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A stabilised media container is one in which the plants roots are not required to hold the growing medium intact. Ellepot machines wrap degradable paper around a ‘tube’ of growing medium, keeping it together without the need for a plastic insert or holder. The paper keeps the growing medium together, but the plant roots easily grow through the paper and are air pruned until transplanted into the soil.
The degradable Ellepot paper protects the roots when plants are dispatched from the nursery and handled in field, thereby reducing transplant shock. This is especially important with the adoption of mechanised transplanters, which handle the plants forcefully. Plants do not need to be extracted from plastic tubes, and therefore there is no loss of growing medium or damage to roots during the planting process.
• Less transplant shock and quicker plant establishment in field.
• Ellepots are ideally suited to mechanised silviculture.
• Improved survival, especially when planting conditions are harsh.
• No tray inserts. Plants are easily extracted from the tray, thereby improving efficiency in silviculture operations.
• Ellepots have a higher medium density, the extra weight is an advantage when puddle planting. The plant better penetrates the slurry in the pit.
• Plants can be transplanted earlier, with a better shoot to root ratio.
The advantages above, also apply to nurseries. Stabilised media in the nursery have the following benefits:
• Earlier sorting and sizing, thereby improving uniformity and better utilizing nursery space.
• Less mess when sorting plants in the nursery.
• As the roots are visible, nurseries can include root architecture as a measure.
• Ellepots are suited to nursery automation
Ellepot works closely with Dutch company TTA, on the use of their sorting and grading machines for nurseries. These machines have sophisticated imaging technology to grade forestry plants on height, colour and root quality – thereby improving the uniformity and quality of plants dispatched to the field.
Article by Muedanyi Ramantswana, Forsilvitech