Ground-breaking Plant Health Planner

23 March 2021
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Ground-breaking Plant Health Planner

To help growers plan ahead and optimise plant health on their nurseries year-round, ICL has developed a ground-breaking new Plant Health Planner.  A digital web-based tool, it has been designed to both simplify and optimise plant health programmes on UK nurseries.

In line with the Sustainable Use Directive, our Plant Health Planner also helps growers reduce their reliance on chemical crop protection products. 

New era

“We’ve entered a new era for plant health,” says technical area sales manager, Sam Rivers. “With an ever-diminishing range of available chemicals, growers are adopting a different mindset and a more sustainable IPM approach to keeping their crops healthy. 

“Cultural control is growing in importance again, as the first line of defence, followed by a programmed biological approach to boost plant health and control target pests and diseases. As a last resort, growers still have a shrinking range of chemical products to fall back on.”  

Planned approach

“To be successful, it is key to have a planned approach,” says Sam.

“At the outset, we recommend growers meet their ICL technical area sales manager to pinpoint the particular plant health problem areas on the nursery; likely time of year; crops impacted; geographical location of the nursery and products currently used to address the issues. 

“Armed with this information, our TASMs can identify and discuss any cultural improvements that could be made and develop an accompanying Plant Health Plan.  Depending on the plant health issues identified, this Plan might be for a limited period – say 12 weeks - or a year or more.

Easy to use

“Once set up, nursery production staff can access their bespoke Plant Health Plan via a mobile, tablet or desktop computer. Easy to use, they simply click on the week number to view the recommended course of action. 

“For example, this might be to apply a biostimulant to boost plant health ahead of high powdery mildew pressure on the nursery, or apply nematodes to target vine weevil grubs at the correct time of year. “    

The Plant Health Planner features recommendations around ICL’s expanding range of biological products as well as the broad spectrum systemic fungicide Amistar. The biologicals include the Seeka nematode range for controlling vine weevil, WFT and sciarid fly, the award-winning biorational Pitcher for controlling vine weevil eggs as well as ICL’s proven range of biostimulant products including Hicure and the Vitalnova range.  

“Biostimulants are like multi vitamins for humans,” says Sam.  “It is important to understand that they are not a replacement for a robust IPM programme or a precision nutrition programme, but a welcome addition to boost plants through periods of stress.” 

To find out more about biostimulants, listen in to our latest Horticulture Week Podcast with Matthew Appleby.  


Nematode calculator does the sums for you

When applying any plant protection product, it is important to get the application rate correct – beneficial nematode biological controls are no different.

“Being a living product, it is vital to handle Seeka nematode packs correctly once they arrive on site – ie to store in a refrigerator and out of direct sunlight,” says Sam. “Meanwhile, to optimise efficacy as well as cost effectiveness, the nematodes must be applied at the correct rate. 

To help, Sam has developed a handy new tool – a nematode application calculator which does the calculation work for you! 

“Taking into account factors - such as the area the nematodes are to be applied to, as well as the flow rate of the equipment used to apply them and the size of the Seeka pack - our helpful new calculator works out the all-important dilution rate,” explains Sam. “By inputting basic data, this tool will work out how much stock solution needs to be added to the spray tank.”

This latest innovative is available as part of our new Plant Health Planner.