Most frequent questions and answers
Probably not ! Some of the claims oversell the virtues of seaweed; but there is solid scientific evidence for many actions – notably the growth/health promoting actions of the natural phytohormones.
Yes – because the many positive effects reflect primarily improved plant growth especially the roots and also mineral uptake, eg with foliar feed.
Yes – resulting from two interacting effects – the natural mineral balance of the extracts, but mainly the phytohormones enhancing the uptake of both natural and added minerals.
Yes – stress, disease and pest resistance is improved by enhancement of the overall health of the plants through the activities of phytohormones together with other components such as laminaran. In addition some seaweed components, eg phenolics, have strong anti-microbial powers.
The base organic product is not a general feed. Remember, a body builder using steroids needs well fed – similarly, these crop growth promoters work along with conventional nutrient feeds to give optimum results. However, to make things easy for the general user we also have products with balanced plant nutrient supplements.
We would rather emphasise that we have developed them from first principles as powerful and natural plant growth promoters – and leave it to users to judge! However, we do discuss several aspects elsewhere on the website, including the issue of extract percentage solids and general appearance (below).
Yes – contact us if you are uncertain and we will explain in detail – or better still visit us on Westray in Orkney ! In summary, off the northern isles of Orkney the standing (natural) seaweed crop is several million tonnes. Natural annual cast weed from storms is several thousand tonnes. We harvest less than 0.001% of the standing crop for an area of seabed, using local lobster (creel) fishing boats to ensure minimal impact on any key local lobster grounds. Also, it is important to note that we harvest seaweed out of the local lobster fishing season, thereby extending the working season for local fishermen.
Yes – during their development, under a major European R&D programme (ECLAIR) extensive field trials where undertaken by organic growers in the UK and Ireland, see ‘reviews‘. Also, there have been trials with growers, again see ‘reviews‘; but perhaps the best trials have been with regular users (best examples are greenkeepers !) who come back for more and more as well as recommending our products to colleagues.
Our product development in Orkney got good coverage in a Boxing Day edition of BBC Gardeners’ Question Time, after the team had visited the islands. During the programme the team chairman, Eric Robson, revealed that ‘secret independent trials’ had been run, with results ready before the programme. It was explained that they had used young plants of Polyanthus, Perpetual Flowering Pansies and Spring Kale, and reported that the trials had obtained “real results here…it’s quite exciting..”.reporting that with the Polyanthus, for example, that the ” plants were much greener…they just look as if they are in better condition”…. words that pleased Bob Flowerdew, leading UK organic gardener and a strong supporter of seaweed.
The main product range has been on the market for 3 years, mainly in the amenity/turf sector. The products have been very successful, particularly for use on golf courses, originally greens but now extending to fairways. It is now being used routinely on many major internationally famous courses, with the number increasing steadily often through ‘word of mouth’ amongst greenkeepers/course managers. We have found that very few who try our products do not come back for increasing quantities – surely the best measure of ‘trial/user satisfaction’.
It is totally misleading! In developing our process we have deliberately concentrated on the preferential extraction of the key growth promoting substances, removing substances that could interfere with their key activities. Products quoting high percentage ‘solids’ (e.g. around 30%) contain high organic carbon levels which at best will interfere with the extracts growth promoting properties, but are much more likely to enhance soil organic carbon levels that could result in development of anaerobic (‘black layer’) conditions, especially with turf applications.
No, it is more powerful. This is similar to the last question in many ways. The ‘black’ products are produced by breaking down meal from dried entire seaweed (Ascophyllum) under heat and pressure in strong alkali giving a ‘soup’ high in organic matter (carbon). Our product is from the selective extraction of ‘phytohormones’ to ensure a product rich in growth promoting powers. It presents no risk from organic enrichment or ‘feeding’ disease causing microbes. It also presents no problems with sprayers (i.e. no blocking).