Nursery says growth regulation vital to sales

Roundstone Nurseries growing manager Lynne Seabrook has emphasised the importance of growth regulation as a tool to meet bedding plant uniformity challenges set by customer B&Q.

She said: "Our ability to regulate plant growth is vitally important - a key factor in meeting the specifications set by B&Q, to which the majority of our pack bedding plants are supplied.

"Nutrition, water, temperature and light all affect growth and can be used to manipulate development."

She added, however, that there were limitations to these practices that did not allow for the necessary fine-tuning in production.

"At the final stages of production, we typically control growth of the product by restricting watering up until the dispatch date, when they are then watered up ready to go on display," she said.

"But if the date for delivery is put back a week or the client's requirements change, stopping a freshly-watered plant from growing on is impossible. Very quickly and easily they can pass their prime condition and this can be a real problem that risks plant rejection."

She said adopting a littleand-often programmed approach using daminozide growth regulator B-Nine SG from Certis, starting early in the production cycles, was the answer. She typically starts with a programme of B-Nine a fortnight after plugs are packed.

Seabrook said: "The warm conditions under glass of late could have proved serious if we didn't have a growth regulation programme of B-Nine and other regulators in place, with plants quite capable of bursting into growth. But as it is, we are achieving fantastic dark-green foliage and compact, even plants."

She added that larger plants within the batch often absorbed more of the active, bringing them into line with the others without resulting in a permanently static plant.

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