We tend to focus on strawberry crop nutrition during the later growth stages and particularly from flowering onwards with the objective of maximising yields and quality. But optimum nutrition in the very early growth stages is also of paramount importance as this can significantly influence the later performance of plants.
Most strawberry plants nowadays are created by the process of micro-propagation. As well as being disease/pest free the young transplants produced need to be robust, without lots of vegetative (leaf) growth and with a good root system ready to vigorously grow away and ensure quick establishment.
Recognising these needs, leading plant (including strawberry) micro-propagators GenTech Propagation Ltd at Dundee, Scotland were looking for a water soluble feed suitable for the early plant growth stages. They contacted Solufeed Ltd for advice.
After evaluating water and growing media analysis (provided as part of the company’s Technical Support Services) Solufeed recommended the use of their Solufeed SF-C a speciality 8:12:35+4MgO+TE formulation. The low nitrogen, which is present entirely as the available nitrate form, discourages undesirable lush, soft leaf growth. This is balanced by a good level of phosphate to encourage root development and lots of potassium to help form healthy and compact plants.
The feed was used from when the micro-plantlets were transferred to trays and continued until sale time. The photograph, right, taken six weeks after transfer shows the result, a perfect young plant bursting with performance potential.
Very pleased with these results, Mr Derek Scott the Greenhouse Manager at GenTech said “the feed has certainly helped us produce top quality plants” and “we shall be using it in our standard feed programmes from now on” he continued.
While this article concerns strawberries specifically, the same principles apply to the production of all young plants for transplanting. These include, other soft fruit, bedding plants, vegetables and nursery stock for example. Solufeed can provide advice and products for almost every growing scenario.