Cultivation of cell-grown plants
Cell-grown plants production involves sowing plants in trays automatically. The sown trays are put in foil tunnels where the seeds germinate and make their first fast growth. When the plants are big enough, the foil will be removed from the tunnels, which will make the plants thicker and assure a very good hardening and root system. When the winter begins, the foil will be replaced upon the tunnels again, so the plants can survive the winter under perfect conditions.
When the plants have been in the foil tunnels long enough, the cell-grown plants are taken out of the trays and sorted out manually: only the good plants will be delivered. Most species are graded out starting from December: packed by hand and put into the freezer so they stay in a perfect condition till the moment our clients want to process them.
A part of our assortment is sown in the months January and February and grow in a heated greenhouse, to be delivered in May/June of the same year. This is mostly done with species which they like to pot young (Cornus, Cytisus, Ulex and others) or when a client wants a shorter growing period in absence of a given specie (Fagus, Berberis and others). These plants are hardened off a few weeks before delivery, so that the plants won't get a plant shock.
Big advantages of the plug cultivation:
1. Much more plants per kilogram of seed (this creates a lower seed price per plant, which is mainly interesting for valuable provenances and expensive lots of seeds).
2. A shorter growing period (many species go from 3 to 2 years);
3. Easy to process.
4. Less failures and the growth becomes more equal;
5. Better possibilities with regard to automation;
6. Cell-grown plants can be processed a whole year, which makes it easy to organise the work all over the year.
We grow different sizes cell-grown plants:
► P204 (plug is 7cm long and has a diameter of 2,5cm): this cell-grown plant is essentially used to put in bigger cells or smaller pots or to plant on planting beds in open field.
► P126 (this plug is 7cm long and has a diameter of 3,5cm): this cell-grown plant is essentially used for planting, to put in pots or to plant directly into the forest.
► P40 (this plug is 9cm long and has a diameter of 6,5cm on the top and 4,5cm at the bottom): certain species are sown in P40-trays directly, but with the most species a P204 is plugged over in a P40. This cell-grown plant P40 is more and more used as stronger young plants, to be grafted directly (instead of P9) or to plant directly into the forest.