Walberton Nursery co-hosted a primarily propagation and weed control focussed Study Day on 12th November, the day before GroSouth. The programme was put together by the HDC, the IPPS and the West Sussex Nursery Stock Discussion Group and was sponsored by Fargro and GroSouth, with lunch by Bulrush. Walberton was able to play a key part in the day’s events, attended by 100 people from all corners of UK and European Horticulture.
The primary objectives for the Walberton team on the day were to look at propagating under polythene, how important a role Integrated Crop Management (ICM) is in such an environment and how weeds are controlled on stock plants. Tim Lawrance-Owen, Resources Manager, and Mike Wainwright, Technical Production Manager led two concurrent workshops covering a range of topics.
On the subject of Propagation, Mike explained that using polythene covers in the rooting and weaning phases of the propagation cycle helps not only to maintain humidity levels and provide more effective control of liverwort, but is also a very flexible way to easily adapt and adjust the growing conditions. The Propagation environment also has underfloor hot water heating pipes which help to control temperature and humidity levels without the use of mist. We strive where possible to reduce our reliance on pesticides through effective use of our ICM programme. Atheta beetles for example are bred in the Propagation environment to help control sciarid flies.
On the subject of weed control, Tim and John Atwood explained how stock plants are either planted through mypex or grown directly in containers under cover in order to suppress weed growth and reduce the risk of weed seed spread. This helps to prevent weed seeds being present when cuttings and propagated from the stock plants. Also two pot mulches were demonstrated – bark, and Klasmann wood fibre.
Walberton were also able to showcase their newly acquired Hortec trimming machine, which has this year achieved a rate of around 13800 9cm lavender liners per hour (compared to 750 using the hedge trimmer). This means that plugs rooted in the Propagation environment, and then potted on into liners can have multiple, small trims to have the best chance of creating a strong, multi branched liner.
Other hosts for the day were New Place Nurseries and John Turner Phormiums.
The Study Day was a huge success and has had very good coverage in a range of Horticultural publications including HDC News, The Commercial Greenhouse Grower and HortWeek. Many thanks go out to all those who participated and made the day run smoothly.
Photography by Shaddick & Gunn.