29 March 2022
DIDCOT, UK: The HTA Ornamentals Technical Committee (OTC) met for the first time this week at Horticulture House in Didcot. An intensive agenda and active participation by committee members generated immediate gains.
Topics for the planned HTA workshops this year were prioritised and included nutrient and water management of peat-free substrates, propagation in peat-free substrates, review and demonstration of biostimulant use, herbicide tolerance in container-grown herbaceous and hardy nursery stock, improving nursery water efficiency, non-chemical weed control in field-grown crops and autumn potting deadlines and effects of late potting on overwintering and pathogen susceptibility. These will be developed and delivered over the next 9-10 months.
Support was also provided to the new ‘Nursery Network’ discussion group, which will be open to all HTA grower members. The ‘Nursery Network’ will be chaired by David Hide, Technical Manager at Fleurie Nursery, and will initially consist of a nursery-based summer visit and winter technical meeting, providing the opportunity for growers to network and exchange ideas.
The Committee also worked on updating a water audit pro forma for nurseries, the ambition being to offer an online self-assessment to quantify nursery water use efficiency in areas such as water sources used, storage, application efficiency and environmental responsibilities, and then to benchmark results against other similar nurseries.
Presentations to the Committee were also made by Jo McTigue, AHDB Crop Protection Officer, on EAMU applications and AHDB funded crop protection R&D projects, David Denny, HTA Director of Research and Insights, on the current situation with peat use in growing media and Sally Cullimore, HTA Technical Policy Manager, on importing and plant biosecurity.
The OTC consists of – Ed Holmes, J&A Growers (Chair); Rob Richardson, Johnsons of Whixley; Vicky Endersby, Osberton Nurseries; David Malcolm, Worfield Plants; Imam Sayyed, Trees Please; James Durnford, Allensmore Nurseries; Andy Bean, O.A Taylor & Sons Bulbs; Aaron Bicknell, Double H Nurseries; Mark Creighton, Farplants; Karl O’Neill, Bransford Garden Plants; Kyle Ross, Wyevale Nurseries; Ben Shaw, Newey; Jo Fell, Hilliers and Ivelina Karastoyanova, Darby Nursery Stock.