Blue sky thinking, literally

It was a cool-looking thing we saw in a British bedding plant nursery. A plastic tunnel in a bright blue color. But it is not only cool looking, it is also beneficial for the plants, says Owen Lane, director of XL Horticulture.

Just like a tree
"It is like a plant underneath the shade of a tree. The tree is changing the ratio of red light automatically, without us realizing. That is the reason many plants underneath trees don’t grow tall. Just like that, this blue film also changes the ratio of near-red and far-red and that triggers a response in the plant to keep it short. It holds back plant growth whilst keeping the plants healthy and saleable."

"The blue film is for growers that are looking to grow bedding plants for compactness. It will also delay the flowering a little bit. Therefore growers can use this film to hold a bunch of plants until they are ready, which helps with crop scheduling. Because it is also thermic, it will keep plants warm through winter."

Thermal efficiency
Although the blue plastic is not seen very often, there is a steady demand for the product, says Owen. "We supply mostly to customers in the UK. In September we will introduce a new film that separates into two sheets after cladding. This is then inflated giving a very large increase in the structure's thermal efficiency. Owen says, "Currently you can put two sheets on to a tunnel, but it is very tricky to get the tensions correct. With our new film you just put it on once, clip it on and then introduce air between the two layers. It is very easy. The new 'de-laminable' film is also designed with high light transmission in mind and is UV open."

For more information
XL Horticulture
Owen Lane
+44 (0)14 04 82 30 44

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