Citrus nurseries are making great strides in improving their propagation by adopting the Ellepot paper pot system. Among other benefits, the Ellepot system helps growers strengthen their root system quality and reduce propagation times.
Germination Phase: Growers germinate virus screened seed (mostly lemon rootstocks) in trays, sown at a very high density and covered with substrate. The seeds that germinate and show good vigour and form are transplanted into Ø50mm x 90mm Ellepots (±175ml volume) held in the patented Ellepot AIRtrays™. Alternatively, seeds can also be sown directly into the Ellepots. The substrate used is mostly coir (cocopeat) with some perlite and peat moss being used as well.
Rootstock phase: A key saving of the Ellepot system is that the budding of the scion is done in the Ø50mm Ellepot (before stepping up into a larger container), producing a micro-budded tree. There is a significant cost saving at this stage when discarding failed buds, as the Ellepot holds a smaller volume of substrate than the plastic bags or pots traditionally used at the budding stage.
An important advantage of using the Ellepot system in citrus, instead of the traditional plastic bags, trays or pots, is the ability to develop a larger and more fibrous root system through air pruning. The patented Ellepot AIRtray™ technology maximises air pruning, while also bringing many other added benefits such as the facilitation of automation and improved labour efficiencies.
Root air pruning at the rootstock stage ensures the early development of an outstanding quality root system that maintains its natural structure. Furthermore, with the roots growing through the Ellepot paper, growers can easily extract the Ellepot from the tray at any time and inspect the root architecture of the plant at any time without disturbing the roots.