Presented by ICL ICL

How specialist growing media mixes have helped Todd's Nursery manage the transition from peat to peat-free

Nestling in the picturesque Bedfordshire village of Southill near Biggleswade, Todds Nursery is a premier producer of mature trees, pines, multi-stemmed shrubs and instant hedging grown from UK-sourced stock.

Run by father and son, Jon and Will Todd, the nursery (previously Premier Trees) operates from 72ha supplying an impressive range of varieties from 14-16cm girth right up to extra large semi-mature trees 100cm plus.

Offering a full contract growing service − from initial planning to a complete tree installation service − Todds works with a wide range of clients in the private and public sector and has supplied trees and shrubs to a number of high-profile landscaping projects, such as the City of London’s recent redesign of St Helen’s Square at the foot of the Leadenhall Building.

Following ethical principles, and to stay ahead of the curve with regard to future demand, Todds has operated a peat-free policy for the last nine years. The bespoke Levington Advance Sustain mix contains two grades of pine bark, plus Fibagro and premium grade coir. Alongside a base fertiliser, the growing media encompasses Osmocote Hi.End (12-14 month longevity), Micromax premium for trace elements and ICL’s H2Gro granules to aid water management.

Left-to-right: Stuart Gammage from ICL & Will Todd

"We rely on a single mix which performs well with our native trees as well as the evergreens," says Will. "The transition from peat-based to peat-free mix was relatively smooth.

He adds: "We are firm believers in using the best technology to produce the best plants. Working closely with ICL’s Stuart Gammage, we follow a tailor-made precision nutrition programme employing liquid feeds.

Designed with the help of the AngelaWeb 2.0 software programme [which calculates a regime catered to the exact needs of the crop], it has made a massive difference by improving our feeding regime."

At the start of the process Stuart took a water sample from the nursery for laboratory testing. "Todds rely on mains water, which is hard and can lock up nutrients," explains Gammage. "With the results of a detailed water analysis and the help of AngelaWeb, we have been able to optimise the choice of fertiliser products and fine-tune the application rates."

Will notes: "Mains water is very expensive and from both an ethical and economical point it makes sense to minimise usage. Peat-free growing media in general holds less water so the H2Gro granules in the growing media help aid the water management.

Last year ICL launched a liquid formulation of H2Gro. After trialing it, we now routinely add liquid H2Gro to the irrigation feed. We are confident it is making a difference − at the end of the season we will know for sure when we look at overall water usage compared to the previous year.

  • This is content produced in partnership with ICL

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