Peat is a major source of carbon sequestration. However, mining peat bogs is currently the primary source of the raw material used in containerised production.

Sustainable alternatives to peat exist but supplies are either expensive or not available in sufficient quantities. With environmental constraints increasing, we need to mix materials to create new, more sustainable products.

ADAS Horticulture have come up with a solution to remove peat from production process and rapidly accelerate the development of new, reliable, and high performing peat alternative growing media.

We are the only laboratory currently offering a growing media analysis and design service.

Growing Media Methods – ADAS Technical monograph

Our services include:

Contact details

Performance analysis

Extensive R&D has identified three key physical properties – available water (AW), bulk density (Db) and air-filled porosity (AFP) as indicators of growing media performance.

Sample preparation and processing follows the ADAS Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for responsibly-sourced growing media.

Our analysis services:

  • SOP (raw material analysed for AFP, AW and Db) includes report
  • Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) (raw material analysed) includes report (minimum batch size eight)

Blend Design

Growing media blend design recommendations will be produced using the ADAS Growing Media predictive model.

The model has been designed to identify high performing mixes of raw materials from physical properties.  It avoids the need for the time consuming and expensive traditional, inherently variable plant testing, used to select for high performing growing media. It does not, however, remove the need for “try before you buy” by the end-user.

Designed growing media may require both experimental and per-commercial testing before full commercial use (see the Trial section below).

Our modelling services:

Mathematical modelling and statistics
  • Physical property interpretation, including dialogue and report
  • Blend prediction for target crop, including dialogue, report and software distributed under licence
  • Experimental design x 1, including expert design and analysis input


Experimental testing of new growing media blends:

At ADAS we host muti-option irrigation and nutrient delivery system. These can be modified to accommodate plant types from bedding through to young trees. Fine-tuning mixes to meet with target growing system type (e.g. drip, overhead sprinkler, subsurface irrigation, CRF / liquid feeding nutrition and so on will require live crop testing.

We can provide expert statistical design and analysis which will help you get the most from such tests.

Our trial services:

  • Experimental testing, including 1 x experimental trial and report
  • Commercial testing, including 1 x commercial trial (size, location, interaction with nursery staff and number of crop growth stages dependent)

We are experts at on-site large scale implementation of commercial trials and we will work closely with clients to best meet their needs.

Service requests and processing times

Please contact Plant Heath Consultant Peter Seymour to enquire about any of our services.

Any of the above services can be chosen in any combination to meet client needs.  Price on application as experimental or commercial trial work pricing will be dependent on location, duration and complexity.

Turnaround time for physical properties and CEC, will be six weeks from day of receipt. Any experimental design and modelling inputs will also be shared within that timeframe.

All materials will be analysed in triplicate.

New project enquiries

We are open to new project work, industry workshop delivery or training to deploy our specialist growing media and crop system skills and knowledge.