The production of Rootbarrier started in 2020 as an initiative of LKP Plants and Modiform to reduce root adhesion, which helps reduce production loss in the transplanting phase. Rootbarrier is an anti-root adhesion coating from Modifom that is applied to the cultivation tray. Furthermore, this coating does not dissolve during the cultivation process and has no effect on the recycling process.
At the moment, a number of growers use Rootbarrier in their growing process, and many others have already tested it and are positive about it despite the slightly larger investment.
To give the product extra attention after two years and to tell about the current state of affairs, Martin van Dijk of Modiform and Hans Koolhaas of LKP Plants opened a booklet about this anti-root adhesion solution.
“Rootbarrier is being used more and more for many different product types because it reduces loss. Preventing plant damage, less root damage so that the plant can continue to grow better, that’s what the grower profits form,” says Martin.
This makes Rootbarrier a great solution for many growers to reduce root adhesion, but the nursery that uses it the most is, of course, LKP Plants itself, which certainly sees the benefits reflected in their production. However, it’s not just a fantastic product to reduce production loss. Optimizing automation also plays an important role when it comes to choosing Rootbarrier.
“We remove the plants from the tray after a few weeks, we then sort them and put them back into similar trays. If you aren’t able to mechanically remove the plants from the trays during this process because the roots are stuck, then you already face a major challenge since your automation can’t continue. This means you’d have to account for extra costs and labor hours for employees to manually remove the plants from the trays, which increases process time and damages. It’s like pulling a person’s hair. That’s basically what you’re doing,” says Hans.
So it’s double. You really have to get the root damage and automation under control, which is a big plus simply by being able to get the plant out of the tray.
“You could also let the plant grow a bit older in the tray as you get a little more time to let the plant grow since the roots will eventually detach more easily. Another grower will have to remove the plants from the tray sooner than they would if they were to use Rootbarrier.”
And for those products, that makes a big difference, every action costs growth. If you can keep your plants together for a little longer, you can have more product per square meter, which is a great advantage. But the microclimate around the plant also improves since it can now grow slightly larger. Ultimately, this also means that the grower is a bit more flexible in their production process.
For what plants does Rootbarrier offer a solution?
Rootbarrier has already become an indispensable part of the growing process for many growers. But you will always suffer from root adhesion with certain plants if you don’t know the difference. You see this a lot in epiphytes, for example, or other plants with a fairly active root system. Roots of these types of plants cling to the plastic and do not actually come loose. An example is the phalaenopsis which has such an active root system that the roots can even pierce through plastic trays.
It is great for plants that can really suffer from root adhesion, but unfortunately, it’s not possible to get rid of the adhesions altogether. You really have to be able to use the added value with your crop. The companies that now use Rootbarrier are, therefore, larger companies that have already experienced the result. For them, it is almost indispensable.
Some crops that benefit from this include green plants such as hedera, philodendron, grasses, and flowering plants such as bromeliad and orchids.
“Fun fact; with different plant species, you’ll see root adhesion take place, especially during major changes in the climate, including in the greenhouse. With bromeliads, this mainly occurs in early spring, around the period from the end of February to the beginning of April. During that period, we often have extreme root adhesion when it becomes more bright outside. We also see this from the end of September to October, just after the summer when the plant gets more light,” says Hans.
Orchids also suffer from this around the same period, according to Martin, who was an orchid grower himself. For this reason, orchids are also one of the crops that may be the focus of follow-up studies concerning the use of Rootbarrier.
Next steps for Rootbarrier
For now, Rootbarrier is mainly aimed towards young plant propagators in floriculture, although Modiform is looking at which markets and crops Rootbarrier can offer solutions for as well.
Another development they are working on relates to the coating of the trays. The nano-coating they use makes the Rootbarrier what it is, but this also includes its costs. They are currently looking at whether they can apply the coating more efficiently without losing quality.
“Applying the coating has its process time, if we can shorten that, we may also be able to reduce the price,” says Martin, who is working on improving the Rootbarrier process for Modiform.
During the upcoming IPM Essen, from 24 to 27 January, Modiform will, of course, be there again with Rootbarrier to provide an update to the growers on the current state of affairs of the product and to share the growers’ experiences of the past two years.
“Our Rootbarrier specialists will also be present at the IPM, and we would like to invite growers to visit our stand.”
For more information:
Martin van Dijk
3831 KA, Leusden
Tel.: +31 (0)33 434 31 66
Email: [email protected]
Van Hasseltweg 1
2751 GZ, Moerkapelle
Tel.: 079 – 593 27 91
Fax: 079 – 593 22 68
Email: [email protected]