornamental growers an alternative to Spical Plus for the control of spider mites.

Ecological control

Promising the next generation of ecological infection control and biofilm removal for horticulture, Endo Enterprises (above) will focus on the water treatment EndoSan. Based on silver stabilised hydrogen peroxide, it is chlorine-free and degrades to leave water and oxygen, without corroding pipes or irrigation systems. Managing director Ben Sallon says: "EndoSan is a really fantastic alternative to chlorine-based water treatments. It doesn’t affect pH levels, is easy to use in a constant dose or a shock dose and as a broad-spectrum disinfectant has many applications in horticulture."

In 2018, Agrigem was crowned Lincolnshire Business of the Year, the award being sponsored by Nat West and Visit Lincoln, and the firm has now appointed an in-house BASIS-qualified commercial horticulture specialist who will be offering technical advice at the show. Following many enquiries from the landscaping sector, Agrigem will be talking about Diamond, the new technology for quick control of troublesome weed horsetail. Diamond will also control bracken, perennial nettle, ragwort, rhododendron and sycamore, and is approved for use on amenity vegetation, orchards, hard surfaces and green cover on non-crop areas.

Terrazza (above) will also be solving weed problems as it shows off its Geotex PRO weed-removal machine for cleaning the woven and non-woven geotextiles found on nursery floors. Petrol powered, and with three different brushes, it gently shifts weeds, dirt and discolorations caused by algae or water salination without using chemicals, high pressure or thermic treatment.

If you are looking to replace polytunnels or increase growing or sales space, be sure to visit the Fordingbridge stand, where the Hybrid Tunnel (above) will make its first appearance. Fordingbridge has developed the new polytunnel to offer a maximum-ventilation growing environment with standard 3m straight sides, using 80x80mm box section stanchions and internal spacings of 4.9m to give a greater usable area. The structure can be clad with single- or twin-skin polythene and can also offer a plant sales canopy solution for retail nurseries and farm shops that do not require full retail classification.

LED grow lights

LEDs are a hot topic in horticulture and it comes as no surprise to find that LED grow light suppliers were the largest category of exhibitor at the GreenTech show earlier this year. "It’s a telling indication of how the market is responding to the benefits of energy-efficient LEDs for horticulture over traditional systems like high-pressure sodium (HPS)," says INDO Lighting marketing manager Bryony Light. Now there is a chance for UK growers to see the latest in lighting, with several suppliers attending Four Oaks.

At last year’s show, INDO picked up the Innovation Award for its Direct Drive top light product, Element. Capable of working alongside existing HPS systems or replacing them on a one-for-one basis, the broad-spectrum, long-term consistency, zero wear-out components and considerable cost savings over its 100,000-hour lifetime make the product appealing. Element offers 304-1,535µmol/s
and electrical efficiency of up to 2.38µmol/J while using 50% less energy than conventional light sources. There is a choice of three fixed-spectrum light mixes as standard, but bespoke recipes can
be created to suit crop requirements and commercial objectives.

INDO technology also offers growers a number of additional electrical benefits, says technical director Lawrence Baynham: "The inrush current of our Direct Drive circuit is significantly lower than other products — less than 1A peak at 150W, compared to typical values of more than 100A per luminaire for grow lights that use a 150W LED driver. This typically causes difficulty and expense when it comes to the electrical installation design. It’s an important consideration for commercial growers.

"Likewise dimming can be helpful to growers to achieve their requirements. Unlike traditional LED grow lights, which can typically only be dimmed to around 50% before having problems with power factor, our lights are dimmable to 10% output, giving growers ultimate flexibility for their growing schedule."

Biotechnology company GNUK (above) based in Durham, a first-time exhibitor at Four Oaks, designs and manufactures full-spectrum LED grow lights for optimal plant growth indoors and in greenhouses. Easy
to install and CE certified, the grow lights are IP66 and ultraviolet protected, feature passive cooling and provide of 2+ µmol/J.

With the successful launch of SylvaGrow Organic two years ago, Melcourt has now introduced the SylvaGrow Peat-Free Planter for Organic Growing. This deep, easy-to-use growing-bag product is Soil Association-approved and allows gardeners to produce organic vegetables, fruit and herbs even
in the smallest of spaces.

Melcourt technical director Catherine Dawson says: "This effective, truly organic, peat-free planter is very easy to use, being deeper and squarer in shape than normal growbags. In trials it has performed brilliantly with a wide range of fruit and vegetables."

The attractively packaged planter joins Melcourt’s ever-widening SylvaGrow range, which this year has seen near doubling of sales. "Garden centres are acknowledging there is a market for a peat-free product of professional quality and that is gaining a wonderful and widespread reputation," adds Dawson. "The fact that SylvaGrow also carries RHS endorsement is a really eye-catching plus."

Bathgate Horticulture continues to develop its vast range of growing media for professional growers, landscapers, garden retailers and gardening enthusiasts. All products are designed, formulated and tested at the company’s Cheshire-based site, using high-quality ingredients and the latest technology.

With professionals in mind, Bathgate will be showing composts of all varieties, including All Purpose Pro-Mix, Seed & Modular, Bedding, Potting, Tub & Basket, Herbaceous & Container, Pansy & Primula, Tree Planting & Mulching and Cyclamen & Poinsettia. It also prepares crop-specific mixes and prescription composts, as well as offering Urban & Structural Tree Soil, horticultural potting grit, silver sand, nutrient-enriched soil improver, professional GrowBags, composted bark and mini bark chips.

Foliar fertiliser

Agrigem will be showing its NPK foliar fertiliser Nutrigem 20-20-20. Containing seaweed, organic plant-growth stimulants and fully chelated trace elements, it is ideal as a stand-alone fertiliser for stress relief and plant health promotion in plants, lawns, vegetables, fruit crops and grassland. It is said to give results in hours, enhance crop colour and increase vigour and growth.

As well as Javo potting machines on the Hortec stand, visitors should will also be shown the new GreenElf Applicator (above) for controlled-release fertiliser granules. An accurate, fast, shot-by-shot, dry-grain doser, it is described as "an essential tool for nurseries using granular fertilisers".

Hortec director Ian Thornhill says: "Easily adjustable, electronically controlled dosing allows the user to tailor to the needs of different plant types, giving the plant only what it needs and achieving better growth results along with minimal waste. The handheld version is compact and lightweight, and the flexible storage tube allows maximum reach and versatility for all sizes of user."

The GreenElf Applicator can be adapted to fit into automated systems, incorporating a hopper feeder, either onto a potting machine or above a conveyor, or can be used as a standalone unit between machines.

Striving to make label buying easy, Floramedia will demonstrate its online platform My.Floramedia with two more features — the online My.Proofs for faster and more efficient proofing and My.Products catalogue of past, present and newly created labels and bed cards. Coming soon is My.Order for customers to view, amend and select quantities with the click of a mouse. Floramedia tells us 61 customers are already using My.Floramedia across the UK with more than 10,000 UK proofs processed to date.

Garden centres looking for a "team assistant" to guide customers to the right plant, answer questions quickly and promote menus, events and offers should check out the Plant Finder Touchscreen Kiosk (above) that will be demonstrated by Joy of Plants. With photos, full descriptions and care details for more than 14,000 plants, the system can be tailored to your centre and the plants you sell. Kiosks have recently been installed for Blue Diamond, Haskins Roundstone, Fakenham, Ferndale, Busy Bees and Everton Nurseries.

Joy of Plants is also introducing new features on its Bed Card printing tool, including a function
to enable nurseries to upload plant information and images onto the system for retailers to print bed cards as they are needed. Retailers can use the "BuyMe" sales-oriented text and add graphical backgrounds and borders to custom templates.

Animals and birds

Intended to appeal to garden centres and other retailers such as multiples, farm shops and florists, the collection of metal animals and birds to be displayed by Elgate Products (above) includes large and small figures, with flamingos, herons, chickens, owls, pheasants and a stunning peacock being particularly popular. Elgate Products, a family owned importer and design company with a 35-year history, will be exhibiting at Four Oaks for the first time.

LBS Horticulture will have its biggest ever stand at Four Oaks, displaying top-selling products. The company will also be introducing Spray Away cleaning solutions for use on polytunnels and horticultural equipment, a range of composts from the Bronte Heritage Collection and, ready for 2020, a selection of new planters and hanging baskets.

Many other exhibitors will also be introducing new products at the show. If you are determined to boost your business and stay ahead of the competition, it is vital to keep up to date with the latest technologies and products — and where better than at Four Oaks? 

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