Scion shows off new propagation technology

Wednesday 22 Apr 2020

Scion’s research nursery has been upgraded with new facilities and demonstrations of state-of-the-art machinery not yet used in New Zealand forestry. The facilities are pilot scale, but show how a modular, automated, lean-flow, environmentally sustainable propagation facility could work in New Zealand conditions.

Year-round propagation

With their upgraded facilities, cuttings can now be propagated at any time of year. The upgrade includes an enclosed growing area with automated climate controls. The facility will also allow Scion to do parallel testing of different environments, speeding up the research and development required to develop plant propagation solutions. Enclosed hedge tunnels and mini hedges are another new feature in the upgrade. Used for indigenous and exotic species, these miniature motherstock are novel in New Zealand. They provide savings in time, labour and space.

New machinery

An automated paper pot sowing line, on loan from Ellepot, is one of the key pieces of new technology. Paper pots will now replace plastic potting bags for most seedlings as we demonstrate this technology. Another key feature of the upgrade is the automatic tray washer that cleans so thoroughly it prevents the spread of weed seed. The nursery team is enjoying the benefits of the washer, which has led to roughly 90 per cent fewer weeds.

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