Growing Trials

Research is ongoing for the growers’ sector in Ireland. Learn what we’re discovering through our trials.

1. Green compost in container growing media

Part of growing media trial at Stoneyford nursery of Pat FitzgeraldResearch and development with professional growers in the Republic of Ireland has focused on container media. Green compost that has improved the quality of Bord na Móna’s multipurpose growing media has been trialled in two Kildare nurseries: Flannery’s near Staplestown and Rentes near Kinnegad. These trials have shown consistent benefits to plant growth: a case study undertaken at Rentes nursery near Kinnegad showed improvements in both growth and plant quality of Hypericum and Ceanothus.

In 2009-2010 a large fully replicated trial with growing media containing green compost from the Kilberry site was set up at the nursery at Stoneyford near Kilkenny of Pat Fitzgerald, plant breeder extraordinaire and one of Ireland’s leading horticultural entrepreneurs. Green compost was added to peat at several rates, and growth of four container species was monitored. These trials formed part of the tour undertaken by International Plant Propagators Society, who held their annual International Symposium in Kilkenny in 2009. The trial lasted for a year and plants were monitored for vigour, health and ultimately biomass.

2. Suppression of liverwort growth by pot dressing with green compost

Liverwort control study: Flannery’s nursery Co KildareUnsightly liverwort growth on the surface of container media is a major problem in Ireland and elsewhere, and the R & D team at Bord na Móna (Horticulture) have looked at the ability of green compost to suppress liverwort colonisation. Reports from the U.K. suggest that increasing the amount of green compost in growing media suppresses liverwort growth: this did not happen in the R & D trials, even where the growing medium was 50% by volume green compost. However, green compost used as a pot dressing was almost as good as the standard pine topping currently used to prevent liverwort growth,and it is much cheaper.

3. Current and future work

Currently the R & D team at Bord na Móna are investigating combinations of peat and coir fibre for use in pot, bedding and container media.

For more information on the trials please contact trials@bordnamonahorticulture.ie