The Nursery Stock Unit (NSU) comprises a propagation house, growing on tunnels (for liners and accelerated growing), shade tunnel, standing out areas (including capillary sand bed irrigation) and 'Ebb and Flood' irrigation system (covered and outdoor).

Propagation House

This facility contains floor level heated beds for propagation of cuttings. Either mist propagation and warm bench and polythene can be employed depending on the plant species and cutting type.
The house is heated by oil-fired boiler and ambient temperature is regulated by an aspirated screen.
There are also unheated beds available for weaning or cold bench propagation.
Plant material for the NSPU can also be propagated in Compartment 1 of the Protected Crops Unit.
Propagation material for the shrub species propagated at the N.S.U. is sourced from the college grounds or from managed stock plants held in containers in the stock plant tunnel.

Growing on Tunnels

There are 8 rigid frame polytunnels on site which can be used for growing on young plants or established tender species after potting.
Once rooted cuttings are potted off into liners, they are transferred to the liner tunnel for the first full season of growth. This reflects standard practice in a typical hardy plant nursery.
These structures are side ventilated and unheated.
Weed control in this protected environment is vital to maintain high quality, and this is achieved through applications of residual herbicide as appropriate.

Shade Tunnel

This facility exists to provide reduced light levels for nursery stock species which would suffer leaf bleaching or leaf scorch in strong sunlight, under protection for example Skimmia, Pieris, Primula.

Standing out areas

Container grown shrubs and trees in their final pot size are moved to these outdoor areas, which are fenced in to protect against rabbit feeding and constructed as a hard core base covered with Lo-breem membrane for weed suppression.
Irrigation is by by upright gun sprinklers or trickle feed irrigation (container grown trees) and water can be from mains or bore hole source as appropriate


Ebb and Flood

This facility allows controlled flood watering of container grown subjects via a system of closed storage tanks, header tanks and return pumps. Water fills the butyl-lined beds to a preset level by gravity. Once irrigation is complete, excess water is pumped back into the storage tanks. This system suits plants with a large leaf canopy which would deflect a large proportion of overhead irrigation. In principle, liquid feeding can be included in the irrigation water.
The Ebb and Flood system was set up as part of a Horticulture Technology Project on raising trees from seed in 'Rootrainer' modules.

Potting Shed

This contains Hopper facility with conveyor, ADAS potting bench system, compost mixing machine, blocking machine, pot filler.



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