.
August 2005

Compost Tea - (A Grower's Experience)

Star Nurseries is situated just outside Barnham in West Sussex, has 13 acres laid out to growing beds and employs 22 staff. Staff numbers go up to 50 during the busiest times.

Paul Dyer, Technical and Business Development Manager had heard of the claims made by growers using Compost Tea such as Nigel Timpson (Hewtons) and Peter van Delft (West End Nurseries) and decided to try it himself. He wanted to try it on a difficult subject Osteospermum “Stardust”. Pythium, Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia and Fusarium had all been found on this crop over the years by CSL diagnostics, ADAS and others. So he decided he needed to try something new as conventional techniques had failed.

Compost Tea made an immediate impression after the mother plants were sprayed and cuttings taken in Autumn/Winter grew away with a very high percentage take. They went on to produce superb plants.

“It appeared that the Compost Tea had given the cuttings something different and prepared them well to resist disease pressure” said Paul Dyer.

A similar story can be told on Philadelphus where plants typically dogged with Botrytis now rarely show the infection after using Compost Tea.

Leaf spotting and shot hole has been very much reduced on Prunus laurocerasus. Paul pointed out that the plants are strong and healthy.

Compost Tea - is the new phenomenon sweeping the horticultural market in nursery stock. Compost Tea is a special mix of beneficial fungi and bacteria.

This mix is brewed in a special unit purchased by the grower after which it is either applied as a high volume spray to the foliage or put through the irrigation system.

Paul has now extended Compost Tea use to the 250,000 liners on his site. They are sprayed every 2 weeks, he is now a big advocate of using Compost Tea to produce high quality plants.

Soil tech is a trademark of Van Iersel.