Tickets for Hort Science Live (HSL) - which this year has a strong focus on sustainability - are being snapped up with over 90 delegates already registered.
The event - to be held at The Bransford Webbs Plant Company, in Worcester, on 7 July – features 8 workstations led by technical experts from ICL, ADAS, APHA, Syngenta & Hortec.
"As horticulture reduces its reliance on peat and turns to more sustainable raw materials, it is important to understand where these come from, how they work, and how to manage them to get the best results," says ICL marketing communications manager Adam Ferjani.
"In a workstation entitled 'Sustainable Growing Media – the future,' ICL's Chloe Whiteside and Stephen Briggs will discuss the pros and cons of different materials and explain how mixes are designed to suit different plant types and growing systems. They will share their own experiences of growing in sustainable media, detailing the practical points to consider."
Transitioning to peat-free
'Transitioning to peat-free and managing peat alternatives' will be explored by Dr. Jill England, technical manager of ADAS – together with David Talbot and Andrew Watson. As well as how growers can adopt responsibly sourced growing media, this workstation will highlight recent trials showing how with the correct management, most sustainable media can perform as well as peat-based media including in the propagation of hedging and forestry products.
Turning the spotlight on 'Reducing peat but not compromising on quality', Andrew Wilson, ICL's technical manager for professional horticulture, will explain how Osmocote 5 delivers super-efficient and effective nutrient release and has been painstakingly developed to overcome specific nutritional challenges faced by growers using sustainable media.
The workstation devoted to wetting agent technology and its importance to sustainable growing media' will see ICL's Richard Collins and Steve Hughes pick up on the challenges of different water retention and drainage characteristics. They will explain wetting agent technology to help overcome these and the practical uses of H2Gro through trials and practical end-user experiences. Hortec's Steve Dunn will demonstrate their Bale Breaker - with a sprinkler bar added to help wet up growing media and/or add extra H2Gro.
Turning to sustainable pest and disease control, Sam Rivers, ICL's technical manager for controls – will run through the principles of integrated pest management (IPM) as well as integrated disease management (IDM) plus the Sustainable Use Directive (SUD). Sam will explain how ICL's ground-breaking digital web-based Plant Health Planner can play a key role in helping growers schedule (and therefore simplify) control programs to help optimize results.
Meanwhile, ICL's Steve Chapman and Mike Finney will take attendees step by step through a full IPM strategy to get vine weevil under control – including ICL's award-winning Pitcher GR. Mike will share his vast experience of beneficial nematode applications, including how to maximize control following best application practices and the role of Transporter – ICL's blend of growing media surfactants to optimize environmental conditions during and after treatment.
'The art of application – keeping your sprays on target' workstation will see Sean Loakes, Syngenta UK technical manager, run an interactive demonstration of top tips and techniques - to better target treatments for ornamentals' plant health; to ensure spray operators get the best possible results from every application.
"Whether applying a plant protection product, biostimulant, biocontrol, or foliar fertilizer, growers want to get the best return from their investment in plant health," says Adam.
"We are delighted that APHA is returning to HSL again to take a workstation on the most notable recent pest and disease outbreaks in the UK and to shine a spotlight on the most serious threats knocking on our door."
"With over 80% of HSL tickets already taken, don't delay registering," he warns.