We have been looking at Peat reduction at Lowaters over the past 10 years, first 20% peat reduced and then 30% - we now grow all our plants without any peat! Working with Melcourt Industries using their Syvamix over the past few years, first as a trial and since the start of 2012 across our whole range we have seen very good results. The bark based mix is made from materials sourced in Britain and Europe from sustainably managed forsts ensuring long term supply whist protecting the environment. All material is FSC certified.
This has been a positive step, both Environmentally and updating our growing techniques, we have seen excellent plant growth, good shelf life and a reduction in weed and liverworts.
The hebe crop ready for sale grown in a bark compost
The liner crop grown in a bark compost
Freshly potted Hebes in a bark compost
Helleborus Annas Red grown in a bark mix
Root Development - We have seen strong root development in the peat free mix with a well branched system filling the pot.
Healthy Growth - many plants such as Cistus, Hebe, Gaura and Lavandula have performed better in the Sylvamix with improved growth and bushiness.
Reduced Weed and Liverworts - because the surface of the compost is drier it remains cleaner and this enables us to have a cleaner product at the point of despatch - with a bark topped presentation
Shelf Life - We have carried out destructive shelf life testing, placing the plants on a concrete pad in full Sun to see how the unwatered shelf life compared to peat mixes and we have found they were comparable lasting up to 4 days in sun without water
We believe that with both commercial and environmental benefits that this mix offers a superb if not superior alternative to conventional peat mixes, without the risk of poor peat harvests in wet years.