What is the Better Plants Range?
Better Plants is a unique, cold process liquid seaweed / kelp extract. It is produced from fresh, hand-harvested Ascophyllum nodosum. This raw material is a renewable resource and is collected from the sheltered bays and unpolluted waters of the Atlantic Ocean around the North West coast of Ireland. Due to the unique low temperature extraction process, Better Plants is high in chelated micronutrients, natural antioxidants and functional polysaccharides such as alginates. Better Plants also contains traces of plant hormones-like molecules and small amino acids. All of these compounds are found naturally in Ascophyllum nodosum and retain their maximum levels in the production of Better Plants. Depending on the end application whether it is fruit, vegetable, orchards, flowers, Better Plants range is offering several different concentrations to suit the client demand.
Why use the Better Plants Range?
Better Plants is an ideal natural tonic for grass that suffers from environmental stresses like drought, frost or salt – it particularly helps to alleviate the symptoms of nematode damages. Better Plants acts as plant stimulant, strengthening the plant thus allowing it to fight diseases and fungal infections. Better Plants contains plant hormone-like compounds that stimulate the biological defences of the grass, whilst it’s wide variety of nutrient and amino acid content aids plant recovery and stimulate growth in grass under stress.
Better Plants is a pool of active elements which not only relieves the grass from environmental stress but allow also to develop stronger, healthier roots. The action of intact alginates also enhances the soil structure and its water retention capacity. Better Plants products are showing their best benefits when the treated plants are under important stress; consequently, Better Plants products are mostly recommended in industrial production systems to maintain economical yields and reduce the dependency on NPK fertilizers and chemical phytosanitary products.
Better Plants Key Components
Analysis of pure Better Plants seaweed with no other added fertilizing substance
Proteins (Vitamins, Hormones, Amino Acids) ….. 1.00%
Mannitol ….. 2.00%
Alginic Acid ….. 3.20%
Laminarins ….. 1.20%
Fucoidan ….. 0.50%
Minerals ….. 2.30%
Polyphenols ….. 2.10%
pH ….. 4.8
Density ….. 1,033 Kg/Lt
Ascophyllum nodosum (knotted wrack), also called “An Fheamainn Bhui” in Irish, is a brown macro-algae growing between the low and mid-inter tidal zone in the North Atlantic Ocean. The west coast of Ireland and particularly the Donegal coast, rich in rocky sheltered areas, presents a pristine and abundant resource of A.nodosum. This species is traditionally hand harvested by local cutters using a careful rotation and selection of cutting areas to allow sustainable management of the stocks. OGT monitors all sites to ensure that all our macroalgae comes from pristine unpolluted locations.
The Source and Origin of the Raw Material
Ascophyllum nodosum is a particular brown algae species leaving in “extreme” conditions; it had indeed to adapt to 2 periods of immersion of 6 hours in any 24hrs of a full year which explains part of its specific natural composition. Any liter of Better Plants produced is traceable right to the exact location and date of harvesting of the corresponding seaweed, along Eastern Atlantic Irish shoreline.
This cold water shoreline is particularly rich in minerals and remains unpolluted from heavy metals.
The Industrial Process of Extraction
The large majority of commercial seaweed extracts (black liquids) are based on the 1950’s alkaline extraction consisting in rapid dehydration of seaweeds, ebullition and addition of an alkaline solution to complete the extraction. As this crude extraction process tend to degrade many interesting key components of the seaweeds, OGT has developed a low temperature extraction limiting the temperature below 30°C in order to preserve as much as possible the sensitive bio-active compounds.
This uniquely designed process in Europe lead to a 100% soluble liquid product, the basis of the Better Plants range.
The Purity of the Extract
As many commercial extract contain low amount of processed seaweeds but high levels of additives, Better Plants range is based only and purely from 100 fresh seaweeds. The user is therefore able to really assess the real benefits from the seaweed after regular applications based on low concentrations but regular uses. Th purity and the integrity is obvious by the characteridic odour of the fresh seaweed and the green-olive colour identical to the raw seaweed. In addition, as the low temperature do not alternate the general composition of the seaweed polysaccharides, Better Plants 200 and Better Plants 500 demonstrate a very particular smooth texture.
Due to the low processing temperatures and the extraction technique avoiding chemicals and high heat, Better Plants is 100% natural and contains all the bio-active compounds at their maximum natural levels and fully intact.
Proteins (vitamins, plant hormone-like, pigments…), Polyphenols (antioxidants), Mannitol, Polysaccharides (alginates, laminarin, fucoidans) are heat sensitive therefore damaged at high T° Main Effects on the Plants Seaweed extracts have been used for centuries by coastal farmers to enrich their soils and then, for many decades by fruit and vegetable growers in order to enhance their production systems. However, it is only since 15 to 20 years that the mechanisms of actions have gradually been scientifically elucided. Better Plants is the commercial result of the better understanding of the principles of actions of the different seaweed compounds. Low process temperatures enable to keep these compounds fully beneficial to the plants.
The main common characteristics of seaweed extracts produced from the algae Ascophyllum nodosum is the wide variety of chelated macro- and micro-nutrients. Better Plants is particularly rich in Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium and Sulphur; the main oligo-elements are Boron, Manganese, Iron, Copper, Zinc and traces of Selenium, Molybdenum, Cobalt etc…
In addition, Better Plants contains various levels of organic molecules such as amino acids and proteins which can be assimilated by the plant directly. Moreover, Better Plants contains consequent amounts of carbohydrates which represent a source of carbon for microbial life of the soils.
Several molecules with activities on the plant development similar to some terrestrial plant hormones have been isolated in marine algae and processed products. Even thought their proportions are remaining at the trace levels, their activity is important especially in terms of root system development; the root is of primary importance both for the growth of the plant and also for its reproduction physiology leading to flowering as well as its general health. The presence of small amino acids will also benefit to the plant itself for its own synthesis of plant hormones.
The presence of these molecules in the various Better Plants concentrates explain the need to respect the application timings, rates and doses for an optimal efficacy.
Natural Defenses and Anti-stress Effects
Scientific comprehension has greatly improved towards the effects of some seaweed compounds on plant defense mechanism.
An important component of Better Plants is a long chain polymer of glucose called laminarin. This linear polysaccharide has been described as a plant defense precursor as it is able to initiate the defense mechanisms of the plant in mimicking a pathogen (bacteria, fungi…) attack.
In support to these effects, the natural antioxidants mainly polyphenols and vitamins are helping the plants under stress to cope with oxidative cell damages and limit plant tissue necrosis.
In addition, Better Plants contains molecules limiting osmotic stress effects (Draught, Frost, Salt…) acting either directly on the plant in particular, Mannitol and Betaine or indirectly on the soil structure; Alginate, the main colloidal polysaccharide of Better Plants, plays indeed also a role in limited water conditions by retaining water molecules around the root zone so that beneficial N-fixing bacteria can properly develop.
Where Each Better Plants Constituent Can Help The Plant:
The main benefits of using Better Plants are therefore:
- Improve seed germination (shorter cycles) and root development (growth & health)
- Enhance flowers, fruit and vegetable quality (minerals, carbohydrates, pigments…)
- Reduce use of chemical fertilizers, over the time, for similar production yields
- Reduce use of phyto-sanitary products (fungicides, pesticides…) by regular applications
- Enable faster recover during and after water stress (heat, frost, salinity…)
- Move towards use of sustainable natural products for industrial production
On a general approach, Better Plants products need to be applied at low doses but regurlarly due to their mechanisms of action. Depending on the crop, the conditions of culture, the stress status, these application rates and timings will however vary and in general conditions, a regular spray of Better Plants of every two weeks is suggested.
For information on specific type of culture, please refer to OGT Charts. Depending on the Better Plants product used, these application rates will also vary.
Better Plants range of product are designed and suitable for mixes with most of the other foliar treatments in particular fongicides and foliar feeds.