Vineland researchers develop new propagation trays

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Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) is revolutionizing propagation  systems for the nursery sector through a tray design supporting superior tree root  growth.

There is an increasing demand for container tree seedling production  – plug trays  – in North America and a greater focus on higher quality root architecture. Many  current propagation tray designs lead to  root malformation making seedlings less  robust after transplantation and increasing tree mortality.

“We’ve been studying this problem since 2014 and have found containers with the  largest cell volume and the highest degree of exposure to air resul ted in superior  results,” said Dr. Darby McGrath, Research Scientist, Nursery & Landscape,  Vineland. “In collaboration with Kingsville - based A.M.A. Plastics Ltd. (A.M.A.), we’re  developing a woody perennial air - pruning propagation tray that maximizes tree  growth and limits root defects.”

 “We are excited to partner with Vineland on this innovation. The propagation trays  fit well with our strategic mandate and will help us increase our competitive edge,” said Rick Bradt, Managing Director, A.M.A.

The new tray is designed for use in conjunction with the Ellepot system, a bounded transplantable growing medium which A.M.A. produces for North American growers. The design of the tray, for which a patent protection is pending, allows the substrate to remain essentially free floating, maximizing air flow to the root system and promoting ideal root architecture while improving overall tree performance in later stages of growth.

In spring 2017, the tray will be distributed in Canada and the United States by A.M.A. with other territories to follow.

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