Ben Geijtenbeek is Senior Technical Crop Specialist at Syngenta Flowers. At the IPM in Essen he explained to growers why it is important that plants should have some personal space to reach the best quality.
“To improve the climate for optimal growth, it is important to know how many plants you can grow per square meter. It’s important to consider that the closer you place your plants, the higher the air humidity will be. But as a grower, you want to be efficient and economical with the available space in your greenhouses. The right balance of spacing your plants is when your plants don’t ‘kiss’ but ‘talk’. Meaning the plants should never touch each other."
“This talking distance is important because of the draft through the plants. This airflow keeps the leaves dry which reduces the risk of diseases in your plants. If there is no natural air movement, you can use ventilators to create a draft through the plants. When plants grow under too humid conditions, botrytis (grey mold) can occur between the leaves, stems and flowers. This could considerably damage your plants.”
According to Ben, it is important to calculate the right amount of plants you can fit in the greenhouse. Because if you order too many plants, you end up with a reduced quality: “If you combine the optimal distance between the plants with the perfect environment, right amount of water and fertilizer, you will have guaranteed high-quality flowers.”
The advice of letting plants ‘talk’ to each other does not stop in the nursery; in the garden, in a pot or bed, the plants also should not be placed too close to each other.
In this video Ben explains this topic in more detail to a customer: