Going Green at Greenshutters
Over the last few years, we have made several improvements to reduce our environmental impact.
We have always used a lot of water on the nursery, but we reduced this by approximately a third by changing most of our irrigation system from sprinklers to drip irrigation. The drippers deliver the water directly into each pot. This has a high capital cost but is paid back over many years with reduced water use. We have also installed a professional meteorological station to monitor the rate water is used by the plants depending on the weather. This has reduced our water usage as we have been able to reduce irrigation on cloudier days in the summer when the plants need less water.
We are also reducing our reliance on weedkillers by using pot-toppers that go over the top of the pots to stop weeds. This also reduces water lost from evaporation and the pot-toppers are reusable. We also use weed-control fabric to control the weed growth around the pots.
Peat use is another concern and we are currently trialling reduced and peat-free composts with the aim of phasing out the use of peat once we have found the best peat-free compost for growing our trees and hedging. We are also encouraging customers to buy peat-free compost for their own use and we now stock Melcourt Sylvagrow Peat-Free Compost and Sylagrow Peat-Free with added John Innes compost, the best peat-free composts on the market.
Plastic pots are of concern, especially black plastic which is not recyclable as the recycling machines cannot detect it. We are switching over to pots made from recycled plastics and using “taupe” coloured pots where they are available for the growth of our hedging and trees. We are also encouraging customers to return pots over 5 litres in size as we can reuse them.
This is all part of a continuing process to reduce our impact on the environment.
Our solar panels, which were installed in 2012, provide some of the energy for our nursery and garden centre. In our shop and offices, we have replaced the fluorescent lights with LED light panels to reduce energy use.
Other initiatives include:
- The use of nematodes instead of chemicals for vine-weevil control distributed to the plants via our irrigation
- Reducing waste where possible
- Increased recycling of waste products
- Greater selection of organic products for garden use such as our Neudorff rang
Future initiatives include:
- Reducing peat use to zero
- Planting more trees & hedging around the site
- Greater selection of peat-free composts and organic products in the shop
- Use of more organic fertilisers for growing