Sylvamix switch cuts cleaning

Barkand wood-based growing medium chosen by Seiont Nurseries for plug and liner production.

Sylvamix: alternative growing medium chosen by Seiont Nurseries - image: HW
Sylvamix: alternative growing medium chosen by Seiont Nurseries - image: HW

Seiont Nurseries is switching to Melcourt's Sylvamix barkand wood-based growing medium for plug and liner production, nursery manager Neil Alcock told an open day at the growing-media supplier's Gloucestershire headquarters last month.

"As growers, we have no opinion on peat," he said. "We just use what's best for production, whether that's cuttings, seeds or tissue."

The Gwynedd-based nursery began trialling Sylvamix two years ago. Alcock added: "We are enthusiastic about it and are looking to move all our major crops over to it.

"The main reason was moss and liverwort suppression, as there is no approved (chemical) way to deal with those. Cleaning up the plants was accounting for 60 per cent of our dispatch labour costs. It's striking how much cleaner we can grow our plants in Sylvamix.

"Colourful varieties are also more vivid - the effect on some heucheras is amazing - and there is also good root development. We have to water twice as often, though less each time.

He added: "We didn't tell our customers about the switch, but the feedback has been good - plants are hitting the ground running."

Melcourt technical manager Catherine Dawson said Melcourt aims to produce 100,000cu m of the UK's 1,000,000cu m growing-media market. "We don't like the 'peat-free' tag. We want to promote Sylvamix for what it can do rather than what it isn't. Pound-for-pound we are competitive with peat."

Site improvements

Melcourt Industries used its open days to show the results of a £1m upgrade of its Gloucestershire site.

Coir is now kept moist until needed via a sprinkler system drawing on a newly installed borehole. Packing has been streamlined with the addition of an automated "maxi-baler" earlier this year.

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