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Monday, 11 June 2018 07:10

Predatory mites are saving birches

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Södra’s nursery in Falkenberg is now using a biological method of pest control for the very first season, which means using beneficial animals instead of traditional chemical pest control. The biological method is more sustainable and creates a better work environment.

Indoor cultivation of birch is new in Sweden, and the greenhouse in Falkenberg was only opened last autumn. The birch seedlings grow well in the greenhouse environment – but pests, such as aphids and thrips, also thrive in the warm and protected environment. Some form of pest control is needed for the seedlings to survive. Biological pest control is a method that uses beneficial animals (such as hymenoptera and predatory mites) to attack the pests instead of using chemicals. The method works well in closed environments like greenhouses, but not outdoors.

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“This will be the first summer the greenhouse has been used for the whole season. A biological method that is more sustainable and creates a better work environment felt like the right choice,” said Johan Henriksson, Nursery Manager at Södra Skogsplantor.

The beneficial animals are delivered in small bags that are hung in the birch seedlings. From here, they fly out and look for the areas that have been attacked. Only the areas under direct attack are targeted. Unlike chemicals, the method leaves no trace on either seedlings or the surrounding soil.

“The sustainability aspect is important for both customers and our owners, and the requirements that we have to meet as suppliers are becoming increasingly clearer in this respect. We must be innovative and find new solutions all the time, and with nature as the architect, this really is a very clever solution,” said Johan Jonsson, Head of Södra Skogsplantor.

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