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Post: Ellepot gains momentum in the South African forestry market

Ellepot
Illustration showing the stages of development, from nursery to field

Ellepot gains momentum in the South African forestry market

Ellepot South Africa has been encouraged by the growth in the use of Ellepots in the South African forestry market year on year. It is the system of choice for most foresters when ordering plants from their nursery supplier. “We appreciate the support shown by foresters when choosing the Ellepot system for their new plantings”, says Ellepot South Africa director, Shaun Biggs.

What is driving the change to Ellepots? There are several benefits that foresters have highlighted.

Root mass and architecture
Ellepots have been grown in air pruning trays, that increase the root mass of the plant and improve its root architecture, as seen in the picture below. There is no longer the risk of planting root bound plants with the associated challenges that a poor root system brings. The better-quality root system leads to improved survival and uniformity in the compartment.

Plant inspection

The importance of root mass, health and architecture is widely recognised by foresters. When a batch of plants is received from the nursery, a quick inspection is typically done on the height of the plants, hardiness, and plant health. A forester may extract a few plants, but with Ellepots it is easy to evaluate the root quality as the root structure is visible. Key traits to look for is how much root mass is visible, are the actively growing white roots visible and are air pruned root tips evident? The number of air pruned root tips is a key factor in how well the plant establishes itself. Each root tip will grow radially out from the Ellepot and forage for soil moisture and nutrients. In a standard plastic tray, root tips will only be found at the base of the root plug, but with Ellepots they should be evident down the full profile of the plug. Being able to easily inspect and analyse the root system is a key benefit highlighted by foresters.

Ellepot
Eucalyptus dunnii seedlings grown in the Ellepot System

Ellepot Paper protection
Ellepot paper protects and stabilises the root system during the handling that comes with transplanting forestry plants in the compartment. This is especially the case with mechanised planting, which is increasingly being adopted in forestry. Reducing transplant shock means the plants capture the pit quickly and are better able to withstand adverse weather conditions soon after planting.

Ease of use
There’s no longer a need for extracting plants from unigro inserts or plastic trays. This makes it easier to get plants to the compartment and reduces roadside handling by 2hours/ha. Consolidating the loose inserts is a labour-intensive operation, whether performed by the silviculture team or nursery supplier. Transporting empty trays back to the nursery becomes a hassle-free exercise, with opportunities to improve efficiency, such as palletising empty trays.

There are several other benefits associated with the system, but these are the key points highlighted by foresters. The focus on research and improving the system is ongoing according to Biggs “Working with our nursery partners, we are always looking to improve nursery efficiency and the way in which we get plants from the nursery and into the ground”.

Foresters looking to benefit from this system can get plants grown in Ellepots from most forestry nurseries in South Africa.

For more information on the Ellepot System, visit www.ellepot.com or speak to your nursery provider on the various options available.

Ellepot
Eucalyptus grandis x nitens cuttings in the rooting house

Contact: Ellepot

Source: Forest & Timber Value Chain Newsletter – March 2024

 

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Ellepot gains momentum in the South African forestry market

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