Problem Free Peat Free

Problem Free Peat Free

- by Agronomist Mike Wainwright

Hortifeeds is excited to announce the launch of our new Perfect for Peat Free range of fertilisers. Our agronomist Mike Wainwright explains why there is a need for these new products and how they can help with the transition to peat free growing.

There’s nothing new in growing quality plants without peat. Many commentators have highlighted that peat has only been the predominant growing medium used in UK horticulture for a few decades. However, during this period the way we grow, transport, and sell plants has changed immeasurably, and the use of peat has been one of the factors that has contributed to this change.

A statement often made about the transition to peat free growing is that it isn’t harder, it’s just different. This is an important message, because adapting to the differences in physical and chemical properties is key to making the switch to peat free media a success.

While there are no solutions that will solve all the issues for growers in one easy fix, there are a few reasoned adaptations that can be made that will help to overcome the challenges. Hortifeeds have been working with growers who are at varying stages of the peat free journey, from some who have always been peat free, to others who are just starting out on the trialling process. To help with this transition, Hortifeeds have launched a range of new products that have been designed specifically to help bridge the gap between growing media options without loss of quality. HortiMix Peat Free Soluble Fertiliser Range has been developed to provide calcium and magnesium, along with all other essential nutrients. This includes enhanced levels of nitrate nitrogen to overcome the effects of drawdown. The range includes high nitrogen and phosphate options, as well as a general ‘all year round’ feed. With the higher pH situation in most alternative media components, HortiMix Peat Free Soluble Fertilisers have been formulated with chelated trace elements, including iron chelated with DTPA for greater availability at a wider pH range. To increase nutrient uptake and availability to boost establishment, the range has been further enriched with humic acids, and amino acids to improve resilience and recovery from stress.

HortiTop Peat Free is a unique top-dress fertiliser, featuring slow-release nitrogen in four different forms for prolonged and consistent availability to counteract nitrogen drawdown. This formulation combines organic, mineral, and synthetic nutrients with seaweed, aiding crop establishment, stress relief and recovery. HortiTop Peat Free also boasts calcium and magnesium.

Unlike generic base mix fertilisers, HortiBase Peat Free Base Mix is formulated with low potassium for use with higher potassium substrates such as coir and bark. Featuring iron chelated with DTPA for increased availability across a wider pH range, it contains ample nitrogen to compensate for drawdown, phosphates to support rooting and establishment, and magnesium to boost photosynthesis.

Hortifeeds' new range of fertilisers provide a comprehensive solution for growers navigating the challenges of peat-free growing by addressing the issues of crop establishment, nutrient management and availability, and stress resilience.

However, even before the launch of the new range, Hortifeeds had a number of existing products that are also ideally suited for use with peat free growing media and compliment the range completely. The free draining nature of most peat free composts means that use of surfactant wetting agents to increase irrigation spread and uptake is a very necessary additional step. When switching to the use of more environmentally friendly ingredients, use of the Hortifeeds sustainable wetting agent HortiHydrate Bio is the obvious choice, as it goes hand in hand with becoming more environmentally conscious but is as effective as synthetic products.

Another environmentally friendly product which is ideal for use alongside peat free media is NuGroNuGro is a range of liquid fertilisers providing major nutrients and good levels of trace elements including iron plus amino acids which are ideal to boost crop establishment. The NuGro range are suitable for use in organic growing systems (subject to certification body approval) but are also often used in conventional growing as they have proved their value over many years.

HortiCron Evergreen is a foliar fertiliser which contains both fast acting and slowly released nitrogen, so is ideal to help counter the effects of nitrogen drawdown in peat free growing media. It has an 18-3-6 formulation, with generous levels of magnesium and iron to maximise photosynthesis.

One of the main issues growers have encountered when transitioning to peat free media is that root establishment has been slower, leading to increased production times. Use of the root biostimulant HortiPhyte will help to encourage and support strong root development, so it’s a perfect partner for use in peat free growing, particularly during the establishment phase.

Use of the ‘Complete biostimulant’ HortiBoost will support establishment and help to protect crops grown in peat free media from abiotic stresses such as heat and uneven water availability. It’s combination of seaweed, amino acids and humic acids will give crops increased stress tolerance and provide an ideal platform for sturdy and resilient growth.

Growers transitioning to peat free media can choose the combination of the products highlighted above that best fits their production systems and fertiliser programmes. At Hortifeeds we are ideally placed to offer growers the help and support they need to navigate this process, so give us a call at 01522 704 404 to find out more.



Please check our complete Peat Free Range brochure here or contact ​​​​​sales .




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