“Preventing dehydration in cuttings improves quality”
How do you improve the quality of your product? By constantly looking for ways to improve. This is why Beekenkamp Plants from Maasdijk collaborated with Chrysal to investigate how to improve the quality of their cuttings. “Our joint efforts make it possible to achieve more.”
BY ESDOR VAN ELTEN
Patricia de Boer is technical cultivation researcher at Beekenkamp Plants. “My colleagues and I aim to improve the quality of our rooted seed cuttings. How do you keep quality high, but most importantly on a steady level? Our team focusses on the technical cultivation aspects: the genetics, the climate in the greenhouse, everything that influences the plant.” One of the studies Patricia was involved in this year took a look at how to prevent dehydration in cuttings. “Normally we would prevent dehydration by storing the cuttings in a space with high humidity. This works, but it does increase the risk of fungal infection. And so we are looking into possibilities that prevent dehydration in a surrounding with low humidity. Together with Chrysal we tested if Chrysal LeafShine & Seal can be used to achieve this.”
“Chrysal LeafShine & Seal has been invented to prevent dehydration in plants. But it was originally designed to keep plants hydrated during transport and in store.” explains Robert Verbruggen, manager Benelux & International Retail at Chrysal. “Preventing dehydration is really important, especially in the time period between the grower and the consumer, when the plant is nurtured less and is usually kept in less than ideal circumstances. Research conducted in Germany shows that having weakened plants on display in your store, lowers the attention value of your customer. Even worse: it makes your whole store look bad!” Chrysal LeafShine & Seal has been developed to help plants stay strong during this challenging time. “It creates a layer on the leafs which lowers dehydration”, Verbruggen explains.
Product with perspective
And so it seems like a good starting point. But would Chrysal LeafShine & Seal also work on cuttings? That is precisely what Patricia de Boer wanted to discover. “We tested the product in week 10 and week 13 on cuttings of two species of geranium.” The results look really promising: “We have put both treated and untreated plants in a climate with low humidity and concluded that the untreated plants were clearly struggling more in their natural development. Also, the leafs of the treated plants were a deeper and darker green, showing they were clearly less dehydrated. The product offers great perspective, since we also did not see any negative effects.” Another positive attribute is the fact that Chrysal LeafShine & Seal is easily degradable and because of this has a temporary effect. “That is exactly what you want”, says De Boer: “You want to prevent dehydration in the unrooted cuttings, but the plant needs to be able to develop naturally later.”
Quality all through the chain
The research on dehydration is but one of the topics that Beekenkamp and Chrysal collaborate on. “The people of Chrysal have been very involved. A lot more is possible by conducting research together. Only by exchanging information we are able to make improvements.” Chrysal also thinks it is crucial that their product is tested in the field: “We do lots of research ourselves, but we also want to know if our product works as well in the field as it does in our laboratory.” The results of this study have been very positive for Chrysal: “To see that our product is not only applicable during transport and in store, but also during the earlier phases of the chain, offers new possibilities.” Both companies agree: providing the highest possible quality is in the best interest of, but also the responsibility of every link in the chain. Because of this Beekenkamp and Chrysal will continue to work together in the future.