New Leaf Plants back Koppert biocontrol
New Leaf Plants Ltd is an ambitious, progressive and successful plant producer, based near Evesham in Worcestershire. Business owners David and Nicole Higginson relocated to their new 30 acre site in 2013, with a vision of becoming one of the most esteemed nursery stock suppliers in the UK and Europe. They embarked on a programme of investment, by building new glasshouses, erecting polythene structures and developing new propagation facilities.
The primary aim is clear: to become one of the leading producers of climbing plants in the home and European markets. “We have developed a reputation as high quality plant producers,” commented David. “But our garden centre customers also like our vision of growing plants in a more environmentally friendly and ethical manner, by reducing the use of peat, diminishing the use of chemical pesticides and using biological methods for the control of pests and diseases.”
Biocontrol plays a pivotal role in New Leaf Plant’s successful IPM strategy
New Leaf Plants produces over 2,000,000 finished plants per year, and 95% are propagated in-house. The nursery produces up to 600 different varieties of Clematis and over 400 varieties of other climbing plants, including Abutilon, Lonicera, Jasminium, Parthenocissus, Solanum, Trachelospermum and Wisteria. “It is imperative that we manage pests and diseases in a preventative and pro-active way, in order to meet the high plant standards our customers expect,” commented David.
“We aim to grow our plants in an environmentally responsible manner, and to this aim, we have adopted biological control and the use of biostimulants as the primary defence strategy against pests and diseases,” explained Nicole. “With Koppert’s technical support, we have evolved a biological control strategy that works for us. The programme combines the use of aphid parasitoids, predatory mites and beneficial nematodes. It’s critical that we are using the right products at the right time, and recognise when to make changes, to stay one step ahead of potential pest problems,” she added.
David continued “Due to the success of our biological strategy, our expenditure on insecticides is now almost non-existent. The implementation of biological control has provided many benefits. It’s effective, easy to introduce, and safe for our nursery operatives. With Koppert’s technical advice and support, we are in safe hands, and well-prepared for tomorrow’s crop protection challenges.”