Recently, Plant nursery Baas from the Dutch town Ens started using a new Venti V004 pruning machine from Pack TTI. “Pinching” (trimming) is still common practice, especially in cuttings production, but doing it correctly, which means treating large quantities uniformly, is not that simple.
“Almost the entire assortment of bedding plants goes through the machine”, says Jordy Botman, responsible for cultivation planning and purchasing at Baas. “This way, you end up with better branching on your plants, and the consumer will end up having more fun gardening.”
Although a simple lawnmower or line with sheers above them would do the trick at first, it became time to find a professional solution. “We have grown exponentially in this segment over the past few years: from the 300 to 400 thousand unrooted cuttings, about five years ago, to 8, 9, or even 10 million cuttings now. The lawnmower, however, wasn't handling the plants that delicately - it was more chopping the plants - which was not beneficial to quality or uniformity. The good thing about this machine are its fine blades that cuts every plant to the same height. A powerful vacuum pump then pulls the branches and leaves up so the plants can be cut more easily.”
Another advantage of the vacuum pump is that it sucks up the cutting waste, so no material remains in the trays. In turn, the grower prevents molding and therefore doesn’t have to combat it at a later stage. By doing so, the cultivation becomes cleaner, which Plant nursery Baas and fellow growers obviously strive after.
Last but not least, the system in question is mobile. The machine can be suspended from the same aluminum tubes that the spray & irrigation systems move along, which allows it to reach all corners of the greenhouse, and the plants don’t need to be taken away from their microclimates, so to speak. Moreover, Baas wants to use the greenhouse area as efficiently as possible, which is why there is limited walking space.
One machine will do the job at a grower. However, during peak weeks, a lot of work needs to be done during peak weeks, when 1 to 1.5 million plants need to be trimmed. But according to Jordy, this should be manageable by using a possible extra crew when needed.