Larger plants, more shoots, more roots. That's how Albert Dortmans, of Orgapower, sums up the results from a trial conducted by Compas Agro together with blueberry grower Schrijnwerkers, applying trichoderma spores in soft fruit. At the Strawberry Day event, he explained how just 1 gram of the Orgapower Core Mix contains 25 million beneficial trichoderma fungal spores. It is a wood mulch substrate which can be mixed into growing media.
The application of beneficial trichoderma fungi in substrates is already well-known in horticulture, "but it is mainly used in propagation," says Albert. He is a specialist in compost products in the field service and is also responsible for custom mixtures, among other things. "You can see that use in production crops is dropping; that's why we had trials done here at Compas Agro."
Pot with blueberry plant used for Compas Agro trial at Schrijnwerkers. The Orgapower Core Mix Trichoderma fungi was tested in it.
As part of the trial, they looked at the size of the plant, shoot growth, and root development. At two points, the trial with the core mix from Orgapower was compared to regular cultivation. In July, the plant on substrate with core mix was slightly larger. By mid-September, this difference had grown to 4.10 versus 3.70. The size of the plant was estimated on a scale of 1 to 5. 20 plants were compared.
The shoot growth above ground was also compared. By mid-July, the difference was 3.15 to 2.50 in favor of the plants growing on the core mix with trichoderma spores from Orgapower. Lastly, root development was also compared. For this, the plants were taken out of the pot. The root score on a scale of 1 to 10 fell in favor of the core mix with 6.23 versus 5.40.
Albert at Strawberry Day 2024
Growers adding trichoderma to their substrate are improving plant resistance. "With this product, growers are preventively making their crops more disease-resistant." Albert also advises preventive use. "For optimal results, the core mix should be applied at the beginning of the growth cycle, preferably during sowing, cutting, or planting. The core mix does well under different climatic conditions. The fungus grows in various climates (10-34°C), at a pH of 4-8, in many different substrates and on roots of many different crops."
In addition to soft fruit, the product was also tested in asparagus and nursery tree crops in 2023. The results of these tests can be consulted on the Orgapower website. With the correct application of the core mix, mycelium is formed that grows on and along the roots and protects the crop's root system against diseases such as Fusarium, Pythium, Rhizoctonia, or Sclerotinia.
The product from Orgapower is RHP-B listed and contains the world's most widely used disease-resistant fungus, Trichoderma Harzianum T22. The core mix can be added to the potting soil on-site or delivered pre-mixed by a specialized growth substrate company. The latter has advantages, including "optimal distribution of the mix through the soil and thus also of the trichoderma spores. It is best to apply the core mix close to the seed or roots."