Australia: A fresh start for Rootstock Services

Situated on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria is the newly acquired propagation business, Rootstock Services. Producing rootstocks for the commercial agricultural industries, Rootstock Services prides itself on both quality and quantity of product to ensure that the customer receives the best rootstocks in the quantities that they require.

Rootstock Services was founded in 2010 by Colin Mansfield and in 2018 was acquired by Mansfield’s Propagation Nursery. Mansfield’s Propagation Nursery is a third generation family business established in 1951. It is one of Australia’s largest propagation nurseries, growing over 6 million plants annually in state of the art facilities with knowledgeable horticulturalists. Their awards include the NGIA Hall of Fame, Best Propagation Nursery 2009, 2010 & 2011, and AIPH International Grower of the Year “Silver Rose” in 2011.

Rootstock Services are capable of sending plant material to any state in Australia. They propagate from seed and budwood. Citrus varieties are certified Auscitrus supplied seed. They also have access to an onsite tissue culture business Tissue Culture Australia, which is also owned by Mansfield’s Propagation Nursery. The benefit of this is the ability to put harder to propagate plants into tissue culture to bulk up numbers, so that numbers reach commercial quantities much faster.

Citrus rootstock is the bulk of what Rootstock Services produce. Currently there are 13 varieties of citrus rootstock, with a mix of traditional favourites as well as welcoming emerging varieties to keep up with demand and trends. They also grow other rootstocks including apple, macadamia, walnut, almond and pistachio. Food crops are another category of plant that Rootstock Services can supply – blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, bay tree, rosemary and hops.

The rootstocks are predominantly grown in a 250ml 50mm Forestry tube, and contain 77 plants per tray.

Rootstock Services is a certified Bio Secure, NIASA accredited and ECOhort certified nursery, thanks to Mansfield’s Propagation Nursery being one of the first businesses in Australia to become certified by the NGIA under the EcoHort guidelines. EcoHort is the industry specific Environmental Management System for NGIA businesses which aims to further improve business sustainability whilst addressing environmental and natural resource responsibilities. BioSecure HACCP is the on-farm biosecurity program for production nurseries in Australia. The program validates many of the best management practice strategies employed under the Nursery Industry Accreditation Scheme Australia (NIASA).

Having a small ecological footprint is important to Rootstock Services for a greener future. They actively use integrated pest management (IPM) in order to suppress pest populations, and aim to reduce chemical usage and spraying time. They have 20 mega litres of wetlands, which allows most irrigation of the nursery to be recycled water, naturally filtered by plants. On the roof of their propagation shed is 100kW of solar to power the facilities.

Rootstock Services aims to increase the number of rootstocks they grow due to increasing demand for service in this area, with a focus on the citrus industry.

For more information:
Mansfield's Propagation Nursery

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