The growing media in the nurserystock: agronomic requirements and environmental and economic sustainability

The nursery is in Italy (in value) 5% of the national agricultural production and contributes 14% to the formation of European flower production. The province of Pistoia is the heart of the Italian nursery and affects over 5,200 hectares, with 1,500 hectares of pot plants, 1,500 companies and over 5,500 direct employees (2,500 employees) in addition to industries, the PLV is over 300 million euros which exported 160.

The substrates are defined as “material other than soils in situ where plants are grown.” A Pistoia is estimated consumption of growing media of approximately 600,000 cubic meters / year, while in Italy the consumption of more than five million cubic meters / year.

The culture substrate influence: the absorption of the mineral elements and the availability of water and air and determines the development of a more or less balanced root system.

The raw materials are usually mixed according to specific doses.

The global sustainability is directly linked to the limitation of the impoverishment of stocks of raw materials and the reduction of CO2 emissions related to their use.

The substrate is now a key component of the nursery production process and it affects both the quality and the economic result.
Research must consider all plant-substrate-container in respect of each production process and the target market of the finished product.

Renato Ferretti